By: Antonio Threadgill
It was good to be back in the action with all my great friends at Phenom Hoops to chop it up and talk a little junk as my boys from Southwest took down Cox Mill over the weekend. Shout out to my guy and one of my best friends and mentor, Guy Shavers, whom I think doesn’t get enough recognition as being one of–if not the best coach in North Carolina. Please go to the gofundme account that they are setting up for Christian Martin as he was injured in the regional final game against Cox Mill. Such a great kid that I’m praying will come to a full recovery and be able to return to the court soon! Love you Christian #5strong!!! Onto what I saw this weekend…
Let’s start off with a kid name #11 Jalen Cone 2020 6’0! He is so good. Jalen has a combination of skill and athleticism that makes him very hard to guard. He put on a show on court 2 and ignited the crowd as he highlighted why he was one of the best players there! He had the best pull up jumper in camp. His handle makes it really tough to defend him. He’s also able to finish through contact and above the rim. What I love about Jalen is that he is a competitor and he has no friends on the court. He showed why he was one of the top players in the Phenom 80 and the country! My next guy is a kid that is so special, named #66 Jalen Hood-Schifino 6’4 (Northside Christian Academy). His game is really starting to come together. He was absolutely the best point guard in camp–period!! He is such a good facilitator. He instantly makes any team he plays on better. He dropped dimes all camp long, putting passes on the money to his teammates and getting them in scoring opportunities. He’s definitely a high major kid; his IQ is off the charts and he’s starting to get that alpha-dog mentality, as he was not afraid of anyone. Went toe to toe with some of the best players in camp and held his own. Up next was a kid I heard about but never got to see him play until this weekend named #89 MJ Rice 6’6 2022(Durham Academy). MJ is a man! This kid is a physical specimen that can guard all five positions because of his Hercules strength. He is absolutely unstoppable when he gets a step and he’s going downhill. He attacks the basket so well and is able to finish able the rim with great force. He also has some really good handles and shoots the ball from the outside to keep the defense honest. He’s another high major prospect to keep an eye on. So now we have the camp MVP #106 Josh Hall 6’8 2020 (Moravian Prep). Shout out to my boy Quincy Hall who is Josh’s dad is one of my good friends that I respect we played high school ball against each other and he was really good shot blocker in high school. He may have blocked one or two of my shots in school, but we won the state championship and I remind him of that every time I see him. He’s such a great competitor and a great dude. He has done a great job with Josh, who is such a well-mannered kid. Josh is so skilled and has a lot of maturity to his game. He just does it all. His game has changed in the last year from being just a good outside shooter to becoming a basketball player that can play any position on the floor. His handle is much improved, as he was able to rebound the basketball and start the break. He’s now a player that you can put the ball in his hands and allow him to set the table for everybody on the floor. His IQ of the game has sky-rocked in the last year. Another player that stuck out to me was a player named #94 Brady O’Connell 6’7 2020(Ravenscroft School) who did really well in the dunk contest. He is a very skilled guard that is really good in the open floor and likes to finish above the rim. Has a very high IQ and shoots the basketball very well. I was really taken back by his game. Did a good job of stretching the floor; has a good handle and makes good decisions with the basketball in his hand. He’s definitely a player that D1’s should take a good look. He’s exciting to watch! Another talented guard in the Phenom Top 80 was #21 KJ Garrett 6’0 2021(High Point Christian Academy). This was the first time that I got to lay my eyes on this kid that I heard so much about. He has great patience to his game. He is a guard that does a good job of playing with pace. KJ’s speed makes him difficult to guard because he can stop and go a dime. KJ plays hard on both sides of the floor. Has been one of the top guards in the area for a long time. Looking forward to seeing how he develops in the next year. My next guard is a combo guard that is very skilled named #38 Jackeem Herbin 2020 6’2 (Burlington Christian Academy) I thought this kid was one of the best scorers in camp. He has a wide range of moves that he used to consistently to get by defenders to score. He is a very good athlete that has great feet and can defend small guards. I love guards that all willing to play both ends of the floor. He understands spacing and doesn’t stand around on the offensive end of the floor. He really stood out to me playing against some of the top players in North Carolina. Last but not least we have my guy #24 Shakeel Moore 6’0 2020 (Piedmont Classical). He was definitely one of the best athletes and camp. He upset me a little bit not getting in the dunk contest but I guess I’ll forgive him. Shakeel is an absolute freak on the floor. When he gets in transition he’s an absolute nightmare for coaches. You can tell that the game is starting to slow down for him. His jump shot has gotten considerably better as his skills are starting to catch up to his athleticism. He’s one of the most exciting players to watch in high school basketball.
North Carolina is the Hoop State and is loaded with some of the top talent in America. I had a good time watching these young men show off their talents. Can’t wait to see these guys develop and change college programs in the next couple of years. Would also like to thank Rick Lewis for all he has done to help players have a platform to show off their talents.