With the Fall Leagues behind me I can concentrate on getting to the evaluations from the Carson Newman Showcase from a weeks back. I had three other evaluators posted, all three were former college coaches and their input is very important to my final analysis. I will post a story for each team from the event.
#51 Ethan Loveday (Sevier County)
5-10 PG 2015
Tough rascal is what we call a gamer, Loveday doesn't always look the part but he battles and is always in attack mode thus making him an effective player at the prep level. He moves well without the ball, is a smart shooter but really needs to quicken his release and just understands the little insights of making winning plays for his team. Not blessed with overt athleticism or quickness, he fights for his scoring opportunities and he wills himself into successful plays. He has excellent vision and pushes the ball ahead in transition opportunities, he plays unselfish and doesn't have to score to help his team win.
#54 John Bryant (Jefferson County)
6-5 PF 2015
Fundamentally sound inside force who has added the short jumper to his offensive repertoire, Bryant is a tough kid who takes a beating when making his way to the bucket. he has a myriad of scoring weapons using the short jump hook, utilizing the glass, a lost art by the way, and an array of post moves that have been more effective as he has stretched his game towards the perimeter a bit. John is a good rebounder but tends to play too much on his tip-toes not allowing him the explosion to snatch caroms out of his area. John is a hard worker who spends countless hours in the gym, he knows what his weaknesses are and he works on them unrepentantly. His level will be determined on his ability to continue to move his game out of the paint, his ball-handling skills need work and he hasn't extended his range out to the three line.
#55 Lanre Olatunji (Hamilton Heights)
6-9 C 2015
The first thing that springs to mind when you watch this young man compete is his relentless work and effort. His skills have yet to catch up but the margin is shrinking as he blazes along. Strength will also need to be a priority as he adjusts to the rigors of offensive interior basketball at this level. He has length and could be very effective in a 94 foot system right from the jump with his motor and ability to recover and close out. He needs to work on hand strength and making a clean catch on the interior entry pass. He has made remarkable strides in a lot of areas including his ability to face up, when the catch is clean, and use the jab step to find scoring space or hit a cutter. Raw talent and potential are the cornerstone of hopes and dreams, hard work makes it a reality and this kid will work.
#56 Milos Andelic (Hamilton Heights)
5-10 PG 2015
True point guard was one of the best on the ball defenders in the entire event. He has quick feet, changes directions very well and a motor that gives him relentless pursuit of the ball. He has true leadership qualities and looks to make the right decision with the ball in the half court. Offensively he seems to relegate his work to making everyone else around him more productive, which is fine unless left open and needing to hit a big shot. He always looks to advance the ball forward and runs the floor very well. His transition from offense to defense seems to be his calling card and what makes him happy on the floor. His energy and enthusiasm is contagious and we saw that each time he clamped down on his man while bringing the ball up the floor. Relentless aggression.
#57 James Coe (Jackson County)
6-3 SG 2017
Young guard with good size and a gym rat mentality towards the game. He is fundamentally sound and understands the flow and sequence of basketball. A good shooter who aims with confidence, Coe showed he could comfortably knock down the three, utilized a nice pull up jumper on the wings when making a move to the glass and had a nice turn around shot in the lane. His length makes him effective and his skill level will only be enhanced as he becomes stronger. Defensively he really needs to understand positioning, he was beaten off the glass too many times for a kid with his length and athleticism. Using his feet and anticipating better will make him a much more viable defensive option.
#58 Chase Ridenour (Home School)
5-10 PG 2018
Highlighted by several of the evaluations as one to watch. Chase is a skilled rising freshman who belies his age with his mental capacity on the floor. He has a decent outside stroke and knows how to utilize the floater in the lane, a staple for any mid-sized guard. He plays tough defense, tends to gamble when tired but his effort is without question. As he matures into his lead guard role he will need to understand his more defined role as distributor along with capable scoring option. Chase has very good handles and has the basketball savvy to make the right decision with the ball. He will sometimes take the ill advised shot if he hasn't touched the ball offensively in a few trips so as he matures he will need to let the game come to him at times. As this kid adds strength he will be someone to watch in East Tennessee.
#59 Desmond Simpson (Walker Valley)
5-5 PG 2018
Diminutive young player that has a decent feel for the game. Simpson is quick but needs to really focus on his ball-handling. At his size, valuing the ball will be vital for his continued growth as a player. He sees the floor and has the vision to make plays but lacks the strength to finish those chances. Offensively he seemed to defer to his teammates as a lot of younger players do in this setting, thus showing signs of becoming a leader. He had no trouble adjusting to the three-pass or post entry model we have the kids play in the opening games. He took to that naturally and seemed very comfortable making the right decision.
#60 Mohamed Abubaker (Hamilton Heights)
6-7 WF/PF 2017
Athletic specimen, Big Mo was a beast inside, using his athleticism and aggressiveness to score easy buckets in the paint. He can put the ball on the deck, albeit sometimes too much, and finish off the bounce in traffic. He went after rebounds on both sides of the lane and was a capable defender when focused. He needs to continue to develop his game further from the basket, his shooting touch is not bad and will only enhance his penchant for making the tough drive on the one or two dribble move. This kid has a massive bright future.