Finally, after nearly two years, Phenom Hoops returned to host our first LIVE period event of the travel ball season. Although most college coaches (D2/D3/NAIA/JUCO) have already been allowed to travel for the last calendar year, this is only the second opportunity (aside from the NCHSAA/NCISAA session) for Division I coaches to see prospects in-person. While there were plenty of standouts across the four-day period, this article will primarily take a closer look at guys who deserve a boost in their respective recruitments after their performance at Summer Havoc. Let’s dive in…
6’5 ’22 Dawson McAlhany (NC Spartans)
Though it seems like we’ve probably beaten a dead horse with Dawson McAlhany, it’s unclear what else needs to be said in order for his recruitment to take off. Between scoring, rebounding, and making hustle plays, he continues to legitimately dominate as the leader for this Spartans squad. Despite some struggles as a team (largely attributed to a lack of depth and the loss of key players), McAlhany could be found at the forefront doing whatever necessary to keep his squad afloat. He scored frequently from all levels and regularly mixed up his approach, forcing the opposition to face-guard and send double-teams for majority of the weekend. McAlhany plays hard and always shows a willingness to do the dirty work, regardless of his point totals. That being said, countless college coaches were buzzing and inquiring about the skilled, athletic lefty, and it would be truly surprising if offers didn’t start to filter in sooner than later.
6’0 ’22 Jamori McDougald (Fayetteville Elite)
While everyone on this list is deserving of offers, arguably none of their recruiting situations are as confusing as Jamori McDougald’s. One would think after being in the spotlight for numerous years as a primary option for a top high school program (Trinity Christian) and playing with various notable travel squads, offers should come pretty naturally. Instead, here we are vying for McDougald to simply receive attention from scholarship-level programs. He’s quietly among the most balanced floor generals across the state through his ability to effortlessly control the offensive action with a barrage of sharp, intelligent passes and smooth scoring instincts from all three levels. McDougald plays with phenomenal pace, both in transition and the half-court, and displays IQ in every movement he makes. Though he isn’t going to be the loudest guy on the court, McDougald will always be one of the smartest and most reliable. He can be trusted to make correct reads and decisions as the leader of an offense. However, McDougald is also more than capable as a defender and understands how to force turnovers at the point of attack. He’s genuinely better than so many other players who have received an abundance of attention from college coaches, so hopefully the momentum will start to shift for McDougald.
6’3 ’22 Evan Smith (Ace Elite)
In terms of leadership, folks would be hard-pressed to find many guys better suited to run a team than Evan Smith. He simply knows how to conduct the action in a smart, unselfish, purposeful manner on both ends of the floor. Smith handles the ball very well and displays patience as a creator and playmaker. He picks his spots effectively as a scorer from all levels, but clearly places more emphasis on managing the game. Smith is a reliable rebounder and incredibly strong defender with the instincts, positioning, and toughness to legitimately mirror his assignment. He can operate very well without the ball, but is simply better when allowed to dictate the action. Smith’s recruitment has drastically picked up over the last few months, receiving offers from Army, Navy, Citadel, Belmont Abbey, and Catawba. However, he should only continue to trend upward as one of North Carolina’s most coveted prospects over the foreseeable future.
6’6 ’23 Julius Harrison (NC Gaters)
There were a ton of prospects who boosted their stock over the weekend, but Julius Harrison probably did more for his recruitment than anyone else. College coaches were constantly buzzing about his pure dominance as a clear leader for the Gaters. Harrison has worked tirelessly to transition from a versatile two-way piece to an unstoppable all-around force—namely through the addition of a knockdown perimeter jumper. He’s a smart, tough, high-motor forward with the ability to defend multiple positions, play with or without the ball, and outwork his assignment on the glass. Harrison possesses great balance between skill and athleticism with the necessary size to change his approach based on personnel. It’s still somewhat early for programs to get involved, but various types of scholarship-level programs should be laying groundwork. Harrison is very poised to be one of the more productive all-around prospects in the state over the next calendar year.
6’4 ’22 Jalen Burnett (Next Level SC)
The amount of talent on Next Level SC seems to intrigue each time they take the floor, and Jalen Burnett consistently found ways to shine on either side of the ball. Easily one of the top defensive players in the gym, he proved to be an absolute menace to all types of opponents. Burnett’s unique combination of motor, strength, toughness, and sheer instincts allow him to shut down his assignment and force an insane number of turnovers. Unlike most elite defenders, Burnett is actually quite reliable on the offensive end of the floor. He displays IQ, vision, scoring prowess, and the ability to consistently make plays with or without the ball in his hands. Add in his presence as a rebounder and transition player, and Burnett’s status as a scholarship-worthy prospect seems pretty obvious. He clearly contributes to winning and is the type of player college coaches should want to go alongside into battle.