By: DeAjai Dawkins

2026 Kenan Dixon (Team Hope 2026)

He plays with a respectable level of leadership. His soft touch around the rim creates an evident threat for opposing defenders once he’s found the lane. Aside from being a purposeful scorer, Dixon shows promising decision-making abilities with the ball in his hands. Started his day with 32 points, followed up with another high-scoring affair. 

2025 Trent Steinour (Carolina Riptide 2025)

Out of all 2025’s competing this weekend, there are very few you can say contributed at a high level on varsity, and even fewer that can claim a conference championship. Steinour has earned the right to both claims, and when he’s locked in, disrupts shots at a rate you can’t help but acknowledge. Steinour’s lengthy frame puts him in that advantage column of most rebounding battles he finds himself in. If this is any indication of what’s to come during his high school seasons, we’ll be tallying a lot of blocked shots & rebounds. 

2025 Jonah Drye (Crown Academy 2025) 

Jonah Drye is someone who I’ve seen play on numerous occasions, and his talents never seem to waver from the previous showing. Jonah’s usage rate has to be high, as he operates at his absolute best with the ball in his hands. Drye’s a high IQ player with a level of flash to his game that I can’t help but appreciate. He knocks down open shots, hits open teammates at a moment’s notice, and assumes the trust of a coach whose respect you clearly have to earn. So enjoyable to watch. 

2026 Dionte Neal (CP3 2026) 

I got to watch Dionete Neal a great deal last summer, marveling as the 2026 lead guard accompanied Q Williams on a CP3 2025 team that often drew massive crowds. Neal clearly benefitted from playing an age group ahead last summer. His poise, offensive skill, and defensive engagement can only spell positive things for him moving forward. At the lead guard spot, he looks more skillfully advanced than the other 9 players on the court, and I’d love to see a game this season in which that’s challenged. 

2026 Jah Richburg (CP3 2026) 

Jah was one of my absolute favorite bright spots on a CP3 2026 roster with many. Richburg is a high energy, lengthy defending wing that absolutely locks in on disrupting passing lanes. He was this team’s greatest catalyst on the break, and challenged the opposing team to keep up with him up and down the floor. Contests shots at the rim, and uses his athleticism to attack. Coaches of all levels could, at the very least, appreciate his defensive presence. 

2026 Cole Cloer (CP3 2026) 

Such as the aforementioned Richburg, Cloer is another bright spot on this roster that left me wondering about his next 4 years of high school following the very first time i watched him play. Cloer combines a rare blend of length, fluidity, and shooting ability that could very well translate right now at the varsity level. I actually wonder how dominant he was amongst middle school competition, given his size advantage alone. Cloer could very well develop into a shooting wing/forward that causes problems for quite some time.

2026 Tyler Brown (Crown Academy 2026) 

We’ve seen Cox Mill High School welcome eye-popping prospect after prospect, dating back to the Matt Morgan era. Harris Road Middle School’s Brown could possibly carve out a long term future as one of the Chargers’ next proposing prospects. The first thing we have to acknowledge is Brown’s elite length on the interior, allowing him to disrupt shots of almost anyone within a reasonable range. As an 8th grader, he stands as a legitimate 6’6 with a wiry frame. Scary to think of where 4 years of high school development could lead him. 

2026 Josiah Johnson-Freeman (CC Elite 2026) Josiah has constantly caught my attention as someone who could develop into a promising off-guard/wing at the high school level, and only seems to have improved since the last time i saw him. At this stage in his development, Johnson-Freeman could be categorized as a jack-of-all-trades. The wing has noteworthy positional size with rebounding ability and the confidence to push the break. While he hasn’t carved out a niche as a defender, his frame leaves that option open if he decides to pursue it. 

2026 Cody Peck (CC Elite 14U) 

Cody Peck could potentially serve as the clear example for why you must spend time & energy developing players that are blessed with physical tools. Peck has unrivaled length many 14U contests, standing around 6’5 with a wiry frame as well. Peck reminds me of someone still gaining overall comfort in his current frame, but will ultimately develop into a very respectable player. As of now, working on his hands offensively to serve as a reliable interior target will be key.

Maurion Gordon (Upward Stars 16U) 

Maurion Gordon is someone I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes on for the remainder of his high school career at the very least. The forward has eye-popping size in comparison to his peers. I love watching how he high-points the basketball when crashing the glass, indicating that he’s put forth hours of repetition into this craft. His willingness to alter shots at this stage in his development is already useful enough to serve a program at the varsity level. Now let’s watch how his value increases as his game expands.