On Thursday, Phenom Hoops traveled down to Fort Mill, South Carolina to host our annual Summer Havoc Live. Between Catawba Ridge, Fort Mill, Nation Ford, and Indian Land, there was talent across all age groups. College coaches attended and a considerable number of players saw their recruitment take a leap. Although there were several standouts over the four-day period, this article will take a closer look at five personal favorites.
6'8 '24 Cooper Kowalski (Charleston Raptors)
Due to their slew of enticing prospects, the Charleston Raptors (formerly TMP) were easily among the most intriguing teams on display. This certainly includes Cooper Kowalski'who was arguably the top performer at Summer Havoc. At 6-foot-8, he's a skilled forward/post prospect with an excellent combination of IQ, length, and fluidity. Kowalski is a very polished offensive weapon and highlighted the ability to be utilized in various different ways. He displayed touch (with both hands) and athleticism when finishing around the basket, but also looked comfortable making passes or hitting jumpers from the high post area. Kowalski is a quality screener who appears comfortable rolling to the basket or popping out to space the floor from beyond the arc. He plays well through contact, especially given his wiry build, and is tougher than he initially seems. Although Kowalski shined as an offensive piece, he was also memorable on the glass and defensive end of the floor. He displayed great timing as a rebounder and rim-protector, showing an understanding of rotations, positioning, and how to consistently outwork opponents. Kowalski runs the floor well in transition and makes himself available to score by simply filling the lane. He showcased a lot of favorable qualities throughout his time at Summer Havoc and should be a target for various types of Division I programs going forward.
6'5 '24 Desmond Kent Jr. (BSA Supreme)
Between his individual production and constant team success (both with Central Cabarrus and BSA Supreme), it's genuinely shocking that Desmond Kent Jr. isn't stockpiling offers right now. He's long, skilled, and athletic with the necessary IQ, motor, and mentality to dominate opponents on both ends of the floor. Kent is a terrific finisher around the basket but arguably at his best in the midrange area'where he's easily among the most efficient, high-volume scorers across North Carolina. This makes him incredibly useful against common zone coverages, as he's able to receive the ball at the free-throw line and pull up, attack the basket, or make quality reads as a passer. Kent finishes with craftiness, regularly plays above the rim, and can space the floor at a solid percentage from beyond the arc. He rebounds the ball at a consistent rate on both ends and is capable of pushing in transition or capitalizing on second-chance opportunities. Kent also causes problems for opponents with his general defensive presence. His feel, length, and communication allow him to comfortably hedge screens, defend in space, and force turnovers against all types of opponents. He also stands out as a great teammate. Given his overall trajectory, Kent is someone who should be a priority for countless college programs.
6'8 '24 Alex Atkinson (Upward Stars Columbia)
Similar to the entry above, it's really strange at the lack of recruitment for someone with as much obvious appeal as Alex Atkinson. Although Mount Olive and South Carolina State extended offers at Summer Havoc, it feels like the 6-foot-8 forward/post is still being overlooked by the general masses. Between his fluid athleticism and obvious amount of skill, it's unclear what more he needs to showcase in order to receive appropriate attention. Atkinson finishes with touch around the basket, scores at a high percentage in the midrange, and can attack opponents off the bounce. He's a capable post-up option and three-point shooter, but understands how to mix it up at a healthy rate and usually takes what the defense gives him. Atkinson is a solid passer, quality defender, and active two-way rebounder with the ability to pose a consistent threat in transition. Given his numerous strengths and lack of real weaknesses, it feels like all types of schools should be in pursuit. Furthermore, Atkinson is the type of player who will only continue to progress and trend upward over the foreseeable future. Expect his recruitment to take off sooner than later.
6'0 '24 Delani Hammonds (Team Synergy)
There will always be value in having a legitimate floor general, and few guys in North Carolina are more apt at running a team than Delani Hammonds. He's smart, quick, and heady, which allows him to comfortably set the tone on either side of the ball. Hammonds utilizes his tight handle and sharp vision to create opportunities for himself and others at a seemingly nonstop rate. He breaks down opponents, touches the paint at a high volume, and consistently makes intelligent reads with the ball in his hands. Hammonds is a crafty finisher around the basket, but has shown clear strides as a three-point shooter over the recent months. When he's knocking down shots at a quality rate, Hammonds is basically unstoppable. Even with his uptick in shooting, he still prioritizes making the right play and keeping others involved in the offensive action. He also displays great pace, poise, and change of direction with the ball in his hands. Defensively, Hammonds does a phenomenal job of setting the tone at the point of attack. His anticipation, toughness, and quick first step allows him to suffocate opposing ball-handlers and force turnovers at a healthy rate. He's fantastic in the open floor, especially as the decision-maker. Hammonds is someone who has all the tools to be an incredibly impactful player at the next level.
6'7 '24 Jerquarius Stainback (Midstate Magic)
The Summer Havoc featured a ton of highly intriguing prospects, but one could argue that Jerquarius Stainback is more unique than any of them. He's an extremely long forward with ball skills and fluid athleticism, which pretty much immediately makes him a matchup problem for the vast majority of players. Stainback shows the ability to toggle between the interior and perimeter quite well, able to finish around the basket, score out of the post, or attack from the wing. He shoots the ball at a nice percentage, especially for his size, and forces defenses to respect his scoring prowess from all levels. Stainback isn't necessarily a primary ball-handler, but he can definitely create his own shot or set up others. He runs the floor properly in transition and regularly finishes above the rim. Additionally, Stainback has a ton of defensive appeal. He already understands how to utilize his ridiculous length to cause problems for opponents, both in the passing lanes and as a shot-blocker, and will only get better with continued strength development. For as talented as he already is, Stainback still possesses an absolute world of upside. He's another prospect who feels likely to outperform his current recruitment as a college player.