The stage was set for Saturday in Greensboro, North Carolina for some quality basketball at Proehlific Park. A variety of the finest local teams came out to compete while getting a nice tune-up for the upcoming LIVE period. We will look into the prospects who stood out the most from this weekend.
6’7 ’19 Max Farthing (Word of God)
The best player throughout our Summer Grind was Max Farthing, and honestly, it wasn’t really close. He shouldered a majority of the offensive responsibility on Saturday while showcasing a college-ready skillset. Offensively, Farthing is still exposing teams with his absolutely lethal three-point shot from all over the floor. There is a real argument to be made for Farthing as the top shooter in North Carolina; he’s consistent, moves extremely well without the ball, and stands at a legitimate 6-foot-7. The fact that Farthing doesn’t hold multiple Division I offers is truly perplexing, since he could seamlessly slide into a lot of programs and immediately earn minutes. His IQ is very sharp and it’s evident in his overall patience without the ball. Farthing beats most shooters in terms of overall shot mechanics, given his near-perfect form and incredibly quick release. It’s likely that his recruitment will begin to heat up during July, otherwise college coaches are missing out on an incredibly valuable prospect.
6’0 ’21 DeVeon Thomas (Florence International)
The most impressive display of leadership belonged to DeVeon Thomas, a star guard from South Carolina. Previously with Upward Stars, we were awarded with the opportunity to see Thomas with Florence International on Saturday. No guard prospect was more dominant on either side of the ball or did more for their team. Offensively, Thomas initiated the offense and was easily their most polished scorer. He applied constant pressure in transition, getting downhill and to the rim quite effortlessly while creating opportunities for others. Thomas played all five positions on this Florence International squad, considering he was the strongest and smartest guy available for the job. There is reason to believe that Thomas will be able to toggle between guard positions going forward, given his ability to create for others while handling the ball at a high rate. The sky is the limit for this young man, especially if he continues outworking everyone on both sides of the floor.
6’1 ’19 Dontrell Shuler (Team Loaded)
Basically every year, there will be a defensive player that is just wired differently than others and deserves to be recognized for it. Last year, it was Will Dillard. The year before that, it was Devontae Shuler. Now, that title looks likely to stay Shuler in the family with the youngest, Dontrell, for at least another year. Like the aforementioned duo, Shuler has earned the right to be called a premiere on-ball defender. He provides a special blend of quickness and amazing positioning intelligence, which is something that almost no other player has stood out for. When defending the ball, Shuler displays active hands and feet at all times; he’s so quick that it’s truly unfair to expect opposing ball-handlers to get past him. Shuler is a Division I player by all accounts on defense. Offensively, he has made tremendous strides as a floor general and overall scorer. Shuler isn’t a big-time shooter, but he gets to the rim quite well and has improved a lot on his ability to pass in tight spaces. It’ll be interesting to see how this next calendar year unfolds for the high-level defender.
6’3 ’22 Freddie Dillone (Team CP3)
The CP3 squad of rising freshman was actually one of the most entertaining teams across all age groups and divisions at our Summer Jam on Saturday. They are a mature group of talented prospects, but few were more intriguing than Freddie Dillone. We’ve seen Dillone over the last year at various checkpoints, and he’s continually honing in on his craft: scoring. He’s in an elite group of scoring wings, especially for those that haven’t even entered high school yet. Dillone prefers to shoot from midrange and three-point territory, but also has shown consistency when driving and finishing at the rim. He’s efficient and able to generate a shot of his choosing from anywhere on the floor. That being said, Dillone will need to continue to expand his game outside of the scoring realm. He has excellent length and defensive upside, so it’ll be interesting to watch his progression going forward.
6’8 ’19 TJ Nesmith (Mid-State Magic)
This Mid-State Magic team has always been competitive behind their coaching and thoroughly consistent game plan. This year, they were able to secure a true big man in TJ Nesmith, a prospect who is very intriguing at the next level. At 6-foot-8, Nesmith has a solid frame with nice length, but his feel for the game is what stood out the most on Saturday. Offensively, he displayed the ability to secure quality position in the post and score frequently inside the paint. Nesmith is fairly mobile, despite his size, and showed the ability to protect the rim pretty well. He blocked numerous shots and was the most reliable rebounder on this team, without question. It’ll be fun to see how Nesmith’s recruitment unfolds over the next year, since he is a college-ready big man with quality instincts and IQ.