Last weekend I had the pleasure of watching some great basketball at the Marshall County Hoopfest in Benton KY. Some of the top teams and players in the country battled snowy conditions to get there and play in this prestigious event. Here is a recap of some of the top individual players and their performances.
Dallas Prime Prep
Emmanuel Mudiay PG 6’5 SMU
Mudiay is arguably the best overall point guard in the 2014 class and he did not disappoint at Hoopfest. At 6’5 Mudiay has amazing court vision and shredded Quality Educations zone with his penetration in a 67-50 victory. Mudiay has a lightning quick first step and a lethal crossover, he often times hits another gear in the open court excelling in transition. An outstanding passer, Mudiay is extremely unselfish and finds teammates with pin point passes off the pick and roll. His height allows him to see over zone defenses and find players for lobs. Not a great shooter, Mudiay gets most of his baskets in transition and can finish strong with contact. He is a good free throw shooter and gets to the line at will with his strong drives. Mudiay grabbed 11 defensive rebounds and immediately looks to push the ball off of missed shots. Larry Brown and SMU have signed a program changing player and Mudiay will undoubtedly be one of the best guards in College Basketball next season.
PJ Washington SF 6’8 Freshman
No underclassmen at Hoopfest stood out more than Prime Prep Freshman PJ Washington. PJ is a 6’8 freak of an athlete who has future star written all over him. His huge wingspan makes him a dominant shot blocker and his energy on the defensive end is contagious. Although he will need to continue to add muscle to his frame, Washington was not afraid to bang with Quality Educations huge frontline and he does not back down from anyone. Offensively, Washington does a good job of letting the game come to him and he excels in pick and roll situations with Mudiay. Washington is relentless on the offensive glass and gets a ton of put backs and second chance opportunities. Keep an eye on this young talent as he will be a high major prospect and potential future pro.
Moss Point MS
Devin Booker SG 6’5 Senior Kentucky
Despite being double and sometimes triple teamed, Devin Booker put on a show in front of crowd full of UK fans. Booker scored 40 points in a variety of ways including an amazing 24 free throw attempts. Booker is as smooth of a shooter as there is in the 2014 class and his form actually reminds you of Ray Allen’s. Although his team was overmatched in a lopsided loss to Louisville Ballard HS, Booker managed to score 40 points without forcing bad shots. Known as an outsider shooter Booker was able to drive to the basket at will and showed a unique ability to finish with his left hand almost effortlessly around the basket. Booker will need to put on some weight in order to endure a full college season but he is a gifted of a scorer as you will find in this class.
Louisville Ballard HS
Quentin Snider PG 6’2 Senior Louisville
Being a Louisville resident and having had the pleasure of coaching Snider, some may think I would be biased in my evaluation of this future Cardinal. However all one would have to do is look at the stat line of 9 assists to 0 turnovers in order to see Rick Pitino has his point guard of the future. Known as a great shooter, Snider controlled the flow of this game with his ability to drive and kick to open players and find his running mate Kelan Martin in transition for easy baskets. After a slow start Snider turned it up in the 2nd half, scoring 18 points and hitting 6 of 7 free throws. Quintin will excel off ball screens at the next level with his ability to knock down the 3 point shot and consistently hit floaters in the lane. His decision making has gotten better each year and he is a very experienced player having started on Varsity as an 8th grader. Snider has added a lot of muscle to his frame and can now focus on improving his agility and lateral quickness in order to defend at the next level.
Kelan Martin SF 6’6 Senior Butler
Martin flew below the radar as a 6’6 center until he used this summer to showcase his perimeter skills on the AAU circuit. Martin was arguably the most dominant player at Hoopfest tallying 30 points and 12 rebounds in a duel with Devin Booker. With his length and ability to finish at the rim and consistently hit the mid-range shot, Martin will be a candidate to start from Day 1 at Butler and was an absolute steal for Coach Brandon Miller.
Malik Dow SG/SF 6’3 Sophomore
At 6’3, Dow, like Martin, is attempting to make the transition from post player to perimeter threat and is already causing opposing teams headaches with his strength and athleticism. If Dow’s ball handling and outside shot improve he will have the opportunity to be the next great player in a Ballard program steeped in tradition.
Arsenal Tech HS Indianapolis, IN
Trey Lyles PF 6’9 Senior Kentucky
With John Calipari watching, Lyles did not disappoint in an upset victory over nationally ranked Huntington Prep. At 6’10, 240 lbs one would think Lyles simply overpowers smaller players in the post but it is his face up game which stands out the most. With a Tim Duncan like skill set, Lyles will catch the ball in the post and face up, scoring in a variety of ways including a very consistent 15 ft. shot and a consistent ability to use the glass. Lyles finished with 22 points and 14 rebounds and along with teammate Michael Jones took over the game down the stretch. Not a shot blocker, Lyles does a good job of using his strength on defense to keep opponents out of the lane.
JaQuan Lyle G 6’4 Senior
One of the top uncommitted players in the class of 2014, Lyle is a constant scoring threat who can knock down the 3 or hurt you with strong drives that often times result with him at the free throw line. Lyle must get in better condition and show a willingness to defend, as he often leaks out looking for easy baskets. Jaquan is an amazing talent but in order to reach his NBA potential he must buy into playing on both ends of the floor.
Josh Perkins PG 6’2 Senior Gonzaga
Lightning quick point guard who should have no problem carrying on a great Gonzaga PG tradition. Excels penetrating off the pick and roll, often knocking down mid-range jumpers or throwing lob passes to the bigs for Huntington Prep. Shot 3/6 from 3 point line while scoring 15 points and is in constant attack mode on offense. Very good on ball defender who caused havoc for Arsenal Techs ball handlers all night long. Perkins is the unquestioned leader of this team and was not afraid to take the big shots down the stretch for a Huntington team that features as many as 9 Division 1 players.
Angel Delgado PF 6’9 Senior Seton Hall
Delgado is a relentless rebounder who is not afraid to mix it up down low and seems to even enjoy the contact. He will bring toughness to Seton Hall next season and should compete for a starting position. Did not shoot the ball well and is not very polished offensively but will be a double-double threat nightly if he can develop a few consistent post moves.
Thomas Bryant PF/C 6’10 Junior
This 6’10 junior will be a McDonalds All American candidate in the class of 2015. He is extremely athletic and has a huge wingspan which enabled him to alter many of Kentucky commit Trey Lyles shots throughout the game. He is a good rebounder who keeps the ball high and immediately looks to outlet the ball to Huntington’s guards. Bryant runs the floor really well and will be able to beat most big men down the court. He looked to post hard in the half court but Huntington’s guards did not look to get him involved. Bryant’s upside is considerable and he will benefit from playing against top competition at Huntington.
Montaque Gill-Caesar SF 6’6 Junior
Montaque is an athletic wing who already has a college body. With John Calipari in attendance the UK lean struggled offensively often times blowing by defenders and then being unable to finish at the rim. However with his burst and leaping ability, it’s easy to see why so many elite programs are interested. He is also a solid defender and is very physical on the defensive end. If his ball handling and outside shooting improve, he could become a 2 guard and would be tough to stop with his size and strength.
Oak Hill Academy
Caleb Martin 6’6 SG Senior NC State
Martin is a high flyer who does not hesitate to dunk on defenders every opportunity he gets. Martin dominated Oak Hills blowout victory over Atlanta Sports Academy and showed he is more than just an athlete. Martin consistently knocked down mid-range jump shots and will be an immediate impact scorer for the Wolfpack next season.
Cody Martin 6’6 SF Senior NC State
Also an exceptional athlete, Cody and his twin Caleb will give NC State coach Mark Gottfried two reasons to smile next season. While not the shooter his twin brother is, Cody is everywhere on the defensive end getting a ton of deflections and showing a desire to be a shutdown defender using his length and athleticism to frustrate opponents.
Trevor Manuel 6’9 PF Junior
Manuel has a strong face up game and with improved ball handling he could eventually become a small forward. Just a junior and already ranked among the top 50 in the country in the 2015 class, Manuel will be tough to guard once he adds some weight to his thin frame. With his skill set and length the sky is the limit for Manuel as his skills develop against the country’s best at Oak Hill
Tra Edwards 6’2 SG Senior
With an amazing 42 inch vertical, Edwards is one of the best guards in the Bluegrass State. He will need to get stronger and improve his outside shot, but Edwards has the potential to be a High D1 player.
Jaqualis Matlock 6’6 SF Junior
Matlock has made the transition from post player to perimeter threat and has caught the attention of many D1 schools including Oklahoma State. Matlock is very unselfish and excels at driving and kicking to open shooters. He is a great athlete who finishes with contact and gets to the FT line often. If Matlock improves his ball handling he could easily transition into a 2 guard who would cause huge matchup problems with his size and strength.