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.
- Javonte Thomas (Oak Ridge) 6'0 PG 2019
Crafty lead guard with some serious quickness and solid court vision. "Pushes it, shares it and guards, what more do you need from your point guard", was one very positive evaluation for the rising junior from the Atomic City. He showed he could get to the rim, has an excellent first step and when motivated is a really good defender. He has a tendency to dribble the ball to excess and when trying to make plays he will commit some silly turnover instead of letting the action develop, patience my friend is a virtue and a savior to those in the point guard community. He will need to work on his outside shot, repetition will make this more of a weapon as he gets more of a starring role with his high school this year. Watch the body language as well, he has a tendency to pout a little when he is not directly involved in the action. He has the potential for an outstanding junior season and has a real shot at playing on some level after high school.
- Dalton Coleman (Monterey) 6'3 PF 2018
Undersized post is a very competent player at the Class A level. He finishes well around the bucket, he is scrappy going after loose balls, long rebounds and 50/50 chances. He is limited athletically but has a good feel for the game and uses his big body to be a solid contributor on both ends of the floor. Knowing your role is a critical calling for any and all players. This means don't try and do things your not capable of doing, this rising senior understands this very well. His range is limited and he will really need to work on his face up game this season. Triple threat scoring chances will increase his point per game average and make him even more critical to his teams chances of making a run to the 'boro. Great attitude, great competitor and a hard worker.
- Ben Knight (Seymour) 6'6 PF 2020
"Just a skill set away from being a heavily recruited athlete, he is oozing potential", highly thought of evaluation for this rising sophomore with the burgeoning game. He has excellent size for a sophomore, likes the contact and has a decent face up mid-range game as well. He is solid on the glass, will blocks shots from the help side and really runs the floor well for his size. He is raw, he needs continuous gym work, back to the basket skill sessions, a go to move, a counter, a hook over both shoulders, he needs to increase his overall basketball inventory. He has a tendency to use his arms when defending, extending the arms is the ultimate no-no, this must stop. Don't show frustration on the foul calls, learn from game to game what you can and can't get away with, this is a science learn as you go. The stage is set young friend, its up to you to take it from here.
- Josh Webb (Hancock County) 5'11 PG 2019
Small guard who played hard but lacked the physical tools to make a great deal of things happen. He wasn't afraid to stick his nose into the fray and played like a player who is much more comfortable in a system type setting as opposed to the up and down rigors of camp basketball. He isn't a run and jump athlete but he is a contributor. His shot is slow developing and has a bit of a hitch but the follow through is solid and it will go in more often than not. He lacks the size to do much off the dribble but will be effective in his area. He has a feel for the game and plays with effort.
- Sam Belau (Walker Valley) 6'0 SG 2020
Young lefty who really likes to shoot the ball. "He has a slow developing, but really straight shot", was made mention by one quick notation but the consensus was he will need to quicken his release especially as the athletes and the close-outs become faster. He also has a great deal of arc on his stroke, developed most likely from over compensation of being smaller at a younger age. He is decent off the dribble and can really make this a weapon as he improves his percentages from deep. He will need to add the skill set of ball-handling and most things 'guard' into his basketball arsenal before he sees a great deal of floor time at the high school level. Youth is on his side. A decent athlete who must improve his defensive effort as well. As much as it pains these young players there is more to the game than shooting and scoring, besides if you don't defend you'll never see the floor.
- Wesley Maples (Sevier County) 6'2 SG 2020
"Under control yet aggressive, this kid is really growing on me", a very positive evaluation for this skilled rising sophomore from Sevier County. Really savvy and skilled, tough and heady, all the adjectives apply. He is smart, understands the flow of the game, has passing skills and is a good shot when his confidence and fundamentals are jiving. He will need to work on his explosion and foot work, becoming more laterally quick. He also needs to continue working on his point guard resume. He should adapt quickly and these days the scoring point guard is the norm. I enjoy watching him play, this is me now, when the light comes on and his shot is falling he is really a nice player who gets everyone involved and still finds time to get 20 for himself. He is very efficient, doesn't waste movement, plays in straight lines and he may never be the athlete to play at the highest level but I can guarantee he will be the tough, smart kid who gives that athlete all he wants.
- Isaiah Allen (Upperman) 5'11 PG 2021
Rising freshman who oozes potential. He has a nice touch and plays with pace, something not often found with young players. He is semi-skilled, remember he has yet to play his first varsity basketball game. He has a real natural feel for the game and he seems to get what's going on, important for the neophytes. "This youngster is athletic but he plays with the mindset of decisions made with hope". I decipher this as he needs to work on making better decisions with the ball, the spectacular is a turnover if the result is not in your favor. He needs to work on his body, like everyone else in his age bracket. Improving his shooting touch will be another area for growth. The shot is not atrocious but does need some tweaking and some gym work. He has massive potential, a dirty word I realize but I think this kid gets it. Not its on him to work and get better and stronger.
- Jeremiah Murrell (William Blount) 5'9 PG 2018
Small guard who competes, makes tough plays and generally just loves to be on the floor. Good teammate who is encouraging and does the best with what he has. He fights for rebounds despite always being outsized, he is scrappy and isn't afraid to leave his feet for loose balls. "He does a lot, really he just does it slowly" was one quick evaluation commenting on his relentless effort and commitment. He made majority of his plays going towards the basket and didn't show an outside shot to speak of, this is an area where he could be a major asset for his school team in his final high school campaign. Coaches love players who don't get involved in statistics, who just compete, give effort and make "winning plays", this kid personifies that effort, the size will always be an issue, that's just the way it is but effort and enthusiasm are contagious.