Coach: Brandon Gaither
#16: 5’11 ’22 LaDarian McCree (Lancaster)
Starting things off, we look at a player that is quietly among the better two-way guards in his class, LaDarian McCree. He’s a smart, high-motor guard prospect with a tight handle and the ability to touch the paint at a consistently strong rate. McCree can play either backcourt position and offers a terrific blend between playmaking and three-level scoring. He works with himself and looks to make team-first plays on both ends of the floor. McCree is also an excellent rebounder and defender with the ability to mirror his assignment, force turnovers, and push the break in transition. Next in his development process is working on his consistency as a catch-and-shoot threat, as it would allow him to play alongside another primary ball-handler with relative ease. Coach Gaither on McCree: “LaDarian is a really good finisher and is great in transition. He defended the ball well and consistently made plays for others. LaDarian played hard and maintained a positive attitude throughout the day.” McCree is already an extremely useful guard, but will only continue to get better, and should emerge as a quality leader at Lancaster during the upcoming season.
#23: 6’0 ’23 Brandon King (Laurence Manning)
Next, we look at a player that currently possesses a strong crossroads between productivity and long-term upside, Brandon King. He’s a young, smart, strong-bodied guard prospect with a phenomenal two-way presence. King does a nice amount of everything on offense, from creating for the team to operating as an all-around scoring threat, and can work in a variety of different roles. On the other end, he’s proven to be a tremendous defensive player (especially for his age) that can actively switch across multiple positions. King is a reliable rebounder and overall threat in transition, giving him very few weaknesses at this point in his progression. Next in his development process is working on his ability to shoot off the dribble, as it would make him a more lethal offensive threat. Coach Gaither on King: “Brandon is a solid defender with lots of quickness to get by opponents. He pushed the ball well in transition and scored nicely from all three levels. He’s very strong and utilizes his body well in traffic. Brandon played hard and maintained a positive attitude throughout the day.” King has a ton of appealing tools, especially for his age, and should be part of a destructive tandem at Laurence Manning.
#24: 6’0 ’22 Demetri Simmons (Goose Creek)
Moving onto a player that proved to be among the best two-way teammates on display, Demetri Simmons. He’s a long, wiry, smart guard prospect with a tight handle, craftiness, vision, and the ability to touch the paint at a phenomenal rate. Simmons is quick and able to get downhill with ease, which allows him to make dump-off passes and set up teammates with regularity. He’s an efficient three-level scorer but unselfish and always looking to make the smartest possible play. Simmons is a quality rebounder and all-around defender with the ability to jump into passing lanes or force on-ball turnovers, which leads to a ton of easy buckets in transition. Next in his development process is working to become a craftier ball-handler, as it would make him tougher for opponents to contain off the dribble. Coach Gaither on Simmons: “Demetri is a quick guard that really defends well and distributes the ball at a high level. He can get to the basket and finish in traffic well. Demetri played hard and maintained a positive attitude throughout the day.” Simmons enjoyed an excellent showing at camp and should carve out a nice role during the upcoming season for Goose Creek.
#39: 6’1 ’20 Mason Grigg (Northwestern)
Continuing onto a player that showcased a fairly complete two-way skillset during his time at camp, Mason Grigg. He’s a smart, team-first guard prospect that is well-known for his leaping ability, but has truly become able to do a strong amount of everything on the court. Grigg can thrive with or without the ball in his hands, given his blend of passing, shooting, and ball-handling. He’s an excellent cutter and constant threat to find open space for alley-oops. Grigg is a capable playmaker with craftiness off the dribble and the ability to score with efficiency from all three levels. He’s also a great defender that can meet opponents at the rim for blocks and rebounds. Next in his development process is working to add strength, as it’ll only help prepare him for the college level. Coach Gaither on Grigg: “Mason has elite-level athleticism and is really good in the open floor. He shoots the three ball at a high clip and can finish over any defender. He has lots of explosiveness and a quick first step. Mason played hard and maintained a positive attitude throughout the day.” Grigg continues to be incredibly exciting but should also have college coaches buzzing about his exceptional two-way abilities as he enters his senior campaign at Northwestern.
#51: 6’2 ’23 Jamari Briggs (Hartsville)
Next, we look at a player that arguably stood out as the most useful defender on this team, Jamari Briggs. He’s a young, smart, wiry guard prospect with nice size, excellent footwork, and the ability to operate in a variety of different roles. Briggs is a quality ball-handler and passer that can work as a primary creator or off-ball cutter with relative ease. He plays hard at all times, pursuing rebounds, disrupting his assignment, and forcing turnovers at a pretty reliable rate against more experienced opponents. Briggs also plays with a nonstop motor and shows a clear willingness to make hustle plays whenever possible. Next in his development process is working to get quicker, as it would make him an even better penetrating threat. Coach Gaither on Briggs: “Jamari is a high-level defender and moves quickly with the ball in transition. He finishes well around the basket and has a developing jumper. Jamari played hard and maintained a positive attitude throughout the day.” Briggs proved to be an extremely useful two-way prospect during camp and will emerge as a strong contributor sooner than later for Hartsville.
#68: 6’3 ’23 Merel Burgess (South Florence)
Moving onto a player that could truly end up as one of the best long-term prospects from this event, Merel Burgess. He’s a young, strong-bodied forward/post prospect with incredible polish around the basket, displaying touch, poise, and the ability to score in a variety of different ways. Burgess handles and passes the ball particularly well, especially for his size, and knows how to position himself for success without the ball. He’s an excellent rebounder that utilizes his body to outwork bigger/stronger opponents and can immediately push the break himself or through a pass. He’s a quality defender that is quicker than he looks and has capabilities of switching onto smaller guards in the pick-and-roll. Next in his development process is working on his ability to take slower defenders off the dribble, as it would make him even more lethal on offense. Coach Gaither on Burgess: “Merel is a really smooth player with soft touch around the basket. He can be a mismatch moving forward with his ability to score. Merel played hard and maintained a positive attitude throughout the day.” Burgess has all the tools to become a very talented prospect, especially if he continues to work, and should emerge this season as a major building block for South Florence.
#78: 6’4 ’20 Tyler Bowens (Wade Hampton)
Continuing onto a player that was arguably the main glue-guy for this team during camp, Tyler Bowens. He’s a smart, team-first wing/forward prospect with an exceptionally well-rounded skillset and the ability to truly affect all facets on both ends of the floor. Bowens handles the ball with care, creates effectively for himself and others, and applies efficient scoring pressure from anywhere inside the arc with the ability to knock down the occasional three-pointer. He commits to defending and rebounding on every possession, able to outwork bigger/stronger guys on the glass while actively switching across three to four positions. Bowens is a jack-of-all-trades and clearly has the two-way abilities to be an asset to any team. Next in his development process is working on the consistency of his three-point shot, as an improved clip would make him nearly unstoppable on offense. Coach Gaither on Bowens: “Tyler is an above-the-rim athlete that finishes very well in traffic and has soft touch around the rim. He’s a high-energy player. With time and ball-handling development, Tyler can play at the next level. He played hard and maintained a positive attitude throughout the day.” Bowens continues to quietly be one of the most underrated players in the state but looks poised for a big-time senior season, where he should attract numerous college coaches.
#98: 6’5 ’22 Jordyn Surratt (Dorman)
Finishing up, we look at a player that was easily among the top breakout performers from the event, Jordyn Surratt. He’s a long, wiry wing/forward prospect with a high motor, unselfish approach, and excellent two-way feel for the game. Surratt’s blend of size and motor already make him a nonstop contributor within any team setting. However, his rebounding prowess and ability to apply scoring pressure from all three levels simply makes him a nightmare for opponents. Surratt is a great defender that utilizes his length nicely to alter shots, force turnovers, and switch across multiple positions on that end of the floor. He truly showcased the ability to hurt opposing teams in a variety of different ways on both ends of the floor. Next in his development process is working on his consistency as a spot-up threat, as it would make him even more lethal on offense. Coach Gaither on Surratt: “Jordyn is a high-motor player that finishes everything with a dunk. He’s great around the basket. He blocks shots and is exceptional at running the floor. Jordyn played hard and maintained a positive attitude throughout the day.” Surratt had a phenomenal showing at camp and will be a prospect for college coaches to monitor closely going forward, as he could be next up at Dorman.