The third annual midwest spotlight began today at the Kentucky Basketball Commission in Lexington, KY. This year over 200 student athletes in the classes of 2023 to 2030 came to the Bluegrass State looking to compete against their peers. The action was hot and heavy, there was many standouts, lets take a look at some who stood out.
STAR OF THE DAY
Reed Sheppard, 2023 guard from London, KY and Darius Miller Elite on the circuit was all that is advertised. Havent seen Sheppard play personally in over 18 months, but the worth was definetly worth the wait. Sheppard has transformed from the best player on the floor who scores at will to now the best player on the floor who stills scores at will but also makes every player better.
Sheppard stands 6'3 now and the upside for him is unlimited. At the point position he is always under control. Sheppard rebounds his position and is able to start the break. Playing with Sheppard is a dream for an athletic wing as he isn't going to dribble the air out of the ball. If you run the court, 1-2 dribbles the ball is in your hands. I could keep going and going, but Reed Sheppard was without a doubt the star of the day on day one. I hope every young camper in between games makes their way to his court to watch him play tomorrow.
2029 / 30 DIVISION
Karson Stoudemire - He did it all today, handled the ball, shot it well, played defense and rebounded on both ends. Stoudemire might have been the most impressive player in 29 / 30 division today along with Duke Howell.
Edwin Braswell - Both ends of the floor he not only plays hard but efficient. Really good at passing first and getting his teammates involved on the offensive end.
Duke Howell - Speaking of Howell, if Stoudemire wasn't the standout in this division, it was the Duke Howell from Team Rise in Louisville. Howell is so long and athletic and knows how to finish in traffic. He has great hands as I seen him get every pass that came to him from ankles to forehead. Howell is a force on both ends and when he gets a defensive rebound, run the floor with him cause he can bring it himself.
Carmelo Washington - What a change of direction this guard has. Ball is on a string and has a great inside out dribble. Washington knows the role of a point guard and looks for the bigs running the floor.
James Coleman Jr. - New Jersey guard had a real nice floor game, could dribble equally effective with either hand and new how to change speeds and get by his man at this young age.
Austin Sears - One of the top players nationally, we have never not seen him show up. Anytime we are at a tournament we go look at the box score it says Sears 20 +. Sears is so quick and has a great change of direction. He is shooting the ball consistent from the outside now and still has the floater game that is as good as anyones.
Chayse Hunter - Bigger guard, did well on the offensive end today getting to the basket and offensive rebounding and creating points for himself on the offensive glass.
Tony Sheffield - He stood out today on both ends of the floor. Solid player who did a little bit of everything well.
Malachi Clay - Very tough player today, played solid on both ends of the court. Rebounded very well.
Abrahm Howard - Strong kid who can play 1-5 on either side of the ball. He didn't dominate the ball today like he does on his AAU team but he still dominated the game with other good players around him. Howard can play for anyone in the country and help them win games.
Dre'Mail Carouthers - Got to handle the ball more today than we have seen in the past. Carouthers had some turnovers but he was special, to be honest we knew he was good but didn't realize this good. Carouthers showed he can shoot the three nailing four in the first game of the day along with getting to the rim at ease and finishes well.
Trell Hogue - This guy was on fire in game one, he knocked in five threes in the first 10 minutes of the game. Once the defense started crowding him, he got to the rim and finished back to back shots off the glass. Would like to see him go left more, but right now we haven't seen him stopped going to the right.
Braylon Anderson - This kid made things happen. He shot the three ball well, got in the paint and finished but also wasn't selfish, when defense collapsed on him he hit the big on the block on more than one occasion. Anderson one of the youngest kids in the grade but he was tough today.
Guy Turner - What an IQ on this kid. Turner is so skilled with the ball but more impressive is his play without the ball. Turner cuts and runs the floor. In a camp setting its hard to dominate the ball the whole time so Turner when he doesnt have the ball you can still find him in the paint cutting looking for the pass.
Caleb Wells - Wells was powerful in around the rim. When he finished shots it wasn't weak finishes, Wells jumped above the competition to finish. Great explosion on such a young athlete.
Cooper Zachary - Shot the ball well but also made plays for other. Zachary is consistent everytime we see him. Not the quickest, but he is very good on defense cause he is always in the right spot.
Braeden Myrick - Myrick shot the mid range well today but also got in the paint and made some terrific passes. In one game we watched he had three assists in about a 7 possession span. Myrick loves to play defense, he is always scoring himself or getting someone else a shot on the change of possession that he usually caused.
Malachi Ashford - Dominated on both sides of the ball today. Asford is a great scorer but he ran the team and even though he scored, he domianted the game on offense by making sure his teammates stayed involved and got the ball in positions to score. Even though a camp, it was like he had been playing with these kids forever.
Amari Owens - Lefty is so strong and quick. Owens loves to play defense and his transition game is next level. Owens has proved it all spring and once again today he is one of the top guards in this class to date.
Larry Trey Benson - Benson guard, he took some hits today but alwasy bounced back up. Benson has great ball skills and gets in the paint with his crafty ball handling after beating his defender. Benson didn't shoot it as well as we have seen today but still a good day for Trey.
Caleb Thomas - This kid is electric at the point guard position. Super quick lives in the paint and a great passer. He had games of 16 and 15 today along with at least five assists in each.
Jeremiah Fears - We have heard about Fears for awhile now, we are glad we finally got to see him in person. Fears is so shifty and crafty its crazy. He has a great burst of speed, but doesn't rely on his speed as he beats you with skill. That is a deadly combination.
Lacon McKinney - Ranked inside our top 15, McKinney in the past has dominated in the paint but we haven't seen him in three months. Today he hit multiple threes in transition and off ball screens, his game has expanded.
Damion Porter Jr - Big guy showed nice touch to 15 feet on his jump shot and got every rebound in and out of his area.
Saxton Howard - Great vision and had a good looking jump shot in two games today.
Anthony Thomas - This kid is the show. He plays up 16u and we didn't know about him, but the Arkansas product is special One of the top 20 players nationally in his class I would think, Thomas can do it all. An athletic freak, he dunked in game and has skills, I mean a high skill level to go with it. One of the better players now and long term in the 2024 class.
Damone King - King performed spectacular last week and stepped it up again this week. The Louisville guard has a great pace to his game and can score consistently from all three levels. Great handle and great range from three.
Japhet Santiago - Everytime we turned around he was a problem. Santiago scored over twenty twice today, one of the best scorers in the camp.
Trey Gillett - Strong kid, Gillett shot the absolute cover off of the ball today. Used his strength to get to the rim. Not the fastest but for sure one of the smartest, Gillett understands angles.
Vince Dawson - Slasher off the ball, cut without the ball and made plays with it. Very good rebounder and a great defender on and off the ball.
Jamarion Carter - Two time camp MVP, Carter has put on muscle and his body has transformed into a college sophomore body. Carter makes one move, gets you on his shoulder and its over with, he is getting two or to the foul line everytime. A division one guard in the future. The three ball is falling consistently for Carter and when he is on, there is no funner player to watch.
Blue Cain - More than a shooter, this kid is a scorer. He sprays from beyond the arc but he is also crafty with his finishes at the rim. Blue doesn't transition to defense great early in game but this kid is a gamer, when money on the line he locked up on defense and helped his team get the dub in a one point win in game two.
Tru Coleman - A guard who knows the importance of paint touches. On offense he lives in there and on defense he has that lock down and doesn't allow you to break him down or make his teammates help. Coleman was probably the best offensive player using the ball screen we seen today.
Aden Nelson - Talent on top of talent is this kid. Has a great shot from deep, finishes at the rim and is long. Nelson made 5 or 6 plays today that made everyone in the gym stop and look at their paper to see what his name is.
Cole Mills - Solid guard, knows how to play the game. Great pace and feel, kept teammates involved and hit the open jumper. Pretty solid on the defensive end as well, this 2023 crop is loaded, no weak players and he defended his position well.
Dallas Roberts - Roberts proved it on the varsity level this past year at North Oldham, but this kid can play. Smart player doesn't ever try to do to much. Very good shooter from the outside, has a nice drive hard and step back shot and creates good space when he does it. Good team / system player but he can go get his when the time calls for it.
Ryan Davidson - Davidson is going to be a great high school basketball player, and I mean great this upcoming year as a freshman. He will average 18 and 10. Great shooting touch to go along with strength and not afraid to go inside and bang.
Sam Parrish - Was knocking down shots from deep. He is superb on the offensive end and on defense he was the heart of his teams defense today.