This weekend, Phenom Hoops took it to the great city of Rock Hill to host the Phenom Grassroots Tournament of Champions. Teams from all over the country came to participate and college coaches were in attendance. The talent level was through the roof, and these are the top players that I saw:
6’2 Jaden Bradley of Team CP3 17U was perhaps the most impressive player in the gym. Sometimes when players come in with so much hype, they tend to disappoint but he was the complete opposite. His unique combination of IQ and skill allowed him to be unstoppable. He showcased his abilities to not only score from everywhere on the floor but to also run a team and create for his teammates at will. He has fantastic ball skills in which he utilized along with his quickness and change of speed that made him a matchup nightmare. It’s not often that you label an athlete as a pro in high school but it is almost hard not to when you watch him play. He has all the physical tools accompanied by a high-level skill set that will easily translate to the next level. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him playing professionally in the next few years.
6’9 Lawrence Bartee of Next Level SC 17U was probably one of the hottest names this weekend amongst scouts and college coaches. He is a long, mobile big who showcased a good skill set and high potential. Scoring in the paint, blocking shots, rebounding, all on full display as you watched him compete this weekend. He also has great footwork to go along with a pretty decent motor and great hands; he also displayed a great feel for the game. Watching him play, it was perplexing to hear that he had hardly any college interest or offers. Scholarship level coaches should be smothering this kid trying to offer him and get him to their school. With the length and skillset he possesses, he has a chance to be a PLAYER at the next level.
6’2 Bobby Hardison of Carolina Riptide 2024 has put his name in the hat to be mentioned as one of the top shooters in his class. His stroke was flawless: great mechanics, smooth, with a quick release. Not only did he shoot the ball well, he fits the narrative of all riptide players, tough, unselfish, and coachable. He is liable to come in and score immediately and he did just that when moved up to play with the 17U group. As he continues to develop, he will be one to pay attention to. College Coaches should do themselves a favor and write his name on their watch list now. I look forward to seeing him a year from here to track his development.
6’5 Chase Lowe of CC Elite 17U has shown so much improvement from the past summer. He has fully transitioned into a lead guard and showed that he could be high level at that position. Physically, he has the length accompanied by the strength and size that allows him to be a mismatch at that position. All weekend long he did a phenomenal job at not only attacking and finishing at the rim but also setting up his teammates as defenses honed in on him; he showcased his versatility on both ends of the floor. Defensively, he moves his feet well and utilizes his length to disrupt opposing offenses. If he continues to showcase his ability to play the lead guard and shows improvement in his shot from three, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start pulling in offers. Scholarship level coaches should be all over him now before it gets too late.
6’8 Nate Brafford of Team Swish 17U was by far one of the more skilled players in the entire tournament. His combination of IQ, ball skills, and range from three allowed him to dominate in each and every game he played in. It is not often you see players of his size with this skill set, fluidity, and overall feel for the game. Although he has a slender build that will need to be developed, Division 1 coaches should be recruiting this guy. In the modern way that the game is played using skilled stretch fours, he is the perfect point forward to come in and have an immediate impact. Already holding a few division 1 offers, we should see that list grow this summer.
6’3 Julian “Juice” Keitt of PCH Nightrydas 17U simply plays with a toughness and intensity that is unmatched. He is a hard-nosed guard who attacks the rim relentlessly and finishes with athleticism. He does a great job of creating for his teammates off the bounce and in drive and kick situations. Defensively, he moves his feet with the best of them. He has quick hands and defends with the attitude that you will not score on him. He is the type of dog most people look for in guards. Scholarship level coaches, here is another guard that you all should be recruiting. Tough, Strong, Athletic guard who could easily come in and be your best competitor.
6’6 Isaih Williams of Upward Stars Columbia 17U had a very impressive weekend. He displayed his ability to score from midrange at a very high rate and really attacked the basket, using his athleticism and body control to finish through contact. Not only did he show his ability to shoot the midrange and attack the basket, he also showed his ability to step out and hit the three. He has a great combination of length and athleticism that allowed him to be effective on both ends of the floor all weekend long. He also has a great motor and was able to run the floor at a high level. As he continues to increase his ball skills, he should see his recruitment pick up. Scholarship level programs should begin recruiting; he could be a versatile player that you could use at multiple positions.
6’4 Graham Calton of Team Griggs 17U came in as an unsigned senior and showed that he is worthy of some scholarships. He put on a shooting display all weekend long as he hit 20 threes in just two games, not including the threes he hit in the other game. His ability to shoot the ball with little to no space and effort was very impressive. Not only did he shoot the ball well, he showed flashes of his court vision and ability to find open teammates. He also did a great job of rebounding at his position. Coaches looking for a shooter, this is your guy! Immediate impact shooter who can be a part of any scholarship level program. I look forward to seeing how his recruitment picks up after his performance this weekend. UNSIGNED SENIOR, could be a steal!