This past weekend, Phenom Hoops traveled to Chapmanville, West Virginia to host our annual Country Roads Holiday Invitational. The field featured a quality mix of local and national-level teams, which allowed for a ton of competitive battles over the three days of basketball. There were many takeaways and standouts from this event, and this article will take a closer look at some personal favorites from across the weekend…
6’3 ’20 Curtis Houston (Beckley IJN)
While other players might’ve generated more buzz, it would be difficult to point out many prospects more enticing and impressive than Curtis Houston. He’s a strong, tough, steady floor general with an incredible pace to his game. Houston is never rushed, out of control, or selfish, essentially making him a perfect fit for this squad. He’s quick, gets downhill whenever he desires, and possesses the ability to change speeds incredibly well, making him extremely difficult for opposing guards to contain off the bounce. Houston finishes strong through contact but also has craftiness to go with a reliable three-point jumper and arsenal of pull-ups from inside the arc. He’s very smart and it’s evident on both sides of the ball. Houston displays poise and patience with the ball in his hands while offering quick-twitch instincts and positioning on defense—which leads to a lot of turnovers and easy transition play. He’s a quality two-way rebounder with the ability to easily turn boards into fast-break buckets through his sharp vision. It’s difficult to understand his lack of offers, considering his Division I-ready body, all-around skillset and feel for the game.
6’9 ’20 Obinna Killen (Chapmanville/Marshall signee)
Arguably no prospect entered this event with a stronger reputation than Obinna Killen, especially since the event was hosted at his high school. He had a solid showing against Charles Bediako, one of the top big men in the country, but really came alive and displayed pure dominance against The Miller School. Killen’s tough, rugged, high-motor game has only continued to become more refined over the last few months. He’s shooting the ball as well as ever but has maintained his strong, athletic interior presence quite nicely. Killen thrives when teams decide to switch because he has so many tools and knows how to balance his options effectively on offense. He moves very well for his size, making him fairly versatile and a constant threat to control the defensive action around the rim. Killen is a willing passer with an improving handle and a body that will only continue to add strength at the next level. It’s easy to see a scenario where Killen is an immediate contributor for Marshall.
6’1 ’20 Andrew Shull (Chapmanville)
While Killen and Mullins get a fair amount of love, possibly no player is more valuable to this Chapmanville team than Andrew Shull. The point guard prospect is simply the heart and soul of this squad, operating as the primary decision-maker and consistently steady two-way presence with unwavering confidence. Shull was battling through injuries during the event, but bystanders wouldn’t be able to tell. He led by example, through communication, and did a phenomenal job of setting the floor for his teammates. Shull knows how to rise to the occasion whenever his team is in dire need, able to defend stiffer than opponents would think while creating for himself and others with relative ease. Shull navigates well off the dribble, able to get going from distance or find his patented midrange pull-up at any time. He makes the extra pass and rebounds well for his size. Shull has no real weaknesses on either side of the ball and deserves to see an uptick in his recruitment sooner than later, as he’s simply a guy that scholarship-level programs will need to win games for the next four years.
6’0 ’21 Quadir Pettaway (Miller School)
Few teams were more exciting than The Miller School, and Quadir Pettaway was at the forefront of their success throughout the weekend. He might not get the attention of some, but his calm, intelligent, well-rounded game is a major part of what makes him such an overwhelming assignment for opposing guards. Pettaway has great length, quickness, and is able to touch the paint basically whenever he wants. He’s a proven finisher through contact but also makes the kick-out and extra pass at every available opportunity. Pettaway had some shooting struggles in their first showing of the event, but erupted in the final game of the event and canned perimeter jumpers with unbelievable efficiency. He does a great job of breaking down opponents off the dribble and has the necessary craftiness to create clean shots out of little to nothing. Pettaway highlights toughness on both ends of the floor but stands out even more defensively, where he consistently dogged opposing ball-handlers and forced on-ball turnovers. He’s already being recruited at the Division I level, but it would be surprising if he didn’t collect another handful of offers throughout the current season.
6’5 ’22 Austin Ball (Man)
There were a lot of local (non-Chapmanville) squads on display, and Austin Ball was possibly the most appealing long-term prospect of the bunch. He’s long, wiry, and already fairly skilled, which makes him a matchup problem at this stage in his development. Ball got better as the weekend carried onward, displaying a well-rounded offensive sense and skillset with the ability to burden the scoring load quite effectively. He’s tough and competitive on both sides of the ball, offering leadership in virtually every possible way. Ball is only going to get stronger and more advanced over the coming years, but he’s already worthy of the attention from scholarship-level programs around the region. It’s easy to see a scenario where he becomes a very enticing Division I prospect with continued work and development.