One of our favorite events of the year took place again this year at picturesque Carson Newman University. The annual Tennessee Prep Hoops Rankings and Exposure Showcase tipped off a couple Saturdays ago and now its time to compute all the data and start releasing some evaluations on the attendees.
Sam Belau (Walker Valley)
Camp Number: 62
Emerging guard who showed a nice effort going to the basket strongly, he has a decent body and seems to know how to use it to get position and make plays for himself. "Lefty has a confident stroke, goes hard to the bucket, slices through the lane just needs to understand when and where, make better decisions with the ball, gets a head of steam and creates bad game situations, slow down and let things develop". Has shown marked improvement in almost every area of the game since we last laid eyes on him, he has the basketball IQ and skill set to be a much more productive scorer and game manager.
Kobe Finch (Northview Academy)
Camp Number: 63
"Strong shooter when fully engaged, seems to understand the game, plays unselfish, yet can drift when not fully involved". Rhythm shooter who relies on his shot for confidence, he has skills, he understands spacing, he prefers going left on the drive and can be casual with the ball. He needs to continue to work on his ball handling and decision making as he will need to run some point this season. He has the understanding, so just focus and concentration on the task at hand will be necessary. He has the ability to play both guard spots and when his shot and the confidence in his shot are high, he can be a handful to guard, he moves and gets to open spots when he feels he has his shot rhythm down. Work on being more active without the ball, creating for others and just allowing your natural basketball knowledge to infiltrate your skill level. I think a big time senior season is at hand.
Jonathan Milloway (Oak Ridge)
Camp Number: 64
"Kid has excellent size, he can score over either shoulder, he has good hands, blocks shots from the help side and uses his body to get post position, he plays big, something that is lacking in today's game". Emerging junior big guy showed marked improvement and is really good around the basket. He rebounds in traffic, doesn't mind the physical nature of the paint and has a good feel for each possession when he plays at the proper pace. He gets untangled when he tries to play to fast, do too much or let outside things interfere with his progress. You can only control what you do, don't let anything take away your focus. The amount of progress he has made since I, myself have watched him has been enormous. Keep working on that body, get stronger up top, work on some one or two bounce scoring moves and keep developing that shot.
Jake Poole (Bearden)
Camp Number: 66
"I was more impressed every time I watched him play today, he let the game come to him, very hard in a camp setting. He has an excellent stroke, good size, runs the floor and is a creative finisher at the rim, plus he's only a freshman". This kid catches your eye, first with his length then with his skill. He is an excellent shooter and truly understands the flow of the game. He obviously needs to work on his body, as does everyone his age, but his feel and execution are above average for this age bracket. He needs to tighten his handle, as he tends to dribble too far from his body, especially in tight quarters.
Chandler Ferguson (Hancock County)
Camp Number: 68
Large young player who works hard just hasn't learn the nuisances of the game yet. A rising freshman so he has yet to play a varsity minute at the high school level. He shows a penchant for understanding how to post, he passes well out of the double team and he goes after boards. He will need to work on getting into better basketball shape. Adding some quickness and the ability to move better laterally will aid his overall skill development. He needs to work on his offensive skill set as well, finishing better around the basket, making his hands stronger and catching the ball cleanly. He has the natural gift of size and once he learns how to make use of this, his production will sky rocket.
Zane Lawhon (Loudon)
Camp Number: 69
"Eighth grader who showed some really advanced skills, he shoots the ball very well and he finds open cutters and scorers, he was physically over-matched every time down the floor but he played hard and gave effort, that's all you can ask at this level". Young player who has a big upside when and if his body catches up, he shoots very well and mostly on balance, his handles are adequate at this juncture and he uses a floater in the lane, a must have shot for anyone in the small category. As already stated he was physically over-matched and at times this affected his confidence, especially on offense, but he really has a good feel for what is going on, he sees the floor, he has lead guard instincts and he can score. Defensively his game will develop as his body develops.