TN Prep Showcase: Inagural Report

NASHVILLE, TN -- Andre Whitehead teamed with Jeremy Shulman and Mike Artis of the Mid-State Ballerz, to put on the first Tennessee Prep Hoops Showcase. The event had a strong turn out with over 160 campers and a number of solid young players from various parts of Tennessee.

Ironically enough the best player at the showcase wasn't from Tennessee.

Scotty Hopson, a Kentucky native who plays at University Heights Academy, took over the event and showed a killer instinct that he hasn't flashed in the past. No one at the event could stop him from getting to the basket, or from scoring for that matter as averaged over 30 points a game.

Gerald Robinson, PG, King – The 6-1,165-pound point guard made it obvious at the showcase that Tennessee State got a steal. The quick and elusive lead man looked impressive running the break and finding open teammates. His pull-up jumpers were on point and he hit a few off the dribble 3s for good measure.

Robinson is more athletic than he's given credit for which allows him to finish on breaks and snag long rebounds. At times, Robinson gets too excited and forces the issue, if he slows down and continues to improve his jump shot he'll likely become an OVC all-conference performer.

Scott Saunders, PF, Battle Ground Academy – Majority of Saunders work was done in the paint. He backed down smaller defenders and out powered campers in the paint. His hands are solid, and he understands how to use his body and maneuver around defenders to get to the rim. The 6-9 forward is fundamentally sound and has a jumper that extends to 15 feet. Saunders will need to add a few more post moves and improve on his lateral quickness before he takes his game to Rice.

Scotty Hopson, SF, University Heights Academy - WOW! Hopson was fun to watch as he displayed the entire package on Saturday. The slender 6-foot-6 wing went to work, embarrassing anyone that tried to defend him. His first game of the day set the tone as it was clear he was going to attack the basket. After finishing with a few sweet finger rolls, he decided it was time to start handing out facials.

His first throw down came mid way through the first game when he drove down the lane and slammed a nasty two-hand dunk on at least two defenders. The dunk fest continued well into his third game when he put on a mid-game dunk contest. It's important to note that none of his dunks were on fast breaks, as they occurred in a half court setting after beating a defender off the bounce. Campers in attendance finally got the picture and quit attempting to jump with him. While his freaky athleticism is quite amazing, his ability to get (and hit) any shot he wants is rather impressive.

His off the dribble pull-ups were money and he's beginning to develop some solid range on his jump shot. In his three pool play games he scored over 30 in each and had a stretch in one game where he scored on eight of nine possessions. Hopson is a clear high-major player and is becoming a priority recruit for a number of top programs.

Drazen Zlovaric
Drazen Zlovaric, WF, Cleveland – The foreign exchange student from Serbia didn't do much by way of production in the two games we watched, however it's obvious he's loaded with potential. He's only been in the US for two months and just began playing competitive basketball, which made his play even more amazing.

The former volleyball player is super athletic and has great hands. His threes weren't going down but he did drain a jump hook and had a bunch of finishes on the break. The most impressive possession for him was when he grabbed a defensive rebound and went coast-to-coast weaving through defenders for a lay-up.

Rayshawn Walker, WG, Northeast HS – This 6-3, 195-pound power guard put together a solid afternoon and led his team to an undefeated record in pool play. Walker has a frame that can endure hits and he's strong going to the rack. His jump shot was a tad inconsistent but he did knock down a few threes and a couple of mid-rangers. In his first game of the day he matched up with Scotty Hopson. While he did fairly well on the offensive end, like everyone else he had trouble stopping Hopson. Walker's AAU coaches were adamant that he has talent, but had gotten out of shape. He appears to have gotten it together and could project as a mid-major prospect.

Terrico White, SG, Craigmont – While his play wasn't inspiring, he is a talented player so he must be included in the report. White didn't seem to play hard especially when he didn't have the ball in his hands. He is, however, a nice athlete and showed his ups when he posterized another camper in his last pool play game. He's listed at 6-6, but is probably more like 6-5. White hit a few step in jumpers, but did majority of his work going to the tin.

Chris Reaves, SG, Bolivar – The same high school that produced Wayne Chism and Willie Kemp had over 15 campers at the showcase and Reaves was by far the most impressive. Reaves is a 6-3 slender guard with a streaky stroke from deep. His arms are extremely long and his handles are decent.

Joe Jackson
Joe Jackson, PG, White Station – Prior to the event Jackson was being touted as the best player in his class so he was a must see at the showcase. The 5-9 lead guard didn't disappoint. Jackson's handles are lethal, mix that with his speed and athleticism and he gets where he wants on the court. In his first contest he went for 37, but don't think the little guy is selfish. Jackson sees the court well and snaps quick, accurate passes to teammates in transition and in offensive sets.

What's amazing about Jackson is how high he can jump. He snags rebounds in the paint, which allows him to initiate the fast break and don't think because of his age and size he can't dunk because he'll prove you wrong.

Jalen Steele, SG/PG, Fulton – While watching Hopson, Jalen Steele caught our eye. At 6-1 he's going to need to grow some to play the two guard spot but he is just an incoming freshmen. It's hard to get incredibly excited about such a young kid, but he definitely showed some promise. In his first game he hit a floater coming off a spin move, showed an ability to handle the ball and had a number of nice drives to the basket.

Mardracus Wade, SG/PG, Mitchell – While Thaddeus Young isn't replaceable Wade will do his best to provide Mitchell with another high level player. He still has a long ways to go but the obvious potential is there. He uses tricky head fakes to maneuver around defenders and he sees the floor relatively well.

Wade knocked in a few pull-up jumpers and had some finishes at the rim. His defense was very impressive as played lock down defense and smothered his opponent forcing a number of turnovers throughout the day. Wade runs with the Memphis YOMCA on the circuit.

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