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.
Trent Stephany (Bearden) 2019
Rising sophomore guard oozing with potential, quick, intelligent, understands how to run the offense, has tremendous ball skills and is a very aggressive defender. Quick leader who finds his way into the paint at will. He is a dual threat depending on your definition of the lead guard position and which style you prefer. He can be the scoring point with a sic floater, a very good pull-up game and with more gym work a decent shot out to the three point line. He can also be the pass first point, running the offense and setting up his teammates. He understands the game, it means something to him and I will enjoy watching him grow as he matures into a serious college prospect.
Easton Upchurch (Maryville) 2017
Competitive player who always plays with emotion and hustle when on the floor. He has played more as a two guard up to this point but has begun the task of incorporating more of a lead guard role into his repertoire. He has show growth and maturity in his game on and off the floor. He has embraced the leadership role and will be looked upon to be that coach on the floor. His aggressiveness has gotten him to this point, couple that with the added maturity and the responsibility of being a team leader and this will be a special year this rising senior. He can score in many ways but his bread and butter has always been the confidence he has in his outside stroke. His shot selection has improved, he still has a tendency to shoot off balance when he gets going too fast but you cant take away his aggressive demeanor, which makes him the competitor that he has become.
Brayden Jackson (Stewart's Creek) 2017
Strong built rising senior is a creative scorer who really pounds the glass and uses his gifts to create scoring situations on the interior. "Workhorse on the glass" was a quick surmise of the efforts from the Middle Tennessee product. He was at his best in the paint, making tough scoring chances, snatching boards and using his bulk to defend. He likes to shoot from the perimeter, has a unique rotation, but made his fair share of shots when his fundamentals were proper and his feet were set. . He needs to work on his explosion and getting into better basketball shape. At his size he will need to work on playing on the wing, thus working on his ball-handing and decision making with the basketball.
Boris Ristanovich (Baylor) 2018
"Where did this guy come from, he is skilled, has handles and can shoot the ball out to 18' feet", the first of every positive evaluation for the rising junior move-in from Chattanooga. Superlatives galore when looking at the multitude of adjectives listed when describing this prospect. He has handles, he has length, he runs hard, he knows how and when to use the screen to his benefit, good hands, face-up deadly from 15' in. He goes hard to the glass with or without the ball, he is an major interior presence and a nice, polite kid. As is the general stigma with the European kids is he tough enough? He could obviously use some strength but don't question his effort or determination. He was among the top 5 players at the event without question. Upside could be mind blowing when he gets stronger and more confident.
Will Stevens (David Crockett) 2019
Diminutive point guard might not pass the physical look test but do not underestimate the competitive nature of this rising sophomore. "Nice little player" seemed to be the consensus from everyone involved when evaluating this kid. He has to get stronger, of course every one in his class needs to do so, the range on his shot will increase with strength, his confidence level will rise exponentially with added strength and he will be hard to deal with when this happens. He has range already past the deep line, he needs to quicken that shot release but he keeps everything high to his credit. He will put it on the deck and take it to the rack, he has no fear and he plays like a kid who really likes, no loves, this game to his core. Keep doing what your doing young man, things will work out fine. Get stronger, don't wait.
Chantz Hillsman (Cane Ridge) 2018
Slight built lead guard who really loves to play the game. You can see it on his face and in his walk, this game means everything to him. He has a solid skill set, good handles, above average shot when his feet are set and he is on-balance, plus he is a pesky and down right tenacious defender. He makes decent decisions with the ball, he can get going too fast and make some careless turnovers but those are generally effort mistakes and you cant take away his aggressiveness, just work on pacing yourself, making smarter basketball related decisions and doing everything in your power to win. His size can work against him, especially with bigger, pounding guards. He is good in transition, which seems to fit his personality. Get the ball and go, knowing when to pull back and get something in the half-court are lessons that he learns with maturity.
Amon Grace (McCallie) 2019
Tough rising sophomore guard was at his best in the half-court making moves to the bucket, using his size to create scoring chances and getting on the glass. Excellent rebounder for a guard. His defensive effort was good at times but left you wanting more. Consistency in his overall game, playing hard all the time not only when things are going well are areas where he will see a marked improvement during his high school season. His outside shooting needs a great deal of work and he just doesn't have the confidence in his shooting touch at this juncture of his development. As he matures and gets stronger you will see a major jump in his overall skill development, I think confidence will come as he sees the benefits of his added strength and then his maturation shall begin. I really like his upside.
Anthony Watkins (McCallie) 2019
Decent sized youngster showed some skill level in many different areas. Undersized at this point to play in the post as he moves up the high school ladder. He has been a force in his younger years and still feels most comfortable in the paint. He is physically stronger than most of his classmates but not a great athlete. He has a tendency to make things too difficult instead of making the easy play, he plays off-balance at times and can get lost on the floor. He has a decent scoring touch when he steps into his three and he can get buckets around the paint area. His ball-handling will be an area he needs to make a priority as his transitions to the wing this hoops campaign. He needs to show better basketball habits, play harder and longer, give effort on a more consistent basis and pay attention but he is far from devoid of talent and ability. He shows glimpses of a real competitive nature, a toughness lurks inside him, a willingness to compete and be a force is there, let it out man, let it out.
Dalton Coleman (Monterey) 2018
Rising junior undersized post player really understands his role on the floor. He has top notch footwork, crafty and has the ability to get his defender off their feet and allow him room for interior scoring chances. He doesn't try to do anything that he cannot do, no bad shots or unnecessary turnovers, he understands and has embraced his role as post player. He has a decent body but could use additional strength as he pounds away inside, he needs to work on a go to move with a counter, he doesn't have overt quickness so things can be slow developing but he understands changes of speed and using his angles on defense. He understands positioning, he posts up and presents himself to his perimeter people. He should be very effective this season at the Class A level.