The second annual La Porte Invitational started the new year off right. There were plenty of powerhouse teams and high-level prospects through three days of action.
Cooper Flagg 6’8 195 SF – Montverde Academy 2025
Flagg had a quiet 4-point and 4-rebound game against Sunrise Christian Academy. He had a much bigger game against Wasatch with 15 points, 8 rebounds (4 offensive), and 5 blocks. He only made 1 of his 2 3PT attempts in his two games, but he shot well from midrange, showing ability to hit contested shots with confidence. In addition to his shot-blocking, he’s pretty instinctive on the defensive end and covers ground quickly. Only a sophomore, Flagg’s progress will be fun to track as his high school career plays out.
Collin Murray-Boyles 6’8 200 PF/C – Wasatch Academy 2023 (South Carolina)
The lefty big man was accurate around the rim as well as in faceup situations, showing inside-out offensive ability. His mobility and toughness are an asset on the defensive end as well, holding down the paint and blocking an average of 2.5 shots over the two games. He’s patient with the ball, never putting up an ill-advised quick shot and makes some good reads as a passer. Although Wasatch lost both games in the event, Murray-Boyles carried his contribution with 7 points (3-7 FG, 1-1 3PT) and 9 rebounds in the 54-51 loss to La Lumiere and 14 points (6-13 FG, 2-5 3PT, 3-4 FT) and 14 rebounds in the 66-61 OT loss to Montverde.
Jeremiah Johnson 6’4 170 PG – Wasatch Academy 2024
Johnson brought it in both games as well. He’s a good shooter from 3PT range, including the tying 4-point play that sent the game into overtime against Montverde. He also drew a lot of fouls and converted 11 of his 15 free throw attempts over the two games. He has good size for position and was solid on the boards with 6 and 5 in each game respectively. Whether it’s his pull-up or dribble penetration, he doesn’t seem too fazed by defensive pressure as he still found ways to get his shot off and connect.
Isiah Harwell 6’5 180 SG – Wasatch Academy 2025
A bit of a slow weekend for Harwell. He got it going in the second half against La Lumiere as he finished with 9 points and 5 assists, but went scoreless in the loss to Montverde, missing all 7 shots from the floor, including 3 attempts from 3PT range. He’s well-balanced and light on his feet, ready to pull-up from midrange or 3 with any separation from his defender. He got into the paint pretty well in their first game and takes contact better than you would assume at first glance. Harwell and Wasatch will look to bounce back from their two hard fought losses.
Derik Queen 6’8 230 PF – Montverde Academy 2024
Queen got it going early in the first half against Sunrise, unstoppable in the post and potent from midrange. He used his body well to carve out space and got John Bol in foul trouble early with two quick and-ones in the first quarter and another quick foul at the start of the second quarter. He wasn’t shy to call for the ball and the defense didn’t have a choice but to send a double-team. While he’s not explosive, he used a baseline spin to finish with a drop-step dunk a few times when given the opportunity. He makes some impressive bullet passes put of the high post when he finds the open man. He finished with 34 points (14-20 FG) and 11 rebounds to beat Sunrise 66-62 and followed up with 24 points and 10 rebounds (5 offensive) to defeat Wasatch Academy. Queen’s improvement since last season has been tremendous, and while he isn’t the best long-term prospect on Montverde’s roster, he’s the main guy opposing coaches have to game-plan for.
Xavier Booker 6’10 205 PF – Cathedral 2023 (Michigan State)
Booker is talented and has plenty of natural ability with his skillset, mobility, and athleticism. Although he only shot 1-4 from 3PT, his shot has proper arc and good ball rotation coming out of his hand with his makes finding the bottom of the net. He can grab a rebound and start the offense and had some impressive plays as a ball-handler/passer. With that said, he has plenty of room to pick up the intensity. He doesn’t like to bend his knees and get low defensively, allowing the ball to get by him too often. He also didn’t keep anyone out of the paint, as Simeon continued to attack the rim with no resistance. He can be more physical down low on both ends as he doesn’t seem to like contact in general. Booker ended the game with 13 points (5-10 FG), 12 rebounds, and 3 blocks in the 74-61 loss to Simeon.
Kaleb Glenn 6’7 200 SF – La Lumiere 2023 (Louisville)
In La Lu’s first game, Glenn settled a bit on the perimeter and was comfortable letting the 3 fly even though he struggled to connect against Wasatch Academy, going 2-7 from 3PT and 2-13 from the floor. He needs some work on offensive technique as he puts his head down and forces his way to the rim to throw up a missed layup. He ended up hitting the go ahead 3 to seal the win against Wasatch Academy, finishing with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Glenn was big in the late comeback attempt against Long Island Lutheran, hitting shots late, also defending and rebounding in crunch time. He finished with 15 points (5-11 FG, 2-2 3PT), 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks in the close loss to LuHi 66-63.
Gus Yalden 6’9 265 C – La Lumiere 2023 (Wisconsin)
Yalden looked to pull the 3 anytime the defense had their hand down and was very successful going 5-10 from 3PT in both games combined. Against Wasatch, he was defended well in the post and the defense poked the ball out a few times and he struggled getting the position he wanted but he scored in the paint against LuHi, utilizing up & unders and head fakes to get the defense off their feet. He’s not an above the rim athlete but he embraces contact and is accurate around the rim. He plays with a lot of positive energy and embraced the student section to get the home crowd going. Yalden ended with 13 points (5-10 FG) and 7 rebounds against Wasatch, and 21 points (7-11 FG) and 3 rebounds against Long Island Lutheran.
Matas Buzelis 6’11 190 SG/SF – Sunrise Christian Academy 2023 (G-League Ignite)
Buzelis shot very well, going 3-5 from distance in each game, including two buzzer beaters against IMG. A lot of his 3PT attempts were contested and even pulled out a step-back on one of them, so his 60% 3PT% over the two games was impressive. In addition to his shooting, he scored around the basket and hit a contested midrange fadeaway with comfort. He likes to get out and run in transition after steals and defensive rebounds. There were times he struggled with contact and picked up his dribble early but overall, he made some solid passes and lived up to his high status as a prospect. Buzelis posted 23 points (9-16 FG), 12 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals against Montverde Academy, and 19 points (6-9 FG), 5 rebounds, and 4 blocks in the 77-61 win over IMG Academy.
Layden Blocker 6’2 175 PG – Sunrise Christian Academy 2023 (Arkansas)
Blocker started with a rough one against Montverde with only 4 points (1-7 FG, 0-2 3PT, 2-5 FT), 5 rebounds, and 4 turnovers. He played better in their second game, scoring 12 points (3-5 FG, 6-6 FT) and grabbing 5 rebounds. His quickness allowed him to beat his man off the dribble at a high rate and he has very good body control at the rim. He’s also tough and consistently plays hard. He will want to refine and add consistency to his 3PT shot as he shoots it unnecessarily high, hitting the support pole on a corner 3 on one attempt.
Scotty Middleton 6’7 175 SG/SF – Sunrise Christian Academy 2023 (Ohio State)
Middleton gets his shot off well, utilizing his plus positional size and he is always squared up. He made numerous shots in the face of the defense from midrange and occasionally from 3. He can get a clean shot off very well and has natural touch from anywhere on the floor. He doesn’t prefer to get to the rim though and doesn’t score too much in the paint, generally off cuts. He’s capable of playing pressure on ball defense but can pick up fouls too. Overall, Middleton had a good weekend with 13 points (6-10 FG, 1-2 3PT) and 5 rebounds against Montverde. He followed up with 14 points (6-11 FG, 1-5 3PT), 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 turnovers against IMG Academy.
John Bol 7’3 190 C – Sunrise Christian Academy 2024
Bol wasn’t playable against Montverde, as Queen took him out of the game quick with foul trouble. He blocked some shots in the fourth quarter but wasn’t able to help much other than that going scoreless with 4 rebounds and 3 blocks. He looked better against IMG and stood out as a shot blocker but still struggled with fouls. He was able to score on a few dunks/other catch and finish opportunities. He sets screens and cuts offensively but doesn’t post up in half-court sets. He mishandles passes at times as well as tough bounces off the rim when anticipating a rebound. He has some developing to do but the potential is there. Bol posted 6 points (3-4 FG), 3 rebounds, and 4 blocks against IMG.
Jayden Ross 6’8 180 SF – Long Island Lutheran 2023 (Uconn)
Ross spaced the floor and hit 3s with little space. He also showed his athleticism in the open floor on the finishing end of jams and alley-oops. He was effectivity cutting to the rim and plays well off the ball in general. He was on fire in the 73-47 win against Bishop Walsh, dropping 24 points on 9-10 shooting, including 6-7 from 3PT. He also grabbed 8 rebounds in the win. He didn’t have the same efficiency in their second game against La Lumiere, but he still showed his shooting/scoring and got the win with 14 points (6-13 FG, 2-7 3PT) and 3 rebounds.
Trent Pierce 6’8 180 PF – AZ Compass Prep 2023 (Missouri)
Pierce had the hot hand against Legacy, knocking down shot after shot on his way to 25 points. He shot a blistering 9-12 from the floor and 6-8 from 3PT. He didn’t have to create anything, simply shooting off the catch with proper mechanics and no wasted motion. He’s not real explosive but finished with a few dunks when given the opportunity. In addition to his scoring output, he also recorded 3 assists and 3 steals in the 75-64 win against Legacy Early College. He wouldn’t come close to matching that performance against Oak Hill, with only 2 points (1-4 FG, 0-2 3PT) and 4 rebounds in the 61-56 win.
Jamari Phillips 6’3 190 SG – AZ Compass Prep 2024 (Arizona)
Compass’ newest addition, Phillips brought 3pt shooting and ball-handling. Similar to Pierce, he pulled up from 3 any chance he could get a shot off to score all 12 of his points against Legacy Early to go 4-7 FG and 4-6 3PT. Similar to Pierce, he underwhelmed against Oak Hill with 5 points (1-6 FG/3PT) and 3 steals. He handles the ball pretty well, but didn’t get to the rim much, only attempting one 2PT FG out of his 13 shots in two games. He made some solid passes and accurately connected a few bounce passes in traffic, ultimately recording 4 assists and no turnovers. He had some moments locking on the ball defensively, but too much hands led to a few fouls.
Coen Carr 6’4 215 SG – Legacy Early College 2023 (Michigan State)
As usual, Carr was impressive in transition, throwing down dunks and an impressive chase down block on the defensive end. He skies up to secure rebounds that others can’t get to with his head at the rim. He does need to expand his half-court game as he lacks technique, often ducking his head and relying on outjumping opponents, sometimes throwing up a poor layup attempt. Bishop Walsh played a 2-3 zone, Carr stayed parked on the perimeter a heavy majority of possessions and isn’t much of a shooter, missing his only 3PT attempt over two games. There were back-to-back plays where his pass was intercepted within the first minute of the game against Bishop Walsh, so that needs to be worked on as well. Carr finished with 13 points (5-8 FG) and 10 rebounds in the 61-42 win against Bishop Walsh, and 10 points (3-7 FG) and 6 rebounds in the loss to AZ Compass.
Blue Cain 6’4 180 SG – IMG Academy 2023 (Georgia Tech)
Cain plays under control and handles the ball well in transition when making moves. He’s a reliable jump shooter and although he’s not an explosive athlete, he handles contact and scores well at the rim. He brought it on both ends each possession and was IMG’s most consistent player. Cain finished with 17 points (7-15 FG, 2-5 3PT), 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 6 steals to defeat Oak Hill Academy 67-58. The next game he posted 14 points (5-9 FG, 1-3 3PT) and 5 rebounds in the loss to Sunrise Christian Academy.
Jamier Jones 6’5 180 SF – IMG Academy 2025
Jones is a tough player. He’s a good slasher, where he likes to meet defenders in the paint to absorb contact in the air for a strong finish. He doesn’t shoot much and can look to expand his perimeter game. He has plenty of tools and natural talent, but ball skill development and consistency will take him a long way as the potential is high for him. Jones scored 12 points on 5-10 shooting and grabbed 9 rebounds (4 offensive) against Oak Hill and scored 6 points on 1-6 shooting (0-2 3PT) and only grabbed 1 rebound against Sunrise.