This past weekend, Phenom Hoops traveled to the Rock Hill Sports and Events Center in Rock Hill, South Carolina to host our Hoopstate Championship, Post-Grad Nationals, and Spring Tip-Off Classic. There was an incredible variety of talent on display, from grown men battling for scholarships to young prospects just scratching the surface, which made for an exciting three-day stretch of basketball. Since most of our time was focused on the Spring Tip-Off Classic, this article will take a closer look at some personal standouts…
5’7 ’25 Q Williams (Team CP3)
Forming a list of the top performers without Q Williams would be legitimately impossible, given his pure dominance over the weekend for Team CP3. Unquestionably, Williams is already on the short list of smartest players and best passers across North Carolina—regardless of class. He simply sees the game differently, and his extremely tactical, purposeful movements echo that sentiment. Williams truly sees the game far ahead of most players in existence, not just those on display at our event. He possesses elite IQ and pace, consistently playing at his own speed and never letting any opponent dictate his intentions. Williams’ unselfishness and ability to elevate others appear so natural, and making the most intelligent read becomes an effortless process for him. Sure, he’s small, but Williams has already learned how to utilize his lack of size as an advantage against opposing guards. His leadership and maturity level is unlike other high-level point guards. Not only is he very quick and crafty, but understands how to knife through defenses and set up whichever individual he desires. While everything regarding his high-level feel and playmaking ability is absolutely true, Williams is also a reliable, efficient scorer who only applies pressure as needed. He shoots the ball at a consistent clip and attacks the basket very well through his change of pace. Williams is special and exemplifies so many impressive qualities. It’s difficult to see a scenario where he isn’t a top-tier player in North Carolina’s Class of 2025.
6’4 ’24 Jaylen Cross (NC Rim Runners)
After being fortunate enough to watch his entire progression from a young elementary age to now, it’s time folks start paying more attention to Jaylen Cross. His skillset and overall feel for the game have always been pretty advanced amongst his age group, but his physical maturation has allowed his game to take another massive step forward. Cross is a smart, skilled, athletic wing prospect with the ability to operate without the ball or legitimately run the team as a primary creator. He handles the ball well, displaying craftiness, a quick first step, and the instincts to breakdown his man with relative ease. Cross is excellent at attacking the basket and finishing, but has also made noticeable strides as a three-point shooter over the last calendar year. Though he’s arguably better with the ball in his hands, he does a great job of being in the correct place when moving as a cutter. Cross utilizes his length well as a finisher, rebounder, and all-around defender, and forces turnovers at a steady rate. After being a major cog as a freshman on varsity and opening up his travel ball season with purpose, expect to hear Cross’ name a lot more over the foreseeable future.
6’6 ’24 Rakease Passmore (Asheville Gamechangers)
The only player on this list who currently holds an offer, it’s easy to see what has Division I schools already getting involved with Rakease Passmore. He’s long, versatile, and possesses legitimate wing skills at 6-foot-6. However, calling him athletic is the equivalent to calling Kevin Love “a good outlet passer,” it’s technically true, but not necessarily all-encompassing. Passmore is certainly one of the more effortless leapers in North Carolina, able to glide through the air in such a smooth manner. He’s an overwhelming defensive presence with the unique ability to block shots, defend along the perimeter, and actively switch across three to four positions with no issue. While his handle could get somewhat tighter, Passmore’s combination of everything else makes him a pretty elite-level prospect. In his final showing at the event, he went 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, wreaked havoc inside the paint, made multiple decisive moves downhill, and made an incredible impact as a defender and rebounder (while playing up). Passmore is already a premier prospect in North Carolina’s Class of 2024.
6’3 ’24 Daidien Sutton (East Carolina Elite)
After being a purely dominant team last summer, East Carolina Elite quickly restored their status as a top team by winning a championship behind the all-around abilities of Daidien Sutton. He’s a big, strong, skilled wing prospect with an excellent frame, strong athleticism, and nice versatility on either end of the floor. Over the last year or so, Sutton has done a lot to develop his overall skillset and intrigue as a physical perimeter player. He’s able to defend multiple positions due to his combination of size, strength, and mobility while also making his presence consistently felt on the glass. Sutton is a quality finisher, capable of creating his own shot, and understands how to make a lasting impact in transition. He showcased a lot of tools and ability at our Spring Tip-Off Classic, and should only continue to get better going forward.
6’5 ’25 Addison Newkirk (Team CP3)
This young Team CP3 group is truly overflowing with talent, and Addison Newkirk is already genuinely among their most enticing prospects. While he didn’t necessarily have a dominant weekend, Newkirk highlighted a ton of high-level flashes and overall indicators to imply something special is on the horizon. Like another prospect mentioned above, we’ve seen Newkirk since his elementary school days. While he was definitely an unstoppable force then, it’s incredible to see the progression within his identity as a player. Since he was already skilled and intelligent, Newkirk’s physical growth vaults him into an entirely new territory as a prospect. He can handle the ball, defend multiple positions, outrebound his assignment, and score from all levels, leaving no real weaknesses within his skillset. Newkirk also possesses an active motor and quality all-around feel for the game. He’s a solid athlete with considerable upside remaining and the tools to be special, which should have Division I coaches monitoring the potential star wing over the foreseeable future.