The Grind Session season ended with national and international prep schools battling for one championship. Victory Rock Prep brought home their second championship in three years. The field included Prolific Prep (CA), St. Louis Christian (MO), Bella Vista Prep (AZ), Tennessee Prep (TN), Victory Rock Prep (FL), Trinity International (NV), Athlete Institute (CA), West Oaks Academy (FL), Hillcrest Prep (AZ), Lincoln Academy (GA), Aspire Academy (KY), The Rock School (FL), Our Saviour Lutheran (NY), Wesley Christian (KY), Orangeville Prep (CA), and Believe Prep (TN).
Jonathan Dos Anjos 6’8 195 PF – Victory Rock Prep 2018
Dos Anjos had an impressive tournament. At 6’8 with good length and versatility, he provides good perimeter skills and put up points from everywhere on the floor. He hit a lot of big shots over the four-day event, showing a consistent three-pointer. He’s a high flyer, throwing down dunks at every opportunity within reach of the rim, including a poster dunk jumping right outside the paint, earning an and-1 against Aspire Academy in the championship game. While he thrived as a finisher in transition, he had no issue proving he’s a half-court athlete as well. He’s not a highly touted recruit but has impressive tools and talent to contribute to a college program next season. He played hard and brought consistent aggression to help Victory Rock Prep bring home their second Grind Session championship. He’s a bit older than most of the other players as he turns 20 in May. Dos Anjos scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the championship game against Aspire Academy.
Charles Bassey 6’10 230 PF/C – Aspire Academy 2019
Bassey put together an impressive four games to lead Aspire to the championship game. The Rock School did an excellent job of denying the post and swarming him when he got the ball underneath, forcing him to put up some off balance shots, but he scored on a string of plays in the second half to help erase a double-digit deficit and eventually get the win to move onto the second round with Bassey recording 21 points, 15 rebounds, and six blocks. The next three games Bassey would play well from start to finish. He finished through contact, sometimes in the post and dunks at other times. He caught multiple alley oops from a standstill with Aspire guards lobbing it up over the defense for Bassey to finish where they couldn’t get a hand on it. He secured key rebounds, rising above everyone to secure with two hands, and was tremendous blocking shots, better than I had ever seen him, sometimes rejecting his own man while others as a help defender. He kept the blocks in play and usually led to him throwing an accurate outlet pass to start the offense. He also shot incredibly well, showing no hesitation to pull from three, sometimes off the dribble. He still lacks technique within close when he doesn’t finish with a dunk, relying on physicality at this stage. After winning MVP of Basketball Without Borders a few weeks ago, Bassey closed out the season strong. He finished with 23 points, 11 rebounds, and three blocks in the second round against Hillcrest Prep, 21 points, nine rebounds, and four assists to defeat Our Saviour Lutheran in the semifinals, then 22 points, seven rebounds, and four blocks in the championship game loss to Victory Rock Prep.
Jordan Brown 6’10 205 PF/C – Prolific Prep 2018
Brown has missed a lot of time this season with a foot injury and was subbed frequently. In addition to his athleticism, he also displayed good court vision and passing from the middle of the floor, he never seems to miss a cutter underneath or a shooter on the perimeter. He also doesn’t hold the ball too long, he gets rid of it quick to keep the offense in motion. His passing allows him to be paired with another big man since he can play on either side of a high/low. He’s good within close, using a soft floater with either hand but has limited scoring range and needs to find more ways to score. He gave solid contribution to eventually lose in the semifinal round to Victory Rock Prep.
Amadou Sow 6’8 225 PF – Prolific Prep 2018 (UC Santa Barbara)
Sow was Prolific’s most valuable player. He shot incredibly well and has noticeably expanded his range, knocking down threes in clutch situations, including one in the final regulation buzzer against Bella Vista Prep to go into overtime, eventually getting the win. He has good mobility, strength, and motor. He grabbed a few offensive rebounds to put back up while finishing through contact. He has solid athleticism and soft hands to finish in the paint. Sow’s two big games included 29 points and 15 rebounds against Bella Vista Prep and 20 points and 13 rebounds against Victory Rock Prep.
Nimari Burnett 6’3 170 PG – Prolific Prep 2020
Burnett provides ideal combo guard skills with his ability to play on and off the ball, giving him versatility at the guard position and gel with whoever runs the backcourt with him. He also has a good balance of when to score and when to facilitate. Although he didn’t shoot as well as he did when I saw him at Flyin’ to the Hoop, he has a sound outside jump shot and connected on a few. He attacked well off the dribble and he’s more smooth than explosive but finished with a few jams.
Posh Alexander 5’11 180 PG – Our Saviour Lutheran 2020
Alexander has tremendous ballhandling ability, getting wherever he wants with the ball and attacks the defense with aggression. He has great body control and had multiple and-one finishes where he ended up on the floor, including a 360 layup on one play. He has a lot of creativity to his game with spin moves, changing speed and directions, and makes his way through the smallest gaps. He picks up the ball handler, playing consistent full-court defense, and has a nose for the loose ball. Although undersized, he’s strong and displayed some hops in the open floor, including a windmill as the final buzzer sounded. He needs to work on his outside jump shot but his lead guard skills are on point. Alexander scored 21 points in the first-round win over Wesley Christian. He followed up with 17 points, four rebounds, and four assists in the semifinal loss to Aspire Academy.
Ignas Brazdeikis 6’7 225 SF – Orangeville Prep 2018 (Michigan)
Brazdeikis scored 35 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the first-round win against Believe Prep. He scored from everywhere on the floor; outside shooting, floaters, layups, and taking smaller defenders into the post using fadeaways and jump hooks. He’s not a great defender with the lack of intensity and foot speed but he never fails to put points on the board. Brazdeikis finished with 34 points and seven rebounds in the second-round loss to Our Saviour Lutheran.
Matthew Alexander-Moncrieffe 6’6 195 SF – Orangeville Prep 2020
Moncrieffe has effortless athleticism and great body control. He can alter his body in midair and finish with either hand at the basket. He finished a few plays through contact but would love to see him pick up the intensity as he goes through the motions at times. He also needs a more polished half court game and doesn’t create much offensively. Only finishing up his sophomore year, he has the time and tools to develop. He finished against Believe Prep with 14 points, 12 rebounds, and two blocks.
Terry Armstrong 6’5 170 SG – Bella Vista Prep 2019
Armstrong led Bella Vista in their first game with 22 points, four rebounds, four assists, and three steals to beat Tennessee Prep. He shot well with his quick release to match his high-level athleticism. He jumped the passing lanes to start breaks on multiple occasions to get out in transition finishing with authority. His ballhandling, half court game, and decision making can still improve but there’s no questioning his talent. Bella Vista battled with Prolific Prep, losing in overtime with Armstrong posting 20 points, three rebounds, and three assists.
Kyree Walker 6’5 205 SG – Hillcrest Prep 2020 (Arizona State)
Walker played off the ball most of the time with Demarius Jacobs running the point. He creates well for himself and others. With his quick first step, he got to the rim with ease. He adjusts midair to the defense, displaying great athleticism and body control but doesn’t always make the right reads, sometimes attacks well defend areas to force up a contested shot. He played with more patience and stayed under control better than times I had seen him in the past. Walker finished with 23 points, six rebounds, and five assists over Lincoln Prep.
First Round Exits
Luguentz Dort 6’4 220 SG – Athlete Institute 2018 (Arizona State)
Dort has made great strides as a jump shooter and to his overall perimeter game. In times I had seen him in the past, he would miss the rim on free throws somewhat often but his production from the charity stripe was reliable as well as his three ball. His jump shooting opened his dribble penetration opportunities, with the defense giving him no space or allowing him to attack a closeout off the catch. He’s also getting better about utilizing his physical strength without completely relying on bully ball. He does tend to attack without a plan at times and although he takes it strong to the basket, he needs to protect it, as it got knocked away in traffic a few times. With his improved guard skills and vocal leadership, it gives much more hope in his development as a college point guard. Defensively, he showed good anticipation to deflect passes, jumping passing lanes, and as a help side shot blocker. As his explosive athleticism was never in question, he almost landed a poster dunk on a defender trying to take a charge in the restricted area, but it came off the back rim. Unfortunately, Athlete Institute lost in the first round to West Oaks Academy with Dort finishing with 22 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and three steals.
Elias King 6’6 175 SG/SF – Lincoln Academy 2019
King poured in 27 points and six rebounds in their first-round loss to Hillcrest. He stays balanced and squared to the basket, only needs a little bit of space to get his shot off, connecting from midrange and three. His height allows him to shoot over smaller wing defenders. He works well in isolation and brings a scoring mentality. He’s not a shifty ball handler, usually attacking in a straight line but uses a spin move off the dribble to get to the rim frequently. King has solid athleticism, finishing with above the rim on a few occasions.