This past weekend, Phenom Hoops traveled to the Upward Star Center in Spartanburg, South Carolina for another quality event. The competition level was high, featuring numerous new squads and those that we’ve seen throughout the summer—which naturally led to a variety of standout performers. In addition to enticing competition, the atmosphere was exceptional. This article will take a closer look at some personal favorites throughout the two-day stretch, each of whom should have more action within their recruitment…
6’4 ’22 Emanuel Richards (Upward Stars)
Though playing on a high-profile team like Upward Stars usually doesn’t constitute as “underrated,” it feels as if Emanuel Richards is deserving of more attention. With the direction basketball is trending, he should be one of the more coveted prospects across South Carolina. Richards is a big, strong, athletic wing prospect that consistently overwhelms opponents with his physicality and two-way motor. He blocks shots, defends multiple positions with relative ease, and seems to naturally cause matchup problems on both ends of the floor. Richards is an excellent rebounder with the ability to reliably push the break in transition, where he can finish or setup others. While his athleticism and overall physique jump off the page, his skill level is also quite impressive. Richards can initiate the offense or create from the wing, highlighting a quality perimeter jumper and a keen sense for attacking the basket. He created for himself and others, and simply showcased the full arsenal over the course of the weekend. Richards combination of IQ, size, skill, and athleticism should ultimately make him a priority amongst Division I programs.
6’4 ’22 Josh Scovens (New Light Disciples)
In terms of sheer improvements, no one on this list will see a larger leap in production this upcoming season than Josh Scovens. Despite already being a quality player, he now appears to be taking the next step within his overall progression and gearing up to be a dominant force. Scovens is long, smart, skilled, and highlighting a versatile identity on both ends of the floor. He’s maintained his polished interior presence with touch, footwork, and the ability to consistently score out of the post. However, Scovens is effortlessly toggling between the paint and perimeter—and getting whatever he desires. He created for himself and others off the dribble, displaying vision and quality scoring instincts from all levels. Scovens moves well without the ball, defends effectively in space, and blocks a ton of shots when patrolling the paint. He’s also a reliable rebounder with the necessary skill to push the break in transition. After performing at a high level throughout the last month, folks should definitely start taking notice of Scovens.
5’10 ’21 Aaron Potter (Carolina Rising Stars)
The newly reconstructed Winston-Salem Christian roster has certainly drawn a ton of attention over the summer, and Aaron Potter has been as impressive as anyone. Between his leadership, competitive streak, and nonstop production, the story writes itself. Potter is somewhat unassuming at first glance, but immediately erases any doubt about his abilities. He’s a smart, shifty point guard prospect with exceptional vision and a well-rounded scoring package. Potter really understands how to run a team with poise and does a terrific job of stepping up when things turn awry. He’s a reliable perimeter shooter with toughness and the ability to absorb (and finish through) contact as a finisher. Potter also stands out as a useful defender and rebounder, and positions himself well to intercept passing lanes. There’s a lot of talent within the Lions’ organization, and Potter has all the necessary tools to emerge as a leader and find his place at the next level.
6’0 ’21 Brock Bowen (CC Warriors)
There are a lot of quality shooters in North Carolina, and Brock Bowen certainly has to be considered among the best. Few players are able to thrive and maximize their abilities within a low-maintenance role as well as Bowen. He moves so well without the ball and appears disarming enough for opposing defenses to direct their attention elsewhere, which allows him to regularly torch the nets off the catch. Bowen has picturesque mechanics and displays a quick, fluid release. That being said, he’s more than just a spot-up threat. Bowen is a capable defender and passer with some useful off-the-bounce ability. He understands and embraces his identity as a knockdown shooter, but also understands how to keep the opposition on their toes and mix it up when necessary. Bowen can carve out a role with any collection of teammates and should ultimately have next-level suitors as a result.
6’5 ’21 Taihland Owens (Georgia Allstars)
Despite being the only player on this list with multiple Division I offers, Taihland Owens was probably one of the most under-recruited players in the entire gym. The appeal with a 6-foot-5 wing prospect with IQ, skill, and athleticism should be somewhat self-explanatory, yet here we are. Owens showed the ability to operate within various roles on offense while consistently defending multiple positions on the other end. He plays hard and utilizes his blend of size, strength, and athleticism to regularly overwhelm his assignment. Owens is excellent in the open floor, both as a scorer and passer, but can also dictate the action within the half-court. He’s great at getting downhill and finishing above the rim or through contact, yet displayed the makings of an efficient perimeter jumper. There’s a lot to like with Owens, and various programs should be looking to get involved over the next twelve months.