This past weekend, Phenom Hoops traveled down to Rock Hill, South Carolina for our annual Queen City Showcase. The event was loaded with varying levels of talent across all age groups. While many of the “headline” teams were located in the arena, there were still plenty impressive college-level prospects throughout the entire gym. By the end of night one, the Mint Hill Lakers had already made quite an impression as one of the more complete and electric teams on display. So, what made them such a draw for spectators and college coaches?
Well, a lot of the electricity came directly from 6’0 ’21 Khalil Brantley. After establishing his middle-school (and freshman year) foundation in Charlotte, North Carolina, Brantley headed back to his roots in New York and subsequently took fate into his own hands. Fast-forward to now, and the lethal scoring guard has accumulated a flurry of high-level Division I offers. He’s a crafty, quick-twitch player with ridiculous creation instincts—both for himself and others. Though Brantley was able to consistently generate (and convert) clean looks from anywhere on the floor, he also highlighted a very keen sense of how to setup others. He’s perhaps a tad undersized but possesses such great strength and quickness that it doesn’t seem to matter. Given his massive scoring totals from the weekend, it’s easy to see what made him one of the most exciting players in attendance.
Between the duo of 6’0 ’21 Cedric Patterson and 5’11 ’22 DJ Cuttino, this roster certainly has a quality number of floor generals. Patterson is arguably the steadiest player on the roster and simply knows how to make an impact on both ends of the floor. He displays a high IQ and overall balance between scoring and playmaking. Patterson is a well-rounded player that simply knows how to contribute with any group of teammates. Meanwhile, Cuttino is among their youngest prospects but already highlights a terrific creation sense and two-way feel for the game. He’s a great passer with the ability to get downhill and consistently create for others. Cuttino is also a reliable shooter and defender with solid rebounding prowess for his position. Both guys have next-level identities and should be recruited as such.
In terms of size, 6’7 ’22 Davis Molnar and 6’7 ’21 Josiah Dow each offer a quality interior presence for this group. Molnar is quite skilled and, despite playing up, looks about as polished as anyone on the roster. He’s big, strong, mobile, and highlights excellent versatility on both ends of the floor. Molnar is a great finisher with impressive ball skills and really sharp passing instincts, making him a fairly difficult matchup for most opposing forwards. He’s a definite Division I prospect and should only continue to draw attention over the next few months. On the other hand, Dow has been somewhat of a constant over the years. He’s a big, sturdy post prospect with a strong frame and useful moves from the low block. Dow possesses notable rebounding ability and runs the floor effectively in transition. The duo complements each other quite well and should have various suitors throughout the summer.
There are multiple high-motor players on this team, but 6’4 ’21 Glenn Bynum Jr. and 6’4 ’21 Donavan Fitzgerald remain at the forefront. Bynum has built his identity through working ridiculously hard and showing a clear willingness to do whatever possible to give his team an edge. After switching his shooting hands last season, he has shown more consistency as a perimeter shooter. Bynum is a great rebounder, defender, passer, and slasher with nice cutting instincts. Like Bynum, Fitzgerald is terrific at finding ways to impact the game without requiring a ton of offensive touches. He’s developed physically over the last calendar year while maintaining his tough, defensive mentality. Fitzgerald utilizes his length well as a finisher and rebounder.
Rounding out the roster, we have their youngest prospect in 6’0 ’23 Tyrone Hardy Jr. and lone unsigned senior in 6’2 ’20 Travon Jones. Though young, Hardy has already proven himself to be a quality contributor on the varsity level and seamlessly carried that into the summer season. Between his IQ and well-rounded skillset, it’s easy to see his presence continuing to grow over the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, Jones just came off his senior campaign as the leader of Franklinton and has varying levels of interest from college programs. Both guys are useful and intriguing, which brings obvious appeal to the roster as a whole.
All that being said, it’s easy to see why the Mill Hill Lakers and Coach Glenn Bynum Sr. had a full crowd for majority of their time at our Queen City Showcase. Not only did they have flair and flashiness within their stylistic approach, but their roster is simply full of next-level prospects. It’ll be interesting to see how things unfold with this group, as college coaches should be laying some serious groundwork.