Phenom Hoops went out in Charlotte on Thursday night to check in on the Aces Elite program, which brings a ton of intriguing talent that you could see at the next level. But let’s dive right into the roster and what we have seen early on this summer and at our recent practice.
One could say it starts with 2021 Peyton Gerald, the recent Catawba commit, as he brings a ton of versatility to the floor. He is a long, mobile, athletic forward that can finish at the rim, runs the floor extremely well, and really makes an impact on both ends of the floor. Then you can look at his high school teammate as another X-factor in 2022 Evan Smith, as he has continuously shown he is a playmaker on the court, whether it is scoring or getting others involved; simply a high IQ type guard that is underrated and underrecruited.
2022 Dontavious Paige came onto the scene with Phenom Hoops when he was at Mallard Creek, as the guard showed that he can be a consistent scoring threat, shoot the ball effectively from outside, and plays with a nice feel and change of direction to his game. 2021 Oliver Farris is another prospect worth noting, as he really is a productive player with size down low and doesn’t need the spotlight to be effective. He scores well around the rim, has a nice touch, and plays with a strong feel to his game; he really can be a big factor on the floor with his role. You also have to like his sneaky explosiveness on the court and ability to finish at the rim; an underrated prospect in NC.
As far as the other guards, 2022 Josh Stevenson is a long guard that has a nice blend of speed and the ability to impact the floor in multiple ways. He can create for himself and finishes well around the basket but also gives another ballhandler on the court while playing hard and helping get on the boards as well. 2021 Jacob German brings a strong, tough mentality and he plays under control on the court. He works well in transition or in the half-court leading the charge but also plays hard/tough on the defensive end. 2022 Patrick Bonna is yet another guard that can use his speed very well on the court. He gets up and down faster than many, makes good decisions on the court on both ends, and gives this team another option as a scorer especially with a nice pull-up as well as another ball handler.
Looking at a few of the bigger prospects on the team, 2022 Toni Akinyelu pops out for this program and you can see why programs are keeping tabs on him. He has a big frame and shows that he can operate on multiple levels, finish strong at the rim, create for himself off the dribble, and defend multiple positions. 2021 Ethan Conner does a tremendous job in stretching the defense, popping out from the perimeter, and being a consistent threat from deep. He really showed confidence with his outside game.
2022 Sean Mays and 2022 Christian Hunt both bring length and size to the table. Mays can help carve out space and has a soft touch around the rim, while Hunt can finish at the rim well. They also have 2022 Caleb Maul that brings size as well.