This past weekend Phenom Hoops traveled down to the Rock Hill Sports and Events Center in Rock Hill, South Carolina for our Phenom Challenge. There was an obvious amount of talent in the gym, which led to numerous standout performers across the weekend. This article will take a closer, more detailed look at some of those personal favorites…

6’2 ’21 Demar Anderson (Team Synergy)

Often times, circumstance can be the determining factor for how a given player’s path changes throughout the years. Despite many obstacles, Demar Anderson is someone who has consistently defied the odds yet doesn’t receive appropriate respect for the sheer consistency throughout his overall journey. For starters, it’s not like Anderson just awoke in July and decided to start performing at a high level. He’s been doing this for quite a while and has simply flown under the radar, especially in regards to his recruitment. Anderson battled through obtaining minutes on arguably the best public school program within North Carolina in North Mecklenburg, but was later sidelined with an injury. Now, after receiving little to no recognition for his production and accolades, Anderson is better than ever before. He’s scoring the ball as frequently and efficiently as ever, and doing so within the flow of the offense. Anderson can pretty much score the ball in every possible way and actively looks to keep the opposition guessing. He has the ability to be a focal point of an efficient offense with or without the ball in his hands. Anderson is a quality athlete with great strength and toughness, which allows him to make an impact as a defender and rebounder. Given what he brings to a team, Anderson should have a pretty wide variety of scholarship-level suitors at the next level. 

6’5 ’21 Nygell Verdier (Anthony Morrow Elite)

Like the prospect mentioned above, circumstances have definitely carved out unique paths for certain players, and Nygell Verdier certainly fits that bill. He entered North Carolina as somewhat of an unknown entity and, despite being incredibly productive over a twelve-month duration, has still not gotten the respect he deserves from college coaches. Off the initial look, Verdier already possessed the physical tools that Division I programs should want in a wing prospect. He’s added strength while maintaining his high-level scoring arsenal and overall understanding of how to assert himself within any given contest. Between his IQ, size, skill, and athleticism, it’s extremely difficult to understand how Verdier didn’t collect a flurry of offers last summer—especially how much DTA Elite as a whole shined in the spotlight. Fast-forward one year and he’s gone from a complementary piece (with the capability of expanding his role) to a legitimate scoring machine who regularly destroys the opposition. His overall fit and leadership with Anthony Morrow Elite should truly make him even more appealing. College coaches need to start investing in Verdier, as he’s only going to get better throughout the upcoming season. 

6’9 ‘24 Issiah Sutherland (Charlotte Supreme)

There were dozens of young, intriguing long-term prospects in attendance at our Phenom Challenge, but few more enticing than Issiah Sutherland. It should be immediately noted that he played with both Charlotte Supreme squads (16U and 14U), but is currently reclassifying from 2023 to 2024. While Sutherland certainly had appeal at his original grade, this action only seems to heighten his appeal and strengthen his potential ceiling. He’s a long, wiry, athletic post prospect with excellent defensive instincts and a blossoming offensive skillset. Sutherland moves well for his size and displays phenomenal athleticism, especially around the basket. When playing with his age group, he showed flashes of pure dominance. Sutherland basically blocked and dunked everything in sight while highlighting impressive fluidity when running the floor in transition. Furthermore, his two-way motor should also be acknowledged as one of his strongest tools, since it allowed him to really terrorize the opposition on both ends of the floor. Sutherland is clearly brimming with upside, and should have ample opportunity to progress into something special over the next few years. It’s definitely early, but Division I coaches would be wise to monitor the continued development of Sutherland going forward. 

6’1 ’21 Jax Bouknight (Atlanta Timberwolves)

As we stated previously, the Atlanta Timberwolves are a team that genuinely thrives on shooting, ball-movement, and unselfishness. However, a lot of their success from this past weekend has to be credited to Bouknight and his brilliance within a glue-guy role. He’s as smart and well-rounded as anyone on this roster, but allows his role to constantly adapt to subtleties on either side of the ball. Bouknight tends to naturally affect all facets of the game, but can also be the catalyst when his team is in dire need of extra emphasis in any specific area—whether scoring, defense, rebounding, or something else. He might not check a ton of traditional physical boxes in terms of possessing elite size or athleticism, but it doesn’t seem to matter. Even against opponents with those traits, Bouknight seems to just thrive in his role and exude productivity on either side the ball. He offers a calm, steady demeanor and is capable of switching across multiple positions defensively. Bouknight offers a very fundamentally-sound game, which should appeal to numerous college coaches and subsequently earn him a variety of opportunities at the next level. 

6’1 ’23 Bradin Minton (East Tennessee Kings)

Through the years, we benefit from being able to see these young prospects grow through various settings of the game. Take Bradin Minton, for example. He’s a player that we’ve seen develop over the years at our Tennessee camps, steadily making strides and eventually turning into an obvious talent. This past weekend, we had the opportunity to see Minton stand out as the leader for a pretty intriguing East Tennessee Kings squad. His IQ, playmaking, and understanding of how to control the offensive action is evident within the first few seconds. Minton possesses a great pace and patience to his game, really showing the ability to analyze and breakdown opposing defenses for the smartest available play. He’s very crafty with the ball in his hands, both as a playmaker and three-level scorer, and doesn’t seem bothered by opposing length and athleticism. Minton is a quality defender and rebounder despite not possessing elite physical attributes. Above all else, his foundation of leadership and playmaking is going to take him far—so expect to hear Minton’s name mentioned over the foreseeable future.