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John Lucas All Star Weekend
By Invitation Only
2nd - 8th Grade Boys and Girls
The Legends Sports Complex
|| March 4, 2016|
March 6, 2016
The All-Star Weekend Tournament showcases teams from all over the country and beyond. It is open to boys & girls of all age divisions, this tournament offers a platform to take your team's skills to the next level.
*The John Lucas All Star Weekend is a Grade base Tournament.
|• Mandatory Coaches check in Friday March 04, 2016 Time: 5:pm - 8:pm|
• Coaches there will be a small hospitality meal on the night of team check in.
• Team and Individual Awards given to 1st and 2nd place teams.
• 3 Game guarantee
• Teams must arrive 45 minutes prior to scheduled game time. (We will start a game 15 minutes early if court is available.)
• Major Media Resources will be in attendance.
*TEAM CONFIRMATION IS NOT CONFIRMED UNTIL PAYMENT IS RECEIVED
Overabundance of High Level Talent Steals the Show at John Lucas Basketball Resources All-Star Weekend TournamentWritten by: The Hoop Scoop (Clark Francis) Feb 25, 2015
The big story at the John Lucas Basketball Resources All-Star Weekend Tournament, which was held this past weekend at the Alario Center in New Orleans, LA, was the overabundance of high level talent that was in attendance, including at least half a dozen players who need to be in the equation when we start talking about the #1-ranked player nationally in the Class of 2019, Class of 2020, Class of 2021, and Class of 2022. Included on this list are 6’7 8th Grader Chandler Lawson from Memphis, TN, 6’5 7th Grader Jason Harris from Phoenix, AZ, 6’3 7th Grader Shermar Morrow from Sacramento, CA, 5’10 7th Grader Jaden Springer from Charlotte, NC, 5’5 6th Grader Zion Harmon from Baltimore, MD, , and 5’8 5th Grader Jarace Walker from New Freedom, MD.
However, the guy who stole the show in NIKE Team Texas’ impressive 85-69 win over the Georgia Stars and 6’7 8th Grader Chandler Lawson from Memphis, TN in the semi-finals of the 14-Under/8th Grade Division was 5’10 8th Grader Tyrese Maxey from Dallas, TX. Not only did Maxey finish with 32 points, knock down four treys, and impress everybody with his big time athleticism and versatility, but he also has great hands, good ball handling and passing skills, rebounds well for his size, and is tough to stop with his speed, quickness, and explosiveness to the basket. Maxey also played a key role with 13 points in his team’s 79-57 win over the Louisiana Red Storm in the Championship Game, but took a back seat in the scoring department to 6’2 8th Grader Chris Harris from Dallas, TX, who knocked down five 3-pointers en route to 19 points and also impressed us with his lateral quickness, willingness to compete, and the fact that he’s a tenacious defender, and 5’11 8th Grader Devion Harmon from Cornith, TX, who had 15 points and made a living using his combination of strength and athleticism to attack the basket and be aggressive on the boards. And, of course, there also was 6’1 8th Grader Grant Sherfield from Dallas, TX, who chipped in with nine points in the title game and was interchangeable with Maxey at the one and the two spots with his ability to handle the ball, slash to the basket, and drain the three, and 6’7 8th Grader Israel Isuman from Dallas, TX, who is extremely raw and non-productive at the offensive end, but did is an effective rebounder and shot blocker and more than held his own defensively when matched up against Lawson in the semi-finals.
Lawson had 19 points against NIKE Team Texas, but that’s even more impressive when one realizes that he didn’t have a lot of help, he doesn’t work every hard to get open, and they didn’t look to get him the ball when he was in a position to score. In other words, we’re talking about somebody with the length, athleticism, skills, and natural talent necessary to be the best player nationally in his class and, if he ever becomes a tougher customer, then his upside and potential could be off the chart. On the other hand, the game may come too easy for Lawson and he may be too smooth for his own good, as he is more comparable to 6’8 Dedric Lawson from Memphis (Hamilton) TN, who recently was named to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game and is best described as a “finesse four-man,” than 6’7 K.J. Lawson from Memphis (Hamilton) TN, who just missed being named to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game and has the perimeter skills necessary to be very effective at wing forward spot. And, when the dust has cleared. it wouldn’t surprise us one bit if Chandler ends up being better than both of his older brothers, which is a strong statement when one remembers that they are both ranked among the top 20 seniors nationally.
We also could not help but be impressed with 6’2 8th Grader Robert McRae from Miami, FL and 6’6 8th Grader Immanuel West from Pembroke, FL, who combined to score 40 points and provided the Florida Elite Ballers with a terrific one-two punch when we saw them in pool play against the 409 Elite Boys on Saturday afternoon. The former has some Donnell Harvey in him with his combination of size and athleticism and with the way he attacks the basket and gets after it on the boards and the defensive end. The latter was a force to be reckoned with his quickness and athleticism and ability to rebound and blocks shots, but, as the game wore on, he also become more confident and aggressive at the offensive end, which led to 15 points, mostly off of tip-ins and dunks, after the intermission.
As for the Louisiana Red Storm, which took advantage of being in the weaker side of the bracket and knocked off Texas Pro in the quarterfinals and Louisiana Elite in the semi-finals prior to going down in the flames against NIKE Team Texas, it featured three players worth mentioning in 6’2 8th Grader Jordan Wright from Wagganman, LA, 6’8 8th Grader James Poledor from Darrow, LA, and 5’8 Grader K.J.Franklin from Baton Rouge, LA. Wright is more of a slasher than a shooter, but this multi-dimensional athletic combo forward handles the ball well enough to play out on the perimeter, has a competitive edge, can be aggressive on the boards, and is a match-up problem when he decides to post-up or go strong to the basket. Poledor doesn’t get much done at the offensive end, but runs the court, has excellent length and athleticism, is active around the basket, and the sky’s limit due to the fact that we’re talking about a 6’8 13-year-old. Franklin is a crafty point guard with good handling and passing skills, excellent speed and quickness in transition, and a knack for being able to make those around better.
This also is a good place to mention 6’0 8th Grader Kash Foley from LaPlace, LA, who was the best player on the Louisiana Jaguars and whose forte was using his quickness and athleticism to go coast-to-coast and get the basket, and 6’4 8th Grader Lorenz Williams from New Orleans, LA, who was the best player on Louisiana Elite and impressed us with his length and athleticism and versatility, which allowed him to be very effective both inside and outside.
The Worldwide Wildcats knocked off the Nightrydas Elite-7th Grade Team, 71-62, in the Championship Game of the 13-Under/7th Grade Division. And this was no small feat when one remembers that 6’5 7th Grader Jason Harris from Phoenix, AZ and 6’3 Shemar Morrow from Sacramento, CA were two of the players that we mentioned above and you can make a strong case for either one them being the top-ranked player nationally in the Class of 2020. At first we gave the nod went to Harris, who had 19 points in the semi-finals against the God First Crusaders and reminded us Darius Miles with his length, athleticism, quickness to the ball, and ability to cover an incredible amount of ground in a hurry. He also was aggressive to the basket, excellent on the boards, handled the ball surprisingly well in transition, and proved to be a good rebounder and shot blocker. However, the race suddenly became too close to call when Morrow went for 32 points in the Championship Game. And, in addition to being a high flying athlete with incredible body control and impressive moves to the basket, he also does a lot of things away from the ball, can score in a variety of different ways, and has excellent ball handling and passing skills and good court awareness.
But the best player in the Championship Game and the guy who made big play after big play to get the Worldwide Wildcats over the hump was 6’0 7th Grader Jamari Smith from Montgomery, AL. Not only did he finish with 29 points, but it was highlight reel time every time used his speed, quickness, and explosiveness to make his move to the rim and bring the house down with another electrifying slam dunk. And 6’1 7th Grader Chase Ellis from Douglasville, GA, who had 23 points of his own and whose game is much more refined and has better skills than Smith does, was pretty darn impressive with his quickness, athleticism, versatility, and ability to shoot, pass, and defend. We also don’t want to forget about 4’8 7th Grader Khalif Brantley from Charlotte, NC, who did a great job running the show and made some plays down the stretch, and 5’10 7th Grader Justin Powell from Naples (H.S.) FL, who has the skills, length, moves to the basket, and potential top out at the same height as his 6’7 older brother.
The Atlanta Playmakers got knocked off by the Nightrydas Elite-7th Grade Team in the quarterfinals, but featured three very good players in 6’0 7th Grader Dwon Odom from Buford, GA, 6’0 7th Grader Brandon Boston from Lawrenceville, GA, and 5’6 7th Grader Christian Williams from Suwanee, GA. Odom also has the skills, athleticism, versatility, motor, and natural talent necessary to be a legitimate top 10-ranked player nationally in his class and he is especially proficient with his explosiveness in transition and finishing at the rim. Boston is another long lean silky smooth multi-dimensional athletic wing who handles well for his size, has a high basketball IQ, can knock down the outside shot, and is oozing with upside and potential. Williams is a crafty little point guard with excellent speed and quickness, a good understanding of how to run the show, and the ability to get to the rim.
We move onto the 12/Under/6th Grade Division, where the Oakland Soldiers stole the show with another one of the most potent one-two punches in the tournament with the likes of 5’5 6th Grader Zion Harmon from Baltimore, MD and 5’10 7th Grader Jaden Springer from Charlotte, NC. Harmon already has been touted as the best player nationally in his class by others in our business and, although he is capable of playing either guard spot, what he does best is score. And he is very proficient at it, whether it be finishing at the rim, getting into the lane and pulling up from mid-range, or knocking it down from behind the arc. Springer is a year younger than most of the players in his class, which explains why he is a 7th Grader playing the 6th Grade Division. However, that doesn’t stop him from being one of the top players nationally regardless of the class in which he is competing. This fluid athletic multi-dimensional wing has quick hands and feet, great body control, and tremendous length to go along with his great nose for the ball, excellent skills, ability to score in a variety of ways, high basketball IQ, good motor, and tremendous pedigree (his father was a McDonald’s All-American and was a star Iona College back in the early 80’s).
We also were very impressed with 6’3 6th Grader Donell Harris from Miami, FL and 6’0 6th Grader Jonathan Lawson from Memphis, TN, who led the Nightrydas Elite-6th Grade Team into the semi-finals of that division where they lost to the Oakland Soldiers. Harris is an explosive athlete with great length and size and he affects the game in a variety of different ways with his ability to run the court, finish at the rim, rebound and blocks shots, and play with a lot of energy. He also is good enough to be ranked among the top five or10-ranked players nationally in the Class of 2021, although he doesn’t have quite the offensive repertoire that Harmon and Springer both do that this stage of their career. Lawson is the younger brother of the already mentioned Dedric Lawson, K.J Lawson and Chandler Lawson and he’s arguably the most athletic and may also be the one with the best motor of the bunch. However, what Jonathan Lawson does best is pass the basketball and he also has good ball handling and passing skills (more like K.J. than Dedric and Chandler), a great nose for the ball, and a high basketball IQ. On the other hand, he currently has less of a scorer’s mentality than the other three, which should make it interesting with regard to how he ends up stacking up in the grand scheme of things.
And, of course, there were 6’3 6th Grader Erick Speight from Mitchellville, MD and 5’4 6th Grader Kino Lilly from Glen Dale, MD, who were the catalyst behind Team Takeover’s advancement all the way to the Championship Game, where they went down in flames, 60-30, against the Oakland Soldiers in the title game of the 12-Under/6th Grade Division. Speight is long skinny fluid athletic big man who runs the court, has good skills, is very active around the basket, and is out of the same of mold as Chandler Lawson in that he’s going to beat you with quickness and finesse, instead power. Lilly is a quick little floor general with good handling and passing skills, excellent leadership qualities, and the ability to more than just keep you honest with his outside shooting.
I did not watch much of the 5th Grade Division, although I did see enough to know that it’s hard to envision many guys at this age being any better than 5’8 5th Grader Jarace Walker from New Freedom, MD. We’re talking about a multi-dimensional athletic post player who not only runs the court, rebounds, blocks shots, and goes strong to the basket, but also can step out and hit the three and handle the ball both in the open court and transition. He also scored 20 points while being matched up against 5’8 5th Grader Tre Turner from Houston, TX and hit the shot to seal the deal, 43-40, in his team’s win over Golf Coast Blue Chips in the quarterfinals of the 11-Under/5th Grade Division. As for Thomas, he is extremely quick, agile, and athletic around the basket and he more than survived this tough match-up, which makes him more than just good enough to mention.
John Lucas All Star WeekendWritten by: (Hoopscouting) Tate Johnson Feb. 2015
The weekend of the February 20-22 2015 some of the best 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th graders in the country gathered in New Orleans for the 2nd Annual John Lucas All-Star Weekend.
Well with all the talent only one player was a media sensation this past weekend and the was Lebron James jr yes the the son of King James himself. Well everybody knows me I'll never get excited about a 10 year old including the Kings. I don't rank kids that young I just try and yes I said try to evaluate them.
Well I watched LBJ jr quite of few times and yes he did a few things to impress me. First and foremost helped his team win a championship. Also he was very unselfish and had good court vision.
Well what all that being said the kids only 10 years old he's not a phenom, he's a kid you see works to get better and of course has a few of his dad's instincts.
Well when I saw Deion sanders and Barry Sanders sons play football at a young age I also saw the same instincts and will probably not even come close to being their dads. Klay Thompson and Steph Curry games or non like their fathers, who both were great players.
This internet craze can go overboard at times, can you imagine Marcus & Jordan being video taped and chopped up to look great like their father and the heat they would have had.
People have to understand these tapes are chopped up to draw viewers not help you evaluate someone's basketball game.
So all this being said lets not put pressure on this 10 year old who after watching this Weekend didn't act like the kid of the best player in the game but a kid that was silly in between games and enjoyed balling with his other 10 year old buddies.
Some of the other talent at the event below:
2019 De'Vion Harmon 6' SG Dallas, TX
De'Vion is just physically gifted with the highest motor on the team. He set the tone offensively and defensively from jump ball to finish. He's a physical guard that stays on attack. He can get to anywhere he wants on the court and if your in the way he will punish you. He reminds me so much of a young Malik Newman from Mississippi.
2019 Tyrese Maxey 5'10 CG Dallas, TX
Tyrese had what you call in the gym range. When he stepped on the court it looked like he was in range. He also attacked the rim and blew by defenders over and over again. He's definitely not a one dimensional offensive player. When asked to he had no problem running the team, with good court vision and nice pace.
2019 Grant Sherifield 6' CG Dallas, TX
Grant was also a major contributor on Nike Team Texas, that could beat some high school teams. He can stroke from deep, handle the ball and had lock down defense.
2019 Israel Isuman 6'7 C Dallas, TX
Israel is a very intriguing player. He's a very raw talent, but shows flashes of great promise. He runs the floor like a greyhound, he always tries to protect the glass. His skill levels very raw, but he continuously worked hard.
2019 Chris Harris 6'2 CG/WF Dallas, TX
Chris was a player who let the game come to him. He knows he's on a talented team, so he played his role until he was ask to take over. When the ball was put in his hands Chris showed he could do it all, knock down the three, get teammates involved and finish at the basket. More than not he was ask to guard the best perimeter defender and delivered.
2019 Chandler Lawson 6'7 WF Memphis, TN
Out of all the Lawson boys Chandler has a chance to be the best. He has soft hands, great feet and excellent touch. When he gets stronger he will become unstoppable. I love watching a young player play within himself and that's what Chandler does best.
2019 Kyle Sturdivant 6'1 WF Johns Creek, GA
I've seen Kyle play better in the past, but he showed flashes of how physical and dominant he can be at times. He was as consisting from deep as I've seen, but he still knocked down some timely jump shots. He's most successful when he gets the basketball and finishes with contact.
2020 Jamari Smith 6' PF Montgomery, Al
Jamari was a stud in the championship, who help will his team to the championship. He's what you call a run stopper, every time his team needed a bucket he answered the call. He scored at will in the post, with a different array of post moves and quickness.
2020 Chase Ellis 5'10 WF Douglasville, GA
Chase played consistent all weekend. He scored in a variety ways and with a high percentage. He just has a good feel for such a young age. He's definitely another player I'm enjoy watching over the next few years.
2020 Jacorrei Turner 6'2 CF College Park, GA
Jacorrei was one of the most physical players of the weekend. He imposed his will on his opponents. You can tell he's a stud on the football field. If he decides to concentrate on basketball, he definitely has a chance.
2020 Shemar Morrow 6'3 WF Sacremento, CA
It was only my second time seeing Shemar and he lived up to all the hype. Even though his team last in the championship, it wasn't from lack of effort by him. He's a crafty lefty that stayed on attack mode. He got to the cup at will and plays and finishes above the rim. I definitely can see how some people have him the top rated player so far in his class.
2020 Jason Harris 6'5 PF/C Phoenix, AZ
Even though his teammate Shemar is the top player in the country, I feel Jason may have a better upside. You can't teach his defensive timing and the energy he puts in on the boards. He plays with in himself and was dominant in the paint. Once he learns to control his fouls and stay on the court the skies the limit.
2020 Dwon Odom 6' SG Buford, GA
If anyone can attack Shemar for that top spot, it can be Dwon. He was one of the most impressive players of the weekend and when he played against Shemar and Jason at times he looked like the best player on the floor. He has ever shot from the two guard position and he finishes above the rim at times.
2020 Caleb Murphy 5'8 PG Atlanta, GA
Caleb is a silky smooth point guard that can stroke it from deep. He impressed me most the weekend with his poise and leadership. The only knock I do have with him, is because he's such a good shooter, he falls in love with the three, when he can almost always get in the lane at will.
2020 PJ King 5'7 PG Hoover, AL
I just loved PJ feel for the game. He played with good control and with a nice temperament. He's definitely a young player on my watch list.
2020 Tyrese Harmon 5'3 PG Silsbee, TX
He's one of my favorite players to watch. He's always playing with a non stop motor, with a smile on his face. He's a crafty lefty and jet quick. He will pick you pocket if you let up just a little and he loves to get in the lane and raise havoc.
2020 Brealon Bush 5'4 PG Silsbee, TX
It seems like every year off the squad there's a talented player, who has chip and attitude that hurts his game and team. Brealon a special talent, he plays in gears and is deadly from deep. He plays with a ton of heart and a chip on his shoulders, he just has to understand it isn't all about him and when he learns that he'll be alright.
2020 Jaden Springer 5'10 SG/WF Charlotte, NC
Jaden was very dominant the weekend of the event. Along with Zion Harmon their team ran through the tournament in dominant fashion. I kinda wish Jaden would've played in the 7th grade division and gotten a better challenge. He did what he wanted to do at will.
2021 Zion Harmon 5'5 PG Baltimore, MD
I only have one word for Zion and that is 'stud'. This kid plays with great confidence and poise. He seems to never get rattled and no stage is to big for him. He does everything you want from a great point guard. He will be and instant impact on the high school level, because what he brings to the table you can't teach, it's a gift.
2021 Donell Harris 6'3 WF Miami, FL
For an 6th grader Donell is a great athlete, who skill set is way beyond his age. It was my first time seeing him play and I was thoroughly impressed. He plays with great energy and he knows at a early age the closer you get to the basket the most successful you will be.
2021Jonathan Lawson 6' WF Memphis, TN
In the line of the great Lawson brothers, Jonathan the last in line and has the potential to be the best. He doesn't have many bad habits. He plays under control and a good understanding of the game. He has a good touch, but lets the game come to him and likes to get his teammates involved. He can be the best all around of the four.
2021 Khalil Brantley 5'3 PG Charlotte, NC
Kahlil played like a monster in the championship game. He dictated the flow of the game and took over in spurts. Playing a grade level up, he definitely showed he belong. He definitely shows the NYC swaggers in his blood lines.
2021 Madison Durr 5'7 PG Atlanta, GA
Madison another one of those kids that plays way beyond his years. He has a high school I.Q. with a middle school body. He knows where he teammates need to be on the court and if their not there he holds the accountable. He knows how to get buckets and when to go get them. He has a bright future in front of him.
2022 Bryce Griggs 5'6 PG Lake Jackson, TX
Bryce has a lot of pressure on him, with everybody labeling him the next young phenom from Houston. Well this kid doesn't back down from it, he embraces it. He carried his team on his back all the way to the championship. If you needed that pass, shot, rebound, steal or block, Bryce was that kid to deliver.
2022 Jarace Walker 5'8 SG New Freedom, MD
Jarace may have been the most impressive prospect of the weekend. He is truly one player that can do it all. He can run the point, fill the wing and post up in the middle. To top it all off, he guards the opposing teams best player. He really impressed by putting the team on his back and delivering.
2022 Mason Manning 5'6 PG Jackson, MS
Mason is one the most intense competitors I've seen at a age this young. He's and excellent ball handler and penetrator and can knock down the deep three ball. He's a tenacious on ball defender.
2024 Mercy Miller 4'9 SG Miami, FL
I didn't get to see a lot of the young teams, because the older teams were so loaded, but I did get to briefly see the 3rd grade Nightrydas Elite play and I was very impressed by Percy Miller (Master P) son. He was very skilled and played with good intensity. He had a nice little feel for the game.
Marvin Bagley & Plethora of Great Young Talent Highlight John Lucas All-Star Weekend in New Orleans, LAWritten by: Clark Francis February 18, 2014
The John Lucas All-Star Weekend, which was held over the weekend at the Alario Center in New Orleans, LA, was totally dominated by the We All Can Go All-Stars, which had a team in the Championship Game in four of the five age groups and left with a 2-2 record in the title games. However, even more important for our purposes, we got to see 6’8 8th Grader Marvin Bagley from Phoenix, AZ, who is one of the top two-ranked players nationally in his class, along with 5’1 8th GraderChase Adams from Chicago, IL, play a number of times and there is no doubt that he has the size, skills, and athleticism necessary to evolve into a superstar someday at the highest level. He is a thoroughbred in transition, has excellent moves and is explosive around the basket, has a good nose for the ball, gets more than his share of rebounds, and is a terrific shot blocker. He also had 16 points in his team’s 57-49 win over ATR-Xplosion in the Championship Game and was the clear choice for tournament MVP honors.
However, Bagley also has a tendency to not play hard, often is too emotional, and he left us wanting a lot more when we saw him score just five points against the Texas Ballhawks in the 3:35 PM game on Saturday afternoon. So, while Tyson Chandler comparisons for Bagley may be in order, it is cleat that the debate also rages on with regard to who is the best player nationally in the Class of 2018. And, believe it or not, a number of people that we talked with over the weekend who have seen both players play7actually give the nod to Adams over Bagley.. Obviously it’s like comparing apples and oranges, but Adams has such a high basketball IQ, is such a great floor general, and is such a tremendous competitor. All he lacks is size and he still has plenty of time to grow.
Bagley also had plenty of help, as the We All Can Do Allstars also featured 6’6 8th Grader Kevin Easley from Indianapolis IN, 6’0 8th Grader Camron Jordan from Nashville, TN, 6’5 8th GraderDemonty Dickson from Nashville, TN, 5’8 8th Grader Mark Freeman from Memphis, TN, and 6’4 8th Grader T.J. Moss from Memphis, TN. Easley and Jordan are ranked #34 and #37 nationally in the senior class by the HOOP SCOOP and they had 13 points and 11 rebounds respectively in the Championship Game. The former also provided the perfect complement to Easley with his size, quickness, athleticism, and explosiveness to the basket and the latter impressed us with ability to do a little bit of everything, as he got to the basket, knocked outsides shots, had good ball handling and passing skills, and was quick-on-quick in this tempo setting. Dickson has a tendency to be a bit mechanical, but he has good hands, tremendous length, and showed some flashes with his ability to rebound and score around the basket. However, it’s Dickson’s upside and potential and likelihood that he will continue to grow (his mother is a tall as he is and he’s really sprouted up in the last year) that makes him such an intriguing prospect. Freeman is an athletic combo guard with good ball handling and passing skills, the ability to knock down the outside shot, and the speed and quickness necessary to be a good defender . What Moss does best is slash to the basket, but he also has a tendency to be too quick for his own good and, at times, he also can be turnover prone.
Another one of the top players in the entire event was 6’4 8th Grader Javonte Smith from Metairie, LA and he almost singlehandedly was the reason why his team was able to knock off Team Texas Elite in the semi-finals. We’re talking about a true combo guard, because he has the size and ball handing and passing skills necessary to be a match-up problem at the point guard spot and the world-class athleticism and the outside shooting necessary to be a big time 2-guard. We’re not sure if he just ran out of gas or whether the We All Can Go All-Stars just had too many weapons, but Smith only had six points in the Championship Game. However, that won’t stop us from touting him among the top 20 players nationally in his class even though his name currently is no where to be found on our List of the Top 175 Players Nationally in the Class of 2018.
As for Team Texas Elite, they had four players that we need to mention in 6’6 8th Grader Reggie Chaney from Plano, TX, 6’8 8th Grader Russell Barlow from Plan, TX, 6’4 8th Grader David Ward from Plano, TX, and 5’11 8th Grader Antonio Davis from Houston, TX. Chaney is another guy who has to move way up in our national rankings (currently he checks in at #49 our list of the top players in this class) due to his big time athleticism, excellent motor, aggressiveness on the boards, and ability to finish around the basket. He also showed that he can step out and hit the mid-range shot, but his bread-and-butter is using his quickness around the basket and he likely will continue to grow, which makes him ideally suited to a big time power forward prospect at the college level. Barlow is a pure post man and he is very fluid and athletic around the basket, as he blocks more than his share of shots, is a strong defender, and is very aggressive on the boards. Ward is like a jack-of-all-trades, but a master-of-none right now. On the other hand, he’s multi-dimensional enough and has the size and the ball handling and passing skills necessary to play anywhere from the one to the four spot and he’s got the talent necessary to evolve into a very good player. Davis is a high energy athletic combo guard who has improved dramatically in the last year. He’s also a coach’s son, but he’s more of slasher than a facilitator and, as a result, it will be interesting to see if he grows and how his game continues to evolve as he continues to advance to a high level.
The fourth team in the final four of this age group was MBA Hoops and this team featured a terrific one-two punch in 6’5 8th Grader Ladarius Marshall from Jackson, MS and 6’5 8th Grader Michael Barber from Jackson, MS, who are ranked #10 and #14 nationally in the Class of 2018 respectively and did a great job of matching up athletically against a number of the aforementioned players even though they lost to Team Texas Elite in pool play on Saturday night and the We All Can Go Allstars in the semi-finals Sunday evening. Marshall is a raw athletic post player, but his skill level improves each tine we see him, he is aggressive on the boards and is tough to stop in the low post, and he surprised everybody when he stepped outside and knocked down a 15-jump shot a key momentagainst the We Can All Go Allstars in the title game. Right now Barber is more of a four than a three, as he thrives in transition, is explosive to the basket, and has a tendency to bring the house down with a number of electrifying dunks. However, he also showed that he can get his own shot and his club team coachOmhar Carter has a successful track record of getting inside guys to make the transition out to the perimeter. Unfortunately for MBA Hoops, their best outside shooter, 6’4 8th Grader Zachary Willisfrom Madison (H.S.) MS, was slowed early in the tournament by a sprained ankle injury and several of their other top players were not in attendance this weekend, which made it was only a matter time before they got blown out in the semi-finals against the We All Can Go AllStars.
Several other players that we wanted to mention in this age group are 6’1 8th Grader Elijah Parquetfrom Sour Lake, TX, 6’5 8th Grader Brock Cunningham from Austin, TX, and 6’6 8th GraderJoshua LeBlanc from Houston, TX. Parquet is an athletic 2-guard who shoots the three, has good ball handling and passing skills for his position, and is explosive in transition. Cunningham is a skilled multi-dimensional white kid with a high basketball IQ, good ball handling and passing skills for somebody his size, the versatility necessary to play both inside and outside, and the talent necessary to be the guy who totally carried his team. LeBlanc is a fluid slashing athletic wing with good size and he was at his best in an up tempo setting.
The two best players in the 7th Grade Division were 6’8 7th Grader Nobal Days from Racine, WI and 6’1 7th Grader Michael Salter from Chicago, IL and, ironically, their teams played against one another in the Championship Game. And the big reason why Butler Elite was able to emerge with the victory in a game that was not as close as the 58-49 final score might indicate was the inside presence of Days, who clearly was the best shot blocker/intimidator in the entire event. He’s also extremely long and agile in the post, has great hands, runs the court, dunks in transition, and just turned 13-years-old. He will need to get bigger and stronger physically, but he’s also got a great nose for the ball, is active on the boards, and he has no idea just how good he is right now or how good he may become. And to make this story even more refreshing, he also has that competitive edge and we’re talking about one of the top players nationally in his class, as he’s only just beginning to tap into his vast upside and potential. Salter is a skilled point guard with incredible length, great ball handling and passing skills, and the explosiveness necessary to beat most defenders off the dribble, He does need to develop more of an outside shooter’s mentality, but he has exceptional moves to the basket, tremendous court savvy, and a very high basketball IQ. He also was one of the top prospects that we saw in the entire event and clearly is one of the top players nationally in his class.
The best player in the 6th Grade Division was 5’2 5th Grader Zion Harmon from Washington, DC and, believe it or not, he was playing up a year in class and still was the guy with the most poise and the highest basketball IQ on the court every time we saw his team play. He not only has great ball handling and passing skills, but he handles pressure extremely well, is explosive in transition, has great moves to the basket, rebounds well for his size, and can knock down the outside shot even though he is much more of playmaker than an outside shooter. We also want to mention 5’0 6th Grader Khalil Bradleyfrom Atlanta, GA and 6’2 6th Grade Kyree Walker from Atlanta, GA. Walker was the best player on the Memphis War Eagles and he has long arms, big feet, great hands, good skills, and big time athleticism. He also is an excellent rebounder and he is expected to grow another eight to 10 inches, which means he likely will end up someday being in the 6’10 or 6’11 range. Bradley was the tough heady point guard on the Worldwide Wildcats and he did a great job making his those around him better as he led his team to an impressive 52-39 victory over the We All Can Go Allstars in the 6th Grade Division.
The best player in the 5th Grade Division was 5’8 5th Grader Jayden Springer from Charlotte, NC and it looks like he is a chip-off-the-old-block, as, just like his father (former Iona star Gary Springer), this kid is exceptional at getting to the basket and he does everything well except knock down the outside shot. He also was good enough to put his team on his back with 18 points in the first half and lead his team to an impressive 51-42 win over YBE Elite in the Championship Game. The best player in the 3rd and 4th Grade Division was 4’10 4th Grader Cruz Davis from Plano, TX and he was the catalyst behind his team’s 38-35 overtime win over Gulf Coast Bluechips in the Championship Game. Davis has unbelievable skills and poise for somebody so young and he’s quick off the dribble, can beat you with his moves to the basket and outside shooting, and also is his team’s best defensive player. He also has a great feel for the game, a high basketball IQ, does a great job of making those around him better, and is good enough to be ranked as the top player nationally in his class, if and when we decide to publish a 4th Grade list.
Girlz Prep ReportWritten by: Simmie Colson Feb 17, 2014
Lucas being more innovative for #AllStarWeekend
I've been rolling with John Lucas covering the girl's side of whatever event he's doing and he blew me away with this one. Not only did the South Texas Hoyas come away with a nice trophy, they also won championship rings. I don't know what's popping up next but I'll be at the 60/60 Camp in Duncanville.
WESTWEGO, Louisiana- The line just keeps getting longer on the John Lucas events I’m covering on the girl’s side and one thing that has remained constant is that I’m steadily identifying talented players that I hadn’t before. This go round, my travels had me in Louisiana at the Alario Center, a place I am all too familiar having traveled there numerous times over the past 10 years to observe some of the top players in the country. What I saw at the John Lucas All Star Weekend were some very exciting young players, in fact a couple of the top prospects in the 2020 class who are on the fast track to maybe even MDAA. I’ve mentioned most of the players and all of the teams throughout the blog, there was over fifty talented young ladies who have their destiny in their hands and here are a few that simply stood out
Khaitlyn Gavidel-guard-South Texas Hoyas- Ghavidel is becoming more than just a three point shooter who simply strives to be the best she can be. Her six three’s in the semi’s and three from bta isn’t what impressed the most, it was her improved defense and ability to attack from the wing.
Dynah Jones-point guard-Elevate New Orleans-Jones simply amazed me, not only from what she did on the court but she did numerous times after being injured and coming back. She knows how to score but more importantly understands at an early age how to run a team
Kourtney Weber-wing-Elevate New Orleans-Weber is a physical specimen at a young age incorporating size and strength along with being relentless while attacking. She can rebound as well as handle it coast to coast. Once she realizes how good she is, watch out in a big way.
Megan Wilkinson-guard-GTE Red Elite-I knew she was a player last season, simply put "ice water runs through her veins" as nothing fazes her. She has a stroke, trust me and she is going to be one of those pressure players that will come up big many times.
Simran Mayfield-point guard-GTE Red Elite- Like Jones, Mayfield caught my eye off the top because I love watching PG's that understand the game at an early age. She also showed she could get anywhere on the floor and set up her teammates. She handled the press effectively without being flustered.
Arianna Cooks-wing-Louisiana Blue Chips-Long and athletic, Cooks was worth me going to Louisiana is what I tweeted. Her athleticism is through the roof; she has good skills and understands the game. Tremendous upside will have numerous colleges calling.
Dynah McZeal-guard-Baton Rouge Lady Tigers-I’m almost ready to put McZeal in the scorers category because she simply found ways to put the ball in the basket. Size was a deterrent as she got to the basket whenever. Nice arsenal of weapons at a young age.
Alynzia Morris-post-Baton Rouge Lady Tigers-The more I watched Morris against the different, I saw she “got it.” Good hands and footwork are a plus at any age but her strength enabled her to finish with contact and no matter how hard the contact was, she kept coming.
Ta’Niya Jackson-guard-South Texas Hoyas-Jackson has been working and her mentality is going to make her a star. She was simply everywhere on both ends of the court, scoring almost every way imaginable while being one of the top defenders during the event.
Ana Rodriguez-point guard-HTX Fire- This young lady keeps getting better and what keeps impressing me is that she’s getting it done against older, stronger and more athletic kids but she’ll be bringing the heat once everything is level because she knows the game.
Deyonna Gaston-post-HTX Fire- Gaston is ultra-athletic as a sixth grader, if you don’t understand, remember her name. She’s hard to handle in the paint, she can score from the wing, midrange and long ball. How can you hold her, oh she’s six feet.
De’ja Kelly-whatever-South Texas Hoyas- Kelly simply goes off when she has too, she can attack and finish with either hand, can hit step back three’s which sometimes are fours because defenders fall for it. I list her as 'whatever' because she plays all five positions. She rebounds defends, she definitely has 'IT'