Coach: Elliot Pope
#62: 5’3 ’23 Omari Caldwell (River Bluff)
Starting things off, we look at a player that impacted the game extremely well on both ends of the floor despite his lack of true size, Omari Caldwell. He’s a smart, lightning-quick point guard prospect with a tight handle, quality vision, and the ability to touch the paint at a consistent rate. As useful as he was offensively, Caldwell was arguably even better on defense with his ability to force turnovers and mirror his assignment. Next in his development process is working on his ability to move without the ball, as it would allow him to find more scoring opportunities as an off-ball cutter. Coach Pope on Caldwell: “Omari’s 5-foot-3 stature doesn’t stop him from playing with great intensity and effort. He has a consistent shot and smooth handle, which gives him a big-time point guard presence. With some continued growth, this 2023 player needs to be on your short list in the state of South Carolina.” Caldwell impacted the game very well during camp, especially for a rising freshman, and should emerge as a nice contributor sooner than later for River Bluff.
#81: 5’10 ’22 Cedric Shelby (Brooklyn Cayce)
Next, we look at a player that showcased an excellent complementary skillset on both sides of the ball, Cedric Shelby. He’s a smart, unselfish, well-rounded guard with a sharp handle, quality perimeter shooting, and the ability to thrive with or without the ball in his hands. Shelby is a terrific defender with phenomenal quickness and strong anticipation instincts, which allowed him to force turnovers and get downhill quite frequently. He also did a great job of setting up his teammates and making the extra pass whenever possible. Next in his development process is working on the use of his off-hand, as it would make him an even better finisher through traffic. Coach Pope on Shelby: “Cedric has very big potential for a 2022 guard. He has the ability to develop into a solid 3-and-D player at the high school and college level. Continued work on his midrange game will allow Cedric to develop into a quality college-level guard.” Shelby was able to do a lot of things at an effective rate during camp and should carve out a productive role during the upcoming season.
#97: 6’0 ’21 Drayton Watson (Spartanburg)
Moving onto a player that was arguably the strongest and most physical two-way performer from this team, Drayton Watson. He’s a smart, strong, athletic guard prospect with the ability to consistently get downhill and finish through any amount of contact at the rim. Watson also has a solid perimeter jumper but typically looks to attack the basket. He proved to be a very reliable defensive player that can switch across multiple positions and rebound nicely for his size/position. Next in his development process is working on his ability to move without the ball, as it would make him a more useful off-ball threat. Coach Pope on Watson: “Drayton is a strong young man! He has the ability to really take over a game with his dribble-penetration. He’s a solid defender that can matchup with the opposing 1-4. With the development of his midrange and three-point jumper, Drayton could be a great guard in South Carolina.” Watson continues to improve with each new viewing and should emerge as a primary option throughout the upcoming season.
#98: 6’0 ’20 Elijah Thaggard (Hartsville)
Continuing onto a player that was able to stand out as the quickest performer in attendance, Elijah Thaggard. He’s a smart, high-motor guard that was able to get downhill, attack the basket, and finish through contact whenever he desired. Thaggard handles and passes the ball effectively, while scoring the ball well from all three levels. He proved to be a reliable offensive threat with a commitment to pursuing rebounds and hustling back in transition. Next in his development process is working on the use of his off-hand, as it would make him a more lethal offensive threat. Coach Pope on Thaggard: “Elijah is a savvy guard with a quickness that was unmatched for most of the day. Finishing at the rim at a higher rate will allow for more collegiate opportunities. Elijah is a good defender and has the ability to be a lockdown player when engaged.” Thaggard proved to be an asset for his team during camp and should emerge as a nice contributor for Hartsville sooner than later.
#115: 6’1 ’22 Xzavier Thaggard (Hartsville)
Next, we look at a player that was arguably the most well-rounded performer on this team at times, Xzavier Thaggard. He’s a long, wiry guard prospect that knows how to operate and make an impact within the flow of the team. Thaggard is a capable three-level scorer with nice vision and the ability to make plays within the paint. He defends with purpose and runs the floor well in transition. Next in his development process is working on his consistency as a finisher, as it would make him a more complete offensive player. Coach Pope on Thaggard: “Xzavier can be a game-changer at the guard spot with a little bit of conditioning. Fatigue caused this young guard to fade away from his strengths. Some extra conditioning will allow this talented young man to excel on the court this season.” Thaggard enjoyed a pretty productive showing at camp but still has clear upside remaining, so it’ll be exciting to see how he progresses going forward.
#116: 6’2 ’22 Clay Howard (Aiken)
Moving onto a player that really stood out with his motor and blue-collar approach, Clay Howard. He’s a long-bodied forward prospect that simply looks to do whatever possible to give his team an edge. Howard consistently hits the glass and outrebounds bigger/stronger opponents with his downright effort and resiliency. He moves very well without the ball and understands how to position himself for success on either end of the floor. Next in his development process is working on his craftiness as a ball-handler, as it would make him tougher for opponents to contain when attacking the basket. Coach Pope on Howard: “Clay is a great utility player that can do a little bit of everything. He defends at all three levels fairly well and has a great feel for where to be and when to be there. Overall, with a little polish to his shot, Clay can be a very productive player in South Carolina.” Howard did a lot of things to help his team during and could certainly emerge as a useful piece over the coming years.
#131: 6’3 ’21 Noah Adams (Lexington)
Continuing onto a player that offered his team with a calm, steady presence on both ends of the floor, Noah Adams. He’s a smart, unselfish, wiry guard prospect that knows how to find space and make an impact as a spot-up threat. Adams also displayed a strong motor and pursued rebounds as a consistent rate throughout the day. He worked hard on defense and showed his ability to move effectively without the ball during his time at camp. Next in his development process is working to become quicker, as it would make him a more useful penetrating threat. Coach Pope on Adams: “Noah is a quality guard who gives the team consistent minutes. With his pure shooting motion and hard-nosed mentality, Noah is a good high school guard. Some work on his handle should help him develop into a college-level prospect.” Adams enjoyed a quality showing at camp and could be one to keep an eye on, especially if he continues to work.
#134: 6’4 ’24 Cameron Scott (Lexington)
Next, we look at a player that was undeniably impressive and stood out as the top performer in attendance despite being the youngest, Cameron Scott. He’s a long, smooth, smart two-way wing/forward prospect with an advanced frame, skillset, and overall feel for the game. Scott already displays flashes of being unstoppable, given his strong versatility and ability to do so many different things at a high level. He’s a phenomenal perimeter shooter with nice length, craftiness, and instincts as a defender or rebounder. Scott also plays hard and possesses no real weaknesses on either end of the floor. Next in his development process is working on adding strength, as it’ll only improve his physicality to prepare for the high school level. Coach Pope on Scott: “Cam can be the best player in any gym he walks into. With the understanding of that fact and continued skill/physical development, Cam will be in the conversation as a top player in South Carolina and nationally.” Scott was utterly dominant throughout camp, securing the camp MVP with relative ease while continuing what he started last year, and should be monitored closely by Division I coaches and national scouts for the foreseeable future.
#135: 6’2 ’21 Dustin Gillum (Byrnes)
Finishing up, we look at a player that was easily among the polished and most efficient scorers from camp, Dustin Gillum. He’s a smart, wiry guard prospect with craftiness and the ability to create for himself or others with poise and regularity. Gillum scores the ball with relentlessness from all three levels and understands how to mix it up on that end of the floor. He’s able to get downhill effectively and finish at the basket while also rebounding the ball very well on both ends of the floor. Next in his development process is working to add strength, as it’ll only make him tougher for opponents to contain. Coach Pope on Gillum: “Dustin was our most consistent scorer from beyond the three-point line all day. He can drive and finish at the rim at a high level as well. Developing a midrange pull-up will give him the full package and make him an elite scoring threat.” Gillum had an excellent showing at camp, securing the Mr. Station award with relative ease, and should carve out a very productive role sooner than later for Trinity Byrnes.