By: Kevin Moses

Elijah Neel
Twitter: @ElijahNeel2
Height: 6’1, 150
Class of 2027
School: Russell High School, KY

Neel is a dynamic young stud already tearing up the state of Kentucky and part of an amazing dynamic duo that is making a lot of noise. As a floor general with an extremely high IQ, he is a dazzling passer in jaw-dropping fashion. As he is a pass-first old-school point guard, but don’t sleep on his scoring ability at any moment. Elijah is a very efficient three-point shooter with a nice touch and can get out in transition in a flash turning defense into offense creating a strong finish for himself or a sick drop-off to a teammate. With a nice ability to be a rebound magnet as well. Elijah is a solid defender which makes him the total package for his position. In the AAU session, Elijah played for Team Loaded WV and averaged 18.7 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals. Elijah’s favorite AAU moment was dropping 33 points and adding 10 assists in a win over Lu Dort from Canada to reach the gold bracket. The biggest improvement since last season is the ability to attack the basket with his added size since last year. Elijah is fierce and fearless. The goal for next season is to get physically stronger. What separates Elijah from the rest is his scrappy play style and nonstop motor. Quick to give up his body diving on the floor for loose balls, taking charges, and drawing in the defense to open up his teammates for easy buckets. Like every true baller, Elijah dreams of playing D1 basketball but will just be thankful to play college ball on any division level.

Caleb Rimmer
Twitter: @Caleb_rimmer13
Height: 6’4 , 195
Class of 2027
School: Russell High School

Rimmer is the power and the other half of that dynamic duo that played varsity in the eighth grade and averaged 10.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game playing up. Statement made. Caleb is a high flyer and a ruthless finisher. Delivers some nasty dunks with ease and flare. He is a man-child and fully developed to be that dominating inside force every coach dreams of gobbling up boards and delivering high-percentage scoring. Caleb has made it his mission to be a strong physical post player. With great footwork added to that he is a force to be reckoned with even now. But he has an outstanding mid-range game and a sneaky step-back jumper that’s just sweet to behold at his size. His strong ball-handling skills make him a versatile nightmare and he can be explosive getting downhill setting defenders up for those nasty finishes. Caleb is rock solid defensively averaging about 2 blocks per game. He had several games where he had 5-6 blocked shots in the 8th grade. Caleb is a master at timing his jump for blocks and rebounds. Caleb’s biggest improvement which was also his goal entering the season was to improve his ball handling. He has developed more confidence at his perimeter ball handling already. His next step showing off his 3-point shooting ability. Wait till everyone sees him open that up in the AAU session coming up. This season Caleb is averaging 14.8 points a game and 7.1 rebounds per game while shooting 53 percent. Caleb’s improved ball handling and shooting along with improving his lateral movement were his goals this season. What sets Caleb apart is his versatility, physicality, and intensity. Add that to his strength and athleticism and you have yourself a D1 talent just beginning to tap into his full potential. Caleb would consider playing any division level to continue to play the game he loves.

Elijah and Caleb have played AAU together since 5th grade and their chemistry together was a perfect match and has continued to grow and develop to a point where they know each other’s game so well they play together like men among boys understanding exactly where to be and a natural rhythm of what the other will do. Elijah’s mindset is he has to be a scoring threat enough to draw the defense to him and once they slide over to him he knows Caleb or another teammate is open and is showtime the instant the defender commits. For Caleb, he knows he always has to keep his hands ready cause Elijah can deliver a pass anytime from anywhere. They both use their IQ to process plays as they develop and to naturally flow with what’s happening and allow their athletic abilities to take over. The toughest opponent for Elijah was Ashland cause they moved the ball so well. For Caleb, it was Boyd, the top team in their region and ranked in the top 10 in the state. Caleb feels the 1-3-1 defense is the hardest for him to crack. They both feel they can and will make a deep run in the 16th region. Though their team is kinda young and still learning to finish games in the second half being a little inconsistent with being so young, but talented enough to get it done. The toughest challenge is size and strength sometimes makes it tough. Their first goal is to win their district. Then it’s game on in the region. I’m sure I will catch up with this dynamic duo in the region and see their show. Can’t wait.

Mason Phillips
Twitter: @MasonPhillips1
Height: 6ft, 138
Class of 2028
School: Legacy Christian Academy, KY

Phillips is a young phenom playing varsity and making an impact already. Mason is a big-time three-point sniper with a beautiful touch. Loves to get out in transition. Nice handles and can attack off the bounce and finish strong at the rim. Mason is like a Swiss army knife carving up the defense. Mason is an outstanding defender and even mixes it up on the boards. And the best part, he can drop some sweet passes. Last season, Mason averaged only 2 points, 4 assists, 5 rebounds, and 1 steal per game. He elevated that in the AAU season averaging 10 points, 5 assists, and 7 rebounds. Mason’s biggest improvement has been his confidence. Just believing more in himself and his abilities has been a tremendous boost to game performance more than even he imagined. He gives credit to the coaches who believed in him. Entering the season, Mason’s goal was to help his team win the state championship while finding his role on this loaded team to make the biggest impact he could. So far so good as the team is ranked #1 in the state with only 2 losses. Mason is averaging 12 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals per game this season during this run. What sets Mason apart is his passing ability. He uses his great court vision to his advantage. Always poised and under control and makes the extra pass for the best results. Already established with nice talent, my assessment is this young star is a budding D1 talent and putting in the work. And his work ethic indicates he will get there as he already believes he has to continue to develop and put in tons of work soaking up everything the coaches can give him. Keep a close eye on this kid.

Kaecyn Holmes
Height: 5’1 , 94
Class of 2030
School: South Charleston Middle School, WV

Holmes is an electric young athlete who is crafty off the bounce. Don’t let the size fool you, this stud can deliver in more ways than one. Kaecyn is a pure point guard in every way. He is a creative scorer off the bounce but has a beautiful long-range bomb. Kaecyn has a nasty first step that freezes most defenders and poof he is gone right past them. With dazzling passes, he fuels his team with awesome court vision and a high IQ. Fearless getting the seams doing whatever he wants. Amazing to watch the young star do damage among much bigger players. The surprise is that he plays scrappy defense and gets rebounds though he is undersized don’t tell him skill and grit don’t matter. He just gets it done.
In the AAU session, Kaecyn averaged 14 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds, and 4 steals. The truth! Kaecyn’s favorite AAU moment was actually in a 3-point loss to BNU when they were ranked #3. Kaecyn’s biggest improvement has been his in-game IQ. Decision-making when you’re undersized is vital and priceless. This season Kaecyn averaged 14 points, 9 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals. Kaecyn sees himself as a D2 prospect but believes if he continues to put in the work and develop more he could make himself a low to mid-major D1. In my assessment the fire is there, and the consistency is there. The skill is there. If Kaecyn does continue to elevate his skills putting in the work to get better every day we are seeing the early stages of another dynamic athlete.

Eli Deem
Twitter: @EliDeem2030
Height: 5’10, 125
Class of 2030
School: John Adams Middle School, WV

Versatile young gem who makes his living in that paint area with an array of moves and soft touches. He can dominate that post and mid-range area with his back to the basket or off the bounce with crafty finishes. Eli can drop some nice dimes. A beast on the boards and an absolute stud defensively. Natural rim protector. His sneaky speed helps on both sides of the ball. Last season in 5th grade, Eli averaged 17.6 points, while shooting 62 percent. Added 8.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 2.1 steals per game in only about 15.5 minutes per game. In the AAU season playing for Team Hustle WV, Eli averaged 16 points, 10 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game. His favorite accomplishment was beating their rivals by 20+ points. Eli’s biggest improvement has been his ball handling and body language/attitude. Eli set an incredible goal to be able to play varsity by the time he wins the county championship. Right now Eli is averaging 15.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 5.4 steals, and 1.4 blocks in the last five games. That sneaky speed set him apart from most his size. With a ton of heart, hustle, and skill level, Eli is dreaming D1 someday but would consider a difference as long as he can continue to play the game he loves. I assess that Eli is a very talented young gem polished enough to dominate kids his age with a high ceiling and as he continues to work and perfect his craft he could be really special knowing defense wins games. Eli has already proven he excels in that. He plays with a ton of energy and grit. And with a lot of years of growing to go if he maintains and elevates the skills he already has, look out by high school and beyond. Already trending towards a double-double average, who knows how high he will fly. My advice is to get on this train now and buckle up. It’s gonna be a fun ride. Stay tuned.