Young Guns: The Backcourt Stars

TDD's Steve Clark spent the weekend following some of the top young players at Boo Williams including some of the best young backcourt prospects in the country. Check out his recap and notes on those prospects who caught his eye.

Young Guns Part III-The Guards Jamal Trice
Class of 2008
California Hoops 16U

Playing behind Duke bound Taylor King at national powerhouse Mater Dei High School, Jamal Trice enters this spring AAU season without much of the fanfare of his high school running mate. That's a problem that will soon be rectified, because the Jamal Trice train is coming to your town and he plans on leaving a mark. Trice, who seems to be a jack of all trades on the floor, plays every minute as if it's his last, but it's a controlled desperation. He's a high major athlete who demonstrated a real understanding of spacing and how to find the open man on offense. He can create his own shot whenever he wants to, but the best thing about Jamal is that he's a very level headed young gun, who isn't satisfied with just being in the show, he wants to run it. When he was asked why he wasn't playing at the 17U level, Jamal relayed that he understood that he still has some seasoning to do before he goes up to the big boys level and that he knows that he needs to continue to work hard to continue to improve.

Trice Scott
Class of 2008
Martin Brothers 16U

On the court his game reminds you of Golden State's Derek Fisher. Playing on a team that was loaded with big men, Trice is his squad's primary ballhandler, a role that he shows flashes of brilliance assuming. He routinely demonstrated the ability to get to the hole at will, while also making life easy on his teammates by always passing the ball off at just the right moment. And when the team needed a bucket? Trice was always there, hitting key three after key three showing text book form. He's also a great communicator on the court, and showed one of the most important characteristics that any guard needs, and that's the ability to break the press.

Junior Cadougan
Class of 2009
Georgia Elite 17U

I'm sure you're saying by now, man, how many guys are you gonna write about from the Georgia Elite team? Well, before you write him off, let me tell you a bit about young Junior. The name that sprung to mind while watching him was a young Khalid El Amin. He's got some thickness to him, but more importantly, he's got the speed to get from one end of the court to the other in rapid time. Best of all, he knows how to make his teammates better. He's the clear leader out there on the court, he's constantly barking out commands on offense to keep it running smoothly, and he really plays calmly under pressure.

Darryl Bryant
Class of 2008
New York Gauchos 16U

This kid was the easiest one to pick out simply because he's the best player the Gauchos have, and it's not even close. Bryant brought back memories of current Blue Devil DeMarcus Nelson's AAU and high school performances as he uses his solid frame to get to the rim whenever he feels like it. And on the other side of the ball he's not afraid to man up and play in your face "D". Bryant isn't as strong as Nelson, but does appear to have a more traditional form on his jumper. Perhaps his strongest attribute at this stage is his take no prisoners competitive spirit. This kid simply hates to lose and is willing to sacrifice his body, and yours, to come out victorious. He'll certainly be heard from in the next few years.

Tanner Smith
Class of 2008
Georgia Stars 16U

As you probably already read, Tanner's remarkable story extends far beyond his ability to shoot, rebound, pass, or defend. However, for the purpose of this look at the 6-foot-4 Georgia native, we'll focus on how good a basketball player he really is. For the Stars, Tanner is playing the scoring guard position, but he plays the point for his high school team and you can see it written all over his game. Even though he isn't the top shelf athlete of some of his peers, he's still got some pretty decent athleticism, and more importantly, Tanner plays the game so calmly and smoothly that he doesn't waste a lot of time or energy out there. He sees the floor well and he's a walking mismatch at the PG position simply because he's a legit 6-foot-4 and very strong. He's already hearing from some Big Ten schools and will likely continue to receive more high major interest as the summer goes along.

Jerel Stephenson
Class of 2008
South Carolina Ravens 16U

Most of you probably don't recognize the name, but this is the same Jerel that I saw last summer at the NBA Players Association Camp in Richmond, VA. Back then, Jerel was a wide eyed young man getting his first taste of high level AAU basketball. Understandably, he made a lot of mistakes and had a tough week at NBA Camp. Now, with a year of experience and maturity under his belt, it's a whole new ballgame. Since last year he's added three inches of height (he's 6-foot-4 and climbing) and is starting to fill out. At Boo Williams he looked much more comfortable, and quickly made all the lingering doubts from a year ago float away. Demonstrating a much improved handle and shot selection, Jerel literally looked like a new basketball player and it really helped his team. Gone is the indecisive young guard, and in his place is a steadying influence that doesn't waiver no matter the situation. He showed the ability to coolly knock down crucial buckets, hit the boards, and find the open man when available. More over, he's willing and very able to take over a game when his team is searching for a go-to-guy. He's primed to break out this summer.

The Devils Den Top Stories