Knoxvegas Heat Recap

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The underclassmen took over at the Knoxvegas Heat Invitational. Among the 2015 and 2016 recruits that stood out this past weekend were Junior Smith, Kwe Parker, Michael Stafford and Daniel Giddens.

Dan Manzi, C, Showtime Ballers – One of the surprises of the Knoxvegas Heat event was this 6-foot-8, 235-pound post player. The Tampa Bay Christian standout has a good set of hands and nice scoring touch around the basket. He scored it well with his back to the rim, as he dropped in hooks and finished with both hands in the paint. For his size, he maneuvered quite well in the paint too. He has mid-major offers now and that is sure to expand when college coaches get a good look at him in the spring.

Daniel Giddens, C, Game Elite – Defensively, Giddens, a 6-foot-10, 220-pound post player, gets after it. He hits the glass with tenacity and pursues the ball as well as you can off the rim. Using his strength and athleticism he reels in boards at a high rate. He'll also contest shots and make it difficult for the opposition to score in the paint. While his defense is well ahead of his offense, Giddens is capable of scoring with either hand at the rim. A five-star recruit, Giddens is one of the better post prospects in the 2015 class.

Jaylen Brown, SF, Game Elite – It seems like Brown gets bigger and stronger every time he takes the court. The now nearly 6-foot-6 lengthy, but strong wing prospect is a physical swingman that plays well through contact. Although is jump shot was spotty in the game we watched, he's a capable shooter to 22-feet. On Saturday, he was at his best attacking the basket, where he either finished at the rim or dropped off passes to teammates that led to buckets.

Michael Stafford, PG, The Ville – He barely played varsity at Louisville (Ky.) Trinity this past season, but he's sure to see increased time as a junior. Stafford, a 6-foot-1 lengthy guard, showed great command of the lead guard position in a win over Atlanta Celtics. He has a nice feel for the game, can play at different speeds and is a quality shooter from both mid-range and three. He's tracking as at least a high mid-level recruit.

Kareem Brewton, SG, Southern Stampede 16's – In a blowout win, Brewton, a 6-foot-2, 175-pound guard, showed off his ability to score. A solid athlete, Brewton seemed to always be in attack mode. He finished well at the rim and was able to get out in transition and make plays. Brewton also worked in a mid-range jump shot. He didn't get much time on varsity as a sophomore, but that's sure to change next year.

Alex Owens, PF/C, E1T1 16's – In an evening game on Saturday, Owens, a 6-foot-7, 235-pound post player, made an effort to own the glass. He went after every rebound and it led to a number of put back opportunities. Owens plays with effort and energy. He also has a good set of hands. The next step in his development is to work on a go-to move on the block.

Dwayne Bacon, SF, Showtime Ballers – A big, physical wing, Bacon is one of the more talented small forwards in the 2015 class. Although he struggled making shots in the 16's game we took in, he scored it well going towards the basket and in the paint. He's strong and plays particularly well through contact. He has a solid handle, is a quality athlete and adjusts his shot well at the rim. He'll need to gain some consistency with his long-range shot, but there's a lot to like about Bacon's long term potential.

Kobi Simmons, SG, Atlanta Celtics – Although his team took a loss to The Ville, Simmons' impacted the game with his ability to put up points. Simmons launched long-range shots and showed off impressive range on his jumper. Simmons, a 6-foot-3 wiry guard, has good speed with the ball and is a solid athlete that can make plays at the rim as well. Sure he needs to get stronger, but for a freshman Simmons has an advanced game and will be one that high majors will soon be tracking.

Junior Smith, PG, Karolina Diamonds – You won't find many freshman point guards with the feel, vision and passing ability that this 6-foot guard is equipped with. He has terrific pace to his game and touches the paint when he needs to. His court vision is impressive and he's particularly good at throwing oop passes. While his ability to run a team is one of his best attributes, he's also a more than capable scorer. He made mid-range shots and knocked down a three in a win Saturday morning.

Kwe Parker, SG, Karolina Diamonds – Athletically, Parker, a 6-foot-2, 175-pound guard, is gifted. He loves to get out in transition and make plays at the rim. He's also always a threat to catch a back door lob from his AAU and high school teammate – Junior Smith. Parker is also a quality shooter from three. He has good range on his shot and a fairly quick release. Parker, a high major prospect, is just a freshman, but an area for advancement is his mid-range game.

Raekwon Long, C, Karolina Diamonds – In just a three week span, Long looks much more confident on the court. At the Carolina Challenge in late March, the 7-footer certainly showed promised, but struggled finishing off plays. At the Knoxvegas Heat event this past weekend, Long rebounded well, was more active inside and finished better around the rim. With his size and all around tools, Long is one that high majors are already tracking.

Malik Chandler, PG, Southern Stampede 16's – A small, but extremely quick guard out of Lithonia (Ga.) Shiloh, Chandler took over the game we watched late Friday night at times. Using his speed, Chandler pushed the tempo and got a piece of the paint when he wanted. Despite his size, he was able to finish at the rim, but also made plays from mid-range and dropped off passes to cutting teammates. Chandler is a freshman guard to keep an eye on.

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