JAMAL CHRETIEN, TREY PETTY, NEFFI TAIWO, & JADEN HOLT TOP THE RANKING OF THE TOP 45 PLAYERS BASED PRIMARILY ON PERFORMANCE AT THE 2018 JOHN LUCAS RISING STARS INVITATIONAL

Published on June 26, 2018 by Clark Francis

A good rule of thumb is that the longer you have to watch somebody play and/or the less sure you are about a player, the less likely he can play. And this is important, because it didn't take long for us to figure out that 5'3 6th Grader Jamal Chretien from Houston, TX was the best player at the 2018 John Lucas Rising Stars Invitational, which was held over the weekend at the University of Houston Recreation & Wellness Center in Houston. TX and featured some of the top 5th and 6th Graders in the nation. Chretien's reminds us of Tracy McGrady with his versatility, athleticism, and explosiveness in transition. He also knows how to compete and brings a lot of energy to the table, is more often than not his team's primary ball handler and is very adept at finding the open man, has a great nose for the ball and gets more than his share of rebounds, finishes with authority and has a flare for the spectacular when he gets to the rim, and is not afraid to pull the trigger and has deep range on jump shot. Our only criticism might be the that he has a tendency to over handle, but he was by far and away the most talented player in camp and, when one finds out that he's actually the right age and won't turn 12 until August, 28th, it's pretty clear that his upside is off the chart.

The other player who was a dominant force at the 2018 John Lucas Rising Stars Invitational was 6'0 6th Grader Trey Petty from Starkville, MS. And, just like Chretlen, we're talking about somebody with the skills, versatility, and athleticism necessary to play just about anywhere on the court, Petty will need to get bigger and stronger physically, but he has good ball handling and passing skills, is an excellent rebounder for his size and position, was one of the better defensive players in camp, and makes a living using his speed and quickness in transition and attacking the basket. And, since we last saw him at the Global Elite Exposure Camp back in February, it looks like he has developed more of a takeover mentality and really improved his outside shooting. It also was difficult not to be enamored with the intimidating presence that 6'4 6th Grader Neffi Taiwo from Houston, TX provided in the post. He is really thin and his defense is way ahead of his offense. However, he has quick hands and feet, runs the court extremely well, is very active in the post, and he knows what he is, which is a big man with incredible length and athleticism and the ability to get plenty of rebounds and alter and block more than his share of shots.

The best point guard in camp was 4'10 5th Grader Jaden Holt from Katy, TX and, whether it be using his speed, quickness, and athleticism to penetrate and dish or get to the basket, he appeared to have a takeover mentality when he got the ball in the open court and made a living either penetrating and dishing or finishing off transition. He also plays with a lot energy, is extremely quick with the ball, has great moves to the basket, does a great job of getting his teammates involved, and can be a pest at the defensive end. However, just like Eden Holt, who now appears to be heading to prep school at Bridgton Academy in North Bridgton, ME, the younger brother will need to continue grow and get better, if he is going to live up the hype of being one the best players nationally in the Class of 2025 and the expectations that have been created for him at an early age. On the other hand, Holt does get the nod over 5'9 6th Grader Ja'Mon Valentine from Piedmont, OK for the #4 spot in our ranking of the top players at the 2018 John Lucas Rising Stars Invitational. We're talking about somebody who is quick enough to defends smaller guys out on the perimeter, gets more than his share of rebounds, runs the court extremely well, goes strong to the basket, and knows how to finish strong off transition.

We also were impressed with the likes of 5'7 6th Grader Charlie Georgelos from Boerne, TX, 6'0 6th Grader Dalen Fuller from Tulsa, OK 5'6 6th Grader Kasen Krueger from Alamao, CA, 5'5 6th Grader Jaden Colzie from Lafayette Hill, PA, and 4'10 5th Grader Anthony Smith from Minneapolis, MN, all of whom fall into the 6-10 range in our ranking of the top players at the 2018 John Lucas Rising Stars Invitational. Georgelos is one of the those guys who does a lot of everything, as is evident by the fact that he is versatile enough to play multiple position, has excellent moves to the basket, can knock down the outside shot, in an excellent defender, has a great nose for the ball and is not afraid to get after it on the boards, plays with a lot of energy, knows how o compete, and gets more than his of hustle points. Fuller is another guy who will need to get bigger and stronger physically and we have some reservations about his outside shot. However, he does have extremely quick hands and feet, is a good rebounder and shot blocker, knows how to attack the basket, and is oozing with upside and potential. The outside shot wasn't going down this time around for Krueger. But it didn't matter because he was one of the most versatile and most skilled players in camp. He also is very unselfish, knows how to defend, has an extremely high basketball IQ, is an excellent rebounder, and can score in a variety of ways. Colzie is more of a scorer than a shooter and he does have a tendency to dominate the ball. But he does have tremendous natural talent to go along with his speed, quickness, and athleticism, which he uses to create all kinds of havoc at the defensive end and attack the basket at the offensive end. Smith is another guy who at first glance appears to be just too small. However, he quickly wins you over with his excellent ball handling and passing skills, high basketball IQ, competitive edge, and ability to get and go and keep you honest with his outside shooting.

We find that the camp had excellent depth, as guys like 6'3 6th Grader Joe Christian from Houston, TX, 5'6 6th Grader T.J. James from Houston, TX,, 5'9 6th Grader Max Georgefrom San Antonio, TX, 5'6 6th Grader Maverick Binder from Table Rock, NE, 5'7 6th Grader Cameron Simpson from Orlando, FL, 5'5 6th Grader K.J. Farfan from Miami, FL, 5'8 6th Grader Zion Pipkin from Humble, TX, 5'7 5th Grader Edison Onwe from San Antonio, TX, 5'4 6th Grader Jhase McMillian from Houston, TX, and 6'1 5th Grader Anthony Andrews from Houston, TX all fell into the 11-20 range. Like so many of the big guys in camp, Christian needs to get in shape. But it also was difficult not to like the fact that he has great hands, is a good shot blocker and rebounder, and has a knack for being able to score in the post. James more than makes up for his lack of strength and size with his ability to get out and go in transition, knock down the outside shot, and come up with more than his share of steals at the defensive end. We would like George to get meaner and tougher in the post, but he does play with a lot of energy, gets up and down the court extremely well, can score in a variety of ways, and is very active on the boards, Binder is a crafty point guard with good ball handing and passing skills, a high basketball IQ, excellent court awareness, and a soft touch on his jump shot. And he's not afraid to pull the trigger. Simpson checks in at less than a 100 pounds, but he more than make up for it with his length and athleticism, quick hands and feet, and the fact that he plays with a lot of energy, is a good defender, and has good moves to the basket. Farfan is a crafty point guard with good ball handling and passing skills, an excellent court presence and a knack for being able to find a way to finish amongst the trees when he attacks the basket. Pipkin doesn't have a true position, but he does have a good combination of strength and athleticism and he makes a living going strong to the basket, drawing fouls, and getting more than his share of rebounds. Ouwe has a good combination of length and athleticism and he can both shoot and slash. McMillian is an athletic 2-guard with jet like speed and quickness, deep range on his jump shot, and a willingness to pull the trigger. We would have liked Andrews more if he had been in better shape and finished better in the post. However, it's hard to argue with the way he blocked out and rebounded in the post.

And, when we dig a little deeper, we find that guys like 5'5 6th Grader Julian Bunton from Louisville, KY, 5'3 5th Grader De'Zaum Robinson from Fredericksburg, VA,, 5'6 6th Grader Darien Luke from Oklahoma City, OK, 5'5 6th Grader Brandon Nunez from Allentown, PA, 6'4 6th Grader Eric Paymon from Jackson, MS, 5'5 6th Grader Robert Russell from Carmel, IN, 5'6 6th Grader Jermaurhlyon Brown from Greensville, SC, 5'6 6th Grader Jaynen Greenwood from Houston, TX, 4'10 5th Grader Eian Lowe from Houston, TX, 6'3 6th Grader Sean Dalberg from Leander, TX, 5'3 5th Grader Camden Cowgill from San Antonio, TX, 6'3 6th Grader Alec Scarborough from Houston, TX, 33. 5'4 6th Grader Will Cianfrini from The Woodlands, TX, 5'0 6th Grader Tres Luzey from The Woodlands, TX, 6'0 6th Grader Stephen Warren from Sugar Land, TX, 5'0 6th Grader Donny Yeager from Saginaw, MI, 5'0 6th Grader M.J. Yeager from Saginaw, MI, 5'0 6th Grader Justin Begg from Houston, TX, 5'11 6th Grader DeShon Scott from Houston, TX, 5'6 6th Grader J.T. Tipton from Citrus Spring, FL, 5'0 4th Grader Elijah Garrett from Beaumont, TX, 5'36th Grader Breylan Thompson from Sugar Land, TX, 5'0 4th Grader Randy Livingston from West Palm Beach, FL, 4'9 5th Grader Robert Gill from Cibolo, TX, and 55 5th Grader John "Scottie" Guillory from Katy, TX make up a good best of the rest.

THE HOOP SCOOP'S EXCLUSIVE RANKING OF THE TOP PLAYERS BASED PRIMARILY ON PERFORMANCE AT THE 2018 JOHN LUCAS RISING STARS INVITATIONAL

  1. 5'3 6th Grader Jamal Chretlen from Houston, TX
  2. 6'0 6th Grader Billy "Trey" Petty from Starkville, MS
  3. 6'4 6th Grader Neffi Taiwo from Houston, TX
  4. 4'10 5th Grader Jaden Holt from Katy, TX
  5. 5'9 6th Grader Ja'Mon Valentine from Piedmont, OK
  6. 5'7 6th Grader Charlie Georgelos from Boerne, TX
  7. 6'0 6th Grader Dalen Fuller from Tulsa, OK
  8. 5'6 6th Grader Kasen Krueger from Alamao, CA
  9. 5'5 6th Grader Jaden Colzie from Lafayette Hill, PA
  10. 4'10 5th Grader Anthony Smith from Minneapolis, MN
  11. 6'3 6th Grader Joe Christian from Houston, TX
  12. 12 5'6 6th Grader T.J. James from Houston, TX
  13. 5'9 6th Grader Max George from San Antonio, TX
  14. 5'6 6th Grader Maverick Binder from Table Rock, NE
  15. 5'7 6th Grader Cameron Simpson from Orlando, F
  16. 5'5 6th Grader K.J. Farfan from Miami, FL
  17. 5'8 6th Grader Zion Pipkin from Humble, TX
  18. 5'7 5th Grader Edison Onwe from San Antonio, TX
  19. 5'4 6th Grader Jhase McMillian from Houston, TX
  20. 6'1 5th Grader Anthony Andrews from Houston, TX
  21. 5'5 6th Grader Julian Bunton from Louisville, KY
  22. 5'3 5th Grader De'Zaum Robinson from Fredericksburg, VA
  23. 5'6 6th Grader Darien Luke from Oklahoma City, OK
  24. 5'5 6th Grader Brandon Nunez from Allentown, PA
  25. 6'4 6th Grader Eric Paymon from Jackson, MS
  26. 5'5 6th Grader Robert Russell from Carmel, IN
  27. 5'6 6th Grader Jermaurhlyon Brown from Greensville, SC
  28. 5'6 6th Grader Jaynen Greenwood from Houston, TX
  29. 4'10 5th Grader Eian Lowe from Houston, TX
  30. 6'3 6th Grader Sean Dalberg from Leander, TX
  31. 5'3 5th Grader Camden Cowgill from San Antonio, TX
  32. 6'3 6th Grader Alec Scarborough from Houston, TX.
  33. 5'4 6th Grader Will Cianfrini from The Woodlands, TX.
  34. 5'0 6th Grader Tres Luzey from The Woodlands, TX
  35. 6'0 6th Grader Stephen Warren from Sugar Land, TX
  36. 5'0 6th Grader Donny Yeager from Saginaw, MI
  37. 5'0 6th Grader M.J. Yeager from Saginaw, MI
  38. 5'0 6th Grader Justin Begg from Houston, TX
  39. 5'11 6th Grader DeShon Scott from Houston, TX
  40. 5'6 6th Grader J.T. Tipton from Citrus Spring, FL
  41. 5'0 4th Grader Elijah Garrett from Beaumont, TX
  42. 5'36th Grader Breylan Thompson from Sugar Land, TX
  43. 5'0 4th Grader Randy Livingston from West Palm Beach, FL
  44. 4'9 5th Grader Robert Gill from Cibolo, TX
  45. 55 5th Grader John "Scottie" Guillory from Katy, TX