Coach: Dre Simmons
#33: 5’7 ’21 Kabe Ellis (Andrews, NC)
Starting things off, we look at a player that was among the most impressive playmakers on display, Kabe Ellis. He’s a somewhat small point guard prospect with incredible IQ and craftiness, which allows him to simply carve the opposition whenever he desires. Ellis takes care of the ball very well and sees the entire floor at all times, which led to a plethora of high-level reads. He’s an efficient three-level scorer that understands how to take advantage of ideal opportunities. Ellis has all the makings of a leader and communicates well on the floor. Next in his development process is working on adding strength in order to be a more impactful rebounder, which would allow him to push transition play with more regularity. Coach Simmons on Ellis: “Kabe is a good point guard! He showcased a lot of different skillsets and displayed really strong court vision. He has the ability to shoot off the dribble or catch and knocks them down at a solid clip. Kabe can score when needed, but clearly prefers to get his teammates involved. He plays with a high motor and never takes plays off.” Ellis proved to be an excellent prospect, so it’ll be exciting to see his stock begin to trend upward.
#81:5’10 ’22 AJ Cook (Waxhaw, NC)
Next, we look at a player that offered his team with a fairly balanced, well-rounded skillset throughout camp, AJ Cook. He’s a young guard prospect with solid feel and a clear team-first approach to the game. Offensively, Cook did a great job of penetrating and finishing through contact, but also displayed excellent shooting form and was able to reliably spot-up whenever necessary. He defends well and was able to force a few on-ball turnovers, which led to easy transition points. Next in his development process is working on the use of his off-hand, as it would allow him to utilize the entire floor and unlock an abundance of easy scoring opportunities. Coach Simmons on Cook: “AJ started coming alive in our second contest of the day. He can get to the rack within three dribbles and finish with either hand. He can stretch the floor from beyond the arc and applies nice defensive pressure on the ball.” Cook already contributes quite well, so it’ll be interesting to see how he develops going forward.
#94:5’11 ’22 Isaiah Hicks (Grover, NC)
Moving onto a player that made a fairly strong impression with his gritty, unselfish approach to the game, Isaiah Hicks. He’s a young guard prospect that plays hard at all times and makes nonstop contributions on both sides of the ball. Hicks defends and rebounds better than his size would imply, which is largely due to his precise positioning and ability to play angles on defense. He has quality shooting form and is capable of knocking down the open jumper, but typically looks to attack the basket and finish through contact. Next in his development process is continuing to add strength in order to properly impose his will on both sides of the ball. Coach Simmons on Hicks: “Isaiah has the ability to finish in traffic. He’s a tough, hard-nosed player that plays under control. He makes good decisions with the ball and displayed decent range on his jumper. Isaiah can continue to work on the consistency of his jumper going forward.” Hicks played very well in his role during camp and enjoyed great success as a result.
#104:6’0 ’21 Kolby Moss (Hiawassee, GA)
Continuing onto a player that made a noticeable two-way impact during his time at camp, Kolby Moss. He’s a long, wiry guard prospect that is capable of operating with or without the ball and finding success. Moss showcased his ability to shoot from the perimeter quite often, but also did an excellent job of getting downhill and attacking opposing defenses. He’s a quality teammate and willing passer, which allowed him to accumulate multiple assists when looking to drive-and-kick. Moss also rebounded extremely well for his size and moved nicely without the ball. Next in his development process is working to become quicker, as it would make him an even tougher penetrator for opponents to contain. Coach Simmons on Moss: “Kolby is a smart player that showcased a good ability to drive to the basket. He has good vision and was a great teammate, but can improve his aggression. Kolby has a decent handle and passing ability.” Moss played with a great motor and energy throughout the day, but also displayed a strong amount of skill, which makes him an intriguing prospect to watch progress.
#121:6’2 ’20 Deneil Mackins (Gastonia, NC)
Next, we look at player that showcased a lot of intrigue with his two-way skillset, Deneil Mackins. He’s a strong, skilled forward prospect with a unique blend of skills and the ability to cause matchup problems for the opposition. Mackins is capable of doing anything on the offensive end, from scoring to making plays for others, and maintained an unselfish approach throughout camp. He scored the ball well from all levels and secured numerous second-chance opportunities as a rebounder. Mackins defended with purpose and was able to force multiple turnovers on the day. Next in his development process is continuing to tighten his handle, as it would allow him to take on even more responsibility as a lead creator. Coach Simmons on Mackins: “Deniel has a real even-keel personality, maybe his only vice because he plays at such a high level. If he looked more aggressive, it could work for him. He can be unstoppable. Deniel has range on his three-point shot, handles the ball well, and gets to the rack quite often. He has a tremendous upside.” Mackins enjoyed a productive showing at camp and has the chance to continue improving, which will make his recruitment process quite interesting.
#132:6’6 ’22 Elijah Gray (Charlotte, NC)
Moving onto a player with a phenomenal crossroads between productivity and long-term production, Elijah Gray. He’s a well-rounded forward prospect with an impressive blend of IQ, size, skill, and athleticism, especially at this stage in his development. Gray consistently imposed his will from the interior, as a scorer, rebounder, and defensive menace. He scored the ball reliably from all three levels and has continued to elevate his arsenal of perimeter skills. Gray suffered an injury early-on, but already showcased an abundance of translatable skills and continued to highlight his abilities as a leader and teammate. Next in his development process is continuing to try and sustain his quality three-point stroke, as it would allow him to become nearly unstoppable on offense. Coach Simmons on Gray: “Elijah is a Top-80 worthy prospect. He can dominate seniors as a current freshman. He is unstoppable down low and showed good touch from beyond the arc. It is scary how good he can be in the near future.” There’s no doubting Gray’s ability and long-term upside, so it’ll be fun to monitor his progression, as he could truly become a big-time prospect.
#141: 6’3 ’22 Ethan Hopper (Cary, NC)
Continuing onto a player that did an excellent job of embracing his role and operating within the team concept, Ethan Hopper. He’s a wiry wing prospect with solid IQ, length, and a blossoming two-way skillset. Hopper proved to be an effective scorer from all levels, but prefers to get downhill or cut to the rim and make plays around the basket. He defended well, pursued rebounds on both ends of the floor, and pushed transition play whenever possible. Next in his development process is working to add more strength, as it’ll make him more impactful when operating inside the paint. Coach Simmons on Hopper: “Ethan is a long, wiry player that can get to the rack fairly easily. He has decent range on his jumper. He can continue to work on his conditioning and developing strength.” Hopper is still very young and just truly beginning to scratch the surface of his long-term upside, so it’ll be interesting to see his continued improvements.
#154:6’4 ’20 Jesse Blu Walters (Chapel Hill, NC)
Finishing up, we look at a player that was able to relentlessly score the ball throughout the day, Jesse Blu Walters. He’s a wiry, athletic wing prospect with size and an excellent all-around feel for the game. Walters is an efficient scorer from all three levels and capable of lighting up his assignment in an instant. He sees the floor well and made numerous plays for open teammates with his craftiness and quality vision. Walters defends well and can toggle across multiple positions on that side of the ball. Next in his development process is continuing to add strength, as it would make him a true nightmare for opposing wing prospects to contain. Coach Simmons on Walters: “Jesse is a baller for real. He can handle, shoot, and drive. He can do it all. Jesse is a true player and teammate. He was very coachable and has a great spirit for the game. He was my most consistent player all day.” Walters is a college-level prospect that should start garnering some interest and offers over the next calendar year.