This past weekend, Phenom Hoops hosted two separate events (Advance and Rock Hill) to wrap up the final live period and begin concluding the busy month of July. Folks were constantly buzzing about the amount of sheer talent on display in Rock Hill, but there was still more than enough appeal for various college coaches to make the trip to Advance. Programs of all levels came through the Rise Facility to scope out some potential diamonds in the rough, so let’s see who stood out…

6’5 ’22 Dawson McAlhany (NC Spartans)

Surprise, Dawson McAlhany appears on yet another edition of Bendel’s Best—but what is one expected to do when he continually puts forth dominant performances? Albeit Lee’s McRae decided to extend an offer (his second), it’s unclear what more needs to be showcased from McAlhany’s end to warrant more action within his recruitment. After basically three full months of being the undisputed leader for this group, the kid is visibly (and understandably) fatigued. Between the departure of a key teammate (Shad Thomas) and the constant flux of roster changes, it’s largely been an uphill battle for the skilled, athletic wing prospect. He regularly gets face-guarded and double-teamed, and still finds a way to shine. While his high scoring totals typically receive the most attention, the rest of his identity should still entice various types of programs. He possesses IQ and a high motor with the willingness to make hustle plays whenever possible. McAlhany is a reliable defender and rebounder with the proven instincts and all-around skillset to make an impact alongside any collection of teammates. The whole situation just feels like an overthought, because McAlhany is undoubtedly talented enough to be an asset for scholarship-level coaches. 

6’6 ’22 Max Bullard (New Light Disciples)

One could pose a legitimate argument that the New Light Disciples have consistently improved as much as any team in the state, and the addition of Max Bullard only furthers this notion. Given the overall balance within their roster, it took a few games for the long, fluid 6-foot-6 wing to get completely comfortable. However, there should’ve been no questions regarding Bullard or his abilities after the frequent flashes of greatness to conclude the live period. He shot the ball quite well, especially off the catch, and displayed IQ, toughness, and the ability to make plays for himself or others off the bounce. Bullard is a quality rebounder with the necessary skill to push the break in transition or defer and get to his spots. His size, athleticism, and capabilities as an inside-out threat allow him to cause matchup problems for various types of opponents. Though he’s a new face to the area, folks should expect to hear a lot about Bullard over the coming months. Scholarship-level coaches should be laying groundwork immediately. 

6’0 ’22 Jackson Hartzell (NC Spartans)

At this point, the general masses should know about Jackson Hartzell and everything he brings to the table—especially with this group. He’s a known shooter with the quick release and understanding of how to move without the ball to consistently overwhelm opposing defenses. Hartzell truly only requires a glimmer of daylight to get off clean looks, which was evidenced on countless occasions throughout the weekend. As dangerous as his shooting is, the scrappy guard could also be found running the team and initiating the offense as needed. Hartzell understands the game and positions himself for success as a defender, rebounder, and overall threat in transition. He also attacked closeouts and finished or scored with crafty in-between moves. Hartzell does a great job of playing to his strengths in every possible setting, and it should only lead to more traction from college coaches. With shooting at such a high premium, expect Hartzell to warrant various opportunities at the next level. 

6’2 ’22 Jah Saigo (NC Gaters)

The dynamic of this NC Gaters team is always interesting, especially after Nolan Hodge’s commitment and the emergence of Julius Harrison as a star—but it still feels like Jah Saigo is among the more underrated pieces on this team. Like various others, he takes a lesser role for the betterment of this team. Saigo is a strong, physically overwhelming wing prospect with the combination of size, skill, and toughness to naturally cause matchup problems. He’s way too skilled and mobile for those who can actually handle his strength, and far too powerful for any normal-sized perimeter player to contain. Saigo finds opportunities within the flow of the action, although he’s shown the ability and instincts to produce within a bigger role. He rebounds very well for his position and utilizes his body effectively to outwork opponents defensively. Saigo is a capable passer and scorer with more than enough ability to find success at the next level. 

6’7 ’23 Peter Quaye (Team Loaded 804)

Although he’s the only junior listed, Peter Quaye and Team Loaded 804 certainly deserve some acknowledgement for their impressive play throughout the weekend. The group played up an age group and excitedly welcomed all challengers, and Quaye’s interior presence proved to be a massive part of their overall success. Though slightly undersized, the strong, sturdy big man is an absolute workhorse and his blue-collar approach naturally leads to production. Quaye does the dirty work and willingly makes hustle plays, typically the first guy looking to take a charge or get on the floor for a loose ball. He utilizes his body very well to absorb contact as a finisher, rebounder, and shot-altering presence. Quaye plays with a seemingly nonstop motor and does everything possible to be an exceptional teammate. He truly doesn’t need to score in order to make a lasting impact. Quaye’s feel, positioning, and overall positive presence allow him to find opportunities with any team.