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.
Trevor Hensley (Unicoi County) 2018
Intelligent player who makes up for a lack of overt athleticism with a high IQ and a real understanding of spacing and being in the right place at the right time. Very solid shooter, has improved his game off the dribble. He doesn't waste motion, he makes crisp cuts and really knows how to finish at the bucket. He will continue to need to improve his strength and work on becoming a better on-ball defender. Foot work and agility drills will help make this happen. "I love his demeanor", said one spot-on evaluation. He doesn't get rattled regardless of the outcome of a play, he understands move on to the next one. He has a winners mentality and that will be a trait that coaches on the next level will covet.
Damien Baugh (Cane Ridge) 2018
"In my opinion, he is the best prospect in this entire camp", said one former D1 coach who was slinging evaluations for me. This rising junior has a skill set and some gifts that simply cannot be taught. He is slick with his handles, he can use the dribble to finish straight up on a defender or taking it hard to the bucket in a transition situation. He shoots the ball well enough to consider it a weapon and he really knows how and wants to defend. He can pass, score, dribble and defend, isn't that the worksheet every coach looks for when evaluating a player. He has very good length which helps him in defensive situations, he will guard your top scorer. His maturation level will the final step into making him a sure fire next level participant. He has a tendency to let the outside distractions get to him and make him less effective. He can get caught up in looking for a call or having bad body language when a teammate doesnt complete a play he thinks they should have. Leadership means giving those players on your team confidence, not everyone is as good as you, bring them up not down. Once the maturation is in effect you will see this young man represent on a very high level.
Marco Zaro (Knoxville Christian) 2017
European player had a very nice skill package. He has a good outside stroke when all his fundamentals are adhered, he can dribble the rock, sometimes too excess, but I digress. He has a solid skill set on the interior using either hand with decent footwork to get easy buckets in the paint. Good size helps him on the glass. His decision making with the ball is an area that he really needs to show some improvement. He takes bad shots in bad game situations and basically creates turnovers for his team. He needs to continue to shown improvement in the passing arena, he shows he can make the open assist, however, he is reluctant to make that pass often enough. Decent athlete, not super quick but his strength and his length allow him to get to the spots he needs on the floor to make shots. His game just needs some discipline and he will make a fine prospect at the next level.
Isaiah Walker (McCallie) 2017
"Know your role, and shut your mouth", not a quote from one of our evaluators but a quote from a famous person none the less. It is so profound when describing this rising senior inside contributor. He is not the center of attention, nor does he wish to be, but he does things to help you win games. He has length, he needs some bulk and strength to be more effective, but he fights for loose balls, he makes extra effort on the offensive boards and he keeps possessions alive. he makes winning plays in an unassuming role. He can guard in the paint, he lacks strength as we said but he works hard and gives effort. He was a bit reluctant but he took a few mid-range shots and with some continued gym work he could make that a scoring option for himself. Players love playing with a cat like this, he just wants to win.
Deron Perry (Riverdale) 2019
Small guard is a rising sophomore with a real passion for the game. You can see that in his effort and the smile he plays with at all times. A lefty with a decent shot he seems more at ease scoring off the bounce and was able to score the ball in a variety of different methods. His size will be an issue as he goes up against bigger, stronger athletes in high school but I assure you he will not retreat or back down from this challenge. Adding this strength will also increase his range and boost the confidence in his outside shot, which me mentioned is not bad. An average athlete, he will need to work on getting stronger so he can execute the plays he sees and the shots he takes. Here is a kid who simply loves to play, he will work hard at whatever shortcomings he has and he will be a contributor and a vital cog to his high school squad as he matures and becomes more of a scoring weapon.
Chanze Cruesoe (Riverdale) 2019
Competitor, tough kid who really enjoys the competition and getting better. He is very hard on himself and wants to make improvement every time he steps on the floor. Great attitude. He is a staunch defender, he gets into his man and he never gives up on a play. His offensive game is solid, he shoots the ball decent, but does have a tendency to shoot too quickly. He uses a step back to create space, he does it sparingly so no need for alarm. He plays either guard spot well, he passes the ball, he can make the post entry or hit the cutter for an easy bucket. He is unselfish and really desires to be a part of a team. This kid has good strength for his age group and will get even more confidence as he hits the weight room this fall. He is simply a competitor in every sense of the word. Coaches love a kid like this.
Desmond Simpson (Cleveland) 2018
Rising junior proved he could score in the half-court setting hitting shots from the outside and putting the ball on the floor and making some tough chances in the paint, showing more aggression on the offensive side of the ball than in the past. He has the desire to run the show from the lead guard position but will need to work on his decision making pertaining to passing and the intangibles. He is a team type of player who likes to work within the system, his ball-handling is better but still needs some attention but again his decision making with the ball in his midst is an area he really needs to concentrate on getting more productive. He is a solid defensive player on the ball and from the help side, he communicates and is decent on the glass for a smaller guard.
Elijah Cobb (Riverdale) 2019
"Really like this kid, he has tremendous upside and when he figures it all out, look out", great evaluation for this rising sophomore from Middle Tennessee. Cobb has good size and length for his age pocket and an emerging set of skills that are just being tapped. He showed he could knock down the outside shot with confidence, he never played timid and has the type of body that will sustain weight and could get to 6'6 if he continues to grow. A good passer for a young player who plays mostly on the wing or the interior, he was unselfish with the ball, he seems to understand the game and almost to a man every evaluation stated in one way shape or form, once he gets it, the kid is going to be special. He will need to work on ball-handling and continue making progress with his shot, as he appears on track to become a wing or a two on the next level. He also needs to exude just a little more effort on defense, he plays hard but increasing this part of his game makes him the complete package that coaches are all seeking to find.
Max Spurling (Asheville Christian) 2018
Very impressed by this rising junior from North Carolina, who joined a cavalcade of teammates to make the trip to our event, which we appreciate greatly. Good size and length, young man showed he had lift snatching boards and finishing high at the rim. He was a very good athlete and is added strength away from being a highly sought after prospect. He runs the floor with a mission to score, he crashes the boards using his hops to get second and third tips at the carom. He will needs to give in to the defensive side of the floor a bit more, use those gifts and length to become a nasty help defender. Improve those handles as well, the wing is where you shall prospect young man.