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.
Isaiah Benjamin (Cosby) 2018
Small guard plays with a motor, really likes to defend. Active on offense very adept at making the post entry, a true lost art in basketball, he plays to win, catch and shoot, adequate handles and solid basketball IQ. He will need to work on the mechanics of his shot, which can at times leave his hand without proper rotation. His decision making will also need an upgrade if he is to run the point. He has good instincts but has a tendency to play too fast at times and force unnecessary turnovers. He needs to learn to create for others in becoming a true lead guard.
Santana Haney (Cocke County) 2017
"He has a way of always being in the mix for the ball, energy guy would be even better on defense if he learned to be vocal", was one very good assessment of the play of the rising senior. He has a crafty skill set, smooth handles and can knock down the open shot. He will take the ball hard to the bucket and can finish with either hand in traffic. Good size, strong build helps him on defense. He does a multitude of things very well but needs to take one aspect of his skill set and make it his calling card.
Devan Cambridge (PJPII) 2018
"If he works on his perimeter game he could be dangerous, we are talking high major athlete with potential high major skills, it's up to him", said one pretty precise evaluation for the high rising junior athlete from Nashville. His obvious athleticism cannot be overlooked but his skill level needs to rise to that level for him to become the player he truly can be. His shooting stroke needs a bit of tweaking mechanically, he needs to play more physical in the post not simply relying on his leaping ability. If he aspires to the wing he needs to work on his handles, his decision making with the ball and finishing hard and tough at the rim. He has so many natural gifts its astounding. "Needs to get stronger, tougher, more aggressive" was another evaluation from a former D1 coach, who also mused the kid was by far the best athlete in the gym.
Austin Brooks (William Blount) 2017
"Work on making a move instead of bullying your way into the post, he leans to much thus off balance when he receives the ball, work on proper footwork and post moves and he could be a weapon inside", concise and to the point evaluation for this emerging big man from a former college coach. Tough lefty post player has made massive strides in his development the last few seasons. He has decent hands, is learning to use his size to carve out space, score easily from the block and get tough boards. He has a tendency to dribble too much in the paint, his footwork still needs crafting and his decision making also needs additional work. He plays hard, he dives for loose balls, he seems to finally have a true love for the game. If you have the luxury of a red-shirt season this kid will be someone to take a hard and serious look at.
Hunter Holt (Hancock County) 2019
Young player who needs to get his body ready for the high school game. He has a feel for the game, he moved well without the ball, not standing still and making himself easy to guard. He needs to work on keeping his head up when he has the ball in hands, you cant make good basketball decisions if your not observing what is happening in front of you. He has to work on his shooting stroke which is more of a push shot right now, obviously adding strength will allow him to do just that. We have said it so many times but developing physically and getting stronger takes care of a great deal of a young players deficiencies.
Marcus Smith (Oak Ridge) 2019
Really impressed with the skill level of this young lead guard. Nice handles and makes plays, unselfish point guard who can knock down the open shots when his feet are set. He plays very hard and "guards you". He is vocal, a trait very few young guards possesses but should, he creates his own space and just loves to play. His size is not ideal but his heart is for real. He needs to work on a right hand, as does every other lefty, and not always try to make the fancy pass, just make the right decision and put the points on the board. He is mature beyond his years on the court and could find his way into a heap of playing time this year on the high school level.
Matthew Levi (Rhea County) 2018
Tough competitor who showed good tempo, plays scrappy, showed good hands on defense and an adequate outside shot. Every evaluation mentioned getting into better basketball shape, conditioning, and working on his body physically. He is a decent passer, plays unselfish and isn't afraid to mix it up inside despite his lack of height. He is a productive sort who could turn into a very productive high school contributor as he works on his body.
Kannon Oggs (Rhea County) 2019
Young guard who played a bit nervous on the offensive side of the ball but was a tough hard nosed defender. He showed he could score going to the bucket, he rebounded well for a guard and always played with effort and passion. He needs to work on being more aggressive offensively, work on gaining confidence in your outside shooting and using two hands when making a pass, until your strength catches up with your skill level those one handed passes are a turnover.
Landon Oaks (Union County) 2019
Diminutive shooting guard is a fun young guy to watch. He is heady, making plays for himself and his teammates, he is shifty, making tough shots and playing without fear and he is a solid passer as well. His size will be an issue. He is a really good shooter with a nice stroke and follow through. He has range and isn't weak physically just small in stature. Every evaluation concluded they loved his grit, determination, ability to shoot the ball but were concerned about his size and strength moving forward. As he moves forward we'd like to see him embrace the lead guard position, he passes well but making his teammates accountable, taking a leadership role and being a coach on the floor.