This past weekend, Phenom Hoops traveled up to the Virginia Beach Sports Center in the heart of Virginia Beach for our 757 Showcase. While there were many exciting and talented squads on display, Team Wall was arguably the most impressive throughout the event. While we featured Davis Molnar and Amari Pearson in our “Bendel’s Best” from the weekend, there are still other notable players deserving of attention. It goes without saying, but the entire roster is worthy of recognition from college coaches. However, this article will take a closer look at two specific players: Sam Perez and Tristin Harkins.
Starting with Perez, it’s become really confusing as to why coaches seem to prefer players to “dominate” as the primary option rather than putting themselves in a better position to succeed. The skilled forward has consistently taken lesser roles for the betterment of his teams, not due to any lack of ability. Perez received an offer from Campbell last August, and his recruitment subsequently halted thereafter. It needs to be said: this makes absolutely no sense. It’s unclear what Perez needs to do to receive appropriate recognition from coaches, seeing as how he’s proven to be an asset in any type of role. Folks want to see him dominate? He did that all last summer with Hoop Wall Street. Find success in a condensed role? He’s done that exceedingly well for Team Wall and Trinity of Raleigh. It feels like the appeal of a 6-foot-7 knockdown shooter with IQ, vision, toughness, and ability off the bounce should be fairly obvious to most people…yet here we are.
On the other hand, Harkins currently doesn’t hold any opportunities to further his game to the next level. This notion is somewhat confusing given his consistent production with Cape Fear Christian and Team Wall over the last calendar year. Like Perez, he even played as the feature piece with a smaller team (Fayetteville Flash) to showcase the full extent of his abilities. It feels almost like Harkins is being judged too harshly on the initial look test rather than his actual abilities. He is somewhat skinny and not necessarily a powerful athlete, but that should make his flashes of dominance even more impressive. Harkins actively toggles between initiating the offense and applying scoring pressure, showing an understanding of how to find success with or without the ball in his hands. He’s a lethal shooter from midrange and beyond the arc with the necessary craftiness to attack closeouts and finish or set up others with his sharp vision. Putting his well-rounded skillset aside, Harkins also checks the boxes in terms of size, toughness, and overall decision-making. He’s a better defender and athlete than opponents seem to think, and should simply have more offers to advance to the next level.