Jeff Bendel, Phenom Hoops Analyst, talks about his standouts from the Champion Showcase

Carolina Flash

Starting with a lead guard that made sure his presence was felt every second he was on the floor,'5'11' Jamell Morgan (2018). Morgan was very effective on both sides of the ball and brought the same intensity from game to game. Offensively, he showed his willingness to consistently make the smart play, always looking for teammates cutting or on the weak side spotting up. Morgan is quick and goes at a rapid pace but still maintains the ability to stop on a dime and pull-up for an easy bucket. On the defensive end, Morgan is a pesky on-ball defender; his aforementioned quickness leads to numerous steals, both on and off-ball. In many ways, he is the engine that makes this team go; watch for him to continue his strong play through the end of summer.

Carolina Wolves

The Wolves have a team full of prospects that can help a number of college programs, and'6'4' Jaylen Alston (2018)'might be the most underrated of the bunch. It's truly perplexing how a player lacking any D1 offers can have the following season: (31 games)'21.2'PPG,'10.6'RPG, 2.4 SPG and'1.4'BPG (bold leads team) for his high school, leading them to 28-3 regular season record and a state championship appearance where he'd go toe to toe with a census top-20 player in the country. He had 21 double-doubles during the season, never dipping below four rebounds with only one game under double-digit scoring. This information is still relevant because Alston continues to do the same exact thing through May, June, and thus far, July. It's hard to say much else about him; he's an incredibly tough two-way player that provides all the measurements and intangibles necessary to be a successful wing at the next level. He scores at will inside the arc and has begun showcasing an efficient three-point shot, removing any knock on his game. On the other end, he's a lockdown defender that plays with relentlessness on the glass and a high motor. Coaches will have to start calling for Alston soon, at least once they realize how much he'd benefit their respective teams.

Players with size and three-point shooting ability will always be coveted, and'6'8' Bryson Price (2018)'could certainly be a useful prospect at the next level. Price is a strong, sturdy big man that has soft touch around the basket and unlimited range beyond the three-point line. He showcases great positioning and footwork on the low block, able to grab rebounds or post-up and finish with efficiency. Price plays with a high IQ and thrives in the two-man game, where he has consistently shown the ability to roll and pop. Opposing defenses struggle to check him, as he has so few weaknesses on offense and is patient enough to get points when the opportunities appear. Price is a quality rebounder that can get out and run in transition, frequently scoring on filling the lane or firing a three-pointer. He's also a solid defender, capable of guarding brutes down low or stretch bigs out to the arc. This July should be a breakout month for Price, who has all the makings of a walking mismatch.

CEBA

Next, we look at a player with all the tools to be successful at multiple positions down the road,'6'4' BJ Freeman (2020). Freeman is extremely intriguing and he can capture the attention of all spectators in as little as a two-possession sequence. There were numerous times when Freeman would snatch a rebound or block, dribble down the floor, and either score or assist on the fast break. Few players in his age division were more impressive on the floor, as his size and length allow him to do things that others simply can't. Freeman can already defend two to three positions comfortably and doesn't have issues when switched onto smaller guards on the perimeter. He has showcased three-level scoring ability but prefers to operate within the arc, where he is able to score effectively at the elbow or around the rim. If he continues to grow, watch out, because Freeman will make his name one to remember.

Team Loaded

Moving onto a point guard that could absolutely be considered the best rising freshman in the state,'6'2' Carter Whitt (2021). It has been stated many times in the past, but Whitt remains among the premier passers in the country, especially relative to his age. The vision he possesses in the full and half court is next-level stuff; even the passes he makes after the whistle is blown leave spectators in utter disbelief. Whitt has an elite basketball IQ and quality three-level scoring ability to go along with the aforementioned vision, making it impossible to leave him unattended. His play on the defensive end continues to improve, as he displays fantastic positioning and a firm understanding of where to be and when to rotate. Whitt's biggest asset is probably his overall feel for the game, which is outstanding; he knows where his four teammates are at all times. Naturally, when not going for the rebound, Whitt can be found in perfect position for an outlet pass leading to a fast break. His game is so fascinating; it would not be surprising to see Whitt hold five to ten offers by this time next year.

Durham Bullz Allstarz

The Bullz had a terrific weekend and, in many ways,'6'3' Jackson Reid (2018)'was the key to their success. Reid is a deceptively long wing that can pose matchups for a number of opponents with his lights-out scoring ability. Offensively, he is an extremely sound three-level scorer that can heat up in a matter of two or three possessions and once he does, defenses are force to foul or rethink their game plan. Reid plays within the team's offense, showing a high IQ and patience, willing to make the smart play or wait for the ball to come back around. He stays active without the ball, cutting backdoor or finding open space to spot-up. On the defensive end, Reid is a reliable defender both on and off-ball, and knows how to use his length to get into passing lanes. He is a vocal leader on both ends of the floor and has a solid feel for the game. If Reid continues to play like this, college coaches will come calling, as there is certainly a place for him at the next level.

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