Yesterday, Phenom Hoops traveled to Greenville, SC to cover the Shammond Williams Basketball Academy. Shammond Williams, a former star at UNC, played in three Final Fours (1995, 1997 and 1998) and was drafted 34th by the Chicago Bulls. He played for seven years in the NBA and another six years overseas. Today, Shammond is giving back to the next generation of basketball players in his hometown of Greenville. 

The first half of the workout consisted of skill development before the scrimmaging began. Everything Shammond put the players through was game like. I can’t emphasize this enough; all of the drills simulated game situations. There was purpose behind each drill. Every player in attendance worked extremely hard. Here is a report of each player in attendance. 

Bryce McGowens       6’6       2021    Legacy Early College

It’s easy to see why Bryce is the No. 1 recruit in the state of South Carolina. The Florida State commit has all of the tools to be special. First of all, he is coachable and worked hard in the drills. Not to mention, his combination of length and athleticism along with his ability to handle and create opportunities for himself and others make him difficult to guard. Bryce is wired to score. I’m not one to say a player is a three-level scorer, but Bryce is. He has great range from the perimeter, he can get to the midrange, and he finishes well at the rim. He has a smooth handle, changes pace and direction well, and has good patience coming off of ball screens. Defensively, Bryce uses his length well, especially when blocking shots either when chasing down the opponent in transition or rotating from the weakside. I can only imagine how excited Leonard Hamilton and his staff are about this commitment. 

Shammond’s Thoughts: An explosive scorer with great athleticism. Does a great job of mixing superb shooting with capable driving ability, and explosive athleticism. Really commands the floor, and big shot maker.

John Butler     7’1       2021    Christ Church Episcopal School

At 7’1, John is extremely skilled. Don’t let his height fool you, he is a stretch four, not a center. He is mobile and runs the floor. John has a very nice shooting touch. He seems most comfortable playing on the perimeter. His ability to stretch the court, will make him a really good pick and pop player at the next level. For his size, he has a good handle. As he continues to improve his strength and tightening his handle, this should allow him to better break defenders down off the bounce. Defensively, his length makes it difficult for opponents to shoot over him either in the post or perimeter. He is able to cover ground and rotate for blocked shots. As he gains strength, he will be able to handle bigger, stronger players in the post at the next level.

Shammond’s Thoughts: Great length at 7’1, with outstanding mobility. Really shoots the basketball well, and developing great ball handling ability. He is threat on the floor from the 3 point line to the interior. Where he is most under appreciated is defensive ability. He does not only block shots, he is able to guard 1 through 5 with his agility defensively.

Jordan Butler  6’9       2023    Christ Church Episcopal School

Jordan, the younger brother of John, has a ton of upside. Don’t be surprised if he soon receives interest similar to that of his older brother. Jordan was extremely coachable and worked hard in the drill work. For his size, he showcased good ball handling skills and range on his perimeter jumper. In the post, he had a smooth right hook and also showcased nice footwork when he finished an up and under move. Defensively, it was evident that he wanted to prove something against some of the older players. He did a nice job of sliding his feet and using his length to stay in front of the ball handler. Also, he was active around the rim, rotating for several blocks. 

Shammond’s Thoughts: Young talented 6’9 player, that has all of the tools. Can shoot the basketball from 3 point line, has an ability to score in the interior. Really aggressive, and competitive. Though he is young, he really dominates possessions, especially when he commands the ball.

Xavier ‘Drake’ Downs           6’8       2022    Mauldin High School

Downs was the surprise player of the workout today. In the station work, Downs worked extremely hard. This intensity carried over to the games where he ran the floor and attacked the glass hard. He was very smooth and fluid. For his size, he had a good handle. He can really shoot from 15 feet. Another thing that stuck out was his court vision. He made two really nice post entry passes from the high post. His action was cut short today due to a rolled ankle. Downs is a player to keep an eye on in the 2022 class. 

Shammond’s Thoughts: Skilled 6’8 with agility and ability. Is beginning to come into his own. Can dominate the game in a variety of ways. Physical and athletic, really shoot the basketball well from 15ft. He is really beginning to turn it on. He is going to be a problem, with is development.

Jalen Braezeale           5’10     2021    Dorman High School

Jalen is an extremely quick point guard with great leadership qualities. He has a great handle and can change direction nicely. He changes speeds well when setting up defenders with the hesitation move. When he gets into the paint, he has a really nice touch on his floaters, hitting multiple throughout the course of the day. He was also able to find shooters in drive and kick situations. From the perimeter, Jalen shot the ball at a high rate. He hit several three-pointers both off of the catch and the bounce. Defensively, he bothers the opposing team’s ball handlers. 

Shammond’s Thoughts: Showed great leadership, with an outstanding ability to score. Extremely competitive, and big shot maker. Puts a great deal of pressure on the defense with this offensive combination. Really defends the basketball.

Shawn Jones   6’1       2021    Allendale-Fairfax High School

Shawn was another surprise player of the day. He is an athletic, strong combo guard. He excelled when attacking in transition. In the half court, he was a strong right driver. He was able to take the hit and finish high through contact. He showed a good change of pace when handling the ball and probing for driving opportunities. Defensively, he sat down in a stance and was extremely active on the ball. 

Shammond’s Thoughts: Explosive scorer, and extremely aggressive and competitive. Really puts pressure on the defense with his driving ability. Capable shooter as well, from all levels. Really takes on the challenge. Defensively he plays out of space, with high level agility. Great athlete.

Earl Burgess   6’8       2021    Dorman High School

Earl fights hard in the paint to get in great positioning for rebounds on both ends of the floor. His offensive skill set is developing as he utilized a left-handed jump hook, showing he looked comfortable shooting with either hand when his back is to the basket. Earl was also able to make plays when facing up defenders out of the post. He showed the ability to knock down the face up jumper. In addition, he was a strong driver when facing up. He utilizes his athleticism by running the floor hard. 

Shammond’s Thoughts: Great exterior size, with a nice face up jumper. Has a jump hook over both shoulders, and a physical rebounder. Really plays hard and eats up space on the interior.

Justin Bailey   6’1       2022    Blue Ridge High School

Justin’s motor and intensity stuck out the most. He took pride in his defense. He communicated well on the defensive end. Offensively, the lefty is best in transition when attacking the rim. He is a strong driver who can finish through contact. Although he didn’t shoot much from the perimeter in the scrimmage, he did showcase a nice touch and range in the skill segment. 

Shammond’s Thoughts: Dominant combo guard, that couples athleticism with physicality. South paw, that shoots the basketball well from all three levels. Has the ability to run the offense well, has great IQ, and competitiveness.

Jalon Robertson          5’10     2021    J.L. Mann High School

Jalon is a stocky point guard who likes to push the ball in transition. He uses his body well to get into the defender then create separation when attacking the basket. Jalon showed good patience coming off ball screens, keeping his defender on his hip as he probed for a lane to attack. He also showed the ability to make threes off the bounce. He is aggressively looking to score. Defensively, he is aggressive and really bothers the ball.

Shammond’s Thoughts: Dominated the games with his leadership and break down ability. When people didn’t step up, he made them pay with the long ball. Really made big shots, and defensively is a monster.

DJ Harvey       5’11     2024    Christ Church Episcopal School

DJ was the youngest player in attendance. Only a rising freshman, DJ played with confidence and blended in nicely. If someone didn’t know his class, you’d think he was the same age as everyone else. For his age and grade, DJ has an advanced skill set. He played with poise against pressure. He showcased nice touch and the ability to finish over taller defenders with floaters in the paint. 

Shammond’s Thoughts: Outstanding composure, for a rising 9th grader. Really had an effect and impact on the games in a variety of ways. Great ball handling ability, has a great shot from distance, and can really get into the teeth of the defense. Really runs a team at an high level, impactful. Best rising 9th grader point in the state.

Sayid Burnside           6’8       2021    Pro Holmes Sports Academy (FL)

Sayid is a high character young man. We were impressed with his work ethic and willingness to learn. He played hard and ran the floor well. What he lacks in overall skill set, he made up for with his effort, especially on the defensive end and when rebounding the ball. The next step in his development will be improving his overall skill set to maximize his potential. 

Shammond’s Thoughts: Really showed an interior presence, with physical ability. Really finished well through contact and sealed his opponent with post up opportunities. He has a nice 15 foot face up jump shot, that extends to the 3pt line, developing fast after taking up basketball 2 years ago.

Amauri Johnson          6’4       2022    Christ Church Episcopal School

Amauri has great size and agility at the guard spot. He has a solid handle and showcased the ability to create for himself and other. He was a strong right driver and finished well at the rim. In addition, he was a physical defender and hustled on both ends of the court. 

Shammond’s Thoughts: Great size and agility. Really drove the basketball well, and has good foot work. Physical presence on the perimeter, with a good 15ft shot. He is really developing, and becoming a presence.

Mason Raines             5’10     2022    Landrum High School

Mason is a really good shooter, especially off the catch. He does a great job of doing his work early with his footwork. He has nice range, good form, a high release point, and a quick release. He has continued to improve his ball handling ability.

Shammond’s Thoughts: Great shooter, with athleticism. Really can space the floor, and can score in bunches. Developing better ball handling ability, with good athleticism. Well known scorer and shooter.

Trey Kelly       6’1       2021    Wade Hampton High School

Trey is an athletic, left-handed guard. He is best attacking the rim. He plays hard on the defensive end. The next step in his development is improving his overall skill set, in particular his handle and perimeter shot. 

Shammond’s Thoughts: Great athlete, and glue guy. Defensively had an impact, and played his role effectively. Really great to see, someone make contribution to his team, by knowing his role.