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Sterling “Scoot” Henderson Dominates at the 2018 John Lucas International Middle School Combine

Published on May 16, 2018 by Clark Francis

"He might be the best player in camp" and "he's the best player that I've seen all weekend" were the two comments that I heard the most about 6'0 8th Grader Sterling "Scoot" Henderson from Woodstock, GA at the 2018 John Lucas International Middle School Combine, which was held over the weekend in Henderson, NV. This extremely talented and very skilled multi-dimensional athletic 2-guard also drew some Russell Westbrook-like comparisons and, whether he was using his excellent ball handling and passing skills to bring the ball up the court and get his teammates involved or his strong moves to the basket, ability to stop and pop from mid-range, or be like money in the bank for behind the arc, he left very doubt about who the best player was in camp. He also makes a living going coast-to-coast and is a thoroughbred in transition, plays with a competitive edge, has a great nose for the ball, knows how to lock his man up defensively, and has a great combination of skills and maturity for somebody so young. As a matter of fact, Henderson has no real weakness in his game and we're talking about somebody who is talented enough to be a top five-ranked player nationally in the Class of 2022.

In sharp contrast, it was a lot more difficult to separate 6'3 8th Grader Cameron Whitmore from Odenton, MD, 6'5 8th Grader Damonze Woods from Amarillo, TX, 6'3 7th Grader Corey Kelley from Houston, TX, and 6'5 7th Grader Elijah Fisher from Oshawa, ON, who check in at the #2, #3, #4, and #5 spots on our list below and bring a lot of different things to the table. However, in the final analysis, we give the nod to Whitmore based on his natural talent and the fact that he has the versatility and athleticism necessary to play both inside and outside and the body control, explosiveness, and moves necessary to be a tough match-up when he attacks the rim. He's really more of a slasher and than a shooter, but we also liked his competitive edge, take charge mentality, and the way he gets after it on the boards. Woods was arguably both best athlete in camp and, in addition to scoring around the basket, being a dominant force on the boards, passing out of the post, setting more than his share of picks and screens, and popping out and knocking down an occasional 15-foot jumper, he was like a highlight reel when it came time to make a living off transition and attacking the basket.

Kelley is a strong physical athletic power forward/center who plays with a chip on his shoulder and scores around the basket, garners what seems like every rebound, and has the footwork necessary to guard smaller and quicker guys when he is out on the perimeter. He also was the best 7th Grader in camp and we liked him better than Fisher this time around, which is quite a statement when one remembers that Ro Russell is touting Fisher as the next great player to come out Canada and thinks he has a chance to be every bit as good as a long list of players, like Jamaal Magloire, Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Thon Maker, Jamal Murray, Tristan Thompson, and R.J. Barrett, who have come from North of the border and have had a profound impact on the game. Fisher will need to learn to play harder on a consistent basis, but he does have a great frame, big time athleticism, and a knack for being able to get to the basket, dunk in your race, and get more than his share of rebounds, He also knows how to get his own shot, has the versatility necessary to multiple positions, and has incredible natural talent, confidence, and maturity for somebody so young. .

We also were impressed with the likes of 5'7 8th Grader Camron Amboree from Houston, TX, 5'10 8th Grader Ali Brown from Philadelphia, PA. 5'10 8th Grader Mason Manningfrom Jackson, MS, 5'11 7th Grader Andrew Camacho from Peoria, AZ, and 6'3 8th Grader Trey Cheatham from Plano, TX, all of whom we think belonged in the 6-10 range in camp. Amboree is an athletic 2-guard who is really explosive with he ball in the open court and he makes a living attacking the basket. He also has good enough ball handling and passing skills to play some at the point, but his tendency to dominate the ball and jack-up-more than his share of shots leads us to believe he's more of a scorer than a facilitator. Brown has good ball handing and passing skills, is explosive in transition, and, whether it be driving to the basket and finishing at the rim or knocking down the outside shot, he knows how to score. We would have liked for Manning to take over and dominate a little bit more. However, he was one of the most efficient players in camp, as he did a great of getting his teammates involved, taking what they gave him, and, when the opportunity presented itself, used his speed and quickness to get to the basket and finish off transition. Camacho has the versatility, athleticism, and toughness necessary to play both inside and outside and he impressed us with ability to get more than his share of rebounds and score in a variety of ways. Cheatham is another guy had a tendency to over handle at times, but we like his athleticism, explosiveness to the rim, and ability to score from 17-feet and in.

The camp also appeared to have plenty of depth, as guys like 6'3 8th Grader Bowen Hardman from Cincinnati, OH, 5'11 8th Grader Isaiah Griffin from Union, NJ, 6'3 8th Grader Jameel Brown from Philadelphia, PA, 6'2 8th Grader Kaleen Moultrie from Philadelphia, PA, 6'10 8th Grader Adam Stewart from Houston, TX, 6'3 8th Grader Brendan Hausen from Amarillo, TX, 6'3 8th Grader Chanse Perkins from Spring, TX, 6'8 8th Grader Rory Stewart from Toronto, ON, 5'10 7th Grader Skyler Clevenger from Wichita, KS, and 6'10 8th Grader Mohamed Ngon from Houston, TX all fall into the 11-20 range. Hardman is a tough hardnosed white kid who brings a lot of energy to the table, is an excellent defender, and has nice moves to the basket. Griffin is versatile enough to play either guard spot, has a soft touch on his jump shot, and he makes a living using his explosiveness in transition to get to the basket and finish at the rim Brown has a good combination of skills, athleticism, and versatility and he was one of the unsung heroes in the camp, because he was very unselfish, has a high basketball IQ, and always seemed to make the right play.

Moultrie needs both strength and toughness, but it's hard not to like the way he gets it and goes in transition and more than just keeps you honest with his outside shooting. Stewart will need to get bigger and stronger physically, but, at 6'10, he has good hands and feet, knows how to score in the post, is active on the boards, and has excellent mobility, agility, and coordination for somebody so big and so young. Hausen is a tough hardnosed competitor with good ball handling and passing skills, a nice looking jump shot and he knows how to score. Perkins is an athletic wing forward who makes a living off transition and is a strong finisher at the rim. Stewart is a strong physical 4-man who knows how to compete, finish, rebound, and do the dirty work around the basket. Clovenger is a long fluid athletic 2-guard and he was one of the best outside shooters in camp. Ngon is not a very tough customer and he will need time in order to fill out physically. However, his length and size, ability to blocks shots, and range out to 12-feet makes him really intriguing.

And, when we dig a little deeper, we find that guys like 6'5 8th Grader Aidan Shaw from Overland Park, KS,6'3 8th Grader Derrick Sharp from Riverview, FL, 6'1 8th Grader Jabral Ray from Miami, FL, 6'6 8th Grader Khalief Crawley from Philadelphia, PA, 6'2 8th Grader Duben Muoneke from Cypress, TX, 6'4 7th Grader Tyler Ringgold from Zachary, LA, 6'3 8th Grader Hadir Boswell from Philadelphia, PA, 6'1 7th Grader Zyon Little from Webster, TX, 6'1 8th Grader Jordan Williams from Houston, TX, and 5'8 7th Grader Jaden Excell from Brampton, ON all belong in the 21-30 range. Shaw floats too much and he will need to become a tougher customer, but it's hard not to like his length and athleticism, silky smooth demeanor, ability to play multi-position, and the fact that he is oozing with upside and potential. Sharp has the ball handling skills and outside shot necessary to play some out on the perimeter, but what we like best about him is the fact that he gets more than his share of rebounds and can be a bully in the post. Ray needs strength, but he has quick hands and feet, plays with a lot energy, gets more than his share of rebounds, and is versatile enough to play both inside and outside.

Crawley is not very athletic, but this strong physical specimen more than makes up for it with his soft touch around the basket and ability to rebound in the post. Muoneke is multi-dimensional athlete wing who gets to the rim, can stop and pop from 17-foot, and is good boards. Ringgold is a long athletic 4-man who active on the post and and effective on the boards. Boswell is an athletic 2-guard with quick hands and feet, a good nose for the ball, and the speed and quickness necessary to be very effective in an up tempo setting. Little is another guy who needs strength, but knows how to compete, gets more than his share of rebounds, and is very active in the post. Williams has the versatility necessary to play both inside and outside, but what he did best use his strength and athleticism to bang in the post and get more than his share of rebounds. Little will need to get stronger physically, but he showed flashes with his quick and athleticism and he does know how to create his own shot.

THE HOOP SCOOP's RANKING OF THE TOP 30 PLAYERS AT THE 2018 JOHN LUCAS INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE SCHOOL COMBINE

1) 6'0 8th Grader Sterling "Scott" Henderson from Woodstock, GA

2) 6'3 8th Grader Cameron Whitmore from Odenton, MD

3) 6'5 8th Grader Damonze Woods from Amarillo, TX

4) 6'3 7th Grader Corey Kelley from Houston, TX,

5) 6'5 7th Grader Elijah Fisher from Oshawa, ON -

6) 5'7 8th Grader Camron Amboree from Houston, TX

7) 5'10 8th Grader Ali Brown from Philadelphia, PA

8) 5'10 8th Grader Mason Manning from Jackson, MS

9) 5'11 7th Grader Andrew Camacho from Peoria, AZ

10) 6'3 8th Grader Trey Cheatham from Plano, TX

11) 6'3 8th Grader Bowen Hardman from Cincinnati, OH

12) 5'11 8th Grader Isaiah Griffin from Union, NJ

13) 6'3 8th Grader Jameel Brown from Philadelphia, PA

14) 6'2 8th Grader Kaleen Moultrie from Philadelphia, PA

15) 6'10 8th Grader Adam Stewart from Houston, TX

16) 6'3 8th Grader Brendan Hausen from Amarillo, TX

17) 6'3 8th Grader Chanse Perkins from Spring, TX

18) 6'8 8th Grader Rory Stewart from Toronto, ON

19) 5'10 7th Grader Skyler Clevenger from Wichita, KS

20) 6'10 8th Grader Mohamed Ngon from Houston, TX

21) 6'5 8th Grader Aidan Shaw from Overland Park, KS

22) 6'3 8th Grader Derrick Sharp from Riverview, FL

23) 6'1 8th Grader Jabral Ray from Miami, FL

24) 6'6 8th Grader Khalief Crawley from Philadelphia, PA

25) 6'2 8th Grader Duben Muoneke from Cypress, TX

26) 6'4 7th Grader Tyler Ringgold from Zachary, LA

27) 6'3 8th Grader Hadir Boswell from Philadelphia, PA

28) 6'1 7th Grader Zyon Little from Webster, TX

29) 6'1 8th Grader Jordan Williams from Houston, TX

30) 5'8 7th Grader Jaden Excell from Brampton, ON