The second session of NC Jr Phenom showcased a diverse collection of talent, 63 junior high prospects from both Carolina’s and Virginia gathered in Greensboro to battle it out.
Greensboro, North Carolina– Campers warmed up in competitive heart racing drills conducted by Phenom’s prestigious counselor staff, before breaking up into live play. Many of these youngsters are still learning the fundamentals but a few shined among their peers. Four players in particular caught my eye due in part to their play and advanced understandings of the game!
#59 6’0 2023 Zion Walker (Turrentine Middle)- The MVP and overall top prospect in attendance, Walker does a lot of things well in the early stages. Offensively Walker is a big physical wing, he comes through the lane aggressively and welcomes contact at the finishing point. Walker had two 30- point games, he posses advanced footwork, and he utilizes a combination of post moves and ball fakes to freeze defenders. Walker is hard to stay in front of and even harder to get off balance, Walker proved to be a beast on the block as well he’s tenacious on the boards. Walker runs the break effectively, he showed nice play-making ability, in the open floor Walker found open cutters and delivered timely dimes.
#53 5’11 2023 Josh Daniels (Henry Sneed Middle)- Daniels is the other half of team four’s front court along with Walker, these two were absolutely dominant on the floor together. Daniels helped anchor the glass for his side, he’s tenacious on the boards, Daniels is bigger than most of his peers, and understands how to use his body to establish position down low. What stood out even more than Daniels imposing presence in the paint, was the passing ability from the post and the perimeter. Daniels has soft hands and excellent touch as this stage, he can deliver passes the full length of the court almost effortlessly. Daniels also has the no look pass in his bag, Daniels is good at selling plays with his eyes early in his progression.
#43 5’8 2023 Isaiah Sanders (North Davidson Middle)- One of a couple standouts from North Davidson middle school, Sanders showed potential as two- way wing here in the early stages. In game one Sanders showed capability scoring the rock at all three levels, he connected on two field goals from behind the arc in rhythm, Sanders is an athletic slasher at the cup and he should continue to become an even more efficient finisher with added size. Defensively Sanders utilizes his length to rack up steals, he harassed opposing ball handlers all afternoon.
#7 2025 5’0 Dionte Neal (Community Baptist)- Neal absolutely has the snatch in his bag, he had the basketball on a string the entire afternoon. Neal has some ankle bully in his game and as a smaller guard, Neal resembles a bulldog on the floor how he attacks the game. Neal saw the floor well and really made life easier for teammates with his timely deliveries, Neal racked up the assists early and his play-making established the pace for his team. Neal also got going offensively he converted a couple tough finishes at the cup, he will take a bump and bounce right back up. Neal showed nice promise as a young floor general.