Another great turn-out for the Tennessee Prep Hoops Rankings and Exposure Showcase held annually at Carson Newman University. This year we featured over 100 players and 15+ college coaches in the house. An extra-special in speaker in Hollywood actor and basketball savant Cylk Cozart plus instruction from local college coaches.
Here I will sift through the evaluations turned by myself and several colleagues who helped me at the event. I will attempt to do a team a day until completion.
Jalen Hillery (Central Gwinnett) 2017
Big, strong guard came to us from Georgia for the showcase. Great size at 6'5 with a good body made to take a pounding. His off the dribble game was solid, he absorbed contact and finished well at the cup. His shooting stroke was good, much better from the mid-range than from out to the 3-point line. Defensively he is much to good of an athlete to gamble as much as he did in the passing lanes. On the ball, he was good using his size to his advantage. His decision making on when and if to take the ball to the basket needs to be an area that he recognizes opportunities much better.
Dylan DeBusk (Greeneville) 2017
Competent lead guard with a compact body and solid skill set. Not a great athlete, the run and jump variety, but a knowledgeable player who can run the show and score when needed. He ran the floor hard, he defended with gusto and found his way to the rack for some tough finishes in traffic. His shot is solid and he has a quick release which helps with his size. He is a coach on the floor and the type of leader that coaches from all levels love having run their offense. He will be underestimated because of his size and lack of overt athleticism but his grit, determination and will to win should be enough for someone to give him a shot at playing on the next level.
Josh Releford (David Crockett) 2017
"Tough to put a position on him, just a player" was one evaluation for the diminutive Releford. A very capable shooter who finds seems in the zone to launch his outstanding jumper, he has range to the college line for certain and is athletic enough to get past defender and knock down some short runners and tough lay-ups. His size will be a factor due to his penchant for the two-guard spot. He will need to become more comfortable with the lead guard spot, many coaches love a point guard who can score. Defensively there is no question about his effectiveness. He loves to defend, his on-ball action is eye popping.
Dillon Fountain (Wartburg Central) 2018
A much better athlete than is given credit for being. Fountain has length, he seemingly loves to crash the boards, he keeps possessions alive and he can score inside the paint with a quick jumper or on the put back. His perimeter game is still a work in progress prompting one evaluation to concede, "hasn't put it all together yet, be getting there". His confidence level on the outside shot is just not there yet, he needs to add some off the dribble action to his half-court game and use his length and leaping ability to his advantage. He has a decent stroke with a relatively quick release, its just a matter of believing it will actually go in.
Chris Clayton (Asheville Christian) 2018
Superlatives galore for this rising junior wing/post player from North Carolina. Great size and strength, very skilled with his back to the basket or facing up for what one evaluator called "a true jump shot". He runs the floor in transition and will finish with a flush on the break. He has a motor and has range all over the floor with his stroke. His game is a great deal finesse right now, would like to see more aggression especially on the interior if he is to transition to a higher plane on the next level. His skill set is superb.
Jerriah Love (Science Hill) 2019
Small lead guard showed some promise, didn't appear to be afraid and showed he could shoot the ball when left open. He was smooth in the transition portions of the game but will obviously need to get stronger so he can finish plays and be a stronger contributor on the defensive end. He played defense with aggression; however, his size limited his effectiveness. He also needs to work on playing at a more consistent pace, he tended to get going too fast causing turnovers and misses opportunities on offense.
Darren Goen (Grainger) 2018
Decent shooter must work on quickening his release. When left open he had the time to finish his shot but when guarded the close-out came too quickly and altered the nature of the shot. Rising junior played hard but still seemed a bit unsure of himself on the floor. He will need to improve his lateral quickness and foot speed as he moves up the depth charts at his high school. He went hard to the boards on both ends, never showing a lack of effort. Confidence and strength go hand in hand, get stronger young man and your basketball confidence will rise right along with you.
Javonte Thomas (Oak Ridge) 2019
Athletic youngster showed some seriously quick hands guarding on the ball. His aggression on defense, especially when guarding on the ball, belies a bit of reluctance on the offensive side of the ball. He obviously needs to work on his body and get stronger. This of course can be said for every person in his class. He showed he grasp the concept of our attempt to require a post entry on each possession and seemed to understand the role of the lead guard. Strength will become his biggest asset once he gets into the weight room and works on that body. He is a kid who seemingly loves to play and has no aversion to hard work. He just needs an opportunity.
Caleb Mills (Asheville Christian) 2019
Decent length for this young lead guard from North Carolina. He has solid handles though he does have the tendency to dribble just a bit much, easily fixed with experience. He showed he could finish with either hand at the bucket and was a crafty and creative passer in traffic. A bit of a gambler on defense, his lack of strength kind of leads him to become too much of a help guy instead of a guard your own guy. In his defense though he has very active hands and does cause some disruption in that realm. Kid has a feel for the game and once his body catches up with his potential skill level we will have a player on our hands.