John Lucas is known for his selective process for coaches working his camps. The vast majority are former college coaches or players, with a few former NBA players/scouts paired in. Everyone knows the game and quite a few of them can still play it, as we saw this past weekend in Louisville.
Down a player due to injury in the drills, Lucas’ longtime camp counselor Tony Lusk stepped in the action. He grabbed a loose ball that sent a defender diving to the ground and fired a a behind the back pass to a teammate, which was not converted. Either way, he proved that despite his age, he could still get out there and go with some of the nation’s finest high school players.
Stay tuned to CityLeagueHoops for more coverage from the 2014 John Lucas Midwest Invitational.
Ever since we initially saw Matt Coleman, we knew that he had a chance to be a special prospect. Starting on the 16U team for the legendary Boo Williams AAU program as an eighth grader, you could see the long term potential that he had. After an outstanding performance at the 2013 CP3 Rising Stars Camp, he cemented himself as a top 25 player in the class of 2017 and after the performance that he put on this weekend at the John Lucas Midwest Invitational, it looks like people may still be sleeping on him.
Clearly the top point guard in the camp, Matt showed a video game like ability to change speeds with the ball in his hands. Not only possessing end to end speed, he knew when to change gears and hit the turbo button, leaving defenders behind him. Coleman showed off an improved jumper and ability to finish amongst the trees in the paint, proving that size is no problem for him whatsoever. Additionally, he had one of the top highlights of the weekend with this ridiculous move that sent his defender collapsing to the ground.
Stay tuned to CityLeagueHoops for plenty more of Matt throughout the coming months.
Always known as being an explosive athlete throughout the state of North Carolina, Dondre Griffin showed scouts from all over the country at the John Lucas Midwest Invitational. The 6’3 combo guard came flying down the right lane and threw down a poster dunk over a post player who we’ll opt not to name. Already owning offers from Hampton, Houston Baptist, and Coastal Carolina, expect that list to grow as more teams see him with the emerging Team Felton program on the AAU circuit.
Will Dillard shocked the world with his windmill dunk as a seventh grader last year, and has continued to progress his game ever since. He started on the varsity level as an eighth grader for Greensboro Day School and helped pace the school to the state title game. Dillard showed the experience that he gained against some of the nation’s best at the CP3 Rising Stars Camp.
Playing against his peers for the first time in a while after playing with Team Felton at the 16U level in AAU, Dillard used his outstanding athleticism to play outstanding on-ball defense. His mature body and great lateral quickness enabled him to put massive amount of pressure on the ball. On the offensive end, Will thrived in transition via his tough finishes above the rim. He stepped out to hit a few jumpers and while he needs to improve his game off of the bounce, clearly established himself as one of the South’s best in 2018.
Stay tuned to CityLeagueHoops for more on Will Dillard throughout the season.
Keifer Sykes seemingly has always fallen under the radar, but those who were in the know, knew that he had some serious game. Dating back to his tenure at Marshall HS in Chicago, Sykes was always a productive player, but people questioned whether his size would translate to the next level. Heading into his final campaign at Green Bay, Sykes seems to finally be getting the respect that he deserves.
At the CP3 Elite Guard Camp, Keifer was given the opportunity to show his stuff in front of representatives from nearly every NBA team. The reigning Horizon League POY was super shifty with his change of speed, shot it well from deep, and had no problem finishing in the paint amongst bigger guards. During the breaks in camp, he made the most of his opportunity to play in front of scouts, showcasing his absurd athleticism throughout a number of impromptu dunk sessions. Naturally, a camp like this did not offer an opportunity for Sykes to show his point guard skills, but he did enough to firmly supplant himself on the radar for NBA scouting staffs for his final year in Green Bay.
Elijah Hardy has been well known amongst the basketball community on the west coast for a while now, but now that he is entering the high school ranks, it was time to show the whole nation what his game was about. Making the journey across the country, he definitely did that at the CP3 Rising Stars Camp in North Carolina.
Playing in front of CP3 himself, Hardy showed why he is one of the truly elite guards in the 2018 class. He was outstanding running the pick and roll, exhibited great court vision, and had no problem shooting the ball from beyond the three point line. Having now grown to a legit 6’0, he had no problem converting at the rack either. There were a few times in which he got a little shot happy, but that didn’t hinder him from establishing himself as arguably the camp’s best point guard, earning him a selection to the DunkDog All-American Game.
With talent like that, it makes sense why PAC-12 programs are already recruiting him.
“I’m hearing from Stanford, Cal, and Montana,” rattled off Hardy when asked about the schools that have reached out to him.
Still a month away from playing his first high school game, Elijah has been working hard to show that he can do work at the varsity level from day one. Playing for stacked Bishop O’Dowd alongside Ivan Rabb and Co., things will not be easy. The freshman has been putting in some serious work with respected bay area trainer KP of RepsOnReps, showing serious improvement each time that we’ve seen him.
Stay tuned to CityLeagueHoops for plenty more on Elijah in the coming months.
Derek Funderburk has been showing his massive potential for a while now locally, but is now beginning to gain attention on the national level. The Lakewood St. Edward’s power forward is outstanding running the floor and is really coming to his own athletically, as seen by the above dunks from the Nike Memorial Day Classic.
As Derek’s skill level has grown, his recruitment has followed suit. Indiana, Ohio State, Xavier, Iowa, and Penn State have put scholarships on the table. With a much larger role throughout this upcoming high school season for St. Ed’s, expect an abundance of other big time programs to take notice.
As the trend of recruiting players before they reach high school continues to reach an all time high, things are continually growing for Damon Harge Jr. The YouTube sensation just finished up helping lead Orlando Christian Prep to a state title in Florida as an eighth grader, making that his third season of varsity hoops before actually starting high school.
Naturally, college coaches have taken attention, including the state’s top program.
“Damon loved the visit. He got to see Kasey Hill and the other guards work out,” Damon’s father Damon Sr. told CityLeagueHoops. “We were able to meet Coach Donovan and the whole staff, view the campus, and check out a football game.”
The weekend visit seemed to spark the Gators interest even more, too.
“This past Wednesday, the UF staff came to see him work out at 6am,” the elder Harge admitted. “They were really impressed and want to watch him more in the season.”
Now standing around 5-foot-9, he’s no longer the pint-sized playmaker that drew so much acclaim early on. Harge showed a much improved ability to finish in the paint at the CP3 Rising Stars Camp and while he is still quite slender, is able to absorb contact much better than in the past. He still has the deep three point range, outstanding court vision, and elite IQ that allowed him to run high school teams as a middle schoolers.
Florida is the latest program to jump in the picture to recruit the E1T1 product. He has already received scholarship offers from North Carolina Central and Depaul, while Stanford, Washington, Central Florida, Virginia, North Florida, and Detroit have also been showing him early recruiting attention.
Ever since emerging as a freshman at Garfield Heights, Willie Jackson has been one of the more well known players in the Cleveland area. The 6-foot-5 swingman has been starting on the varsity level ever since entering high school and the progress that he’s made in his game has established him one of Ohio’s better prospects in the class of 2016.
“Willie is an unbelievable rebounder,” his coach Sonny Johnson confidently said. “He is a really good slasher who can go inside and out. He also has a college body right now.”
To go along with Jackson’s explosive first step, he has the potential to defend multiple positions on the hardwood with his length and athleticism. He owns elite ability finishing in the paint and is a tenacious rebounder on both ends of the hardwood. His outside shooting and ball handling are still works in progress, but that hasn’t stopped high major programs from offering scholarships.
“Penn State, SMU, Iowa State, Wisconsin, Kent State, LaSalle, Toledo, Bowling Green, and Cleveland State have offered,” rattled off his high school coach.
“Iowa, Xavier, Dayton, Michigan State, and Saint Joseph’s are all showing interest too,” he added.
While that is already a very impressive list of schools, continued development on the perimeter will only enable that list to continue to grow. He dominated last week’s Ohio’s Finest Showcase with his relentless takes to the rim and under the tutelage of Ohio’s former Mr. Basketball, appears to be heading in the right direction towards reaching his potential.
Montell McRae has been one of the more intriguing players in Cleveland for a while now and though his frame still needs to fill out, he showed why at the Ohio’s Finest Showcase. Held at Garfield Heights this past Thursday, McRae used his length and athleticism to take over both ends of the floor. His dominance in the paint on the offensive end was seen above with these three big dunks.
We will have plenty more on Montell as the season goes on at CityLeagueHoops.