6’9 2022 David Dixon (Speights Academy)
Dixon was arguably the top 2022 prospect in attendance at the event. In my humble and honest opinion, Dixon is a player who is being vastly under-recruited. He’s a player that could without question play in leagues like the A-10 or the American. At 6’9, he has a great mix of size, skill and athleticism. He has the ability to beat you from a variety of spots on the court. He can score in the post with his back to the basket. He can take you out on the perimeter, knock down the catch and shoot three, and attack off the bounce and get to the rim. Defensively, he does a tremendous job of protecting the rim. Friday night, he finished with 15 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks in their win over Fork Union. Dixon currently holds offers from Morehead State and Jacksonville State.
6’5 2022 Kent King (Fork Union)
Kent King was a strong, physical guard who led the way for Fork Union with his ability to put the ball in the basket. At 6’5, he utilizes his frame to create off the bounce, get downhill and finish at the rim through contact. It also stood out how willing of a passer he was. There were several times when he got into the paint and was able to find teammates spotting up. In addition, he also showed the ability to knock down the perimeter shot. He led Fork Union in scoring with 17 points to go along with 6 rebounds.
6’4 2022 Tajuan Simpkins and 6’3 2022 Takai Simpkins (Liberty Heights Varsity)
We’ve been saying this for quite some time now, but the Simpkins twins are more than deserving and capable of playing at the D1 level. Both Tajuan and Takai have proven this time and time again. Last year they were state champions at Victory Christian. This year, they’ve led the new Liberty Heights Varsity squad to a 24-2 record and are one of the top non-association teams in the Hoop State. Friday night, they led the charge in an overtime victory over The Skill Factory.
Tajuan Simpkins finished with 20 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. 14 of his 20 points came in the second half. He set the tone on the defensive end of the floor, forcing turnovers and converting on the other end. He is extremely explosive and athletic. This shows with his ability to finish above the rim and through contact. In addition, he was making plays for others and finding the open man.
Takai Simpkins finished with 19 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals. 11 of his 19 points came in the second half. He excels getting downhill and making plays at the rim, but also showcased his ability to knock down the perimeter shot as he opened the third quarter with a three-pointer. Down the stretch, he went a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line.
6’6 2023 Kaden Cooper (The Skill Factory)
Kaden Cooper had a big-time performance against Liberty Heights Varsity. The junior guard is known for his elite athleticism and ability to finish above the rim, but this game his perimeter shooting really stood out. He knocked down five three-pointers in route to a game-high 24 points. He has a college ready frame already with his size, length and athleticism. Cooper holds offers from UNLV, SMU, Oklahoma State, Tulsa, and Oral Roberts. It’s only a matter of time before more offers start to pile up for him.
6’8 2022 Elijah Gray (Hargrave)
The North Carolina native once again showed why he is one of the most versatile, skilled and sought after forwards in the 2022 class. Gray finished with a game-high 17 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists in their win over Combine Academy Post Grad. He continues to have an outstanding season at Hargrave. He has the size and skillset that translates at the next level. He can score the ball efficiently at all three levels. He can take smaller defenders on the block and he can step out on the perimeter, knock down the three-point shot or make plays off the bounce. More importantly, he was playing with a greater sense of urgency and consistently played with a motor all game long. Gray currently holds offers from UNCW, ETSU, Radford, Murray State, Charlotte, Old Dominion, Tulsa, ECU, Cleveland State, USC Upstate and Elon.
6’2 2022 Leland Walker (Hargrave)
Leland Walker is one of the most explosive combo guards I’ve seen, and this was on display Friday night. Walker added 15 points, 3 assists, and 3 steals in their win over Combine Academy Post Grad. 11 of those 16 points came in the second half where he showcased his ability to beat you off the bounce and make plays for himself and others. He is electric in the open court. The Indianapolis native holds offers from Providence, FIU, Little Rock, MTSU, Ball State, Xavier, and IUPUI.
5’10 2022 Jacob Cooper (Combine Academy Post Grad)
Jacob Cooper continues to showcase his ability to put the ball in the basket as he led Combine in scoring with 17 points, all of which came in the second half. He is a quick, crafty point guard who plays tougher and bigger than his listed height. His ability to knock down shots from the perimeter over high hands really separate him from other guards his size. He can create space off the bounce and get his shot off quickly. He drilled three tough three-pointers and showcased his ability to get in the paint and finish over defenders.
6’3 2022 Elijah Jamison (Liberty Heights National)
Elijah Jamison is the top unsigned senior guard in North Carolina. The point guard has really good size to go along with his ability to run the team. Jamison also has the ability to put the ball in the basket when needed. He has always been known as a paint touch guard. He consistently gets into the paint where he plays well off two feet, finishes strong through contact or finds the open man for drop-off dunks or kick-out threes. But even more importantly, Jamison has really improved his perimeter shooting this year. His form looks really good, he’s shooting with a ton of confidence and this shows in his percentages. He knocked down three three-pointers for the game and went a perfect 6-6 from the foul line to finish with a team-high 21 points against Word of God.
6’5 2023 Freddie Dilione (Word of God)
Freddie Dilione is making his case as a top 50 player nationally. He is having a breakout junior season. In the biggest games this season against the best competition, Dilione has delivered. He did so once again on Friday night in their win against Liberty Heights National as he had 29 points. He followed that up with another 28 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists on 5 three-pointers made on Saturday versus The Skill Factory. Dilione is playing at a high level and he fills up the stat sheet. At 6’5, he has the ability to beat you in a variety of ways. He can create his own shot off the bounce, he can knock down the perimeter jumper, he can make plays for others, and he rebounds the ball really well for a guard. Dilione currently holds offers from VCU, Charlotte, St. John’s, Radford, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, LSU, College of Charleston, FIU, and EKU.
6’4 2023 Truman Claytor (Word of God)
Truman Claytor without question had the performance of the day!!! He lit it up with a game-high 30 points to go along with 8 made three-pointers. He was hot from the opening tip and he didn’t cool off. Claytor has great size and is one of the best shooters and shot makers in the region. His release is smooth. Each shot looks good coming off his fingers. What stood out in this particular game, as Liberty Heights was making their comeback efforts, Claytor each time found a way to burry a three-pointer to answer. He had a clutch three-pointer to beat the buzzer at the end of the third to halt the Liberty Heights run. Truman Claytor earned an offer from Coastal Carolina after the performance. He currently holds offers now from Coastal Carolina, Radford, EKU, and FIU, but I fully expect more of those to start pouring in. His stock is definitely on the rise!