Finally we begin our evaluations from the annual Tennessee Prep Hoops Carson Newman Showcase. This is a lengthy process with evaluations from myself and five college coaches who's input I sought when putting these thoughts and suggestions together.
- K.J Hawkins (Karns) 5'9 PG 2018
Scoring point guard mentality has quick handles, loves to defend and always finds a way to put the ball in the hole. Lefty who doesn't have deep range but is very confident in his ability to score. He is quick and strong built, he is as fast with the ball as he is without it and plays with a swagger and confidence. He will need to adapt to becoming more of a true lead guard with some improved decision making and passing skills. Like most left-handed players he truly has no right hand to speak of. "Can he guard bigger, more athletic guards on the next level", was the question posed by one evaluation. I believe he would give it his best effort but those will be areas that will need to have questions answered during his final high school campaign. He blows past defenders, he plays at a frantic pace, often to his detriment as he can be a bit turnover prone, but he has a giant motor and heart that will carry him somewhere.
- Brantley Baker (Meigs County) 6'3 SG 2019
"Very smooth when he goes to the rack, problem is he lives on the perimeter" interesting question posed to the rising junior guard. Consensus was no doubt a very good shooter, volume shooter with good size and length. He will obviously need to work on his body and get stronger. "More focus on defense and shot selection", you don't want to take away his aggressiveness on offense but he must come to grips with the fact that every shot is not a good shot. You are too good of an athlete to be a non-factor defensively, its as simple as that. "You are who you can guard" is one of my favorite quotes from a very prominent college coach and this is the mantra for playing on the next level. The ability to shoot the ball is coveted for sure but being one dimensional is a hindrance for a basketball player, be hard to guard. This kid plays with a motor, he has the ability to be a real handful offensively once he becomes more cognizant of the fact that every shot does not need to count for three points.
- Chantz Hillsman (Cane Ridge) 5'10 PG 2019
"Diminutive guard shows at times he can play the lead guard position but then relegates himself to wanting to launch outside shots at improper stages of the game", consistency will be his biggest hurdle is my summation after reading several evaluations on this rising junior from Nashville. He loves to play and compete, he has the quickness to get past defenders and when in rhythm does have a really nice stroke from deep. "Find your comfort zone", he looked tentative at times, learn your personnel, even in this setting and work on your passing skills. He can distribute when comfortable and maturation in his game will be a big step in becoming a complete player.
- Isaiah King (Seymour) 6'4 SG 2018
Good looking player who was nursing some injuries and was unable to complete the entire camp. I believe he also came in a bit out of shape and thus was a bit unimpressive during the drills and the early game action. On a positive note he has some ability, he has length, he can score the ball and he is a really good rebounder with his underrated athletic skills. I was a little disappointed in his effort at the camp and the evaluations prove the same consensus. I really believe not being fully prepared from his nagging aliments was the main cause of the lack of positive performance. I think he will have a very productive senior season.
- Matt Levi (Rhea County) 5'11 SG 2018
You can talk about all the shortcomings but effort gets noticed and everyone had nothing but positive remarks for the undersized guard/forward who just kept coming at you. "Lacks size and athleticism but he gives major effort", he is thick, stout and has a knack for coming up with every 50/50 ball. His shot is decent and he scraps for rebounds and fights hard on defense. "Bowling ball with a high motor" was one evaluation along with "methodical but effective, love his effort. If some of these super athletic kids played with his passion they would be high major kids". The intangibles were many and a highly productive senior season is on tap for this young man.
- Darius Allen (Jefferson County) 6'3 WF 2019
Young lefty with a quick first step and an athletic build. Rising junior seriously looks the part but as you observe you can tell his skill level is still raw. He will need to add weight to a slender frame but his aggressiveness was on full display at times with some forays to the bucket and some moments of defensive grandeur, which unfortunately were not consistent and continuous. "He needs to work on his shot becoming more consistent and work on a quicker release", he has a nice pace to his game and is only confidence and consistency away from being a very productive player. He will need to work on his handles as he projects as a two-guard or wing. More confidence in his handles will produce a better attack mentality while improving his outside shooting confidence will make his overall game grow. He will be a fun player to watch over the next couple of seasons.
- Micah Wilkinson (Pigeon Forge) 5'10 SG 2020
Young shooter burst on the scene last year with a deadly stroke. His body hasn't matured to the point where he has enough confidence to do more with his game. He is blessed with point guard size and will need to work on becoming more of a lead guard with his skill set. He will need to improve his decision making and basketball IQ while using his best weapon to make other aspects of his game flourish. The head fake, the short ball fake, the dribble are all aspects he can improve on that will render him a scoring threat with his ability to hit the long ball. His biggest area of improvement will need to be in his strength, lateral quickness and explosion. I always say strength is the single most important aspect of a burgeoning prospects itinerary and once some confidence is ascertained with this added size everything will fall into place.
- Alex Rush (Upperman) 6'5 PF 2021
"His skill level hasn't caught up to his body yet but I like what I see" was one of the many positive notes about this up and coming rising freshman prospect. Good size for a kid who has yet to play an actual high school basketball game. He needs to let the game come to him a bit more, don't force the issue. As a post player, who could develop into more as his career moves along, the ball doesn't always come your way so patience, shot selection and understanding the flow of the game are vital aspects that will come with maturation. "Young big who plays hard but needs a more consistent motor" was another positive note from the panel of college coaches who assisted me in these evaluations. His foot work will need to be an area he makes a real priority, getting a go to move with a counter, using both hands over both shoulders and becoming a beast on the glass. Lateral quickness and working on making that body your weapon are all things that come with time and effort. Improve the overall effort because you have the time.