On Tuesday, Phenom Hoops traveled out to Greensboro, North Carolina to kick off the high school season with an exciting battle between the Caldwell Academy Eagles and Carlisle School (VA) Chiefs. Both teams had tons of supporters packed into the intimate gym, which, per usual, led to an incredible atmosphere. The energy in the air was palpable. These squads each enter the season with high, yet appropriate expectations. Add that to the array of talent on both sidelines, and the stage was set for a memorable contest.
The game opened up with Caldwell hitting a flurry of jumpers and immediately starting off as the aggressor. Their guards heated up quickly and consistently took advantage of the breakneck, back-and-forth tempo. Carlisle continued to answer and stay within fighting distance, but trailed 24-13 after the first quarter. The second quarter featured more of the same, as the Eagles and Chiefs maintained the fast-paced action. Caldwell entered halftime with a 42-32 lead over Carlisle. Following the break, the Chiefs saw an opening and began to chip away at the deficit. They started blitzing defensively, which led to forced turnovers and several transition opportunities. Caldwell struggled to find points, but held a 52-45 advantage heading into the final period. There were numerous positive stretches for the Chiefs in the fourth quarter, but the Eagles held tough and secured a 73-65 victory over Carlisle School.
6’4 ’25 Jaylen Cross
Given his status as a clear leader for this group, it was easy to see the way Cross set the tone on both ends of the floor. After hitting three consecutive three-pointers in the opening minutes, he was only afforded a single attempt for the rest of the quarter. He took this in stride and adapted to whatever was asked of him. Cross comfortably dictated the action and asserted himself as needed. He defended at a high level, rebounded his position, and made the right play with the ball in his hands. For someone who isn’t widely seen as a shooter, Cross continues to hit jumpers (with elevation and consistent mechanics) at an extremely high level. His stock will only keep trending upward. Final stats: 19 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks, and 2 steals.
5’9 ’26 Ayden Johnson
It would be difficult to watch this game and walk away feeling anything other than impressed with Johnson. His size must be mentioned, but only because it makes his on-court ability thatmuch more incredible. Despite his small stature, Johnson’s quickness, craftiness, and exceptionally high level of skill allows him to genuinely dominate opponents. He’s a knockdown shooter with legitimate 30-foot range and the ability to hit jumpers off the catch or bounce. Johnson breaks down opponents well to get where he wants off the dribble. Between his perimeter shooting and change of pace when attacking the basket, he constantly kept defenders guessing. He’s wired to score (and does so at an efficient rate), but is a willing playmaker who looks to get others involved. Johnson also stands out as a pesky on-ball defender and useful rebounder. Expect him to turn a lot of heads this season. Final stats: 21 points, 5 rebounds, 1 block, and 1 steal.
6’3 ’24 J3 Swindell
The longest-tenured veteran of this team, Swindell, really shined as a connector throughout this contest. He’s a big, strong, versatile wing/forward whose ability to do so many different things on the court naturally causes matchup problems for the opposition. Swindell’s well-rounded skillset allows him to adapt and produce within a variety of roles. He’s a reliable shooter, penetrator, and post-up option with vision, ball skills, and the ability to play through contact. Swindell consistently outworked his assignment on the glass while making critical passes and scoring timely buckets on offense. He did the little things to make a nonstop impact and then asserted himself when the Eagles needed a scoring punch. Swindell should collect offers sooner than later. Final stats: 17 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists.
6’8 ’24 Ahmed Jawo
Although he’s one of the newest additions to this roster, it’s easy to see everything Jawo brings to the table. His rebounding and rim-protection will naturally make him a nightly x-factor for this group, but his finishing and ability to convert at the line also stood out in this showing. Jawo does an excellent job of utilizing his length, timing, and mobility to anchor the paint defensively. He accumulates blocks at a quality rate, but also knows how to effectively wall-up and alter shots without fouling. Jawo’s motor allows him to compete for every rebound and sometimes several on the same possession. He knows his offense comes from running the floor, finding open space, and posing a lob threat. However, Jawo also made a few nice post moves and displayed developing touch on the block. Final stats: 12 points, 13 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals.
6’1 ’26 Trey Beamer
There were several notable players for Carlisle, but Beamer was undoubtedly the most impressive performer from this contest. His combination of IQ, pace, and polish is legitimately unbelievable. The phrase “showcased the full arsenal” can be cliché at times, but Beamer truly highlighted a complete kit of offensive ability. He has the ball on a string and is never rushed or sped up. Beamer utilizes his crafty handle quick first step to get anywhere he wants off the bounce and pose a scoring threat from all levels. He’s a smooth perimeter shooter, both off the catch and bounce, who forces opponents to smother him with or without the ball in his hands. Beamer plays with incredible pace and regularly makes highly advanced moves appear routine. Whether hitting deep jumpers, pulling up from midrange, or finishing with finesse around the basket, every avenue is efficient. He has a reliable floater and is useful in a plethora of off-ball actions. Beamer is also a great passer, rebounder, and overall defender. He was nothing short of phenomenal as the leader of this group. Expect him to be a major target for college programs going forward. Final stats: 32 points, 8 rebounds, and 1 block.
6’3 ’25 Branson Leduc-Mattox
Despite struggling with fouls, it was evident that Leduc-Mattox is a prospect worthy of attention. He’s long, explosive, and highlighted several flashes of two-way versatility. Leduc-Mattox is a tough, high-motor defender who eliminates operating space and suffocates his on-ball assignment. He excels at getting downhill and applying pressure at the rim, especially in transition, but can also knock down jumpers at a solid clip. Leduc-Mattox finished, rebounded, and made several defensive plays. He’s clearly a scholarship-worthy player who college coaches should start pursuing. Final stats: 9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 block.
6’5 ’26 Jameer Reynolds
In terms of intrigue, there’s already a lot to like about Reynolds. He’s long, athletic, and possesses nice inside-out ability. Reynolds already finds a lot of success through rebounding, defending multiple positions, and filling in the gaps offensively. He finished at the basket and hit jumpers. Given the fact that he’s only a sophomore, there’s a lot to like about his current ability and long-term upside. Final stats: 13 points, 5 rebounds, 1 block, and 1 steal.