Most players standing 5-foot-6 aren’t serious threats on the hardwood, much less serious college prospects. However, there seem to be a few exceptions to the rule every year. In the class of 2017, Chris Lykes is one of those guys.
With no shortage of flair or toughness, Lykes has shown that he can hold his own against some of the nation’s top lead guards. He plays for one of DC’s best high schools (Gonzaga) and best teams in the EYBL (Team Takeover), so he’s given himself plenty of opportunities to gain exposure. He is dynamic in the open floor, able to change speeds at the drop of a dime and find the open man. Lykes can keep the defense honest with his ability to shoot it from beyond the arc and is developing creative finishes at the rim amongst taller opponents. He uses his grit to lock up on the defensive end, too. These aforementioned attributes were enough to earn him an invite to the CP3 Elite Point Guard Camp, making him one of only three sophomores invited.
Lykes already owns offers from Richmond, Hofstra, and Old Dominion. Expect plenty to follow as he continues to grow, both physically and with his game.
Donovan Mitchell has long been known for his explosive bounce, but many don’t realize that he has some serious game to go along with it. Over the last year, he has been showing everyone that he is not just an above the rim player, which is why legendary coach Rick Pitino made it a priority to lock him up so early.
Through more of a natural scorer, Mitchell has shown the ability to serve as a secondary ball handler for spurts. He has solid court vision, has shown the ability to consistently knock down threes from the corner, and will always finish through traffic. The NYC product has the toughness and attitude that coaches love to see out of a guard, and it shows on the defensive end. Mitchell uses his combination of strength, wingspan, and athleticism to straight up put the clamps on guys at either guard slot. Many people still question his size and ability to run the show at the next level, but Donovan Mitchell is simply a basketball player who gets it done every time that he steps on the floor.
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While players are being recruited earlier and earlier, it’s still a bit rare that you find a player who owns SEC offers before even stepping foot in a high school class room. Colleges will often times show interest or low D1 programs will throw a scholarship out that early, but not schools in the SEC. Ethan Henderson is the exception to that rule.
Claiming offers from Arkansas and LSU this summer, it was easy to see why programs were so intrigued with the freshman. He has super length, is a bouncy athlete, and has shown the potential of being an elite shot-blocker. Showing range out to 17 feet, Henderson has a lot of potential as a shooter and already capable of finishing above the rim. While he will still definitely need to get stronger, he has all of the makings of a high major prospect down the road.
Keep checking CityLeagueHoops for more updates on 2018 prospects.
Dwayne Bacon has been putting up numbers for a while. On the AAU circuit, he did it with the Showtime Ballers, putting up 20-plus in virtually every game for the last three years. At the high school level, he posted ridiculous numbers in the scoring column for McKeel Academy and IMG Academy in Florida. Now a senior, Bacon has taken things to a bigger stage at national power Oak Hill Academy.
At the Marshall County Hoop Fest, Bacon brought his full package of scoring abilities to the table. He hit countless deep jumpers, was a monster in transition, and defended multiple positions on the floor. There was never a time throughout the weekend that you forgot that the Showtime Ballers AAU star was on the floor because he constantly kept going at the defense and then let them know about it. Bacon’s elite ability to convert at the rim and much improved outside shot should allow him to contribute immediately at Florida State.
Keep checking CityLeagueHoops for more Marshall County Hoop Fest videos.
Ever since he was a freshman in high school, Daniel Giddens has simply been a man amongst boys. Standing 6-foot-10 and weighing 240 pounds, he has the size of many big men who are starting in the league right now. Making the move to Oak Hill Academy for his senior season, he is reminding people of the serious potential that he owns.
In the two games that we saw in Kentucky, Giddens owned the paint. Defensively, he used his massive frame and wingspan to provide a physical presence on the interior, both on the ball and as a helpside defender. The Georgia native rebounded his area well, walled up against opposing bigs, and established himself as a shot-blocking presence. Offensively, Giddens was devastating as a catch/finish type guy, looking to rip the rim off every time he got it within five feet. While his post game is still a work in progress, the Ohio State recruit has shown flashes of a developing jump hook and appears to be making strides in the right direction at Oak Hill.
Keep checking CityLeagueHoops for more videos from the 2014 Marshall County Hoop Fest.
Tyger Campbell was buzzing on Twitter after receiving an SEC offer before reaching high school and he showed that Ole Miss made the right decision at the 2014 Marshall County Hoopfest. Matched up against top-10 La Lumiere, Campbell showed that he could hold his own with one of the nation’s perennial powerhouses. He finished with creativity at the rack, showed a lot of poise running the pick and roll, and showed quick hands on the defensive end. Most importantly for a lead guard, Tyger played with a poise well beyond his years and showed an outstanding basketball IQ (especially in pick and roll play), despite CPA’s lopsided defeat.
Keep checking CityLeagueHoops for more updates on Tyger Campbell.
One of the things that has always set Thon Maker apart from the rest of the class of 2016 was his simply freakish ability to do work from the perimeter for a center. In fact, there aren’t many 7-footers in the world who can do some of the things that Thon Maker does with the ball in his hands. At the Marshall County Hoopfest, he showed that to basketball fans of the Commonwealth.
In the opening night, he posted a stat line of 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 steals, but it was what he did that got people excited. The 7-footer was outstanding as a secondary ball-handler against the press, used his height to see over the D from the high post, and stretched the defense with his ability to shoot it from beyond the arc. While Thon is best suited as an inside/out type, it’s hard not to be intrigued with the ability to do damage from the outside.
Keep checking CityLeagueHoops for more footage of Thon as the season goes on.
We came to the conclusion two years ago that by the time it was all said and done, Skal Labissiere should be right there in the mix for top player in the class of 2015. Mind you, that was still when Karl Towns was in the class, too. His play this weekend against perennial power Oak Hill Academy at the Marshall County Hoopfest certainly reaffirmed those sentiments.
While his RYD Prep squad lost handidly to Oak Hill Academy, it wasn’t due to the play of Labissiere. Playing with a team that was thrown together on relative short notice given the THSAA’s surprising ruling deeming the senior ineligible, it wasn’t quite the level of talent that we were used to seeing him with, but he still managed to dominate. Creating all of his offense for himself, fans and scouts were able to see the full repertoire that he has to offer. The 6-foot-11 post drilled countless contested three pointers, went to work out of the high post, and finished around the rim with his outstanding athleticism. Forced to accept a huge role on the defensive end, Skal His 33 points and 7 rebounds didn’t even begin to show the impact that he had on the game. Things will be a whole lot easier for Labissiere at UK, where he will likely tea up with the nation’s top recruiting class for his freshman campaign.
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Watch the nation’s best senior guard, Malik Newman, take on Derrick Jones and Archbishop Carroll from the 2014 Marshall County HoopFest in Kentucky. Jones was ultimately named the game’s MVP, but the scoring machine that is Malik Newman still managed to pour in 35 points.
Once a rarity, it is becoming a more common practice for middle school players to make the leap up and play high school basketball. While there are plenty of players throughout the country who are talented enough to make the jump, state restrictions leave 8th graders with very few options as to where they can hone their skills against high school ballers. Kentucky is one of those states and Marquise Walker made that move.
The Chicago product’s family made the move to Bowling Green, KY and Marquise immediately showed that he could hold his own at South Warren HS. In his team’s first two victories, he showed off the skills that have him widely regarded as one of the top 15 players in the class of 2015. The 5-foot-10 lead guard was in constant attack mode, showed blazing quickness, and the ability to finish through contact against his elders. Walker exhibited a basketball IQ unlike the vast majority of players his age, making you forget that you were watching a player who was still a year removed from taking his first high school class.
Keep checking CityLeagueHoops for more updates on Marquise.