Each year, the grassroots community is blessed with various teams that possess more talent than initially meets the eye. There are many examples from past seasons, and teams like NC Gaters and Anthony Morrow Elite (among various others) have represented that sentiment over the current summer. However, arguably no program has done a better job of putting forth a legitimate squad with talent, chemistry, and a clearly defined rotation than Coach Monden and Raleigh’s Finest. Like most teams, their roster has seen plenty of turnover due to the overall fluidity of these unusual circumstances. That being said, they haven’t seemed to skip a beat in the entire process. Guys like Justin Monden, Evan Ashe, Jaylan Bowen, and Silas Demary Jr. have been the constant pieces, but we will also look at additions like Julius Peacock, Davis Molnar, and Tristin Harkins—who were featured on their most recent roster…
For anyone who has watched this team, it should be fairly easy to see that Demary is the captain of this ship. To call him anything other than an obvious breakout candidate for Millbrook would be simply foolish, especially given how he’s performed over the last month. He legitimately checks all the boxes of a Division I guard: IQ, size, skill, athleticism, toughness, playmaking ability, three-level scoring prowess, and a well-rounded defensive presence. That list of traits essentially leaves the dynamic guard with no real weaknesses within his game. He can reliably operate with or without the ball in his hands and is able to find success with either avenue.
Like Demary, it’s difficult to envision a scenario where the production of Ashe, Bowen, and Monden doesn’t take a massive leap forward this season for Heritage. In looking at Ashe, he seems to naturally fit the glue-guy role and understands how to utilize his well-rounded skillset to consistently affect the action. He is a quality ball-handler, passer, rebounder, and versatile defender that doesn’t require a ton of offensive touches to make a lasting impact. Ashe simply makes winning plays and has a blend of IQ and motor to actively toggle between various positions. Meanwhile, Bowen has proven to be a capable shooting threat with off-the-bounce capabilities. He plays bigger than his size on both ends of the floor and offers a pretty useful all-around presence without needing to be a focal point of a team. As for Monden, he might be slightly undersized but possesses the necessary IQ and skill to erase any doubt about his abilities. Monden is a reliable floor general with the ability to place emphasis on scoring or playmaking, given his unselfishness paired with his smooth perimeter shooting. He’s quite possibly playing the best basketball of his high school career, and it looks very likely to translate going forward.
The additions of Peacock, Molnar, and Harkins have all been purposeful, both on the court and in terms of attracting college coaches. Peacock’s foundation is predicated on length, hustle, defense, and athleticism, which allows him to shine in a relatively low-maintenance role. He’s a mobile, high-motor forward/post prospect with toughness and excellent defensive prowess. Peacock can block shots, move his feet in space, and run the floor effectively in transition. He should be a quality target for college coaches over the next year. Arguably the most enticing prospect on this roster, Molnar has continually gained traction within his recruitment. As we’ve stated in the past, he has the ability to dominate a game without even needing to score (though he’s displayed great scoring instincts). Molnar is a brilliant passer with excellent feel and rebounding prowess. He’s quite skilled, but it’s his adaptability that seems to make him so special with any collection of teammates. Last but not least, Harkins is a prospect that should see a definite uptick in his overall recruitment. He’s wiry and rugged but also possesses a lot of smooth qualities to his identity. Harkins is probably the best shooter on this roster and can reliably create for himself or others off the dribble. He defends with toughness and a clear edge, which gives him an excellent two-way presence.