Rick Lewis and Jamie Shaw and the rest of their Phenom Hoop Report staff put together a great assortment of talent on Saturday at Spring Valley High School. With 80+ of the best players in the state regardless of classification participating we saw the present and future of high school basketball here in South Carolina. With it being the best of the best we got a chance to evaluate some of the state's best and saw plenty of young stars in the making that will inevitably become the next stars out of the Palmetto State.
(We did NOT see every prospect in attendance but these are evaluations on the players we saw who shined and excelled)
We'll start our way through the classes by starting with the 2016 class and so forth.
Class of 2016
- Seneca combo guard Brevin Galloway played confidently and aggressively. The College of Charleston commit has fully recovered from his injury and looked as if he was making a clear statement by the way he played on Saturday. He was one of the top scorers we saw whether it was dropping deep 3's or attacking the basket and scoring in traffic. His scoring ability and pure strength were on display and it looks like coach Earl Grant may have a multi-year starter on his hands. Really liked the explosiveness we saw from him and his ability to get in the lane and make a ton of steals on defense. He did take a few more shots than most but he was hot so we'll check that up to a "heat check". One of the day's brightest stars in my opinion. Averaged 20.3 points per game.
- Mayo point guard Frankie Johnson just makes me smile watching him play. He's just 5'7 but he dominates the game despite being the shortest guy on the court. Superb defense on the ball pressuring opponents into turnovers, excellent speed with and without the ball, has a really nice floater, and can shoot it at a high clip from deep. Being undersized he's scrappy and just disruptive for opposing teams. FCS schools should give him a look because he's the kind of guy who'll run a team well and plays with such tremendous heart and high IQ. Somebody is going to get a steal in Johnson, 5'7 or not he's a guy I'd definitely want on my team over most other guys we saw.
- Wade Hampton guard Preston Parks had a solid showing and was a known commodity heading into the event. He played well in spurts and seems to have gotten stronger since we saw him last. Knocked down a lot of 3-pointers and didn't force things.
- Small forward Chance Prandy of South Aiken was a young man who absolutely helped himself out on Saturday. He did a little bit of everything well and didn't flinch against top flight competition. He's 6'5 with a very nice skill set. He knocked down shots from deep, made some nice passes, grabs rebounds, and displayed very good athleticism. He's a guy who should get plenty more eyes on him this season. Think of him as a glue guy like Johnson, he's the kind of guy every team needs.
- Small forward Marcus Williams of Belton-Honea Path is another known commodity who's already committed to Lees-McCrae along with his twin brother Malcolm. We saw only Marcus on the day and he like Prandy did it all for his team showing a solid skill set and versatility. In a couple of back to back sequences we saw him block a shot, grab it, make the hit ahead pass for an easy layup, one the next sequence he knocked down an open 3-pointer, and then he caught an alley-oop on the next. There's a lot to like if you're the Lees-McCrae staff.
- We didn't get a full assessment of Legacy Charter shooting guard Deshaun Leftwich but we saw him for a quarter of action. It didn't take long to see the impact he had en route to being named "Mr. SC Top 80" (camp MVP). An explosive leaper who can really turn the heat up on defense Leftwich was scoring at will on Saturday. We'll be at Legacy Charter this season to check out Leftwich and his teammates soon. He lead all campers averaging 23 points per game.
- 22 Feet Academy forward Darius Hicks was a monster for his team. He's a grown man compared to most post prospects and the 6'7 high wire act plays with a lot of aggression, which we like. Few wanted to tangle with him but the ones who dared realized most of the time they were outmatched. Love his motor and energy. He plays much bigger than his height and he reminds me of former Tennessee player Duke Crews being an undersized big whose athleticism and power game simply won't be denied most times.
Class of 2017
- West Florence shooting guard/small forward Jalen Cameron was another guy who really shined on Saturday. We watched him multiple times and Cameron brought it every time. He plays with a confidence and smoothness to his game that we really like. No forcing or pressing on Saturday and showed a nice jumper and excellent athleticism. Mid-majors will look and deservedly so, with two more years to play he's got a ton of upside. We'll interview him this week to see how his recruitment has been thus far and we expect many more schools to start contacting him now. Averaged 20.3 points per game on Saturday.
- James Island shooting guard Vince Cole also caught our eye. A high-energy guy Cole puts forth a ton of effort and produces.
- Socastee center Jason Cudd (7'0 250) was the biggest guy at the event and he's made some strides since we last saw him. He's got the typical big-man issues to work out as he's still learning to deal with his size and coordination but he had some nice sequences when we did see him one game. He's got a nice jump hook and knows how to utilize his big body. You can't teach size and he's got an abundance of it, something that has been rare here in the Palmetto State in recent years. Really liked that he willingly plays the role of passer out of the post when he saw the open man. Don't be surprised to see more schools jump in with the big fella this season moving forward.
- Timberland forward D.J. Johnson plays 4-5 on his high school team but running with the Upward Stars Southeast he's a 3-4. Playing down in the post he's got good footwork, toughness, and utlitizes his athleticism well. He isn't afraid to mix it up and bang down low but right now he looks like a 3 and 4 at a smaller school. Loved his motor and nose for the ball when things broke down. Just a guy who gets after it and comes up making positive plays for his team whether it be grabbing a rebound, making the extra pass, knocking down a faceup jumper, taking a charge, or finishing in traffic. Lots to like about his game and we've already interviewed him for a feature story we'll run later this week.
- Marquis Riley of Richland Northeast is an explosive athlete that plays with high energy who used that athleticism to create second chances for his team and threw down some monster dunks. We'll definitely keep an eye on him to evaluate him further.
- Carolina Forest small forward Duane Moss is a shooter who can fill it up when he gets hot. He doesn't shy away from contact but you can tell he loves to let it fly from behind the arc. He made some nice passes in transition showing good vision. He'll need to continue to work on his perimeter skills and ballhandling but with his size and shooting ability he'll draw plenty of interest moving forward.
- Blythewood small forward Keith Matthews is a guy we really liked. We want to see him again to get an even better feel for him but he has great length and feel for the game. Already holding quite a few in-state offers he's a player who will see more schools enter the picture before too long. Stay tuned, we'll reach out to him soon for a full feature.
- Legacy Charter power forward Tyrell Mendenhall started slow in the first game we saw him but he heated up quickly and sparked his team down the stretch. A big bodied 6'8 prospect got it cooking down low and then knocked down some 15 footers on multiple sequences for his squad. Plays with emotion and energy and as he continues to get stronger he'll be a force for coach B.J. Jackson's Lions in Greenville. We'll talk with Mendenhall soon or when we visit him at Legacy.
- York Prep guard Tracus Chisolm played well. He ran his team efficiently and found his teammates in the open floor. He knocked down some jumpers and looks the part of a definite college prospect. Looking forward to seeing more of Chisolm in action this season.
Class of 2018
- Wren point guard Trey McGowens may have a baby face but he fit right in battling some of the state's best upperclassmen. He knocked down some perimeter shots, played good defense, and found the open man for his team. Also plays football, so we'll see if he starts to excel in one sport over the other. From what we saw on Saturday he's a college level point guard with 3 more years to play on the high school level.
- 22 Feet Academy forward Kyle Rawson is another versatile guy we really enjoyed watching on Saturday. He did a little of everything and to be honest we wished he would've been more aggressive in creating his own offense. He was excellent as a facilitator and grabbed some boards for his team with his 6'8 size. He's another guy who we'll see again later this season to get a more thorough evaluation but he's definitely one of the top prospects in the 2018 class we've seen thus far.
- Easley small forward Sam Tyner-Tarhouni had a solid showing on Saturday. He did a lot of things well and has a great feel for the game. With good size at 6'8 and excellent hands we see a bright future for him. He doesn't back down and gives great effort but at the same time he never really presses the action. Lots to like about Tyner-Tarhouni as he has a nice stroke from the perimeter and didn't mind mixing it up down low. He averaged 15.3 points per game. We'll reach out to him soon for a feature story.
Class of 2019
- Gray Collegiate Academy forward Juwan Gary came in as the top dog in the 2019 class and he didn't hurt his stock one bit after watching him twice. There's still some work to be done with his shot from the perimeter but he can knock down the 3-ball and finishes superbly with outstanding hops. He caught a few dunks, grabbed a lot of boards, played great on the ball defense despite the all-star type setting, and did so en route to averaging 20 points per game. Expect high majors to come calling on the regular for Gary and we'll talk with him soon regarding his recruitment.
- A.C. Flora forward Christian Brown caught our eye in drills, so much that I wrote his number on my hand. As luck would have it we caught him in a matchup that pitted him against Juwan Gary on multiple sequences. This matchup was the key one I wanted to see and the young 2019 studs went at one another in a big way. Brown plays with more energy and that paired with the ability to sky and a shot that is adequate he's got a lot of skills that scream at you. Really enjoyed his effort and ability to draw and take contact. Right now I don't know if I'd try to pin a position on him being so young but I can say he's a definite star if he continues to work on facets of his game during these next four seasons. I would expect him and Gary to be national level talents sooner than later. We'll catch up with Brown for an interview this week to see which schools are showing early interest.
- York Prep power forward D.J. Burns passes the eye test with ease and he got it going in the first game we saw. Has good hands and knows how to finish. With broad shoulders and pretty good footwork despite his youth he's got a bright future if he continues to hone his craft in the paint with multiple offensive moves with his back to the basket. Lots of potential and with 4 years to grow and improve he could be a national level prospect as well.
Once again we'd like to thank Rick Lewis and Jamie Shaw of Phenom Hoop Report along with their staff for a first class event here in the Palmetto State. We are looking forward to more of their events in the near future.
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