This past weekend, Phenom Hoops traveled to Spartanburg, South Carolina for the first live period of the early summer season. There were over 150 teams in attendance from all over the region, college-level talent was on display, and college coaches of all levels were sitting baseline throughout the weekend. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of my personal standouts from the guard position…
6’2 ’20 Lee Langstaff (Team Swish)
All of the guards on this list have a pretty clear identity on the hardwood, but Lee Langstaff is a prospect that many folks are still figuring out. He was the most impressive performer on Friday night, given his constant attack-mode mentality and ability to effortlessly create clean looks out of little to nothing. Langstaff has a very smart, sharp way of getting wherever he wants off the dribble and possesses the necessary vision to make timely reads to open teammates. While he offers a strong blend of scoring and playmaking, it’s quite apparent that shot-making is his bread and butter. Langstaff shoots the ball well from beyond the arc, but loves to get in the midrange for pull-ups or to the rim for crafty finishes. He truly displayed flashes of dominance over the weekend and should start gaining more buzz as a scholarship-level prospect.
5’11 ’21 Jamarii Thomas (New Light Disciples)
It’s easy to like tough, gritty, competitive basketball players, and that describes Jamarii Thomas quite well. He’s already gotten noticeably better since returning from injury and now looks ready to establish himself as one of the top sophomore lead guards in North Carolina. Thomas possesses a strong feel for the game, which is evident on both ends of the floor through his positioning and anticipation instincts. Opponents struggle to stay in front of him because he’s just so lightning-quick with or without the ball in his hands. Thomas is able to touch the paint or get to the rim basically whenever he desires, but plays an unselfish game and consistently makes the right pass. He is a well-rounded athlete that can surprise opposing defenders with his ability to rise up and finish above the rim. Thomas is a great rebounder for his size and absolutely thrives in transition. He exemplifies terrific leadership qualities and could be one of the most exciting guards on display over these few months. Thomas should begin drawing attention from all types of college coaches sooner than later.
5’11 ’20 Stephen Minor (Team Winston)
This Team Winston team has quickly become a favorite amongst basketball enthusiasts, as they have a roster full of players that truly encompass working hard and playing the right way. That notion ultimately starts with their point guard, Stephen Minor. He’s extremely smart and well-rounded, which allows him to set up the offense, play without the ball, and create for himself or others–all with relative ease. Minor understands how to manage the game and offers an exceptional balance between scoring and playmaking, despite being from the pure point guard mold. He makes his surrounding teammates better simply with his phenomenal blend of poise, maturity, and unselfishness. Minor scores efficiently from all three levels and possesses the necessary strength to finish through any amount of contact at the rim. It’s difficult to find any weaknesses within his game, as he plays a nearly mistake-free game and is one of the main leaders/tone-setters for this squad in every contest. He communicates and exudes intelligence in every facet of the game. Minor should already be regarded as a scholarship-level prospect and could start collecting offers in the coming weeks.
6’0 ’20 Jajuan Carr (WBC Elite)
There were a ton of talented, high-level guards on display at Phenom Challenge Live, but Jajuan Carr was the most impressive and arguably established himself as the top junior floor general in North Carolina (if he hadn’t already done so). He’s a true point guard in every sense of the phrase; he makes it clear that he’s only interested in making the smart, team-first play unless told otherwise. Carr is an excellent ball-handler with craftiness, vision, and the ability to touch the paint on literally every possession. He’s so sharp and decisive with his movements, which allows him to easily navigate by the point of attack and through traffic. Carr is an elite game manager that is willing to take over when necessary, which is when he becomes virtually unstoppable. When he decides that he wants to score, few opponents are capable of preventing that from happening. He is an incredibly polished three-level scorer with phenomenal athleticism and the skillset to make each of his surrounding teammates significantly better on both ends of the floor. Carr also stands out with his toughness and capabilities as a defender; he mirrors his on-ball assignment and forces turnovers at a strong rate while constantly crashing the boards to push transition play. Those who don’t enjoy watching Carr simply don’t appreciate the game of basketball. Expect to see his recruitment explode going forward, as an abundance of programs have already begun to get involved after his impressive weekend.
6’0 ’21 Javonte Waverly (Royal Knights)
The Royal Knights squad was the toughest, most relentless group of young men on display, regardless of age group or anything else. These guys are extremely poised and know how to play together, which starts with their main leader, Javonte Waverly. He’s long, athletic, and fears no one on the court. Waverly is a true bully on defense with his ability to mirror his on-ball assignment, get stops, and force turnovers that lead to transition play. He has a very nice IQ and does a quality job of getting into the paint to make plays for himself or others. Waverly showed three-level scoring chops over the weekend, but also highlighted the intangibles and two-way presence that should have college coaches really excited. He doesn’t require offensive touches to make his presence felt, but is also a very proven scorer that can lead an efficient offense in a pinch. Remember Waverly, as he could be a breakout candidate over these next few months and should begin seeing an uptick in his recruitment.