From August 26-28 in Los Angeles the Chris Paul Elite Guard Camp took place with some of the top NCAA guards and Class of 2023 high school seniors were invited to go through some skill work and matchup head to head in scrimmages versus their peers and NBA pros such as Chris Paul, Devin Booker, DeMar DeRozan, Josh Christopher, and Davon Reed. Our report on the college guys is coming, here is our report on the group of high school players.
Justin Edwards 6’7 Wing Imohotep Charter (Philadelphia, PA)
The Kentucky commit is widely considered one of the top seniors in the nation and one of the top talents set to become eligible for the 2024 NBA draft. He had a very strong first day in camp getting positive reviews from NBA scouts in the building but performed uneven in days 2 and 3 while we were in attendance. On the positive side, the long, lefty displayed a quick release with extended range. He showed the ability to take a one dribble pull up jumper with ease given he was often the tallest player at his position. He can finish over opponents with his long wingspan and has a quick first step. Conversely, he will from time to time get lazy with his shooting form and not always square his shoulders towards the rim. There is also some concern among scouts about his legs. He appears to lack great strength and fluidity and needs to be on balance and go off two feet to get a full explosion at the rim. He was much better at the half court and one on one’s where he didn’t have to constantly run up and down the court. He may have had a minor foot issue but his running mechanics and the lack of willingness to go from baseline to baseline is something to continue to monitor. Edwards has intrigue as a potential future lottery pick, but likely not a viable top overall pick candidate. Then again, this is the 2024 draft, shaping up to be historically bad, that we are talking about.
AJ Johnson 6’6 SG Donda Academy (Simi Valley, CA)
Johnson (pictured) was the other high schooler most discussed by scouts. While Johnson has great length with a slight build, his body seems to still have some room to grow and may end up gaining a few more inches in height and wingspan. Johnson was competitive versus high school, college, and NBA players over the course of the weekend. He even was able to surprise NBA vets Chris Paul and Davon Reed with an underhand opposite hand layup on the left side of the rim somehow fitting past CP3 and before Reed could get around to block, surprising both with his length, quickness and creativity. AJ’s shot is streaky and along with his intensity can come and go so he needs to continue to put work in his outside shooting (he missed most of his outside shots versus NBA players in scrimmages). He is very skinny but does not shy from contact or get bullied, but he clearly needs to gain strength in order to attack the rim and finish plays after contact.
Jared McCain 6’4 PG/SG Centennial (Corona, CA)
The Duke Blue Devils commit is every bit his listed 6’4. While lacking a true position for the highest level, the fact that he’s incredibly mature and hard working, it’s hard to see him failing. A natural leader, he has a smooth, repeatable shot with extended range and is very strong for a high school player. He was very assertive and communicative with is teammates, staff, and media. A cerebral player he likes to attack opponents in various ways by figuring out their weakness by either posting them up if he’s stronger or bigger or taking them outside if he’s quicker. Has very good foot work in the post. Is better as a spot shooter than on the move around picks at this point of his early career in basketball. He will not be the swiftest player nor jump the highest at the next level but is quick enough and has found counters with his strength and foot work to counter. Already has a great body and we could foresee him developing into a Malcolm Brogdan type of player if he continues to get stronger.
Layden Blocker 6’3 PG Sunrise Christian (Little Rock, AK)
The Arkansas commit had a solid camp showing both his athleticism and jump shot. He has some fans among the grassroots crowd and received some positive words from scouts. Blocker has a mature physique and some intriguing athletic gifts with speed and explosiveness. He shows the ability to push the ball and has excellent speed in the open floor. He has some ability to create in isolation and has good form on his shot with the ability to pull up off the dribble.
Simeon Wilcher 6’4 SG Roselle Catholic (Roselle, NJ)
The North Carolina Tar Heel had his moments hitting some tough outside jump shots and showing his strong frame. He moved well without the ball and was solid through out the event. Played particularly well on Day 2 in half court sets. he’s seen as a jack of all trades type that still needs to polish his game and develop a stand out aspect to his game. If he can improve his offensive game over the next few years, it will give him a better chance to make it at the highest level.
Caleb Foster 6’4 PG/SG Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, CA)
the Duke commit, Foster, was tasked with going head to head against the bigger, stronger guards in the camp and held his own. He has good footwork and strong defensive ability. He is capable of using his thick frame to play bully ball and shows a nice from and shooting touch. His shot however simply was not falling at this event and he did not stand out as much as some other guards. Regardless, he is seen by some as a player with one and done upside if things fall into place at Duke.
Aden Holloway 6’1 PG Prolific Prep (Napa, CA)
The Auburn commit was playing on a team that were winning their matchups over and over again in drills and scrimmages. He has a very quick release and played more as a secondary ball handler at this event. He is short for NBA standards and with the absence of bigs, this wasn’t the best event to assess pick and roll and running an offense.but he clearly has a solid base of basketball skills and has a chance as he’ll be developing at Prolific Prep in Napa, California.
Kanaan Carlyle 6’3 SG Overtime Elite
The Stanford commit was one of the best athletes at this event. He had some nice blocks and showed potential as a defensive stopper but needs to learn to not be baited on pump fakes. He was always looking to attack the rim going strong to the rack. Needs to work on his footwork and shooting mechanics some. Had a very raw but talented feel to his game at this event.
RJ Jones 6’3 SG/SF Pope John Paul (Plano, TX)
The Kansas State commit on Day 2 got hot and shot the leather out of the ball in the early session. Thick bodied he can be a load to defend when hot. A little short for an NBA small guard, he will need to continue to work on his lead guard skills for the next level.
Bryson Warren 6’2 PG/SG Link Academy (Branson, MO)
The OTE player showed some good strength a and nice strong frame and hit the open shot at a solid rate but didn’t stand out overall. Didn’t create much for himself or for others at this event.
Trey Green 5’10 PG Link Academy (Branson, MO)
The Xavier commit was solid throughout the event. Despite being the shortest guard here his quickness and physicality prevented opponents to take advantage of his diminutive height. Hit his fare share of long range jumpers and on occasion showcased his crossover to get to the rack.
Jackson Shelstad 6’1 PG/SG West Linn (West Linn, OR)
The Oregon guard scored almost exclusively from long range at this event. When he went to the hole he was very direct and efficient to the rim using momentum from his first step and always going downhill.
Cody Williams 6’8 Wing Perry (Gilbert, AZ)
Williams hurt his ankle in day 1 and did not participate in any drills or workouts after this injury. Scouts were disappointed not to be able to watch him at this event. He was one of the high profile players everyone was looking forward to learning more about.