The UA Next Elite 24 is back after taking 6 years off. It’s a nice event for players to close out the summer, with its unique setting, outdoors on Northerly Island in Chicago along Lake Michigan. With a combination of adjusting to shooting outdoors, and the players not warming up, high-level 3PT shooting wasn’t on display with both teams shooting 11-62 (17.7%) 3PT combined, (Unfortunately Chicago native Tim Hardaway wasn’t on hand to show the young guys how to “shoot when the wind’s up“), but plenty of transition buckets to make up for it. Here’s a rundown of the players.
Justin Edwards 2 6’8 180 SF – 2023 (Kentucky)
Edwards (pictured) wasn’t shy to get his shots off to start the game, racking up the scoring early. He played hard and had multiple coast to coast takes. He’s a nice athlete with multiple dunks in the game, including a few oops, catching one off the backboard to start the game. He scored well in the paint when contested and handled the ball pretty well. Edwards ended up with 20 points on 9-13 FG, 7 rebounds, and 3 steals.
Bryson Tucker 6’8 180 SG – 2024
Tucker has a nice high release pull-up with impressive touch. He did a good job backing up his defender to rise up in their face and he stays squared when shooting on the move. He even pulled out the reverse pivot fadeaway on one play. He’s a good athlete and finished with a few dunks, including a nice tip-slam. Tucker scored 16 points on 8-13 FG, grabbed 6 rebounds (3 offensive), and came away with 2 steals.
Sean Stewart 6’8 210 PF – 2023 (Duke)
As usual, Stewart did his work in the paint, making layups and a few explosive jams/oops. A lot of his points came without him having to create, simply catching and finishing, but he hit a nice midrange pull-up to show some touch. He’s so active on the offensive boards, grabbing 3 of his 8 rebounds on the offensive end. Stewart ended with 14 points on 7-13 FG.
Tahaad Pettiford 6’0 160 PG – 2024
Pettiford’s an advanced and shifty ball-handler along with being an explosive athlete, which is a great combination as a crowd favorite in this type o fsetting. He only shot 2-7 from 3PT with both of his makes stepping into his shot with some rhythm. He also scored some in the open floor and displayed his elevated jumper coming off a screen. He finished with 12 points (5-17 FG) and grabbed 4 rebounds. While he didn’t shoot great, Pettiford thrived distributing the ball, with a game high 7 assists.
Stephon Castle 6’7 205 PG/SG – 2023 (UConn)
Castle scored 12 points on a highly efficient 6-7 shooting. He showed a nice combination of playing aggressive but still smooth. He was successful breaking down the defense with his dribbling and showed good body control throughout the game. Castle didn’t attempt any 3PTers but had quite a bit of success getting to the rim and scoring in the half-court.
Elmarko Jackson 6’4 185 PG/SG – 2023
Jackson has a strong build and showed quick burst with the ball on a few occasions. He contributed 10 points on 5-8 FG, along with 2 rebounds and 2 assists. He threw down a few dunks and showed some body control on some layups.
Vyctorius Miller 6’5 160 SG – 2024
Miller is quick with the ball and does a good job getting to his spots. He ended up with 9 points on 3-5 FG. He shot 2-3 from 3PT including a step-back on one play and hit one in the corner off the catch on another. He also scored on a cut to the basket for a transition dunk. Miller grabbed 3 rebounds and passed out 2 assists in the loss.
Rayvon Griffith 6’7 180 SF – 2023 (Cincinnati)
Griffith scored well in the open floor, where he scored most of his points. In the half-court, he does a good job getting to the middle and playing off two feet, scoring one of his layups and kicking to Vyctorius Miller when he was open in the corner to rack up 1 of his 4 assists. Griffith didn’t have success shooting from distance, going 0-4 from 3PT, but finished with 8 points on 4-9 FG.
Baye Fall 6’11 200 C – 2023
Fall had a quiet game with 7 points on 3-5 shooting. He covers a lot of ground with his long strides as he showed on a shot fake to get Dennis Evans in the air to open up the middle, to get to the rim for a big jam. He also scored on a nicely executed pick and roll alley oop from Tahaad Pettiford and catching a dump off from Stephon Castle for an uncontested jam. Fall didn’t contribute much outside his 7 points, only grabbing 1 rebound in the game.
Xavier Booker 6’11 215 C – 2023 (Michigan State)
Booker scored 6 points while going 3-6 from the floor. He’s a good athlete with fluid movements and scored all his points at the rim, catching a dump off and converting an offensive board for some easy baskets. On one play, he took a rebound the length of the floor to cap off a big dunk. Booker also grabbed 5 rebounds in the game, with 3 coming on offense.
Derik Queen 6’8 230 C – 2024
Queen had trouble converting, with 4 points on 2-9 FG. He had a nice play, stealing the ball from Tre Johnson at half-court for an uncontested dunk. Queen also grabbed 5 rebounds and passed 2 assists.
Simeon Wilcher 6’4 165 PG – 2023 (North Carolina)
Wilcher only scored 2 points in the game, using his body to move his defender out of the way on a drive to slow down his steps to hit the floater. He only shot 1-5 FG but contributed with 4 rebounds and 2 assists.
Isaiah Collier 6’4 190 PG – 2023
Collier was among the cream of the crop with 20 points (7-14 FG) to earn MVP. He’s so dangerous in the pick and roll; where he makes some impressive lead passes or gets to the rim, even splitting the defense on one play, and doesn’t hesitate to finish with either hand. His 3PT shot has come along, knocking down 3 of hi 9 attempts in the game, including the game winner to hit the 124-point target score. Collier has made improvement over the past year, putting himself in the conversation for the top player in 2023. After missing the majority of the summer with a knee injury, he showed explosion on one of his dunks and looks to have made a full recovery. Collier also recorded 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 turnovers in the game.
Matas Buzelis 6’10 170 SF – 2023 (G-League Ignite)
Buzelis missed his only 3PT attempt but spent most of his possessions attacking the rim with success, shooting 6-7 from the floor to score 16 points. He also made all 4 of his free throws attempts. He was very good with his dribble and aggressive as a finisher, on one play, taking Vyctorius Miller from the perimeter to finish with a dunk. When he didn’t end with a jam, he showed good body control on a few layups.
Tre Johnson 6’6 165 SG – 2024
Johnson is wired to score and demonstrated with a combination of shooting and creative drives. He showed some variety to score his 14 points; stepbacks from 3, contested layups, a one-foot runner he kissed of the glass, and a few dunks in the open floor, including a windmill. Johnson shot 6-12 FG and 2-5 3PT to go along with 7 rebounds and 3 assists for Team Havoc.
Jamie Kaiser 6’6 200 SF – 2023 (Maryland)
The recent Maryland commit contributed with 14 points. He’s a very confident shooter, as he showed stepping into a deep 3 in transition to find the target. However, where Kaiser was the most dangerous was on the offensive glass, as he grabbed 6 rebounds with 4 coming on the offensive end, and scored 6 points on tip-ins. In addition to his shooting and crashing the glass, he rounded out his scoring on catching alley-oops and also contributed with 4 assists.
Bryson Tiller 6’9 185 SF – 2025
Tiller has some nice tools and an impressive physical profile overall. He contributed with 12 points on 5-7 shooting but kept it simple with 4 easy dunks from running the floor. He did show a nice floater on one play but didn’t have any scoring moments that jumped off the page, which isn’t a bad thing in a setting like this where players can easily get caught up in trying to do too much. He also made both free throw attempts and grabbed 3 rebounds.
Kwame Evans 6’10 200 C – 2023 (Oregon)
Evans didn’t have any luck from the perimeter, missing all 4 of his 3PT attempts but scored on his drives. Although he shoots with his left-hand, he finishes quite a bit with his right hand, including a dunk after blowing past Xavier Booker with his dribble. Evans shot 5-10 from the floor and led the game with 9 rebounds.
JP Estrella 6’11 210 C – 2023
Estrella contributed with 10 points on 5-8 FG. His scoring came without him trying to do too much and whether it was an easy two-handed jam, floater, or crashing the offensive glass; his offensive damage came in the paint. He didn’t show his ability to stretch the floor but played with good effort on both ends, grabbing 4 rebounds and blocking 2 shots.
Ian Jackson 6’6 180 SG – 2024
Jackson is coming off a successful summer, winning Gold at the 17U World Cup. He didn’t have a good shooting night scoring 8 points on 4-12 FG and missing all 6 3PTers. He scored most of his points using his open floor speed to get to the rim in transition or semi-transition. He may have had the most impressive play of the game with his big one-handed tip slam in the half-court after the defense failed to put a body on him. Jackson also recorded 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 turnovers.
Dennis Evans 7’1 230 C – 2023
Although very raw, Evans is still an impact player while on the floor. He covers ground defensively and does a good job blocking jump shots, including a fadeaway on one play, to record 3 in the game. He doesn’t have much offensive technique right now, scoring on a shimmy in the post to use his length to put out of the defender’s reach and an easy dunk in the post on another play. His free throw stroke isn’t bad, knocking down 3 of his 4 attempts. Evans also contributed with 6 rebounds.
Johnuel Fland 6’3 165 PG – 2024
Fland scored 6 points on 2-9 FG and 0-7 3PT shooting. He showed a beautiful left-handed floater and used a screen to attack the rim for a two-handed flush for his 2 field goals. Defensively, he came away with 3 steals.
Trentyn Flowers 6’8 180 SF – 2024
Flowers recorded 4 points and 2 rebounds in the game. Obviously, a quiet performance, but as a high-level athlete, he impressed on an alley-oop. Flowers’ saw limited action, as his 7.5 minutes of play was the lowest among the group but there’s clearly a lot of intrigue in this young wing prospect.
Elliot Cadeau 6’1 165 PG – 2024
Cadeau only scored 2 points on 1-4 FG on a dunk in the open floor. He had some good looks pulling up from midrange but couldn’t connect. He sat out last season with injury but looks to be recovering well and getting his bounce back.