Coach: Terry Smith
#5: 5’5 ’24 Darnerian Gibson (Thomasville)
Starting things off, we look at a player that was easily among the most impressive floor generals on display, Darnerian Gibson. He’s a young, incredibly smart, crafty point guard prospect that already knows how to run a team extremely well on both ends of the floor. Gibson utilizes his quickness and tight handle to reliably get by his man, which allows him to consistently carve up the opposition with his playmaking inside the paint. He defends and finishes pretty well for his size and can knock down the open midrange jumper, but typically looks to set up others. Next in his development process is working on his consistency as a three-point shooter, as it would make him a more lethal offensive threat. Coach Smith on Gibson: “Darnerian is a floor general that knows how to play at a great pace. He distributes the ball well and gets teammates involved at every opportunity. He can get his own shot on the perimeter or on the drive. Darnerian is always around the ball defensively.” Gibson was extremely impactful, especially for his age, and will definitely be a prospect to watch progress going forward.
#18: 5’11 ’22 Ty Black (Butler)
Next, we look at a player that was arguably the main glue-guy of this team during camp, Ty Black. He’s a smart, well-rounded guard prospect that knows how to do a little bit of everything on both ends of the floor. Black can operate from either guard position, given his blend of scrappiness, ball-handling, and spot-up ability. He’s a useful defender that plays hard, rebounds effectively, and fills in the gaps extremely well on either side of the ball. Next in his development process is working on his awareness as an off-ball defender, as it would allow him to force more turnovers by jumping into passing lanes. Coach Smith on Black: “Ty is a hard worker. He seems to be a diamond in the rough. He works really hard on both ends of the floor and knows how to maximize his role. I’m looking to see his steady improvement over the years to come. “ Black had a great showing at camp and is already an integral piece for Butler, which should allow him to have a pretty productive upcoming season.
#24: 5’11 ’21 Will Nepa (NRCA)
Moving onto a player that was quite possibly the most impressive shooting threat in attendance, Will Nepa. He’s a smart, wiry, high-motor guard prospect that really knows how to apply nonstop pressure on both ends of the floor. Nepa embraces his identity as an absolutely knockdown spot-up threat, but also shows a clear willingness to do the little things or whatever his team needs. He’s an exceptional teammate that defends with extreme purpose and competes on every single possession. He truly leaves everything on the floor. Next in his development process is working to become a craftier ball-handler, as it would simply take his offensive arsenal to the next level. Coach Smith on Nepa: “Will is a lights-out shooter. He plays extremely hard and possesses great basketball IQ. He’s the ultimate teammate that does his job and makes the opposing team pay with the smallest amount of space.” Nepa proved to be an asset with any group of teammates and should emerge sooner than later as one of the most reliable prospects for NRCA.
#43: 6’1 ’21 Kavan Horton (Asheville Christian)
Continuing onto a player that simply exudes productivity, regardless of setting or surrounding teammates, Kavan Horton. He’s a smart, well-rounded guard prospect with an extremely high motor and the ability to control the action on both ends of the floor. Horton can create for himself or others and reliably scores the ball on all three levels with great efficiency. He’s an overwhelming defender and forces turnovers at a pretty strong rate, which allows him to get out and make an abundance of plays in transition. Next in his development process is working on adding strength, as it would make him even tougher for opponents to contain inside the paint. Coach Smith on Horton: “Kavan is a dynamic scorer. Whether from the perimeter or the interior, he knows how to fill it up. This young man knows how to efficiently get a bucket. He can put up huge numbers quickly and really gets after it on the defensive end. Kavan is the ultimate competitor.” Horton enjoyed a great showing at camp and should see an uptick in his recruitment throughout the upcoming season.
#51: 6’2 ’22 Jaedon Whitaker (Henderson Collegiate)
Next, we look at a player that possesses a strong crossroads between productivity and long-term upside, Jaedon Whitaker. He’s a long, fairly athletic guard prospect with a high motor and team-first approach on both ends of the floor. Whitaker is a reliable three-level scorer but is at his best when attacking the basket and finishing strong through contact. He moves well without the ball, secures rebounds at a quality rate, and knows how to make an excellent impact in a variety of different roles. Whitaker also proved to be a quality all-around defender with the ability to force turnovers and make plays in transition. Next in his development process is working on his craftiness as a passer, as it would make him a more lethal offensive threat. Coach Smith on Whitaker: “Jaedon has a very high motor. He’s a long, athletic wing that is capable of making jumpers from beyond the arc or getting into the lane at will. He’s an excellent help defender from the weak-side, as well as an on-ball defender.” Whitaker did a lot of things well during camp and will be one to keep an eye on going forward.
#66: 6’2 ’20 Jay Hickman (Northwood Temple)
Moving onto a player that continues to stand out as one of the top three-point shooters in the state, Jay Hickman. He’s a long, wiry guard prospect with tremendous spot-up prowess and the ability to make plays effectively off the bounce. Hickman can initiate offense if necessary but typically works without the ball. He utilizes his length well to secure rebounds and be a disruptive on-ball defender. Hickman knows how to make plays in transition and will be an even tougher finisher as he continues to add strength. Next in his development process is working on his craftiness as a passer, as it would allow him to set up and make more plays for his teammates. Coach Smith on Hickman: “Jay is an athlete, competitor, and scorer. He competes with everything he has on both ends of the floor. He can get a stop on defense. He can shoot the three-pointer at a high rate or score from the interior at will. Jay is the ultimate team player.” Hickman continues to embrace and maximize his identity, so it’ll be very exciting to track his recruitment throughout his upcoming senior campaign.
#71: 6’3 ’21 Connor Oathout (GRACE Christian)
Continuing onto a player that knows how to make an impact without necessarily requiring a ton of offensive touches, Connor Oathout. He’s a wiry, unselfish, high-motor guard prospect with nice size for his position. Oathout is a decent ball-handler and passer, but typically works as a spot-up threat and works to find open seams within the teeth of the defense. He knows how to position himself for success and knocks down open jumpers at a consistent rate from the perimeter. Next in his development process is working on the use of his off-hand, as it would make him a more reliable finisher around the basket. Coach Smith on Oathout: “Connor is a great spot-up shooter that was very positive and coachable throughout the day. He gives it all on every single possession and can really heat up from beyond the arc. Connor is an unselfish player and great teammate.” Oathout made his presence felt at camp and should carve out a nice role during the upcoming season for GRACE Christian.
#93: 6’4 ’21 Da’Von Allen (Henderson Collegiate)
Next, we look at a player that simply knows how to stand out with his blue-collar approach on both ends of the floor, Da’Von Allen. He’s a strong, mobile, high-motor forward prospect that shows a willingness to do anything necessary to provide his team with an edge. Allen pursues rebounds, fights for loose balls, runs the floor hard in transition, and contains bigger players quite effectively on defense. He finishes well around the basket and can make the extra pass whenever available. Next in his development process is working on his shooting consistency from beyond the arc, as it would make him a more useful spot-up/pick-and-pop threat. Coach Smith on Allen: “Da’Von brings toughness, rebounding, and a high basketball IQ to any team that he is on. His three-point shooting is starting to come around, which will make him an all-around prospect in seasons to come. He’s a hard worker and team-first kind of guy.” Allen is a player that every team can utilize, which will be a big part of what makes him effective during the upcoming season.
#98: 6’5 ’21 Aaron Oates (Northside)
Finishing up, we look at a player that finds a way to make a quality impact, regardless of his surrounding teammates, Aaron Oates. He’s a long, wiry forward prospect that rebounds the ball exceptionally well and possesses excellent touch with either hand. Oates is a great finisher around the basket, but can also reliably score from anywhere inside the arc. He utilizes his length extremely well on both ends of the floor and does a great job of positioning himself around the basket to alter shots and secure rebounds. Oates can push the break himself decently well or make the pass ahead in transition. Next in his development process is working to become a more reliable three-point shooter, as it would make him much more difficult to contain on offense. Coach Smith on Oates: “Aaron brings a ton of toughness, rebounding, and interior strength on the defensive end of the floor. He scores well in the post, rebounds effectively, and really runs the floor. Aaron is a sneaky athlete with a positive attitude and the ability to be coached.” Oates enjoyed another strong showing at camp and should emerge as a leader during the upcoming season for Northside.