Even in a shorter two-event month which was May, there were countless teams, players, and storylines to make note of at Phenom Hoops events. The G3 was our biggest non-live event ever and the Memorial Day Classic had a load of marquee matchups, all en route to the spring session of AAU coming to a close and high schoolers getting ready for the month of June. So, here are some of my takeaways from the last month of Phenom events.
CC Elite 2026 Coming into Their Own
Between the talent, coaching, and past success there’s always been an enormous amount to be impressed by with this CC Elite 2026 group. But now as the guys are starting to expand their games and mature their bodies, they’re tapping into the full potential laid out for them and it’s showing up in big ways on the court.
Starting with the Providence duo of Cody Peck and Jack Siegel, who have been the clear tone-setters and leaders in elevating the team’s play. Peck has always been one that checks off a ton of boxes with his length, finishing, rim protection, and overall impactful presence. And now, he’s playing with the assertive confidence that will turn him into a double-double machine and absolute game-changer. He’s grown into his body with coordination, added muscle to his frame, and elevated his play with the ability to handle the ball and make plays for himself whether pushing the break-off rebounds or operating out on the perimeter. While he still plays this role at a high level as well, gone are the days of him being limited to dish-off short corner situations working off his guards. Now as for Siegel, he’s consistently been a premier sharpshooter with excellent fundamentals to find a high volume of quality looks and hit whether coming off screens or in the catch-and-shoot. But over the last year, he’s grown more comfortable and capable in operating as a lead decision-maker with the skills to create looks for him and others within a balanced framework of a high-firepower offense. His scoring prowess and touch ranges from controlled acrobatic finishes through contact, soft running floats, and pull-ups while taking any attack approach necessary working off ball screens or reading the situation and being attack-ready on the catch with rips, fakes, and jabs. For these two and their positional values, the future is as bright as can be with a long list of reasons for college coaches to start tracking them now.
Next, we’ll look at the Myers Park duo of Josh Hines and Mack Walters, who have shown entertaining and productive flashes of what’s to come at the Stable. To be only a freshman, Hines is one of the most reliable and versatile servicemen that embodies a competitive, low-maintenance manner you just have to love. It’s a clear team-first mentality with him, as he’s not afraid to do the dirty work make hustle plays, take on top defensive assignments, or basically anything the team needs in order to win. He’s a steady, opportunistic scorer with a game-managing playmaker profile who brings tremendous rebounding and an essential presence to lead a team. Walters on the other hand, is like lightning in a bottle. He plays with a motor that never runs out and has the athleticism with young size at the guard spot to pose a difficult matchup to keep up with all game long. His style of play is one that naturally affects all facets of the game whether he’s pressuring passing lanes, making plays in transition, or igniting the team energy with hustle.
And lastly, we’ll look at the Weddington duo of Jake Ford and Ethan Elden. Both fill similar roles in the department of off-ball shooting threats and reliable secondary ball handlers that will provide consistent production and not be forced into mistakes. They’re patient and unselfish within the offensive structure but have also shown to be capable of stealing the spotlight and getting hot themselves when defensive attention was focused on others. Like the rest of the team, they’ve managed to expand their games without getting forceful with what they want to do offensively as well as add the necessary muscle tone that comes with the weight room. And of course, when you consider their environment within the Weddington pipeline, there’s no doubt upon stepping up to varsity next year that they’ll naturally display the well-rounded, high-IQ identity we’ve become accustomed to with the Warriors and their successful backcourts in the recent past.
Although all young, they’re worth the early look for college coaches in July at the live periods to lay the groundwork on for whenever the time comes around to prioritize the 2026 class.
Carolina Charge Making Noise
It’s become clear over the course of this season that this organization is doing a lot of good things, has names to start tracking, and is gaining a lot of confidence and momentum through the success they’ve had. You see it with a lot of programs, but I don’t think I’ve seen it where each group is so uniquely similar and united in everything they do. Each of the three teams, 2025s-2027s, have picked up quality wins in scrappy nature and displayed relentlessly aggressive run ‘n gun basketball that entertains fans and frustrates opponents. Here’s a look at some of the standouts from each team.
Starting with the 2025s, you have to take note of Gavin Fields and Isaac Byers. Fields is furiously quick with a keen downhill feel to get to the basket at will and convert through an array of finishing moves/adjustments. He pushes the pace for early offense and simply knows his way around the lane with good awareness in traffic and focus in finding scoring angles off the glass no matter where he is or how he has to get it up. Byers brings a similar offensive package but is typically the one you’ll see pulling it back out to survey the floor and break down guys through a process of handles and change of direction to get defenders off him. He’s also the most reliable perimeter shooting threat of this group, showing on multiple occasions to not be shy in taking and hitting the big shots.
Next with the 2026s, you have Zamarius Gladden and Jamarion Patton. I’m not sure anybody could embody this group’s overall tone more than Gladden. He’s a shifty, coordinated driver with fearlessness around the rim no matter who steps up. But it’s really on defense that he leaves a bigger impact, with the ability to sit down and guard full court in 1v1 situations. He turns guys over and makes them earn their way across halfcourt, proving dangerously effective picking off passing lanes and finding easy offense in the fastbreak. Patton, on the other hand, has proven his worth as a ballhawk rebounder. He’s a small ball big with a high motor and will lay his body out for any loose ball. And production seems to come naturally for him, as he runs the floor and is always around the ball to find dish-offs or putback opportunities which he finishes at a high rate in a fast-paced environment.
And finally, with the 2027s you have John Carmichael, Braylon Turner, and Jayden Armstrong. Carmichael is an intriguing plug-in piece with length and defensive instincts similar to the above-listed Patton. He’s had a knack for providing positives across the board just by always being the ball and having hands ready to finish, rebound, deflect passes, and block shots. The defensive versatility is the main draw that will make him valuable early on as he enters the HS scene this month. As for Smith and Armstrong, the two have formed a tag team penetrating force that will really test your help side defense. They carry the same attributes as the 2025 leaders and look to be following in suit of their production/success with a dynamic finishing package once they’ve turned the corner and found the basket while keeping the tenaciously scrappy nature going at full force on defense all game long.
Over the past month, Phenom Hoops has also had the pleasure of getting to see new talent from Tennessee, particularly with two 2026 teams in the Tennessee Impact and Pro One (Shipley).
Starting with the Impact, their debut at the G3 gave us all an impressive first impression overall as a group but especially with guys like Trey Thompson and Alex Leeth. Thompson is as intriguing as they come, both with his current value and his long-term upside. He brings a unique blend of postwork from the block and high post that reminds you of old-school posts while also having the ability to step out on the perimeter and make facilitative decisions within a more modern structure of the game. He has the skills and feel from a stretch forward position that’s rare at this age and allows him to totally dominate possessions with seemingly effortless reads and passes. Typically, it takes big men years late into their high school careers to get to this point, where an offense can totally be centered around them both inside and out. His versatile status simply opens up a lot more options for other guys to get involved and find space for cuts or drives to the basket. Similarly to Thompson, Leeth displays a mature and developed two-way wing identity that is far beyond the typical expectations of a freshman. He has the length and mindset to get to the basket through contact and effectively finish at a high rate, keeping a constant attack mode going in the full and half court while never seeming to force looks or find himself in trouble and out of position. He’s poised on both ends, really showcasing that frame as a defensive shutdown piece that can handle the assignments of the opposing teams’ best players without seeming gassed on the offensive end. He just has that high motor and stays under control to give high-level efforts in every area and find clearly impactful results.
Now with Pro One Shipley, as a team they’ve shown off an advanced motion offense with fundamentals that are off the charts to bring balance in their production. But there’s a clear trio of Eli Williams, Dan Lanning, and Jibriel Koko that seem to always stand out as tone-setters. Williams has been one of the top shooters I’ve seen this season, an automatic option when he gets any look at the basket, which happens an awful lot due to his off-ball feel as a cutter and quick trigger off the catch. He understands how to find holes, run off screens, and keep his rhythm going without taking heat checks, truly showcasing an efficient sniper game. Lanning is also a clear primary marksman this group works to get looks for, but he also has the frame to get involved more in the lane as a sturdy finisher and rebounder. Similarly to the whole roster, he has sound principles and IQ that allow him to be a steady, well-paced game manager that knows how to pick his moments and get others involved when working the offense. And Koko is the wiry x-factor that can change the momentum of a game for this group with his hustle. He has a glue guy mannerism that can be productive in various areas and start to quietly kill you if you don’t take note of his presence. He finishes, stays involved in making transition plays, and can be relied on to come up with big steals, stops, or rebounds when you need them.
Names to Track
2026 Mikey Williams (Future Kings)
Dynamic three-level scoring is something thrown around at times, but it’s as on-point as you can get when talking about Williams’ game. He has that next-level gear that few can reach, much less stay locked into, and is simply too swift to try and stay in front of. His attack is at its strongest when getting downhill and finishing strong around the basket, but he has the stop-on-a-dime ability to pull up and hit contested jumpers with considerable comfort. Relatively speaking, he’s one you just hope to slow down because you know he will get him regardless, but the real difficulty in guarding him comes with his ability to find a high volume of looks from all over and be efficient.
2025 Logan Parker (Team Hustle)
More and more these days it’s becoming rare to find guys like Parker who will compete and lead with a high motor on both ends. Parker is someone who makes winning plays through his scrappy nature and really seems to thrive on the chaos he and his teammates can cause. He has comfort operating in a constant state of transition, pushing the ball and attacking with numbers while being able to secure defensive stops in scramble situations using key timing anticipating passes. As a scorer, he has confidence to not be denied at the basket with varying ranges of touch and is constantly looking for mismatches either for himself or others, showing no hesitancy in attacking isolation defenders.
2026 Amari Melton (Triple Threat)
One of the biggest separators for high athleticism guards is their ability to stay under control and make decisive moves. And Amari is one that you never question his level of control with his pace, handle, or balance when he’s breaking down a defense and executing the offense for the looks they want. Just as coaches ideally try to get their guys to do, Amari plays off two and utilizes every fake and pivot within his bag to get defenders in the air and finish. He’s a master of maneuvering through traffic and is constantly supplying open perimeter shots for others through his penetration. He already has a strong frame for an underclassmen but expect him to keep developing and expanding his craft to lead an offense and be a name you hear more of come next HS season.