When looking at prospects, everyone’s criteria isn’t the same as some others when judging players and seeing a future in them. Some players you see, they just pass the eye test but don’t perform up to the level of their look but one that does and he stands out in a big way, 2022 Chandler Jackson. When you see the 5’10 guard, you see length, lead ability, big time size, scoring ability, handle, a good get it off the rim and good player who can create for himself and others. I saw him last summer a little and I can tell he’s been working on his game in particular, his perimeter jumper where he can make shots from wherever on the court. He’s really tough to stay in front, has a really good first step right now and a problem offensively because at a young age, he can create his shot off the dribble but is most effective at this stage a finisher and player who gets to the rim at will due t his strength. He handles well, makes good decisions and is very unselfish for a such a talented player. Definitely a big guard at this stage and likely will always be in that role and right now, he looks like he has a big time future. Easily one of the better players in the 7th grade and I wouldn’t argue with you if you said he was the best player in the class right now.
For the second year in a row, the MBL (Major Prep) has put together a nice group of young talent with all games taking place at Lausanne Collegiate School in effort to get some run before things get serious in later on in September. I like to get out to leagues like this one and the upcoming Super 80 that will have a middle school division this year to see the progression of some players and to see some new faces. While I have not familiarized myself with 2022 class a lot, I’ve heard names and see a few players who are worth keeping a track of as they mature and come into their own as players. One name I’ve heard a lot and some say he’s the best player in that class is 5’6 Chandler Jackson, who as a mature game for a player so young, who looks to drive but looks for teammates on the kick out but also is right now a scorer to the rim mostly. He wasn’t afraid contact and moved well in tight space where he drew fouls. I was impressed with him really for the first time seeing him but there have been a few others who have caught my attention in the two weeks that I have been out to Lausanne. Here are a few of them to maybe take a peak at if you want to get out and get a chance to see some basketball in this league. Now I do not know their exact teams but just some players who fans may want to see and be able to associate with middle school teams this fall.
Cartier Beverly PG- Bellevue Middle School – 2022 Beverly has a chance to play some minutes this year on 8th grade loaded Bellevue team that won a state sectional last year. He’s a point guard looking to penetrate and make it happen but also has good form on the 3. He didn’t try to do to much and was good aggressive and showed some quickness and good handle with defender on him. He didn’t look to concerned about players playing him close and plays the game like a player who has been playing for a long time. He’s definitely a player that will among the best players in his class right now in the city.
Dylan Hayden PG – St George – 2022 Younger brother of basketball and football standout, Chase Hayden, Dylan reminds me a little of his brother at that age because of his speed and attack mode nature and I do mean attack mode. Once his mind is made up, he’s tough to contain and he can finish in the half court but is best in the open court. I love how competitive he is and he plays with a lot of passion.
Caleb Jackson PG – KIPP – 2022 – Of the younger guards, Jackson looked to be more of a shot creator for himself which his essential but you don’t see it much in players this young. Jackson used the 2 dribble pull up from the free throw line and looked comfortable doing so. He has good shooting mechanics and is extremely confident in himself as a player just from observing.
8th- 9th grade (Division)
Tayson Parker SG/SF – Home School – 2020- Parker is arguably the best player in this division from what I’ve seen but again, I haven’t seen everyone but it’s tough not to consider. Parker is athletic slasher, with great first step but his strength right now is how athletic he is. A few times, I saw him over the rim for tip ins but he’s not a shy player with the jumper that he can make, particularly from the top but is right now a slasher and he’s a problem in transition where he is adept finisher.
Sylvester Thompson PG – 2019 Quick point guard who does what small guards should do, best pesky on defense, get there’s when it’s presents itself and he was able to put himself in position to have an impact whether offensively or defensively. He seemed to want the ball as the game got closer and made good decisions with the ball when it was in his hands. He will have to make his mark as a defender to be a guy who gets on the floor for as a freshmen which may not be hard for him depending on what situation he’s in and where he goes to high school.
Dorian George SF/PF – White Station – 2021 Strong 3-4 in transition to wing and it’s possible due to increased handle and confidence in it. Strong enough to play against 4-5s, George is versatile defender and a solid rebounder where he can get it off the rim and push up to half court which I hadn’t really seen him do in the past. Right now, kind of hard to label him as position but he’s productive and will get the benefit of a lot of playing time this year at White Station.
Tadarius Jacobs SG – American Way – 2021- 18 points on Sunday in his first game, Jacobs for those who didn’t know, he can PLAY. Jacobs is known more as a shooter/defender but on Sunday, he looked to lead and was looked every bit like a player capable of having a break out year in Middle School. Thing I like most maybe is him defensively where you can put him on the other teams best guard and he can contain with his length, and good footwork Growing confidence will continue to make him one of the better 7th graders in the city and soon, more and more people will begin to know Jacobs.
Kaeden Laws PF – Home School- 2021 – Maybe the biggest surprise I’ve seen of the league, 6’1 Laws is legitimately becoming a top 5 player right in front of my eyes. Really active rebounder, he rebounds out of his area and is hard to box because he works hard and he goes after everything off the rim and sprinting the floor to contest shots and misses. Don’t think of him as just a rebounder though, he’s skilled, showing so with the catch facing up and making the spin move back of the left shoulder for a score, scoring off the euro step but is truly at his best around the basket. Laws has truly earned himself a look as a top player in this class and while there is still some more to see of him, he’s in the conversation. Remember this name as he continues to grow.