SAN DIEGO, CA – The top rising 9th, 10th, and 11th graders from across the United States battled at the Phenom Top 150 Camp held at Alliant International University. Joe Keller, Jeff Harper, and staff put on another phenomenal weekend for the bright young future stars of the basketball world.
Rising 9th Graders – 2015
Elijah Thomas, 6’6, Rowlett, TX – No one stood out more this weekend than Elijah Thomas. The big fella already has a man’s body with a passion of throwing it around and looking for contact in the form of tough screens, hard fouls and getting deep post position. Thomas is unstoppable when he cements himself with deep position, as he can finish over either shoulder. Not only is a he a willing passer but an excellent one, both in the high and low post with numerous drop off dimes, some no looks, for easy deuces. Where his game needs work is his footwork down low to create better looks as he won’t always be able to get the type of deep post position as he did in San Diego. Defensively he plays slouched too often with his arms at his side, making him play 5’10 instead of 6’6.
Kendall Small, 5’9, Anaheim, CA – After it is all said and done, Small might be the most sought after prospect in this group of 2015’s. This short guard uses a swift first step and a nasty spin move to leave defenders in his dust. His shooting form is great as he squares his feet on most shots. He excels as a playmaker in the open court however in the half court the ball becomes stagnant as he tries to do too much, leading to turnovers or forced shots, instead of making the correct basketball decision. One thing that can’t be questioned is his motor; despite his size he seems to always find himself around the loose ball.
Jaylyn Juan, 6’3, Tucson, AZ – Juan, MVP of the All Star Game, had the largest motor and heart at Phenom 150. This agile big man will run the floor on every play, active on the glass, and has no problem with floor burns from diving for loose balls. Running down the lane he can slam it down with two hands. Also has the ability to spot up out to 15 feet with his soft shooting touch. His game around the basket needs work as the word “raw” would be a good way to describe his post game.
Perry Dozier Jr, 6’1, Columbia, SC – Dozier Jr. had an impressive weekend by winning the Phenom 150 Camp MVP. The lengthy youngster has a quick first step which gets him into the lane with ease. He is an above average finisher around the basket with a mid-range jumper off the dribble. His outside shot along with his handles needs work to help his overall offensive game.
Austin Grandstaff, 6’4, Rowlett, TX – Grandstaff will more than likely evolve into a prototypical shooting guard at the next level. He can shoot from anywhere on the court with a quick trigger. Has the ability to put the ball on the floor and pull up or get to the bucket and finish with either hand. He is limited in creating shots for others but has shown flashes in his passing game to be able to expand on his playmaking. On the defensive side is where he has his issues in trying to stay between his man and the basket.
Joshua Holiday, 6’1, Marietta, GA – The long arm wing stood out by showing off his abilities on both ends of the court. Offensively he slashes to the hoop at will and finishes at a high rate. He has great feel on what to do without the ball by hitting open spaces and back cutting when he catches his defender ball watching. Holiday lacks great ball handling skills and shooting off the dribble but as only a 2015 he has plenty of time for growth. On the defensive side he showed off his versatility by locking down Small and Grandstaff, two of the top scorers at camp. Rarely would he get a steal but very sound fundamentally in contesting every shot and staying between his man and the basket.
Matthew McQuaid, 6’3, Ovilla, TX – This silent assassin is a deadly shooter from just about anywhere. McQuaid has a silky smooth feel to his game with a surprisingly quick first step to get to the bucket, above average finisher with either hand. He has a high basketball IQ where he makes the correct basketball decision on most plays.
Nicolas Pete, 6’5, Moreno Valley, CA – Most were surprised by Pete’s All Star worthy performance as he made his statement through hustle and defense, highlighted by running down a couple of fast breaks for blocks. He isn’t the most talented player but his unselfishness, motor and length can’t be taught. His offensive game is limited as he gets most of his points off the offensive glass, hustling down court and hitting a 15ft jumper.
Rising 10th and 11th Graders – 2014
Devante Johnson, 5’9, Beaumont, TX – Johnson showed off his natural point guard abilities all weekend. Defenders had a tough time staying in front of him due to his quickness and deceptive handles, didn’t matter who was guarding him. He showed off his passing in every facet of the game and got his teammates the ball in open space. Johnson has capability to hit the spot up three but is more of a pass first and attack basket second type of point guard. On the defensive end he is a pest as he swarms the ball, giving limited space for opponents.
Tramaine Isabell, 5’11, Kent, WA – Isabell has all the pieces to be the next great player to come out of Seattle. Offensively he has a deadly hesitation move that leaves opposing guards wondering what just happened. His hesitation along with his quickness gets him into the lane with the ability to finish at rim or shoot the midrange shot. At times he turns an easy look into a much more difficult shot or pass, due to trying to make the highlight play. On defense Isabell sniffs out the passing lanes for steals and has shown flashes to be a lockdown defender. On the court he tends to get frustrated too easily, just needs to move on to the next play. But while on the bench he is one of the most helpful teammates by instructing guys on what they should be doing.
Dwight Richards, 6’5, Fort Wayne, IN – Richards is an interesting prospect; at first glance one would think he is a bruiser on the block but mostly plays out on the wing. He has an inside and out offensive game with the ability to shoot the three and the power to attack the hoop on a smaller defender. It will be fun to watch his progression on what type of player he turns into, as it could go many different ways.
Semir Cahtarevic, 6’5, Fair Oaks, CA – Cahtarevic has a European style to his game as at 6’5 you won’t find him on the low block calling for the ball but rather around the elbow area looking to shoot the jumper. He is a good 15-18ft shooter with the capability to take it out past the arc. He has shown off good handles and laterally movement for his size.
Joshua Butler, 6’6, Katy, TX – Butler is the most polished big man on the low block with a go to post move. He likes to catch the ball on the left block and turn into the lane for a 5 foot turnaround, completing it at a high rate all weekend. Not the most agile and athletic player, won’t get too far off the ground, as he will need to continue to grow.
Clancy David, 6’3, Denver City, TX – David, All Star Game MVP, is a fundamentally sounded basketball player. He doesn’t do one thing great but does everything efficiently. He has a high basketball IQ and great basketball instincts as he is always around the basketball and in open spaces within defenses. Crafty player who finds many ways impact a game.
For those fans that wish college basketball was a year-round sport, the College Basketball Newcomers Guide paperback and Kindle book previews the incoming recruits for every team nationally. There’s no need to wait until Fall to learn about the new names in college basketball that will be starring on the hardwood.