By: Noah Hooper
5’9 2023 Jake Baker (Riptide 2023 SC)
Playing a key role on a very well-coached Riptide team, Baker showed me flashes of being able to play at the next level this morning. The first thing Baker showed me is that he has the ability to play off two feet and stop on a dime as he caught my eye with a nice finish through contact in transition. He also shot the ball at a reliable clip today which is a great skill to have being one of the shorter guys on the court. Lastly, he plays with a very high motor and takes pride on the defensive end, which is a quality that cannot be coached. I’m sure if Baker keeps it up, there is a spot for him at the next level.
6’3 2023 Zi’kei Wheeler (Charlotte Aces 16U)
One player that might easily fly under the radar sometimes is 6’3 2023 Zi’Kei Wheeler. Out of the several times I have watched Wheeler, I really love how well he is able to use his strong body to get in the lane and make plays for his team whether it be for himself, or for his teammates. He also shoots the ball very well which makes him a big offensive threat as this gives him the opportunity to attack closeouts and get in the lane. Another thing I love about Wheeler is simply how he is just able to outwork guys in front of him as he plays very hard on both sides of the floor, which again, is a quality that is not coachable. Wheeler can very easily play at the next level and I hope people are taking notice of his game.
5’10 2023 Trey Green (Team Eat)
My first time watching Green in person, he really impressed me and I see why people hold him in high regard as one of the best players in the state. Despite Trey being one of the smaller guys on the court, he uses his quickness to his advantage as he is great in the open court going downhill. He is also very crafty and does a great job of creating his own shot off the dribble, which is a skill that a lot of guys cannot say they have. Trey is a guy that I cannot wait to see at the next level as His playmaking ability will shine.
5’10 2023 Aden Halloway (Team Eat)
Aden is a player that I have seen grow over the years and he proves game in and game out that he is one of the best on a national level. Similar to Green on this Team Eat squad, Aden is very crafty with the ball and knows how to use his tight handle to get to his sweet spots and wherever else he wants on the floor. Moreover, Aden showcased his finishing ability as he is a very creative and crafty finisher around the basket. Wherever Aden decides to play at the next level, I believe he will make an immediate impact as his floor general instincts, finishing ability, and tight handle will be hard to go unnoticed.
5’10 2023 William Hardison (Charlotte Tigers)
In the short time I have been familiar with Hardison’s game, he continued to impress me today with how high his motor is on both ends of the floor. He’s always very active, communicating, and playing low on defense, which is the definition of a coach’s player. He also shot the three-ball well today with great mechanics, which is a valuable asset to have at his size. Hardison has definitely been one to watch this weekend.
6’3 2023 Edward Woltz (Charlotte Tigers)
While Tivnan and Strong will take the headlines on this Tigers team, you cannot ignore how hard Woltz plays on both ends of the floor. The high-motor forward did a great job of getting downhill this weekend and he was really good on defense. He also has sneaky athleticism as he showed me that he has the ability to make plays above the rim catching my eye with a couple dunk attempts this weekend. I really hope people are taking notice of his hard work on the floor.
6’9 2024 Isaiah Sutherland (NLPB)
Isaiah really impressed me against Team Eat today as he did everything you would want your big man to do as a coach. He played aggressively, ran the floor, and rebounded at a high level. Furthermore, he showed me that he had the ability to stretch the floor for his team, which makes him a deadly threat as teams have to respect his jumper, giving him room to show off some versatility at 6’9. Sutherland is a kid that I have been hearing about for a minute and he proved to me why he gets such high praise. This is a kid I cannot wait to see in the future as his long-term upside really stood out in his game against a very talented Team Eat Roster.