Knowledge Academy was the sight for the 2nd annual NPA Players Camp. I had the privilege of attending and for my part I have chosen 20 players from the event who deserve a special write-up for their play on that Sunday. I will separate them into two groups of 10. They will be listed in NO PARTICULAR ORDER, just how I had them written down on my evaluation sheet. Some of the player information wasn't particularly clear so we have done our best with the school, size, position and year in school information.
Jacobi Wood (Cleveland)
6-0 PG 2020
Improving young guard showed some very good ball skills including getting inside the paint whenever he desired. He has decent vision and showed he could facilitate as well as score on his own. His outside shooting will need some work as his form changes from attempt to attempt. He finds himself drifting when he doesn't need to and he likes to fade, which is also basically unnecessary. The kid has a really good feel for the game, he just needs to become more of a leader and learn to control the pace with his tempo. There's a time to run and a time to run an offense.
JeQuan Ewing (Kenwood)
6-7 WF/PF 2020
I took an inordinate amount of notes for this kid as he seemed to be involved in two games at the same time. He has some serious length but seriously lacks strength, which might account for his penchant for finding himself playing on the perimeter. He needs to work on his hands and using his size and length to be a much more vital part of the rebounding game. He excels in transition, he loves to run the floor, he seems to make better decisions with the ball when the tempo is faster and he showed some vision and some passing skills that were non-existent when the tempo of the game was reduced to the half court variety. Thus my reasoning for him being involved in two separate games. As he matures, he's only a current sophomore, I hope this dilemma will solve itself or he could find himself not getting the playing time he deserves. On the defense end of the floor he plays flat-footed when his length should be a major asset for him. As he adds strength, we need to see the rebounding numbers improve and some shot blocking and altering stats need to accompany his scoring and assist numbers.
Daniel Loos (Clarksville Academy)
6-5 WF/PF 2020
Young players dominated the landscape at the NPA Camp including a veritable boat load from the Class of 2020. Loos is a player who can score with either hand around the basket, he understands how to use his size and girth to carve out space and get buckets in the paint. He has a variety of post moves including some spin moves with a lefty finish and some short hooks and bringing it back to the middle of the floor looks as well. His game will eventually need to progress towards the perimeter if he is to play at a higher level in college. I didn't see him shoot the ball from the outside a great deal as he seemed to feel more comfortable with his back to the basket. He has compact handles and will use the two to three dribble bounce to get better scoring chances but he will need to expand this skill set if he is to advance to the perimeter and play some wing and two guard. He has an above average basketball IQ and is obviously a student of the game with his pedigree. He plays with effort and never gives up on plays. As his skill set expands towards the top of the key it will be interesting to watch his progress.
D.J. Stacy (Dickson County)
5-9 PG 2020
Diminutive lead guard that grows on you the more you watch him play. His size doesn't overwhelm you but he is very active, especially on the defensive end of the floor. That was really obvious as most kid on the high school level either don't understand the concept of defense or simply refuse to participate in it. He showed he could lead a team, which was a bit tough in the camp format, which normally lends itself to bad shots and quick scoring chances. He has a feel for the game, he likes to distribute the ball and he can knock down the open shot if you disrespect his shooting level. He plays with a bit of a chip on his shoulder, a quality all small guard should possess. He has quickness and will need to make this more a part of his game as he matures into a special leader from the point guard position. He will need to develop a floater, a must have for every small guard who likes to venture into the paint.
K.J. Johnson (Marshall County)
6-1 PG 2019
The accolades just keep on pouring in for the Lewisburg legend. Mr. Basketball in Class AA and several D1 offers in his pocket, he braces himself for the most important summer of his life. The lefty doesn't overwhelm you with his body, he doesn't create fear with his range and he doesn't blow you away with his quickness. He is a competitor, he wants to win, he is adept at finding seams in the defense and making his way to the hole for scoring chances and trips to the foul line. He has an uncanny knack for making tough, contested shots in the paint from various degrees of difficulty. He has a penchant for drawing fouls, as we mentioned earlier, those are easy points for any guards paying attention to this evaluation. His outside shot is a bit unorthodox, but the results speak for themselves. he hits big shots, he uses angles and change of speed dribbles for easy buckets in the paint. He is a solid defender with his length, when his strength catches up then a new chapter will be scribed for this talented kid. He understands his role within whichever offense he is a part of, his basketball intelligence is an asset. He understands spacing, using the short dribble and knows when to pull from deep.
Kendall Winston (Hunter's Lane)
6-0 PG 2018
Compact guard showed some offensive skills off the dribble. His motor is always on high and he doesn't mind putting a body on you defensively. He plays reactionary and doesn't really have a position per say on offense, but he is a kid you wouldn't want to keep on the sidelines as he is productive with his effort and ability to go get rebounds despite his lack of size and length. His outside shooting will need some work as he has a slow release and tends to drift the further back the scoring chance. His is a flat-footed shot. He doesn't mind running at either guard spot but at his size it appears the point would be his best option. A year or two of seasoning, helping him understand how to play accompanied with his effort and determination and you could have a productive low college athlete in a couple of seasons.
Isaac Rankhorn (Montgomery Central)
6-3 SG/WF 2020
Gorgeous lefty stroke as evidence by his winning the 3-point challenge at the camp. A savvy kid who really has a good feel for what he trying to accomplish on the floor. He is structure oriented so he didn't appear to relish the chaos of camp basketball during the scrimmage sessions. Not a super athlete but better than you'd believe. His shot will be his biggest asset as he moves forward. He has handles and likes to pass the ball as well. He is a perfect cog in a well oiled half-court machine where structure and movement are all the rage. He will need to continue to get stronger obviously but his body is developed better than most kids in his age group. He will need to work on his lateral quickness and explosion. He might never be able to leap over folks but having a quick first step, some change of pace dribble to go along with that deadly stroke and you will have plenty of opportunities to continue to play after high school.
Brady Brown (Summertown)
6-2 SG 2020
Another solid player who had some trouble adjusting to the chaotic pace of camp basketball. He has excellent size and showed he could shoot the ball during the drills and when he actually received a pass during the scrimmages. He will need to be more aggressive and become more involved from a ball-handling and passing perspective. He will be much more effective in a structured half-court setting where assignment motion is preferred. His shooting, as we mentioned before, will continue to be his best asset. His strength will allow him to expand his range and use the head fake and the short dribble for mid-range scoring chances and/or forays to the bucket.
Jayden Lockett (East Nashville)
6-2 SG 2018
Very good shooter who relies on confidence and rhythm for his scoring chances. He has solid length and isn't afraid to mix it up inside. He can fill the lane on the break or bring it down himself and make the right decision for a scoring teammate. When all the fundamentals are followed he really is a very good shooter. His shot selection at times can be questioned but his confidence will not. He defends, using his length, excellent as a help defender and will go hard to the glass for rebounds and put-backs. He plays well in a structured setting and can adjust to the fast paced method if called upon to do so. Consistency will be an area of the game where he can make a great deal of improvement. He does tend to find himself not as much involved when he doesn't have the ball in his hands. Learning to work without the ball will be a major area of growth for the Nashville native. He is athletic and will soar to the bucket for the flush and as we already mentioned he doesn't mind the contact.
Quenton Brooks (Knowledge Academy)
6-3 SG/WF 2018
Can and will run and jump all day long. He is a long athlete who showed he could finish at the rim with either hand. He runs the floor, hoping for scoring chances, he is explosive and he loves to shoot. Therein lies a problem his shot need major work from an aesthetic point of view and repetition as well. He will need to get in the gym and shoot, shoot and shoot some more. Work on his skill level including ball-handling and making better decisions. You do not want to take away his effort and hustle just make it more coherent to productive basketball outcomes. A year at the prep level or the junior college ranks could and will do a world of good for this youngster if in fact he is a senior.