In today’s issue, we will take a look at the next tier of prospects in the 2016 class that made an impression on the numerous scouts in attendance including the Phenom Hoop Report.
6’2 2016 Curt Jones of Highland Springs HS in Richmond, VA
Curt Jones was one of the top 5 freshmen in attendance at the NC Phenom 150 Camp and according to Coach Randy Peele, is already a solid MM D1 prospect. Jones has a unique blend of athleticism and skill set that will make him one of the top freshmen in the state of Virginia. He is that good! He has physical intangibles with explosive leaping ability, but he simply knows how to use his physical strengths in scoring with ease. Without question, Jones production matched his potential and was outstanding in scoring in various ways. He was knocking down 3 pointers, using dribble drive pull up jumpers and also driving hard to the rim. Without knowing his grade, Jones played like an upperclassman and he will be one to put in your SIM card. On the defensive side of the ball, Jones was active and used his length and athleticism to bother smaller guards. We feel if Jones continues to develop and add strength, he will become a HM prospect.
6’7 2016 Varun Piplani of Leesville HS in Raleigh, NC
Varun Piplani is a very slender and lanky WF that may not pass the look test at first, but once he steps out on the floor, the young frosh has all the potential and skill set of a solid D1 prospect. He is a highly skilled shooter that knocked down shots all day long. He has good ball handling and passing skills for his size/position and once he gets into the weight room, his game will go to a new level. He has good, but not great athleticism but has good potential and skill set for his frame. Coach Randy Peele stated, “Piplani can really shoot the ball and is a solid MM D1 prospect.” In addition, Piplani is an excellent student.
6’5 2016 Nick Sherrod of St. Christopher HS in Richmond, VA
The state of Virginia and especially the Richmond area is absolutely loaded with top young talent. Nick Sherrod already has a physically mature college ready frame and while his athleticism may be ahead of his skill set, but Coach Randy Peele stated it best, “Nick Sherrod is a lock for D1.” Sherrod physical strength allows him to dominate around the rim and is a willing rebounder on both ends of the court. His aggressive approach is appealing and his work ethic is second to none. Sherrod definitely passes the look test and with skill development over the next few years, we will be garnishing interest from different levels of D1 schools.
6’3 2016 SG Jame’z Rogers of Wando HS in Hanahan, SC
Jame’z Rogers is an explosive combo guard that has a physically mature body and he uses his body extremely well especially in attacking the basket. He loves to drive and attack every opportunity and uses his athleticism to finish above the rim. While he didn’t shoot a lot of jumpers his shooting technique was solid and according to Coach Randy Peele, Rogers is a legit MM D1 prospect. He has a solid work ethic and played both ends of the court equally well.
6’7 2016 Matt Kalaf of North Raleigh Christian HS in Raleigh, NC
When you are 6’7 and can shoot the ball as well as Kalaf, you definitely need to put this young man in your SIM card. He was knocking down 3 pointers all day, but more importantly his young man as a sweet shooting stroke. He was especially deadly in a catch and shoot situation and moved well off the ball, which is a unique skill for young players. In addition, Kalaf was able to shoot off the dribble in the half court and we feel Kalaf has one of the nicest strokes in the 2016 in North Carolina. Coach Randy Peele stated “Kalaf needs to be on MM D1 recruiting list ASAP, he is that good.” More importantly, Kalaf has a 4.0 GPA for his first semester. Student athlete!
6’1 2016 PG Ray Kowalski of Gray Stone Day School in Misenheimer, NC
Ray Kowalski is a highly skilled PG that plays with a lot of energy and passion. His full throttle approach to the game is appealing and his aggressive in finding scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates. He has his foot on the offensive pedal and Kowalski has a nice arsenal of offensive moves. He has an excellent change of pace and cross over move, plus used the step back move effectively. Kowalski was hitting jumpers and utilizing the floater as an effective offensive move. Kowalski is a scoring PG that has the ability to be the team facilitator that has the tools to be a solid D1 prospect.
6’4 2016 Tremain Lawrence of Middle Creek HS in Garner, NC
Tremain Lawrence is a physically mature combo forward that uses his strength and athleticism effectively on the interior as well as the perimeter. He is an above the rim player and is a willing rebounder and his blue-collar approach to the game makes him attractive. Lawrence is a banger and bruiser on the interior and his strength and power makes him tough to defend and give off the boards. Defensively, he has solid lateral movement and guarded smaller and quicker players. He played equally on both ends of the court. Like many strong and athletic young players, his physically maturity is further along than his skill set, but he has 3 years to develop that.
6’1 2016 PG Timmy Walker of The Christ School in Arden, NC
Timmy Walker possesses tremendous athleticism and will be one of the top players in the 2016 class of North Carolina. He has speed and explosive leaping ability and has the ability to score in various ways. He can knock down 3 pointers from the perimeter, but is tough to handle in the open court. He has the ability to finish above the rim, but also has developed a solid mid range dribble drive pull up jumper. Currently, Walker is more of a scoring PG and has plenty of time to master the nuisances of the PG position. He is a hard worker and has the ability to become a premier PG in the class of 2016.
5’9 2016 PG Caron Corpening of Stephens HS in Hickory, NC
Caron Corpening is another promising young PG in the North Carolina class of 2016. Corpening has speed and quickness and understands the responsibilities of the PG position, which is important for a young player. That being said, we are more impressed with his defensive presence on the court. Corpening is a hawkish “on the ball defender” and his lateral quickness is superb. Corpening will accept any challenge defensively and his effort guarding the opposing PG is second to none. He absolutely gets after it and not many young prospects take as much pride in their defense as Corpening.
6’1 2016 Aaron Gottfried of Raleigh Broughton in Raleigh, NC
It is just a matter of time become the younger Gottfried starts making a name for himself in the 2016 class of North Carolina. His older brother Cameron made an impact at the camp, but Aaron also enjoyed accolades from many of the scouts in attendance. Aaron has an advanced skill set for a freshman and complete understanding of the camp. Simply stated, he is a “coaches son” on the court and the younger Gottfried will surprise you with his quickness and sneaky athleticism. He has solid ball handling and passing skills, but feel like his best position will be at the shooting guard. More importantly, Aaron plays hard and gives maximum effort!
5’8 2016 Daryl Myers of Fredericksburg Christian School in Fredericksburg, VA
Myers is a quick on quick PG that is the ultimate team facilitator and is a willing passer that enjoys getting his teammates involved. While Myers has the ability to score, he uses his quickness to get into the lane and kick out to open teammates. In addition, we liked his overall attitude on the court and often this character trait goes unnoticed. A true team player and a PG that others enjoy playing with. He is unselfish and gets his teammates involved, which is sometimes rare in camp setting. Players like Myers often doesn’t get the attention deserved, but a PG that plays the game the right way with a positive attitude deserves special attention.
5’7 2016 PG Carion Eaton of Middleburg Academy in Stafford, VA
Carion Eaton was a “jitterbug” on both ends of the court. The undersized PG proved that quickness and speed along with a full throttle approach can and will make you an effective player on the court. He has “jet like” speed and is difficult to guard in the open court. He has blow by speed, but we liked the fact that Eaton used his speed and lateral quickness to harass the opposing PG by literally getting up in their faces. Just a freshman, Eaton is definitely one to monitor and watch for future growth and development.
6’1 2016 Avery Metcalf of Hickory Ridge HS in Harrisburg, NC
Avery Metcalf is a promising young athlete that happens to basketball. He has a good basketball body for a freshman and has a solid understanding of the game. Metcalf has good fundamentals and a solid basketball IQ that combined with his athleticism made him an intriguing player. Metcalf is one of those players that just seem to do a little bit of everything well and has a solid approach to the game. He played within the team structure and rarely tried to force the action. He was very unselfish and was a willing passer and did an ample job of getting his teammates involved.
6’4 2017 David Caraher of Culbreath Middle School in Chapel Hill, NC
Caraher participated in the Saturday NC Junior Phenom session and his skill set and talent made it easy for him to play with the high school division on Sunday. He has excellent size and skill set for just an 8th grader and Coach Randy Peele stated, “Caraher plays hard and competes! He has a unique understanding of how to play for his age/grade. He has really outstanding size and if he continues to improve could be a HM players.” In my opinion, Caraher has a quiet confidence and skill set that will easily separate him from his peers. He is advanced beyond his years and is definitely a young prospect to put in your SIM card. He can shoot and handle the ball and fit right in with the high school division.
5’4 2017 James West IV of Christ Church in Woodbridge, VA
James West IV is one of the top ball handlers in the class of 2017 in the country. He has advanced ball handling and passing skills and felt at ease playing with the high school players on Sunday. Like Caraher, his skill set is advanced beyond his years and will be one to watch over the years. He can light it up from the perimeter and can become an elite level PG down the road.