This past weekend, Phenom Hoops got back into the swing of things with our annual Prep Showcase and Winter Nationals. Although there was a ton of talent on the Prep side, the blossoming middle-school prospects were arguably more exciting. Plenty of standouts emerged from each age group, and this article will take a closer look at some notable performers from the Class of 2031…

CJ Wright (CC Elite)

Few players on display were able to overwhelm opponents like Wright. He’s a smart, quick point guard with dynamic athleticism and reliable shot-making ability. Wright is able to effortlessly break down opponents and get to his spots, where he’s proven to be a consistent scoring option from multiple levels. He’s a terrific passer, excellent shooter, and willing defender who knows how to force turnovers. It’ll be exciting to watch his growth.

Zai Ogirri (Team Hustle)

Clearly the leader of this group, Ogirri made a constant impact through his IQ, motor, toughness, and overall scoring prowess. He’s a lethal shooter with the necessary craftiness to create open looks for himself and others. Ogirri found success as a playmaker and scorer from all levels, but also set the tone defensively and in transition. He’s already a really great player, so it’ll be interested to see his continued development.

Nicky Carroll (CC Elite)

In terms of shooters, one would be hard-pressed to find many with Carroll’s ability, especially in this age division. He’s a smart, steady guard who poses a real threat as a spot-up option. However, Carroll is more than comfortable at attacking closeouts, creating off the bounce, and scoring or setting up others. He already understands spacing, ball movement, and how to assert himself within the flow of the team structure. It doesn’t hurt that he’s the son of former Charlotte Bobcats’ guard Matt Carroll—who was among the NBA’s top marksmen in the mid 2000s.

KJ Brown (Team Hustle)

Rounding out this group, Brown already possesses obvious physical appeal. He’s big, strong, and pretty skilled for his size. He utilizes his body very well to cause problems for opponents around the basket—both as a scorer and rebounder. Brown blocked shots, controlled the glass, ran the floor in transition, and applied consistent offensive pressure. Already towering over his peers, Brown could be a real problem for opponents as he continues to grow.