The lone Spring live period is upon us and we wouldn’t want to spend it anywhere other than the great city of Spartanburg, hundreds of players from rising freshmen to unsigned seniors are coming in with something to prove!
Spartanburg, South Carolina- The Phenom Hoops crew is back at it again for another action packed live period, two things you can count on players will be tested competition wise and those who perform will have opportunities to pick up offers from on looking coaches. I had the pleasure of taking in all the action on court three at Bob Jones University, for majority of 14U -16U prospects in these stages, they’re looking to break onto the radar. Some came in with reputations that proceeded them but majority came to prove they belong!
Team loaded 704 McCullough kicked things off with a bang
One of the most impressive overall offensive showings on opening day for any squad on display, Loaded took control from the tip in their first game and truly never looked back. Led by a talented 1-2 punch on the wing in 2022’s, 6’2 Antione Piper finished with 17 points, and 6’1 Davion Cunningham added another 17, these two led all scorers.
Both these guys are long, and athletic, both are skilled with the basketball. Both posses long strides that cover a lot of ground in a short time, there is room to grow for each prospect which is normal at this stage, but the foundation is there early on.
Piper really has a nose for the basketball, he seems to always be around the rock and ready to score off second chance opportunities. Piper really moves well in transition, he understands how to fill the lane correctly on the break.
Piper showed a high motor on both ends as well , he has relentless pursuit of 50/50 balls. Piper is the type of guy who will score 15-20 quietly off cuts and hustle plays before you know it, also creates for himself off the bounce, he proved hard to keep out the lane. Defensively Piper is capable of guarding multiple positions, and he guards the ball tough.
Cunningham- really got things going with the Jumper early on and it helped this unit pull away in a hurry, Cunningham really moves well without the basketball and continually carved out space offensively. The three ball fell often he found rhythm immediately on several corner threes. If the defense was slack or late on closeouts Cunningham was lighting them up, the shot looked smooth and fluid upon release. When the defense attempted to run him off the line, he showed promise off the bounce and proved to be a reliable finisher with either hand at the cup. Cunningham has a slender build but he’s long enough to extend over defenses, also absorbs contact better than you’d expect.
5’11 2022 Javonte Tillery (Black Top Kings & Queens)- Orange. Old fashioned pass-first point guard, very unselfish and won’t hesitate to make the extra pass. This isn’t to say Tillery can’t get his own shot it’s more of an emphasis on his biggest strengths at this stage, those are court vision and his timely passing ability.
Tillery can get flashy with the dimes at times but he’s mostly in control and makes smart decisions. Tillery is best in the open floor with the ball where he’s free to create in space, his team took a tough loss but Tillery really controlled the flow for his side and made things easier on his teammates. Tillery has a nice first step and he draws a lot of help defense off the drive, he will bring all of that pressure in and drop off a crispy dime at the last second.
2022 Austin Harrell Upward Stars Riverfront 15U- Harrell is an absolute sniper in every since of the word and he proved on opening night connecting on five deep bombs. Upon the catch Harrell has his feet set and Harrell is ready to let it fly, he’s got a quick trigger and a very short memory two qualities that are a must for real shooters.
Harrell moves off ball well he doesn’t have to dominate the ball to be effective offensively. Harrell comes off screens tight and proved capable of making even contested shots on closeouts. Harrell also utilized the pump fake to freeze defenders and side step them for clean looks. Defensively Harrell is a hard nosed defender who won’t let anything go by him easy, Harrell isn’t afraid to get a little physical and up in his match ups jersey. At this stage Harrell is a solid three and D prospect in the SC class of 2022.
5’11 Trey Hester (NC Team Magic)- An absolute BEAST at 5’11, Hester is a multi sport athlete and in case you couldn’t tell from his shoulders, Hester is also a running back. When you consider theses variables it explains why Hester resembles a ball carrier the way he bull rushes through the lane with no regard.
Hester was tough for opposing guards to keep out of the lane, he’s a stocky built physical guard but he also has some finesse to his game. If you overplay the drive Hester will blow by his man and utilize his natural strength to bury defenders on the hip, and keep them at bay on the way to a strong finish. Hester was built to absorb contact at the rim, he also showed nice touch on the jumper. At this stage Hester can play inside and out, his natural athletic ability and brute strength make him a serious problem on the boards.