Josh Tec's Bama Jam Notes From Opening Night
HOOVER, Al—Bama Jam is one of my favorite events of the year. The Finley Center is one of the best venues in the country as far as I’m concerned, and Bama Jam always provides a good crop of players for me to add to my Rolodex.
My notebook seems to fill up fast when in Hoover, and today was no different. Here’s some of what I jotted down from Friday at Bama Jam.
Youngins Open the Weekend
I didn’t expect for my weekend to start out with as fun of a 14U game as I was privy to, but hey, I’m glad it did. Team Elusive and UWIN SERVENTZ proved to be an entertaining battle to kick off one of my most anticipated events of the year.
A guy from each team put my pen to my notebook paper and etched themselves as players that I’ll be looking to see more of in the future.
For Team Elusive, that guy was their quick, stifling point guard Ethan Whorton. What immediately struck me about his game is the frenetic energy he brings to the defensive side of the court. Whorton looks especially charged up when he has his man stuck in his tracks, which is often. He’s hard to get around because of his speed, athleticism and effort. He showed that he can shoot it with a few 3-pointers too.
On the other side, it was Lee Garcia that caught my eye. He’s already a big guard at around 6-foot-4. He can really fill it up too. Whether it be from the perimeter or around the basket, Garcia is going to hang points on the board consistently.
One thing I love about both of these guys is the confidence and swag they play with. They know they’re good, and they aren’t afraid to let everyone else know too. It was a blast watching them go.
2024 G Labaron Philon was, without a doubt, the most interesting prospect I saw on Friday night.
The 6-foot-4 combo out of Mobile caught my attention quickly with his athleticism. This guy can get up. More than just a jumper, Philon showed off a pretty deep bag and impacted the game in a variety of ways.
He’s good with the ball in his hands and can shake defenders to score at the rim or pull up and hit from mid-range. He’s automatic from anywhere inside the arc, but he can also step out and reliably connect from the perimeter too.
Philon amassed an easy 20 points by halftime and finished with 32.
Is this the best player in Alabama? I can’t speak on that definitively, but he has to be in the discussion at least.
When I noticed that I could close my first day of Bama Jam with back-to-back Tennessee teams, I jumped at the opportunity to do so. I know the Tennessee Tigers and Stars Basketball will provide quality basketball. I’ve seen it on a week-by-week basis.
My excitement was warranted because I was treated to some great guard play.
The star for me in the Tigers’ game was Parker Robison. Robison is so steady at the point guard spot. He’s a great decision-maker that doesn’t commit many errors. He probes defenses well and does a good job finding open teammates. A true point guard.
For Stars Basketball, Isaiah Divens impressed again after a solid weekend in Louisville at the Grassroots Showcase. Athletic and shifty, Givens is a tough player to stay in front of. I feel like he can just get to the rim at will. When he gets going, he can put on a scoring burst in the blink of an eye.
Bringing Da House Down
Da House’s backcourt of Dayveun Anderson and London Fields had themselves a night and closed out the night leading Da House to an impressive win. The pair combined for 37 points and looked to be one of the best duos in the gym.
Anderson’s not the biggest guard, but his bounce is different and neutralizes any size discrepancies. He also has a strong build that allows him to absorb physicality. Anderson shot the ball well from deep and consistently got to the free-throw line.
Fields wowed with his combination of size and skill. At 6-foot-4, his versatile scoring is going to get him plenty of looks from the next level.