This past weekend, Phenom Hoops continued what has been an unusual, yet exciting summer season at the Rock Hill Sports and Events Center in Rock Hill, South Carolina. In terms of talent, this event was as loaded as any within our schedule over the last month. Some programs made their debut while others continued to separate themselves from the pack. This article will take a closer look at some personal favorites throughout the weekend, each of which have been underrated and continue to deserve an uptick in recruitment…
6’2 ’21 Bailey Wiseman (Upward Stars Columbia)
As we’ve stated numerous times in the past, South Carolina is an underrated hotbed for basketball talent—and Bailey Wiseman is a perfect example. If he were in North Carolina, the crafty, electric point guard prospect would hold at least a handful of offers. Right now, Charleston Southern still looks smart for extending his lone Division I scholarship. Wiseman plays an exciting, yet purposeful game. He’s a dynamic shot-creator with the ability to pick his spots and accumulate points from anywhere on the floor. Wiseman is a lethal three-point shooter, both off the catch and bounce, and understands how to utilize his gravity to keep opposing defenses on their toes. He can effortlessly succeed from either guard position, but genuinely just seems to make the team run like a well-oiled machine with the ball in his hands. Though Wiseman has proven capable of being able to score against all types of competition, his passing is arguably just as impressive. He’s unselfish and willingly looks to make the smartest possible decision at all times. Over the course of our Summer Havoc, Wiseman posted averages of 20 PPG, 5 RPG, and 3 APG while shooting 58% from distance. Add in that production with his combination of IQ, size, and translatable skillset, and there should be nothing preventing him from thriving at an abundance of Division I programs.
6’2 ’21 LJ Johnson (Charlotte Royals)
Sometimes playing on a balanced team can work against certain prospects, as it can be slightly difficult to distinguish true value, but the opposite is true with LJ Johnson and the Charlotte Royals squad. Obviously, Johnson had a very noteworthy performance to closeout his time at our Summer Havoc—going for 28 points with eight made three-pointers—but his next-level appeal should go beyond that one specific showing. Though his identity has largely remained the same, he’s really shined with this squad over the last month. Johnson is a long, wiry guard with the ability to make a strong impact on both ends of the floor without necessarily needing to be a focal point. He can generate and convert on scoring opportunities from all three levels, and regularly mixes up his approach. Johnson is a quality penetrator, spot-up threat, and reliable at attacking the midrange area for pull-ups. He’s a nice athlete, both laterally and vertically, and utilizes his length well as a rebounder and defender. Johnson does just about everything well and should be an all-around asset for whichever program secures his services at the next level.
6’8 ’22 Sam Perez (Hoop Wall Street)
Though he was already on this list prior to receiving a Campbell offer during the event, Sam Perez still remains an odds-on favorite to blow up over the course of the next calendar year. It’s shocking that he wasn’t considered more of a priority prior to reclassifying, but things should really start to take off. There’s already a lot to like about a 6-foot-8, inside-out forward with IQ, toughness, and athleticism, so it’s difficult to comprehend what previously prevented coaches from getting involved. While Perez clearly has the skill and physical tools to have appeal at the next level, his intensity and competitive edge is arguably what separates him from other similar prospects. Over the past weekend, he showcased the full arsenal on both ends of the floor. Perez scored in a variety of different ways, finishing around the basket, working out of the post, spacing the floor, and attacking off the dribble. On the other end, he accumulated numerous blocks while showing the ability to defend the perimeter and effectively move his feet in space. Perez also stands out as a quality two-way rebounder with the necessary ball-handling to push the break in transition. Given everything we’ve seen, it’s almost impossible to regard Perez as anything other than a very enticing piece at the next level. Expect more programs to join Campbell within his offer list over the coming months.
6’0 ’22 Tristin Harkins (Fayetteville Flash)
The Fayetteville Flash have quietly been one of the more intriguing young squads on display, and Tristin Harkins really stood out among their most consistent performers throughout the event. He’s a long, wiry guard with a unique combination of ruggedness and smoothness. Harkins is extremely tough, and it’s evident in the way he defends all types of opponents. Not only does he accept physical play, he seems to welcome it. Harkins forced dozens of turnovers, both at the point of attack and by jumping into passing lanes, and made great decisions in transition. He’s a reliable rebounder that embraces doing the little things while still controlling the action and standing out as a leader. Though Harkins was undeniably impressive on defense, he was equally as reliable as an all-around offensive dynamo. He showcased a strong balance between playmaking and three-level scoring, but seemed to be at his best down the stretch when the lights were at their brightest. Folks should be buzzing about Harkins after his showing at Summer Havoc, and his recruitment should subsequently follow in suit.
6’2 ’23 Jordan Durham (Garner Road)
While there’s no denying the amount of talent on Garner Road’s 15U roster, it still feels like Jordan Durham isn’t being talked about nearly enough. He’s one of many impressive prospects, but everyone should already be able to appreciate his smooth, intelligent identity from the guard position. Durham possesses an incredible frame at this stage in his development, displaying great length and looking likely to continue growing. He’s a pretty savvy all-around scorer that showed an understanding of how to make his offensive impact with or without the ball in his hands. Durham is a smooth perimeter shooter but also highlighted craftiness, toughness, and decisiveness when getting downhill and attacking the basket. He’s also a capable passer with a willingness to make the right play. Durham makes his presence felt as a defender, rebounder, and transition threat, essentially leaving him with no real weaknesses within his skillset. Between his tools and current ability, Durham is a prospect that Division I coaches should be monitoring closely going forward.