NORCROSS, Ga. -- Jaylen Brown and Kobi Simmons separated themselves from the pack at Hoop Seen's Elite Preview on Saturday. To go with their standout efforts, there were a host of other underclassmen that stood out.
Brown dominates the competition
From the opening tip of the first camp game, Jaylen Brown
made a statement to those participating in The Elite Preview that he wouldn't be taking the opposition lightly. The 6-foot-6 wing out of Marietta (Ga.) dominated game play and virtually any defender that stepped in his way.
A physically imposing wing, Brown made strong, physical drives to the rim and consistently scored through contact. Camp ball often times leads to quite a bit of transition play and that's where Brown may be the most effective. To go with his size and strength, Brown is an explosive athlete with terrific body control.
Brown seemed comfortable shooting floaters or runners in the paint and while he is not known for his shooting ability, he did work in a couple of three-pointers when he had time and space.
Brown also has quite a bit of potential as a defender. For his size, he moves his feet well laterally and he recorded a number of steals that led to easy fast break opportunities. He's a competitor and he took the defensive end of the floor just as serious as he did the offense.
Brown walked into camp as the highest rated prospect in the building and he certainly proved why during the one-day event at Norcross (Ga.) High.
Simmons leads way for sophomores
While Brown was the most dominant 2015 prospect at The Elite Preview, Kobi Simmons
, a lengthy guard out of Alpharetta (Ga.) St. Francis, was the most impressive 2016 prospect to participate.
What sticks out about Simmons is his versatility and skill level. There aren't many players that can handle the ball and facilitate things the way Simmons does at 6-foot-4. He makes good decisions, sees the floor well and is capable of running a team.
Simmons has strong showing
While Simmons is effective on the ball, he's also impactful off of it as a scorer. His scoring arsenal was on full display on Sunday, as he aggressively attacked the rim, dropped in off hand floaters and had a number of adjusting finishes in both the half court set and in transition.
Much like Brown, Simmons isn't known as a knock down shooter, but he's certainly a guy that can make long distance shots. He hit a pair of off the dribble threes when I watched his team play, including one off a crossover step-back from 23-feet.
Athletically, Simmons is impressive as well. He has very good body control on his drives and despite his thin frame, scores it pretty well through contact. He had arguably the best dunk of the day when he drove middle and threw down a thunderous slam in traffic.
Other Top Performers
Darius Alexander, SG – Heading into the event, Alexander, a 2015 recruit, was an unknown to me. The 6-foot-3 guard quickly changed that. Alexander has a lengthy set of arms and is a very good athlete. Early in the camp he was aggressive with his drives, scored it through contact and mixed in mid-range pull-ups and even buried a three. Alexander also has potential as a defender.
Ronald Bell, SF – A big wing at just over 6-foot-5, Bell brought athleticism and physicality to The Elite Preview. Bell competed on both ends and took pride in locking up on defense. He's a very good athlete with a strong frame. Majority of his points came off drives to the rim, but he showed a floater and that he was comfortable pulling up from mid-range. The 2016 recruit has an impressive upside and should draw plenty of interest on the summer circuit playing with the Georgia Stars.
Romello White, C – Any time you're at a camp and a 6-foot-8 post player with long arms and mobility hits the floor, you pay attention. That was the case with White and he certainly caught my eye with his ability to finish off plays around the rim and his shot blocking ability. He also flashed a nice set of hands. A 2016 recruit, White has the tools to develop into a quality post player.
D'Marcus Simonds, SG – Just a sophomore, Simonds has been drawing rave reviews from schools in the South this season and it was easy to see why. The 6-foot-4 guard is a talent. He's skilled enough to play some with the ball in his hands, but where he's at his best is off the ball as a scorer. He sliced his way to the rim at camp and also connected on mid-range pull-ups with relative ease. A sleeper nationally, Simonds will likely change that this spring and summer.
Tre Scott, PF – A 6-foot-7 junior power forward, Scott played hard during his games at The Elite Preview. Scott showed solid athleticism, a good motor and proved to be a good rebounder. Scott did a hit a pair of mid-range jump shots, but the rest of his work was done in the paint, where he dunked drop off passes or ran the floor for finishes in transition.
Derek Ogbeide, C – One of the biggers players in attendance, Ogbeide, a 6-foot-8, 210-pound post player, played with tremendous effort and energy on Saturday. He was active inside and looked to swat shots and grab every board in his area. Ogbeide also ran the floor with a purpose and finished off plays in the paint. While most of his points were put backs and close range finishes he did hit one left jump hook.
Ogbeide emerges at The Elite Preview
Ty Hudson, PG – Nationally the point guard list in the 2015 class is thin and is perhaps the position I'll be paying the most attention to when I'm out in the spring. Hudson was a good find at The Elite Preview. A 6-foot-1 lead guard, Hudson is strong, fast and physical. A lefty, Hudson showed a strong handle, good vision and an ability to get a piece of the paint on occasion. UAB and a few others have prioritized him early on. I expect interest will continue to climb throughout the spring.
Malik Beasley, SG – Word out of Georgia has been that Beasley, a 6-foot-4 guard, had a strong junior season. After struggling some in his first camp game of the day, Beasley began to show his potential. Although a scoring guard, Beasley has a good skill level and handles the ball well. He's a good shooter to 22-feet and is a solid athlete. The talented scorer is primed for a breakout spring and summer.
Tobias Howard, PG – A 6-foot lead guard, Howard was one of the standout 2015 guards in the event. What stood out about Howard was his ability to shoot the basketball. He particularly got hot one game and hit multiple long-range shots. Howard also showed decent speed and good vision.
DeAndre Ballard, SF – Easily the top standout from the 2017 class at the event was this 6-foot-6 wing. At first glance, I thought he was a combo forward that could really score it. By the end of the event, he had proven he was a full time wing. Ballard showed an ability to handle the ball, attack defenders off the dribble and hit pull-up jump shots. A pretty good athlete, Ballard has an impressive ceiling.