After not getting a chance to get out on the first weekend of the Major Prep Basketball League, I thought Sunday was a good opportunity to see some the best young talent in the city and I came away impressed. Some players, I already had a feel for after seeing them last year and during the summer but a few players that I’d heard great things about but only had limited views on them as players like Joshua Holloway who some consider as the best player in the 6th grade class. Holloway is smallish in stature but big in game as a player right now who’s at his best scoring the ball. Has a little twitch to his game where he can change speeds, something you don’t see in kids so young and has creative ways to score whether off the dribble or through as assortment of floaters. He will team up with Cameron Donegan at Highland Oaks and make a formidable duo and make the Hawks a threat in Large Schools this year. Speaking of Donegan, the more I see him, the more I start to say that he might be the best pure point guard in this class in 8th grade. He’s the prototypical pass first who can knock down the shot, either the 3 or mid range and he’s always under control. He has a good feel for when to be aggressive offensively and he values the basketball.
Known as Turtle across the city by his peers and coaches, Cartier Beverly is a tough as they come as a guard in 2022. The stocky strong pg lives to get into the lane and is a fearless attacker off the pick or just straight line down hill. He gets to his spot off the dribble and plays with a lot of confidence and as his jumper gets better, he will be able to keep opponents more honest but his development as a finder is more important then just being a finisher because he has a solid future. 5’10 Jelani Willis is an athletic 2-3 with motor on top of motor and he plays a physical brand of basketball due to his football background. He’s at his best on the attack 10-15 feet out from the basket and is a really good rebounder from his position. Willis will be important to White Station this year and he could raise his stock in this class locally.
Other players who stood out on Sunday
7th and 8th Grade Division
Eli Federman 5’8 (St George) Filed it up off the pull up, runners, however he wanted to score, he did it. He will be among the best guards in Private School this year. He leads the league in scoring right now and shouldn’t drop below the top 5 of scoring unless he starts to get doubled.
Cedric Franklin 5’6 (Colonial) Shows a lot of promise, scored 5 of his teams last 7 points including an and 1 to put his team up. Good fundamentally, improving as an athlete will up him in this class.
Ashton Smith 5’8 2019 (Lausanne) Probably a starter this year but at no worse, will see starter minutes. Smith might be the best guard in the league. Can shoot the 3 off the spot up but is becoming for adept penetrating and making it happen as a playmaker.
Kennedy Chandler 5’7 (Briarcrest) Shifty and looks to have added more quickness, Chandler’s talent was on display even playing up high school. Scored with the hesitation dribble, made decisive moves to the rim and constantly put pressure on the defense. Chandler certainly didn’t look out of sorts with older competition
Brogan Brewer 6’3 (Arlington High) The worker 3-4 looks like he has put on some weight and it’s showing in his game. Always a worker around the rim, he does all of the work that coaches value, whether it’s grabbing an offensive rebound or hitting the floor for a loose ball, Brewer plays hard and doesn’t take possessions off.
Matthew Murrell 6’2 (Whitehaven High) Looks like he has stretched some and his frame might see another inch or two added in his future but Murrell is a driver/slasher and a top 5 player in 2020 easily. Continued progression as a jump shot maker from the perimeter will add versatility to his game but there is so much to like about his future. The team he is on will force him to be more assertive in this league and he should benefit from that.
Jalen Brown 6’0 (Kingsbury Middle) Like Murrell, Brown has added some inches to his slender frame and will be a terror this year in Middle School. Like Kennedy Chandler, Brown is playing up and looks like he belongs. I think it will help him kind of get used to some of the physicality of high school.
I think Coach Brown has the best team in the High School division (Team Oregon) talent wise and on paper however some coaches are gunning for him. Next week might be there toughest challenge when they face Ethan Jones (BTW) who is senior and should give them some problems if they don’t rebound. Coach Drapers team with Federman should be pretty good along with the Knicks, Raptors and Spurs (Donegan) all which play in the 7th and 8th grade division of the MBL.