The Guards

Guards, guards and more guards. They are the engine that makes winning basketball teams, as they ball is in their hands for 90% of the game. Without question, this event is not short of guards, by any measure. This event will have incredibly quick guards, highly explosive guards, nationally ranked guards and heady IQ guards, whatever your thing is, this event will have it at a high level.

Phenom’s Palmetto Winter Classic has made a reputation for bringing incredible talent to the floor for the Christmas season. This year is no different. There are so many different storylines going on, so many players who you got to see. Already, 12 players are committed, and signed, to college programs. Countless others are being recruited at that level. In only its third year, Phenom’s Palmetto Winter Classic has already had a player drafted in the NBA lottery, when Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was taken 11th this year by the LA Clippers.

The 2018 menu of talent is as deep as ever, so we needed to break it down a little to make sure you, the rabid fan, is able to digest exactly what there is to watch for. For starters … Let’s take a look at the guards you must watch …

6’2″ Senior Trae Hannibal (South Carolina)
Hartsville (SC)

Hannibal is a one man wrecking crew, just plays in your face for the entirety of the game … on both ends. If you were to take his college Head Coach, Frank Martin, and make him into a basketball player, it would come out looking a lot like Hannibal. He can defend the ball, he plays above the rim and he has exception court vision. There is a reason why Hannibal is nationally ranked and heading to the SEC, he’s got the goods.

6’1″ Senior Tre Jackson (Iowa State)
Blythewood (SC)
Jackson is a bucket getter, it is that plain and simple. In a program who has sent multiple players D1 over the past three seasons, Jackson is already the school’s All-Time leading scorer at 1,211 and counting. He is averaging 21.6 points per game, while shooting over 50% from the field this season. If there is anyone who is able to get loose for a major output, it is Jackson who can set records at the drop of a hat. Iowa State got a good one, one who fits their system to a T.

6’3″ Senior Chico Carter Jr (Murray State)
Cardinal Newman (SC)
Perhaps no one in the state of South Carolina is player at a higher level than Carter is at this moment. He is already sitting on 1.374 career points and is on track to break Cardinal Newman’s All-Time scoring record of 1,787. Carter is routinely putting up 30 points per game, he is playing with a chip on his shoulder and taking every matchup personally. He Is Must See!

6′ Senior Walyn Napper
Ridge View (SC)

Napper went for over 1,500 yards receiving this season, and was widely spoken of as one of the top receivers in South Carolina. That quick twitch ability, and killer mentality, has served him well on the basketball court too. The starting point guard for defending state champion, and current top ranked 4A team in South Carolina, Napper plays an all out style that becomes an instant favorite. Napper produces.

6’4″ Junior Isaiah Caldwell
Heathwood Hall (SC)

Turn your cameras on, and keep them running when Caldwell is on the floor. The lengthy, quick-twitch swing guard, can flat out get off the floor. As the game gets going up and down, Caldwell is liable to do something that will make you stand up. He is a skilled wing, can score in the half court and shoot the ball with range. A lot of upside, which explains is early Army offer. More should come down the pipe line for him, but in the mean time, enjoy.

6’2″ Sophomore Robert McCray IV
AC Flora (SC)

The sky is the limit for McCray’s upside. The jet-quick point guard lives in the paint, off the bounce. He has good length and a natural burst that pairs well with his handle and skill set to have him find success. Watching him play, his fearless nature, it is hard to believe he is only a sophomore, but here we are. He will become a highly thought of recruit, and someone who coaches will fall for immediately after, probably while, watching.