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.
Ohio State (111-120)
Michael Hampton (Brainerd) 2018
"Tough, hard-nosed, defense first, just how I like them" boasted one former D1 coach with his evaluation of the Chattanooga rising junior guard. Hampton is a slick lefty who has really improved his outside marksmanship from last season. He plays with passion and effort and he is most at home on the defensive side of the ball. He seems to understand the flow of the game and is seemingly in the right spot on defense majority of the time. His motor will keep coaches interested. He will need to continue to develop his game from the lead guard spot. He is more comfortable catching the pass and shooting. His size dictates his ability to add that facet to his game. Offensively if he continues to improve we will have a sleeper on our hands for certain.
Nema Taylor (MLK) 2017
Rising senior guard catches your eye immediately with his calm demeanor on the floor. A great asset for any lead guard, Taylor is a pass first kind of guy, he likes setting the table and making those around him better. He showed he could knock down a shot here and there and was adept at the quick pull-up from the foul line extended. A decent athlete adding strength will certainly be helpful as he tangles with the high school competition in the Nashville area. He showed to be a competent defender but we think there could some improvement in that area of his game. As a leader with his offensive skill set playing both sides of the floor will only make him more coveted by those on-lookers.
Rayshaad Thompson (Riverdale) 2019
Young player played with effort but often seemed lost during long portions of the game. He certainly needs to add some strength to his game, as does everyone in his emerging class. He showed moments of very aggressive defensive play but consistency will be something that he needs to focus on as he increases his basketball IQ. He has a skill level and can finish at the rim, he does play hard when focused but really needs to work on the mechanics of his shot. He has a small wind-up which will obviously need to be sped up as he advances up the high school ladder. Once he learns to play hard all the time his production and value will go way up.
Jacob Llumbert (Maryville) 2018
Decent size, has some fundamentals to his game, runs the floor hard, keeps the ball high on caroms and really plays with effort. A bit uncontrolled but effort none the less. He really is a work horse, he tries hard and once his footwork and hand strength improve he will be a very functional high school player. An undersized four with a penchant for attempting the outside shot. Shot selection is really in question at times but you have to love the confidence. He tends to keep his head down when posed with backing down into the paint. He is not fleet a foot, an average athlete but a team guy who makes effort plays. Coaches love guys like this.
Levert Smith (Oak Ridge) 2018
Love this competitor, he really is and can continue to be a very solid defender. He works to get defensive position, he puts effort into causing his man some havoc and he just seems to know this is his way into extra playing time. Coaches love point guards who defend. A small lefty his size could be concern against bigger guards but his effort will never be an issue. His offensive game really needs to come around. He seems to lack confidence in his shooting ability, for fear of being taken out of games or just not sure of himself. He tends to aim the ball when he shoots instead of just lining up his feet and letting it go. He is a gym rat who adores the game and will work his tail off to get on the floor by any means necessary.
Marquice Fifield (Grainger) 2018
"This may sound indifferent but I actually liked him way more than I thought I would" said one evaluation. He has sort of a European feel to his game. He attacks the rim and showed he could finish in transition. He pushes the ball hard and can run some lead guard if called upon to do so. His passing skills are solid yet he does try to make the spectacular when easy or starting over would be a better option. He developed a nice floater in the lane but must work on his outside shooting touch to play on the perimeter on the next level. He has decent size and isn't afraid to mix it up on defense. Footwork and improving his explosion will benefit his game greatly.
Jalen Andrews (Bearden) 2019
"Really like this young guy, he plays hard, he has decent athleticism, I wish he were bigger but that's the hand you are dealt", spoken by one former D1 coaches evaluation of the rising sophomore point guard. Size will always be an issue for him but effort and desire will not. Kid is a very active defender. Offensively he likes to attack in transition and showed a slick pull-up jumper on the secondary break. Strength will also help him as he moves up the prep ladder. That added size will help him play through contact which derailed many of his forays to the bucket. His outside shooting is not a strength at this time but as he climbs he will need to add this to his arsenal. Solid young player who is just looking for a chance to prove himself.