Player of the Week
PJ Washington 6’8 235 PF – Findlay Prep 2017 (Kentucky)
Washington is off to an impressive start. Scoring 34 points (13-17 shooting) and showing some added range from outside making three of his four three-point attempts against Elite One Prep. Also posting ten rebounds, nine assists, and five blocks. His follow up performance consisted of 25 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists, four blocks, and four steals to beat IMPACT Academy. The recent Kentucky commit starts the season with a 5-0 record.
Prolific Prep won all three games over the week. First beating Vegas Prep 128-63, Gary Trent Jr. posted 19 points, seven rebounds, eight assists, and three steals. Paul Scruggs posted 27 points, six rebounds, five assists, and five steals. In the win over Conrad Academy, Trent and Scruggs finished with 32 and 15 points respectfully. Trent would finish off the week with 37 points to beat Victory Rock Prep.
Deandre Ayton 7’0 245 C – Hillcrest Academy 2017 (Arizona)
Ayton and Hillcrest Academy starts out The Grind Session season with a bang, jumping out to 2-0. Ayton debuted with 21 points and seven rebounds in the win over 22ft Academy. He followed that up with 33 points and 11 rebounds to beat Conrad Academy. Ayton’s big performances came in his homecoming playing back in the Bahamas.
Matur Maker 6’10 200 PF – The Tech Academy 2017
Maker had two impressive performances to lead The Tech Academy to a 2-0 record. Finishing with 17 points, 16 rebounds, six blocks and five steals in the win over Victory Rock Prep. His follow up performance wasn’t quite as big against 22ft Academy but finished with ten points and 12 rebounds. With the departure of his brother, Thon Maker, Matur has the opportunity to step up and be the leader of The Tech Academy in their first season.
Cameron Reddish 6’7 200 SG – Westtown School 2018
Reddish posted some big time numbers in a pair of wins to start the season. In the win over Redemption Christian, he finished with 31 points and seven assists. He followed up with 41 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, and seven steals. Reddish’s big games helps Westtown to win both games in the Tip-Off Tourney. Next month they face Putnam Science Academy and Little Rock Christian Academy at the Nation High School Hoops Festival.
Javonte Smart 6’4 190 PG – Scotlandville 2018
Scotlandville only played one game so far but Smart had a big performance to beat Belaire, finishing with a triple double; 27 points, ten points, 11 assists, two blocks, and three steals.
RJ Barrett 6’6 180 SG/SF – Montverde Academy 2019
Barrett starts the season hot with two early wins over Osceola and Pebblebrook. Barrett finished with 30 points, four rebounds, and three assists to beat Osceola. He would follow up the next day with a 34 point outing, also posting 12 rebounds and four assists. With a few departures to Montverde Academy, Barrett has stepped up big as expected.
Not really cold performances but Conrad Academy ran into two tough opponents early on losing to Prolific Prep and Hillcrest Academy. Auburn commit, Austin Wiley, posted a double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds against Prolific Prep while Luguentz Dort finished with 29 points and six rebounds. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to get a win but they have the chance to bounce back when they face Independence and The Burlington School in the Charlotte Hoop Challenge this weekend.
Under the Radar
Lamine Diane 6’7 190 SG/SF – Findlay Prep
Findlay Prep is off to a 5-0 start, led by PJ Washington, but Lamine Diane had quite a performance himself against IMPACT Academy. He finished with 31 points (11-13 shooting), ten rebounds, three assists, and three steals. Although Diane isn’t getting much recognition, if any, from a national rankings standpoint, he impressed at adidas Nations this summer. Depending on how consistently he can produce, he has a chance to be a high riser in the class.
Top 5 College Commits During the Early Signing Period
1. Troy Brown 6’6 210 SG – Centennial (Oregon)
Brown brings size combined with basketball IQ and athleticism. The 6’6 combo guard projects to be an impact player early in his college career. His ability to read and react and jack of all trades skill set separates him from other guards of his class.
2. Gary Trent Jr. 6’5 210 SG – Prolific Prep (Duke)
Depending on Hamidou Diallo’s decision on whether to enter the NBA Draft, it’s possible that Trent will be the top freshman true shooting guard in college basketball next season. He picks his spots well and will be like many great shooters who have played at Duke. Trent may or may not be in college for more than one season but his game suits the college game well and should have the opportunity to thrive.
3. Nick Richards 6’11 230 C – The Patrick School (Kentucky)
Kentucky adds Richards to the frontcourt. It isn’t clear what Kentucky’s roster will look like next season but following the trend, freshman will play a heavy role. Richards has the tools and talent to have a successful college career and beyond, it’s about how he puts it all together.
4. Billy Preston 6’10 240 PF – Oak Hill Academy (Kansas)
After multiple school changes throughout high school, Preston has settled in to finish up at Oak Hill Academy. He joins Marcus Garrett in the recruiting class but it isn’t likely Kansas is finished with their recruiting for the year, not to mention Malik Newman will be back on the court next year. Preston’s versatile game can be an immediate asset if utilized correctly.
5. PJ Washington 6’8 235 PF – Findlay Prep (Kentucky)
Although undersized at 6’8, Washington does his work in the paint with his physical play and explosive ability. He joins Nick Richards, Shai Alexander, and Quade Green in Kentucky’s recruiting class thus far. After an impressive Nike EYBL season, Washington looks to close out an impressive high school career and is our Player of the Week to start the season.