This past weekend, Phenom Hoops traveled out to the Rise Indoor Facility for our annual Summer Showcase. The event featured a mix of travel ball teams, and high school programs in preparation for the upcoming June Live Periods. Quality talent could be seen in each pool and age group throughout the two-day stretch. While there were many standouts, this article will take a closer look at some personal favorites. Let’s take a look…
6’1 ’25 Johnniyus Sharpe (Carolina Heights)
It would be legitimately impossible for anyone who watched Carolina Heights (at any point during the event) to not walk away extremely impressed with Johnniyus Sharpe. Although they were probably the most talented team on display, Sharpe simply rose above the rest. It seems like he can honestly wake up, hop out of bed, and stumble into a twenty-point outing with relative ease. Sharpe scores the ball in such an effortless manner but doesn’t require a ton of touches to apply pressure. He’s active in transition, cuts well without the ball, sets up nicely as a spot-up shooter, and creates any look he wants off the bounce. Sharpe displays an excellent, somewhat natural feel for the game, and it’s evident in every decision he makes. He’s really great at generating (and finishing through) contact when attacking the basket, which allows him to get to the line and convert at a high volume. Sharpe is an efficient scorer from all levels, but can also run the team if necessary. He’s a smart passer and crafty ball-handler who has no real issue breaking down opponents off the dribble. Additionally, Sharpe rebounds well for his size and offers quality defensive instincts at the point of attack. Given everything we’ve seen, folks should definitely start paying more attention to him going forward.
6’3 ’25 Jonah Lawrence (NLPB)
There’s no way to discuss the exciting championship contests without mentioning Jonah Lawrence and the major difference he made for this NLPB group. Between his size, skill, polish, and clear upside, there is already so much to like about his game and overall identity. In the aforementioned title game, Lawrence dominated as a creator and scorer from all levels. Given the way he moves without the ball and connects on spot-up opportunities, he’s able to apply pressure with or without the ball in his hands. Lawrence regularly took opponents off the dribble, attacked the basket, pulled-up from midrange, or hit jumpers from distance. He truly showcased the full arsenal offensively, and did so in a very efficient manner. That being said, he also showed an instinct for playmaking, made numerous plays on defense, and crashed the glass at a solid rate. Lawrence offered a really impressive, yet smart, straightforward, fundamentally sound showing throughout the weekend. Though the general public should already know about him, expect Lawrence’s stock to continue trending upward over the coming months.
5’10 ’25 Josh Yates (Carolina Heights)
While various others on this roster probably receive more attention from the masses, there is simply no denying the value that Josh Yates brings to a team. He possesses an incredibly high IQ, unselfish nature, and the ability to create for others with unwavering consistency. Yates can quite literally get wherever he wants on the floor, and does so with the intent of collapsing the defense and locating the best available shot. His combination of pace, crafty handle, insane vision, and understanding of how to make the right play make him a nightmare for opponents to contain. Yates is a true point guard of the modern mold, clearly looking to set up others as much as possible but also more than capable of scoring the ball in a variety of different ways. There were numerous times where he’d touch the paint, kick out to a teammate, cut or relocate as a spot-up option, and then score. Yates doesn’t necessarily look to score, but he will take advantage of open looks or lanes to the basket. He’s truly brilliant at running a team on both ends of the floor. While he is an exceptional offensive force, Yates is also really tough defensively. He displays sharp instincts and positioning, and knows how to genuinely mirror opposing ball-handlers. The team was undeniably better with him on the floor, and that will be a trend for the masses to follow over the foreseeable future.
6’3 ’23 Jaydon Young (Greensboro Day)
At this point, everyone should already know about Jaydon Young and his leadership status as a focal point for the Bengals. However, he might’ve taken yet another step forward. He’s a strong, skilled, athletic guard prospect with quality feel and the scoring polish to dominate a game. Young is balanced guard with the necessary vision and playmaking ability to run a team, but also has the scoring chops to pretty much get whatever he wants offensively. He’s clearly added strength to his sturdy, fluid frame. The additional muscle assisted his ability to shut down opposing guards and power through seemingly any amount of contact when headed to the basket. In terms of his scoring output, Young showcased everything possible and mixed it up enough to keep the opposition on their toes. He hit perimeter jumpers at a nice percentage, attacked (and finished at) the basket whenever possible, and operated effectively within any number of dribbles. Young also rebounded well and looked to push transition play at a quality pace. Given everything he does for this group, the Bengals will go as far as Young can take them.
5’10 ’25 Darnerian Gibson (Carolina Rockets)
There was a slew of pleasant surprises throughout the weekend, which certainly includes Darnerian Gibson and the Carolina Rockets. While the entire Rockets squad was exciting and worthy of attention, Gibson is definitely deserving of attention for everything he brought to the table. He clearly ran the show as the point guard and primary ball-handler, consistently looking to set up others and apply scoring pressure as needed. Gibson touched the paint at a high volume, made intelligent reads with the ball, and hit three-pointers from very deep range. Though slightly undersized, he’s an absolute pest defensively and able to utilize his quickness to harass opposing guards. Gibson finishes well around the basket, but can also pull-up from midrange or find chances from beyond the arc. He understands how to get others involved within the action, locate them in ideal scoring positions, and effectively set them up whenever available. Gibson is a very useful two-way floor general who should only continue to get better and turn heads over the coming years.