70+ players gathered at Knoxville Catholic High School for the Athletic Standard Under Armour Elite Camp co-hosted by the BMaze Elite Summer Program. The event was a camp style format with drills, speakers and games culminating in a nice scrimmage between the boys from the BMaze Elite AAU/Summer program and Athens Prep, the newly named Prep organization, formerly known as Believe Prep.
I was fortunate enough to get to speak to the camper and have chosen a dozen of the finest and give my opinions on their skill level and areas to improve.
Tyrus Baynham (Athens Prep)
6'4 SG/WF 2019
Off the charts athlete who can run and jump with any athlete on any level. His skills are becoming more of a factor as his confidence in his abilities is starting to take shape. Another mid-state product who has some D1 interest but chose the Prep route to further his recruiting pursuits. His length is immediately eye-catching and his explosion is second to none. His skill level needs to continue on the upward movement as his ball-handling and outside shooting are both areas of the game where he needs to continue to make progress. Will his progression push him top the wing or as he works on his decision making can he move into a backcourt spot? Time will tell. He needs to upgrade a tick on the defensive side of the ball. He possesses superior quickness and length and is tailor made to be a defensive stalwart. Something to ponder.
Keishawn Davidson (Athens Prep)
6'1 PG 2019
Former MTSU commitment has decided to venture into the prep ranks and with the coaching change for the Blue Raiders he has opened his recruitment to the masses. A pass first point guard who has always had enormous basketball IQ, the ability to make those around him better and a capable scorer if left to that task. He appears to have put on some size since we last observed him. He enjoys running the show and has the knack to create in the half-court or transition. His outside shot still needs more gym work but his confidence level appears to be high with his willingness to let it fly when open. His added size helps but we still need to see more strength and explosion if we are to guard mid-major lead guards.
Roberts Dembskis (Athens Prep)
6'6 PF 2019
Big bodied foreign talent has some real gifts to work with as well as some work in various areas of the game. He has a decent skill level and is not afraid to go after rebounds within his area or outside the paint. He seems to be a bit mechanical in his post maneuvers as you can see the wheels turning as he thinks about each move. As this becomes second nature you will see more fluidity to his movements. His foot work still needs gym time and his hands are decent at best. He can shoot the outside shot if left open but should not consider it a weapon of choice. His decision making is tempered at best but he plays with passion and effort and his size puts him on the right side of the ledger.
Zac Ervin (Gate City)
6'5 SG 2019
Wofford commitment is a special talent that has a multitude of gifts and is expanding his game as every turn. This kid has a dynamic stroke, he can handle the ball, should be able to spell some minutes at either guard spot when he gets to the next level. His body is tough and he is a competitor who likes the challenge of those who think they can check him, wrong they would be. He has a dynamic first step, might lack some overt quickness yet his ability to change speeds is one of his biggest assets. He can finish at the rim and likes the physicality of the game. He will be the kid who all the media outlets talk about as he leads Wofford to first round NCAA upsets over those coveted programs who should have been welcoming him in.
Joe Anderson (Maryville)
5'11 PG 2020
Just a pleasure to watch him play. The smile says it all, he loves this. This kid is special, he has little to no size but his skills and IQ are simply off the chain. He can stroke the ball and he likes to push it up the floor and knock down those open foul line jumpers, we so crave from days of yore. He passes with flair and does sometimes get a bit too fancy, but his zest for the next big play makes you stand up and take notice. His size will be a factor on defensive or will it? He loves the contact and isn't afraid to guard bigger players. He is quick and opportunistic on defense, he loves to make the backside steal and is a decent board man for his size. He loves to lead the break and is at his best making basketball decisions with everything and everyone flying around. Look up Travis Deiner and you will see what I mean.
Darlingstone Dubar (Athens Prep)
6'7 WF 2020
Big time talent who has every natural gift that a basketball player should possess. He has length, he stands at 6'7 and can play either the two or the three, he shoots over folks and when he is motivated his handles are good enough to maybe even run some lead guard. He can drill the outside shot and has an effortless release. He can finish at the rim, has great body control and can explode and crush on you if your not careful. He will rebound and lead the break and he likes to track down opposing breakaways and swat shots away. He does have a tendency to seemingly get bored and he gets lost at times when he doesn't have the ball in his hands. His maturation as a player is an ongoing process and his commitment to defense needs an upgrade as well but one cannot and will not question his skill level. He is dynamic with the ball in his hands and is a special talent for the ages.
Gabriel Machado (Athens Prep)
6'4 PG/SG 2020
Skilled young athlete caught our eye with his lean look and the ability to knock down shots from the perimeter. He has some real skills and is strength away from being a devastating prospect with a major upside. Again I come back to his ability to knock down shots. He has a quite confidence in his stroke and even when he misses it looks like it is going in. He has length and will need to upgrade his defensive intensity and other areas of the game but his offensive skill set will get him on the floor for major minutes this season.
Akeem Odusipe (Knoxville Catholic)
6'7 PF 2020
We have seen a considerable uptick in his effort this season. I think the consensus hoped that he could develop into some sort of perimeter entity but his skill level and best chance for success is with his back to the basket at this juncture of his development. He is working on his face up game and has made some strides but not enough to make him a conceivable threat from outside. He has worked on his hands and is fiercely going after every rebound he can get his mitts upon. He has worked on a variety of post finishes including a short hook in the lane but he predominantly likes to use his quick spin move in the same direction. As his maturation continues a counter to this post move will only create more scoring chances and he will seriously need to work on his foul shooting as he will make numerous trips to the line with his physical nature. He has become more adept at blocking shots and likes to go after those from the help side as well. He continues to work and as his skill level increases his chances for next level success will also increase.
Avi Shaw (Athens Prep)
5'10 PG 2020
Quick guard who caught our eye with his jet like first step and his all around hustle during the game portion of the camp. A small guard who has several areas to improve on really showed his merit as a ball hawking defender. His quickness allows him to take chances and he came up with several steals and deflections simply on effort alone. His shooting needs some tweaking and he needs to work on his body as well. His game is not so much aesthetically pleasing but he does move the needle when it comes to effort and hustle. He needs to work on adding some left hand to his game and not always settling for the tough shot. Increasing his basketball intelligence and skill level will coincide with this gift for making things happen and hopefully spawn a seriously good prospect in the coming seasons.
Isaac Spears (Athens Prep)
6'3 SG 2021
Slick athlete has a multitude of skills and was on display in the game portion of the camp setting. He has really good length and size combined with the ability to stroke the jumper from deep or off the bounce. He has superb handles and was able to get into the lane whenever he felt the urge. He was very mature for his grade level and showed poise and solid decision making when forced to play some lead guard at times. I would like to see more of a commitment to the defensive side of the game though. he sort of went through the motions when guarding. His length and athleticism alone should make him a capable defender. Maturation and additional strength should allow him to become a more well rounded player.
B.J. Edwards (Knoxville Catholic)
6'3 PG 2022
Seasoned beyond his years. Very nice young and dynamic lead guard will be the talk of the town this season with his above average skill level and well beyond his years maturity. This kid is a delight in the half court, makes great basketball decisions, shares the ball, shoots well enough to score big when needed and doesn't mind defending. He glides and plays with an effortless gait that totally belies his age demographic. He can finish at the rim and understands when to attack and when to sit back and observe. He doesn't require the ball to be effective but it sure does seem to work better when it is comfortably within his grasp. He can and will continue to get better at each and every aspect of the game.
Handje Tamba (Knoxville Catholic)
6'10 C 2022
Young prospect has incredible length and is just learning how to play the game. He has a grasp on the basics as he understands the post game and as he gets stronger he will rip through those reaching hands. He goes hard on the glass and is adept with natural timing on his shot blocking. His hands are a work in progress and as he begins to catch passes more cleanly his next basketball move will be more precise and deliberate. He knows how and when to pass out of the double team and has developed some go to moves and counters in his short tenure on the hardwood. He is catching on fast and he seems to grow each and every time he steps on the floor. As his body and basketball mind mature it will be a pleasure to watch him grow and succeed.