Over the last five days, Phenom Hoops was stationed in Fort Mill, South Carolina for our annual Summer Havoc Live. There were two sessions, both loaded with talent and noteworthy matchups, which made for a highly entertaining week of basketball. College coaches were constantly filtering throughout the multiple venues, and numerous offers were extended to players. We've already taken a closer look at some of the top upperclassmen in attendance, so this article will delve into prospects entering their freshman or sophomore season'
5'10 '25 Derek Ross Jr. (Wildcats Elite)
The Class of 2025 is quite talented within North Carolina, and Derek Ross Jr. is beginning to clearly assert himself as one of the top floor generals in the state. He's an extremely poised, intelligent point guard prospect with an innate feel for running a team. Ross is so calm with the ball in his hands, never rushed or hurried by defensive pressure, and makes very sharp reads on seemingly every possession. While his playmaking instincts are noteworthy, his scoring prowess is arguably just as impressive. Ross showcased the full arsenal in basically every contest. His quickness paired with his keen awareness and deceptive ability to manipulate the defense allows him to truly get anywhere he wants on the floor. Ross routinely hit thirty-foot jumpers, attacked closeouts, hit pull-ups, finished through contact, and operated without the ball whenever necessary. He genuinely made the opposition appear lost on several occasions. Ross even played up during the last day of competition, where he made a massive impact and stood out as a clear difference-maker. Expect to hear his name a lot more over the foreseeable future, as he possesses the makings of a notable prospect.
5'10 '26 Nick Arnold (Carolina Riptide)
There were numerous young prospects worthy of attention, but Nick Arnold is the lone freshman on this list for various reasons. During our Summer Havoc, he played up three full age groups, started, and was consistently among their top contributors on a game-to-game basis. It's easy to ooze about his incredibly high IQ and overall poise with the ball in his hands, but Arnold is also a polished scorer and rugged defender with the ability to dominate his assignment on both ends of the floor. His fundamentally sound approach is quite evident on offense, as Arnold understands how to make very subtle, yet deliberate moves or decisions to open up the right angle or amount of space to locate the best available shot. He already clearly sees the game ahead of others, and effortlessly manipulates opposing defenses into basically doing whatever he wants. Arnold scores the ball with ease and efficiency from all three levels, and has the necessary ball-handling and craftiness to get any shot he desires. Add in his defensive prowess and knack for forcing turnovers, and it's easy to see why Arnold is shaping up as one of the very best floor generals in North Carolina'regardless of class.
6'7 '25 Taye Smith (1 of 1 Rare)
Given the sheer number of viewings we've had from 1 of 1 Rare, folks should definitely start getting excited about Tayeshaun 'Taye' Smith and his long-term abilities. He's a big, strong, mobile forward/post prospect with an extremely active, team-first approach to the game. Smith pursues rebounds, blocks shots, and makes hustle plays whenever possible'all at an above-average rate. He plays hard on both ends of the floor, showing the ability to move without the ball, finding ways to outwork opponents for extra possessions, and running properly in transition. That being said, Smith is far more than just an athletic, high-motor big man. He also possesses a strong feel for the game and the ability to finish through contact or space the floor at a quality percentage. Smith communicates well, displays great defensive instincts, and highlights nice vision from the post. His array of tools combined with his extremely unselfish style makes him one of the most productive, low-maintenance players in the state. Folks should expect Smith to continue trending upward over the coming years, as he already brings obvious appeal.
5'10 '25 Josh Yates (Carolina Riptide)
Suffering a major knee injury in basketball is usually an indicator of an inevitable decline, but not for Josh Yates. Not only has he recovered, but he's come back even better than before and is shredding opponents apart on a nightly basis. He's a strong, compact, intelligent point guard prospect with an exceptional balance between scoring and playmaking. Yates is a knockdown shooter with the blend of sharp vision, deceptive quickness, and natural instincts to keep the opposition constantly guessing. He truly gets whatever he wants offensively, but does understand how to get others involved at a high volume. Yates plays with extreme confidence and somewhat of a chip on his shoulder, and won't back down from any matchup. He's tougher than he appears, both as a finisher and defender, and knows how to lull opposing guards into a slew of miscues and turnovers. Yates really mixes it up with the ball in his hands, yet always seems to make the right decision. He possesses leadership qualities and simply knows how to compete against any level of competition. Expect to hear a lot about Yates going forward, as he's a very dynamic floor general.
6'2 '25 Yohance Connor (1 of 1 Rare)
Although we could highlight a variety of different prospects from the 1 of 1 Rare roster, it's difficult to ignore the constant production being shown from Yohance Connor. He's a tough, scrappy, fairly well-rounded guard who competes hard on both ends of the floor. Connor utilizes his blend of quickness, body control, and ball-handling to apply constant downhill pressure and finish at a high percentage. He's a capable midrange shooter and developing three-point shooter, but prefers to attack the basket or operate as an off-ball cutter. Connor is a useful playmaker with the blend of IQ, vision, and craftiness to effectively make plays with the ball in his hands. He defends his position really well, rebounds bigger than his size would imply, and naturally fills in the gaps on both ends of the floor. Connor possesses a great nose for the ball and always seems to be involved in the action. Between his production during the high school and travel ball seasons, everyone should be aware of the two-way guard.