Finally we begin our evaluations from the annual Tennessee Prep Hoops Carson Newman Showcase. This is a lengthy process with evaluations from myself and five college coaches who's input I sought when putting these thoughts and suggestions together.
- Silas Clark (Cumberland County) 5'11 PG 2018
"If this kid was 6'4, with his ability to lead, defend, score and all the intangibles, none of us would be able to touch him", mighty strong words from one evaluation for this rising senior point guard. Solid in all the point guard areas, distributes, can score if needed, uses both hands equally well, defends, has intangible leadership qualities and plays with effort and passion. Size as always is a factor and more improvement in the lateral quickness and explosion arenas will also benefit him in the process. "Hardest worker in the gym" was another quote to go along with the myriad of complements on his intangibles. His effort will never be in question but who does he guard on the next level will be an all important and encompassing reality. His outside shooting is adequate and could be more of a weapon as he begins his final prep campaign. Not enough stock is given to attitude, winners mentality, leadership and again all the intangibles that this kid is loaded with, if he finds the right level he will flourish, mark my words.
- Mitchell Sorenson (Beech) 6'3 WF/PF 2018
If ever we have found a system kid this rising senior from the Mid-State fits that bill. He has a very high motor which was noted on every evaluation but nobody could determine what position he plays. His outside shooting touch is elongated and really needs to have some fundamental tweaking to quicken his release. His ball-handling is suspect at best and he appears most comfortable roaming the paint, using his size and skill to create space and create scoring opportunities for himself and other on the interior. He has a knack for coming up with every 50/50 ball, he scores in droves inside, with put backs, short jumpers and tough hustle plays. His foot speed and lateral quickness will be areas he needs to make major improvements if he is to get an opportunity to play at the next level.
- Kareem Aaron (Siegel) 5'10 PG 2018
The praises were many as everybody loved his competitive spirit. Aggressive, great body, loves to defend, goes hard to the rim and will finish despite contact. Defensively he was praised by several as, "one of the toughest kids in the gym, when he guards you, you know he doesn't like you". He uses his body well, he plays unselfish. "He tries to do a bit too much with the ball in his hands" was a nice constructive piece of advise, "if he is not going to the bucket or setting up a teammate, he does not pose a threat from the perimeter. Get in the gym and work tirelessly on the fundamentals of shooting. Make this a priority as you start your final season of high school basketball, you must become harder to guard and having the ability to knock down an open shot is absolutely vital for a small guard. The kid is a tireless worker, get with someone who can work on the fundamentals of shooting, hand placement, less thumb usage and follow through and your stock will rise.
- Barron Nease (Union County) 6'2 SG 2019
Hard nosed lefty who has made monumental strides in his game. He is ultra aggressive, loves to go hard to the rim and has a solid outside stroke, catch and shoot kid who when feeling it can really change the complexion of a game. Rising junior will need to continue to work on his body, strength is everything and with added confidence a big year and a big summer could put him on the college landscape. Continue to practice the fundamentals, he can light it up from deep but does have a tendency to lose his focus and not set his feet, release a flat shot and just play too fast when the game gets at a frenetic pace. Play to your strengths, let the action come to you, use your gifts, be hard to guard and work on some mid-range action to complement the deep stroke and the hard drives to the rim. As he adds strength to his frame his confidence level will rise exponentially.
- Darren Goen (Grainger) 6'2 WF 2018
Has made some strides in his game since we last saw him. His outside shooting and confidence in his stroke have really paid off. He laced several deep shots and showed significant range on his release. His confidence in his stroke was noticed by several who complimented his improved form. He will still need to work on many of the other aspects of the game. "Lacks size and assertiveness when not shooting the ball, there is more to the game, you cant be easy to guard", was one evaluation and most all concur with this diagnosis. He needs to improve his foot work and lateral quickness to be able to guard his position. Here is a kid who is not afraid to work, he has obviously spent a great deal of time in the gym working on his shot, now he needs to spend time working on his body and his skill level.
- Anthony Watkins (McCallie) 6'3 WF 2019
Vastly improved youngster who began his playing days as a post but is currently working to make the transition to becoming a shooting guard / wing. His body looks great and his quickness has certainly improved. He is active, always around the ball, his shooting touch is moving in the right direction and he is improving his passing skills as well. His decision making and overall skill level will continue to rise as he has mentally become aware of what it will take and where he will need to make his mark on the next level. You can see the confidence in his eyes, in his demeanor and in his overall work ethic. He is seeing the results of his work and it is driving him to do more. I cant wait to see this kid as he progresses during his junior campaign and another off-season of skill work.
- Zach Sawyer (Pigeon Forge) 6'0 WF 2019
"Good shooter when left open", "decent spot-up stroke when his feet are set and his release is solid", I'm sensing a theme as each and every evaluation centered on shooting the ball and showed the many areas where he will need to improve in his overall game. Many kids do not function well in camp settings, they try to play fundamental ball, team ball and despite everything we attempt to do to make the games more sound, the guard play just seems to engulf the remainder of the camp and some players just don't get the same scoring chances that the guys with the ball do. Rising junior will need to work on his basketball decision making, attack when you have the ball, moving quicker and getting more production out of the things that you can do well. His shooting touch was solid, adding some dribble moves off the head fake will increase your scoring chances, some mid-range compliments and some takes to the basket will increase his overall effectiveness for his high school squad.
- Landon Oaks (Union County) 5'10 PG 2019
"Efficiency vs. Volume of shots will help his overall game" was one take on the rising junior but every evaluation came from a positive foundation as they praised his effort, his unselfishness, his ability to shoot when needed and as one note read "this kid likes to take charges". His size will play a role, especially defensively as the game get tougher and the kids get bigger. He is savvy, smooth and has proven he can run an offense. He has a tendency to dribble to absolute excess and please stop leaving your feet and turning your back to the play when you pass, I think these are habits formed from being a smaller kid coming up through the ranks. His effort is without concern while he plays with toughness and determination, size will always creep into the equation, continue to work on everything associated with the lead guard position and overcome these obstacles.
- Marae Foreman (Dobyns-Bennett) 5'6 PG 2019
Diminutive guard with solid handles and above average quickness. He has an adequate shot but will really need to work on becoming a lead guard. His size will dictate point guard but he has a scoring mentality, which in the right system is not always a detriment, but making better ball decisions and getting teammates more actively involved is just smart business. "He doesn't appear engaged when the ball is not in his possession" was one glaring review and an area where he really needs to improve his game. He plays hard, seems to enjoy being on the floor so improving your overall skill set should be a no-brainer. He needs to work on adding strength to a small frame, this will help him finish better when he goes to the bucket and give him more range on his shot.