PHR Analyst Jeff Bendel looks at some of his players on the rise from Session I of Phenom’s Stay Positive
When it comes to three-point shooting, there are very few prospects better than 6’4 Trey Murphy (2018). He has certainly solidified himself as an elite-level shooter off the dribble; his catch-and-shoot opportunities beyond the arc are more of a sure thing than most players’ layups. Murphy has a high IQ and is a great decision maker; he has great feel for how much separation he needs to get off a clean look. There shouldn’t be too many concerns about his size, as he is likely to continue growing, and already possesses the necessary length to score on opponents of any size. However, everyone who has seen Murphy should be well aware that he can shoot, but he just keeps getting better. He has improved his ball handling and defensive abilities, which were regarded as the only “holes” in his game. Murphy has accumulated offers from the likes of Army West Point, Navy, Rice, Rider, and Tennessee Tech. That list will only continue to bolster over the summer, where more and more college coaches are sitting courtside.
One of the most impressive and promising lead guards on display was Boo Williams prospect 5’8 Chase Coleman (2019). Coleman is the younger brother of Texas signee and Oak Hill star Matt Coleman, but there are few similarities between the two. He is already a really strong three-level scorer with phenomenal guard instincts; Coleman has a quick first step that allows him to easily get into the lane and make a play. Upon entering the paint, Coleman has an innate feel for the ensuing pass but also has incredible craftiness around the basket. The high IQ guard will only continue to rise on recruiting lists, especially as he continues to prove how dynamic he can be.
NC Runnin’ Rebels
Next, a player that solidified himself as a can’t-miss D1 prospect at the point guard position, 6’1 Chris Barnette (2018). After watching Barnette dozens of times, it’s easy to understand what separates him from similar prospects. He comes in the gym locked in and ready to work; no one can deny his intensity, motor, and skill. Barnette typically has the highest basketball IQ in the building and he understands how to manipulate defenses exceptionally well. In the two-man game, good passers know how to find the roll-man while great passers know how to get the ball to each one of his teammates at the most opportune time. Barnette is the latter. His overall decision-making is phenomenal and he’ll only take shots he’s capable of making. Additionally, Barnette is such a smooth-three level scorer that opposing teams really have no choice but to put one of their premier defenders against him.
Throughout session one of Phenom’s Stay Positive, 6’2 Cress Worthy (2018) consistently broke down defenders and made his way into the lane with ease. Worthy is an intriguing combo guard that proved to be the two-way leader for this Charlotte Nets team. From game to game, he displayed the ability to burden the scoring load when the team needed a bucket. Despite putting up multiple impressive scoring performances, Worthy was also the teams’ best distributor when given full-time ball handling duties. He showed off a high IQ and made huge contributions on the defensive end, where he was able to defend either guard position quite well. Worthy will certainly see an uptick in his recruitment if he continues to play at such a strong level on both ends of the floor.
Although we have covered 6’6 Aaron Nesmith (2018) throughout his high school career, it seems as though he’s finally getting the appropriate amount of respect that he’s due. Nesmith has consistently played the same for a long time, which is fine, since he’s always been a dominant scorer. He checks all the boxes physically, mentally, and in terms of skill. He possesses legitimate size and athleticism, which makes him an immediate matchup problem for any opposing wing player. Nesmith has incredible basketball IQ and it is especially evident on the defensive end, where his positioning funnels opponents directly into turnovers. No longer regarded as a low major player by the “name” scouting services, it is nice to see Nesmith get credited and rewarded for his incredibly high level of play. He will have his choice of schools come decision time; he’s certainly going to bring a college-ready game and a winning culture to the table.