For many teams, its the first test of the spring/summer, the widely poplar Real Deal In The Rock in Little Rock Arkansas. From all over the country, teams traveled in trying to get a indication of the types of seasons they could have. For years, Memphis teams have had a strong presence in Little Rock and that didn’t change this year. From the Eric Robinson led Memphis Magic organization, who’s 15 year old team featured 7’4 Christopher Yannick to Team Penny’s organization who fielded two 16u teams and their 15s who played up 16u. The Memphis Wildcats also under Team Penny had 3 teams represented in 11u, 12u and 14u who featured Chandler Lawson, one of the top players in the country in 2019. Here are a few of the Memphis prospects that had good showings over the weekend and could propel them into nice spring/summer campaigns.
Team Penny 15s (Black- Golden)
TJ Moss 6’4, he was the leading scorer in all the games that I saw and looks like the year of varsity has payed major dividends. He was in attack mode in transition, the half court, knocked down the 3, showed some vision as a passer and was a shot maker. He was really good to the rim, drawing fouls and pushed it when opportunities presented themselves in the half court and full court. He was one of the best players in 16s over the weekend.
Alex Lomax 5’11, Coming off a great high school season, “Alo” was primary ball handler and did a good job for the most part as a player. Lomax has a great feel for the game and doesn’t back down from competition and as a defender, he’s strong and moves his feet well although he can tend to reach some but makes up for his ability to read passing lanes. Scoring the ball this weekend, he wasn’t at his best but showed flashes of the high school season late where he improved his jumper dramatically making him a tougher player to guard. I don’t expect him to struggle offensively like that much this travel season.
Mark Freeman 5’10, Solid as point guard, finding teammates, Freeman was good. I thought he did a good job of turning ball handlers on defense as he’s known as one of the best defensive guards in Memphis. Like Lomax, he found it hard to make shots some but again, Freeman is another guard who has made tremendous strides in that area.
Ryan Boyce 6’5, Bouncy undersized 4 with future as a wing, he had a few eye catching dunks off the rim showing off his ever improving athleticism. Really good catch and shoot from 10-15 feet but seems really adept with the corner jumper which he hits with regularity.
Team Penny 16s (White- Valentine)
Rodarius Washington 6’5, High motor energy 4 with some ball handling ability, Washington was big in the win to make it to championship game on Sunday. He’s a good rebounder, can guard out on the perimeter some and likes the elbow/ free throw line jumper. A bit of player in between player but one thing I love about him is his toughness.
Kylan Watkins 5’10, Was a spark off the bench and showed some scoring ability which some may not have know that he had getting in the lane for runners and knocking down some big shots. He was a disruptor of the others teams offense putting so much pressure on opposing guards always making it difficult just to get open. He along with a 2 or 3 others can make a claim as the best defender in Memphis.
Tyran Davis 6’0, Like Watkins, Davis bring infectious energy as a defensive minded player who can hit the open 3 as well. He attacks the ball like Watkins and if you thinking about having a big scoring day, he’s going to make you work for every point.
TK Smith 6’3, His confidence has grown and it showed this weekend now becoming more well rounded as a guard instead of people just knowing him for his athleticism although I think he is a big time athlete. He’s a guy who can get his off the pull up, shoot the 3, get to the rim and be dangerous in open court. I think Smith’s best days are ahead of him and has confidence increases, I think college may start to take notice.
Team Penny 16s (Cotton)
Khalil Garland 6’5, Operator off the slash, he has an excellent first step and he was hard to guard especially in the championship game on Sunday. He has good body control and knows how to finish once he gets to the rim and shows some ability as a good defender once the effort in that area increases. Garland has the look of the next high major out of Little Rock.
Tyree Appleby 5’11, Always a quality guard, he added some inches to his frame and his offensive game has improved. Really crafty scoring it, he loves quick 1-2, crossover and get by you for attempts at the rim. I really like him as a penetrator and willing passer once he gets deep. Has a chance to be really good this spring/summer.
Memphis Wildcats 14u
Eric Gray 5’9, Down hill attacker but excels to the basket in the open court, Gray is a aggressive guard who’s not afraid of contact at the basket.
Sky Forrest 6’3, Big guard, Sky is more of a jump shooter but has made and effort to take easier shots through pull ups. A bit methodical but he gets it done, as motor increases, so will production.
Chandler Lawson 6’7, Athleticism has increased tremendously since last year and it showed against WACG where he stretched for shot off the rim for a big time dunk. Lawson is an extremely skilled unselfish wing and while he did play up this weekend 16s with (Team Black-Golden) and showed something’s there, at 14u, he as the ability to dominate a game as a shot blocker, rebounder and scorer. Lawson has also worked as a post up utilizing the short jump hook to add a different element to him.