Throughout the grassroots basketball scene, most teams typically form due to some combination of talent level and relative location. Interestingly enough, Coach Michael Taylor decided to put together his team of young, up-and-coming prospects and named his squad 'Raising Young Men.' It's certainly an uncommon name, but one that embodies the journey and maturation process of these prospects throughout their growth as players and people. Over three years later, various players have filtered in and out of the program but the values have remained the same. Although short-handed at our G3 Showcase, let's take a closer look at their pieces'
6'1 '22 Neeko Taylor (Farmville Central)
Arguably the top shooting threat on the roster, Neeko Taylor (son of Michael) has been a staple in the program since its formation. While his foundation has largely remained the same, he's consistently improved and shown refinements over the recent years. Taylor is a lethal spot-up threat with the ability to run a team or operate alongside another primary ball-handler. He scores the ball from all three levels, but is at his best when utilizing his perimeter shooting to open up opportunities to attack closeouts, hit one or two-dribble pull-ups, and finish or set up others as a penetrator. Taylor displays IQ, craftiness, and the ability to generate clean looks off the bounce. He's a quality defender, passer, and overall threat in transition. Taylor should warrant next-level opportunities over the next twelve months.
6'4 '22 Dontavious Pettaway (Greene Central)
Though Taylor delivers the perimeter shooting, Dontavious Pettaway easily provides the most versatility anyone within the program. His lack of recruitment is especially confusing, considering most skilled, athletic, 6-foot-4 wing/forwards tend to receive a ton of attention. Add in his incredibly consistent production, and it simply doesn't make sense. Pettaway's IQ, size, and well-rounded skillset make him somewhat of a matchup problem for various different opponents. He's an excellent rebounder with the ability to reliably push the break and make decisions with the ball in his hands, both as a scorer and playmaker. Pettaway creates well for himself and others, and understands how to apply downhill pressure with regularity. He's also a quality defender with a high motor, nice anticipation instincts, and the ability to actively toggle between multiple positions. Like Taylor, Pettaway should see a definite boost in his recruitment going forward.
5'11 '22 Quinton Mitchell (Ayden Grifton)
The aforementioned duo has been on the team as long as anyone, but Quinton Mitchell's presence definitely adds another dynamic wrinkle into the mix. Given his current recruitment, or lack thereof, it appears that Mitchell is going to be an absolute gem for a program at the next level. He possesses an innate feel for the game, and it's evident in the way he moves and methodical way he breaks down the opposition. Mitchell is a smart, balanced, well-rounded floor general with vision, craftiness, and excellent pace to his game. He scores the ball at an efficient rate from all three levels, sets up others extremely well, and understands how to overwhelm his assignment in all facets of the game. Mitchell is a solid rebounder for his position and regularly forces opposing ball-handlers into risky situations. He's also great in transition, both with and without the ball in his hands. Although his recruitment has been sluggish so far, Mitchell will absolutely end up in the collegiate ranks.
5'10 '22 Ray Moncreift (Greene Central)
Given the structure of their team at our G3 Showcase, Ray Moncreift played an absolutely vital role throughout the weekend. In many ways, he was their main utility piece. Regardless of context or opponent, Moncreift found opportunities to stand out through defense, hustle, and filling in the gaps offensively. He moved well without the ball, and regularly scored within the flow of the action. Moncreift also did a nice job defensively of containing his assignment, forcing turnovers, and pushing transition play whenever possible. His ability and willingness to thrive within his role was a definite part of Raising Young Men's overall success.
6'4 '23 Connor Leitch (South Central)
In looking at the overall lack of size within this roster, it only increased Connor Leitch's role over the three-day stretch. Between his motor, interior toughness, and ability to space the floor, what he brings to the table should be pretty clear. Leitch plays hard and understands how to genuinely battle against bigger/stronger opponents inside the paint. He utilizes his wiry build and useful length to secure rebounds on both ends of the floor. Leitch is an effective cutter, active defender, and very capable role player for this group.