Best Defender:

6’0 ’22 Mustapha Shah

6’4 ’22 Elijah Burnett

6’3 ’22 Amari Pearson

Although Burnett and Pearson are legitimately phenomenal defenders, Shah’s unique ability to mirror opponents through a combination of strength, quickness, and anticipation makes him an absolute terror defensively. He plays with a high motor and gets involved in the offensive action whenever necessary, but truly prioritizes defense as much as any active player in the Carolinas. Shah is probably the only person with enough defensive highlights to make an actual reel of stops and impactful hustle plays. 

Best Rebounder:

6’10 ’23 Brandon White

6’7 ’22 Jeremy Gregory

6’7 ’23 Kahlif Barnes

Widely acknowledged as one of the most translatable parts of the game, the rebounding category goes to White—who has steadily grown during his time with Team United. He typically overwhelms opponents with his sheer blend of size, strength, and chip on his shoulder. White is still just scratching the surface offensively but looks more than comfortable finishing or occasionally spacing the floor from distance. As physical and talented as he already is, it’s unclear if White truly understands the amount of upside he possesses. Meanwhile, Gregory’s soft hands seems to secure any rebound in his proximity while Barnes’ nonstop motor leads to his production on the glass.

Biggest Stock Riser:

6’3 ’22 Evan Smith

6’5 ’23 Comeh Emuobor

6’9 ’22 Lawrence Bartee

Like various other superlative categories, there is really no correct answer for this one. Smith just narrowly edges out Emuobor and Bartee—although all three saw similar boosts in their respective recruitments. Smith continually shined as the undisputed all-around leader of Ace Elite, showcasing an extremely smart, poised identity as a (true) two-way floor general. His defensive abilities immediately vault him ahead of most guards in the state, and his well-rounded offensive skillset really leaves Smith with no glaring weaknesses. Emuobor will be a national-level name sooner than later; Bartee has become a clear priority for various programs. 

Notable (Young) Names on the Rise:

6’4 ’24 Jaylen Cross

6’6 ’24 Drake Powell

6’3 ’24 Tyler Bailey

While everyone should already know about guys like Cam Scott and Jarin Stevenson, it seems like people are starting to realize the abilities within Cross. He’s already extremely mature and talented, which truly makes him an asset to any team. Cross is a smart, athletic, skilled guard with the necessary size, toughness, and all-around instincts to truly dominate a game or operate as a star within his role. He’s a great defender, communicator, and overall leader by example. Cross brings a uniquely positive energy to every possible group. Additionally, Powell looks increasingly likely to have a breakout season and Bailey simply continues to make steady strides within his progression.