Extensive coverage of
Tennessee High School Basketball
by Andre Whitehead

Carson Newman Showcase Evaluations (Vanderbilt 31-40)

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.





Vanderbilt (31-40)


#31 Esmond Sparks (East Hamilton)

6-2 PG/SG 2015

Sparks proved he has the versatility to play either guard spot, he has some length, likes to defend and did a very good job of keeping tempo, thus not allowing the opposition to speed him up and create turnovers. His demeanor on the court was outstanding seemingly never getting rattled and showing good vision and the desire to create scoring plays for his teammates. Sparks will need to improve his offensive game as he looks to distribute almost to a fault, his fluidity should allow him to create several easy scoring chances for himself. He will need to improve his overall quickness and speed to make him a next level performer, tempo is great but when bigger and quicker athletes get involved speed and agility will come into play.


#32 Cameron Hayes (Cookeville)

6-3 SG 2016

Hayes is the type of kid that coaches covet, a hard nosed player who is not afraid to get his nose dirty. He fights hard for rebounds, goes hard to the bucket and understands how to use his body. He has decent size and length but must improve his overall quickness and explosion. He has an above average basketball savvy and is the kind of role player that helps teams win championships. He is going to be very productive getting buckets, grabbing rebounds, keeping possessions alive and making winning plays for his team. He has a good outside shot but must become more confident in his ball handling and ability to one step dribble in and take the short jumper instead of trying to go all the way to the basket.


#33 Tyler Nichols (Elizabethon)

6-4 SG 2015

Bouncy shooting guard who is a sneaky athlete with a penchant for playing hard nosed defense. Nichols is one of the best on ball defenders in this area, he seeks out the oppositions best scorer and stays in his jersey. His length allows him to be a solid help defender as well, tipping several passes and hustling down the floor for easy transition buckets. Offensively he is best when getting to the bucket, be that in transition or from the dribble. His outside shooting has improved but will need to be his ultimate focus as he ascends to the next level. He is an excellent teammate and is very coachable, plays the game with passion and judging by the miles he traveled to get to the various events he simply loves the game. Once he adds more strength and confidence in his outside stroke we will have a next level gem on our hands.


#35 Tyler Durden (Hardin Valley)

6-1 WF/PF 2016

Very interesting player from several standpoints, his size, by that I mean his body, dictates post activity in high school basketball, yet his skill level could lend him to play some on the short perimeter. Durden plays with emotion and can seemingly get lost in the flow of the game at times. He has a penchant for scoring yet will need to work on his decision making with the ball and game situation action. You don't want to curtail his aggressiveness but shot selection can be an issue at times. He tends to fade away for no reason. He scores effortlessly on the block and uses his size to create in the paint off the one or two dribble move. His outside shooting needs some restructuring but his confidence is right where it needs to be. A lefty who has no trouble gathering his scoring chances, once Durden becomes comfortable starting his game inside and gradually working it out towards the perimeter he will be a very effective high school player with a solid chance to advance to the next level.


#36 Kaylon Fleming (Tyner Academy)

5-10 PG 2015

Small lead guard who plays with energy and is a good athlete, Fleming has quickness and could be a very good defender if his fundamentals were more in order. On offense he likes to leave his feet when making passes and at times plays way to fast causing turnovers and bad decisions with the ball. He just needs to slow his tempo and use his quickness and aggressive nature to get his teammates more involved on offense. Defensively he could be a serious problem for his opposition, stop gambling for steals and use his gifts to create havoc and make plays. He also needs to work on shooting and making this a more viable weapon for his offensive arsenal. Kids that play with this kind of emotion are hard workers and will work till they are successful.


#38 Jordan Hembree (Anderson County)

5-8 PG 2018

Rising freshman showed some serious moxie and was not afraid to make things happen against older and bigger players. Hembree is a tiny kid but his basketball knowledge and savvy made up for his lack of height, as he stuck his nose in the mix, fighting for loose balls, knocking down shots and taking the ball to the basket. He finished at the rim with both hands and despite his small stature he plays defense on the perimeter. At his age and physical makeup he will obviously need to hit the weight room hard, his basketball freedom kept him from being afraid on offense yet he will need to grasp the concept of good shot/bad shot as he advances up the prep ladder. More of scoring guard than a point, his size might dictate him moving to the lead guard position in future years.


#39 DeAndre Gibson (Oak Ridge)

5-10 SG 2017

You miss 100% of the shots you fail to take. Shoot young man shoot. Gibson is one of the better young shooters in the area, even his misses look like they are on target. He struggled a little with his confidence in the weeks leading up to the showcase and at the event itself, but it undeniable his ability to stroke the rock once his confidence is intact. A rhythm shooter, Gibson will need to add more to his offensive arsenal as he moves along the prep highway. One dimensional is no way to live. Small for a two guard, size will dictate a turn or two at the lead guard position. Gibson is a hard worker and a solid defender, he is short in stature but not weak and uses his body well guarding on the perimeter. Strength will also increase his range and leg drive at the end of games when a big shot means the difference between winning and losing.


#40 Dylan Hayes (Cocke County)

6-4 WF 2017

Young wing who has a decent outside stroke and the ability to put the ball on the deck if needed. Hayes obviously needs to add strength to his frame. If he is to transition to the backcourt he will need to seriously work on his handles and decision making. He has a tendency to force shots not unusual for a player with confidence in his outside shooting ability. He has good size and length for his age group. His game will blossom when he adds strength, increasing his shooting range and fundamentals and allowing him to go hard to the cup without defensive hands and bodies slowing his progress.