The National Prep Showcase has long been the unofficial tip-off to the high school basketball season. The best of the best in post-grad hoops descend to Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, CT for an event that often has just as many college coaches as fans. Each year, players go from unknown to high major and from unranked to the top 150. This year was no different.
The star power isn’t quite as top heavy in the Northeast as it usually is, but Adam Finkelstein still brought in all of the powers. Games were incredibly competitive, as guys were not only fighting for victories, but they were also fighting for scholarships.
Here are a few of the top performers from day one of the 2014 NPS:
Aaron Falzon, 6’8, PF, Northfield Mount Hermon, 2015- The top performance in the event undoubtedly went to Aaron Falzon. A skilled face-up four, Falzon hit 9 three pointers en route to a 37 point outing in the nightcap. He rebounded the ball all over the court, rotated for charges, and dove on the ground for loose balls. Look for the Xpressions AAU product to shoot up the rankings in 2015, because he is certainly a top-50 talent.
Donte Grantham, 6’7, SF, Hargrave Military Academy (VA), 2014- Clemson’s top recruit did not disappoint at the NPS, carrying Hargrave to a 92-73 win over St. Thomas More. The versatile senior played the role of point forward at times, initiating the offense and making strong decisions coming off of ball screens. He drilled outside jumpers, defended multiple positions, and showed the overall skill level that has made him one of the nation’s elite post grad players.
Michal Cekovsky, 7’0, C, Canarias Basketball Academy (Spain), 2014- Surprising some by opting to play college basketball after coming through the Partizan system, Cekovsky proved to be arguably the most talented big man on day one. He is very fluid athletically, showed off some nice moves out of the post going towards his left shoulder, and hit mid-range jumpers facing the basket. Cekovsky’s 12 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 steals don’t tell the full story, but the buzz generated amongst colleges certainly will.
Tavarius Shine, 6’6. SF, Fork Union Military Academy (VA), 2014- Shine immediately shined (no pun intended) from the second he hit the hardwood against Notre Dame Prep. He shot the lights out of the ball, defended the perimeter well, and provided help on the glass inside. The Dallas native didn’t do a ton putting the ball on the deck, but did enough to attract the attention of college coaches sitting courtside.
Daxter Miles, 6’1, PG/SG, Notre Dame Prep (MA), 2014- The top scorer that we caught on day one was West Virginia bound Daxter Miles. The combo guard poured in XX points on Notre Dame Prep via a number of deep threes, strong drives to the rack, and floaters in the lane. We didn’t get the chance to see much of Miles as a lead guard, but the Baltimore product showed that he could get buckets with the best at the prep school level.
Damontrae Jefferson, 5’7, PG, Believe Prep (SC), 2015- Known for his wild style of play, Jefferson came to the NPS with a much more composed game. The Milwaukee Runnin’ Rebels lead guard showed improved shot selection, made pretty passes in the open court, and finished at the rim with the best of them. Now in the class of 2015, expect “Trae” to shoot up the rankings if he can continue to play at this rate.
Tremont Waters, 5’7, PG, South Kent (CT), 2017- Don’t let size fool you, Tremont Waters can go. Receiving much acclaim before he ever hit the high school ranks, Waters lived up to the hype with his downright cold-blooded shooting stroke. The freshman shot the lights out off of the dribble, with his feet set, and even put it on the floor a couple of times when defenders closed out on him out of control. Tremont primarily played off of the ball, so we weren’t able to check him out running the team, but you could clearly tell that he is a name to remember for 2017.
Keondre Dew, 6’8, SF/PF, Elev8 Prep (FL), 2014- Keondre Dew has been a familiar face on the circuit for a while now and is really beginning to put things together at Elev8 Prep. His strength is clearly facing the basket and he did an outstanding job of attacking the rim when he received the rock at the elbows. Keondre used his athleticism and improved toughness to battle on the glass, making him a much more effective player. His father tells me that he is down to UCONN, Stanford, Florida, Florida State, Miami, USC, UCLA, and Oklahoma State with no decision coming imminently.
Chris Wray, 6’8, SF, Fishburne Military Academy (VA), 2014- This was our first time seeing the angular wing and we walked away very impressed. He showed off a great first step, finished above the rim in traffic, and defended multiple positions on the court. Mount Saint Mary’s got themselves an absolute steal in this versatile forward.