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.
Riley Melancon (Bledsoe County) 2017
Fundamentally sound lead guard showed a heady approach to the game. He looks to make the easy and correct play in the half-court offense, he runs hard and will finish in transition. He is efficient with little wasted movement and a coach on the floor with his ability to slow the tempo and bring his guys together amongst chaos. Adequate shooting touch, this is an area of the game where he will need to develop more confidence. His biggest hurdle will be the athleticism of the players who also run the point as the level of play rises. He has basketball IQ, understands angles and changing speeds so he is not overwhelmed. Working on some explosion and foot work drills will help him on both offense and defense against the bigger more athletic guards.
Tucker Whitten (Centennial) 2017
Really good shooter when his feet are set and his fundamentals are sound. Some players thrive in the camp setting and some players prefer the structure of a set offense, Whitten is a system kid, he played well proving to be one of the best shooters in the gym but he will shine more within the confines of an offense where his role is more defined. He moves well without the ball, a lost art I might add, and he really plays hard. He can put the ball on the ground and finish at the basket. This is vital with his outside shot so effective, a simple head-fake and two dribble move results in easy mid-range shots. He needs to be more vocal on the floor, let the primary ball-handler know your open. His foot speed and explosion are areas of the game he will need to improve if he hopes to move on to the next level.
E.J. Bush (Oak Ridge) 2017
"Has all the natural gifts of a D1 wing, now he just needs the skill set", how's that for a breakdown of this talented rising senior from the Atomic City. He has good lift and length, he loves to get his defender into the paint and rise over him for easy buckets. He needs to add some weight and for his level of athleticism he really needs to be a much more accomplished defender. Its about effort now, make it happen. He is very adept on the offense glass and especially good on the 2nd jump. He can have difficulty finishing against stronger players who push him off his natural path. A major improvement needs to be made at the foul line, with his length trips to the line will be frequent you must convert easy and unguarded scoring opportunities.
Max Shulman (McCallie) 2017
Young man has all the intangibles of a player who has grown up around the game. Excellent shooter when in rhythm, a real pick and pop type player with range well past the three point line. He has good size, he can bang a little on the inside, he makes good decisions with the ball in his hands but does have a tendency to launch his jumper at inopportune times, confidence is great but game situations are real. He is a superb passer from the wing, makes the bounce pass for the entry, an absolute lost art. His foot speed and athleticism are areas where he needs to improve, especially on the perimeter defensively. He is a leader and a winner.
Cameron Andre (Gateway) 2017
Young man came to us from out of state and showed a nice array of skills. Great size, he ran the floor well for a big man, he finished on the interior and showed patience in the post. He let the game come to him, he is bouncy and is an accomplished rebounder with soft hands. He showed some quick post moves in the half-court sets and is a decent enough athlete to be a real contributor on the next level after high school. He rarely used his left hand which could be an issue as he gets scouted down the road.
Mason Sharp (Clay County) 2020
Sifting through the comments from all the different evaluations, the positives and the areas of the game where he needs to get better I came to the realization that this young man has yet to even set foot on a high school floor. He really gave effort when on the floor and was obviously overwhelmed by the speed of the game and the strength of the players already competing in high school. There's that word again, strength and he needs to gets some and soon. A decent shooter who seriously needs to quicken that release as he gets ready for the rigors of high school hoops. Get in the weight room, that added size and strength will increase that shooting range, will allow you to guard better and get you playing time.
Kregg Ware (Cleveland) 2017
Strong and stout guard who uses his strength to bully bigger players in the post, he gets numerous paint touches and will finish at the rim. He is a solid shooter and plays with a great deal of confidence. He seeks out contact, plays strong and is overly aggressive on both ends of the floor. Decision making and execution are areas of the game where he needs to mentally make himself better. His mistakes are effort errors, he can get out of control, he can go for long periods and be selfish with the ball. Then he can also make tough buckets, get his teammates open shots and play to win. Maturity and controlling his tempo will be areas of the game where he can really makes some tremendous strides this season.
Tanner White (Hardin Valley) 2018
Smooth lefty stroke is his calling card, slow release and the required footwork make him a really good shooter from the perimeter. He is a crafty scorer who has a unique feel for the game, he is a winner, he makes scrappy, hustle plays and understands the flow of the game. His basketball IQ is very solid and one of his best assets. He will need to increase his strength to be at least a visible presence in the paint. He lack overt athleticism and will need to become a quicker and more explosive player off the dribble. He runs to the 3-point line in transition but can pass to the open cutter if no shot is available. The ball seems to find its way into his hands, be it off the glass for the tough put-back or on the defensive end with the smart help defensive poke to a teammate for an easy open bucket.
Tanner Shulman (McCallie) 2019
Typical musings about a kid who has grown up around the game his whole life, he has a high IQ, he is a really good shooter, he sees the floor better than your average rising sophomore and he reads his defender well, playing without the ball and setting himself up for open shots. He needs to badly work on his body and commit to playing with a much more consistent motor. He has the capability to be a really solid contributor at the high school level as he becomes more dedicated to the weight room and to his conditioning. You can see him working out the game situations in his head as he moves on the floor, his understanding of the game is unquestioned and his production will once again be up to him and his dedication to making his body basketball ready.