Josh Tec's Grassroots Showcase Notebook: Day One
LOUISVILLE—There aren’t many more appropriate weekends to be in Louisville than this one. Tomorrow is Thunder Over Louisville, which is the annual firework celebration that kicks off the multi-week-long Kentucky Derby festivities. If you’re a team staying downtown, prepare for possible chaos in terms of traffic, but other than that, it will be a fun experience if you have free time.
While the fireworks don’t officially start until tomorrow, the excitement hasn’t. The Grassroots Showcase brought plenty of it and illuminated Expo Center. Here are some observations from the night.
Not Just a Clever Name
94 Feet Elite certainly looked deserving of their moniker to start Friday evening. The Indiana-based squad kicked off their weekend in impressive fashion. A balanced attack drove their double-digit win.
Their backcourt composed of Jamie Hodges, Britain Harris, Kamari Slaughter and Demetrius Moss especially shined in the weekend-opening win. The quartet looked unstoppable for stretches and certainly made an early statement.
Hodges embodied the role of the true point guard who really excelled at breaking the defense down and creating for himself and others. Both standing around 6-foot-4 or 6-foot-5, this is a versatile, interchangeable stable of guards. Slaughter and Moss are physical, strong drivers who bully their way to the rim and convert with ease. Both use their physicality on the glass well too. Harris embraces more of a finesse role and brings bothersome length to the defensive end of the floor.
I have a feeling that this trio excited some of the coaches in attendance.
Out of all of the players I saw on Friday, nobody stood out as much as Atlanta Allstars forwards Dylan Faulkner and Brigham Rogers. The Allstars front court wowed me.
The duo shined on both ends of the floor. The backboards were where they dominated the most. Each was disruptive on defense with their length and picked up a couple of blocked shots each.
Above all else, their versatility is what I’ll take away from the night. I can’t imagine seeing a frontcourt as versatile as this for the rest of the weekend. Whether proving to be capable shooters, defending on the perimeter, making plays off the bounce, or dishing out alert, smart passes, I can’t think of boxes that they didn’t check.
From some conversations I had, I can say that I wasn’t the only one that left Friday enamored by them.
MTXE’s 6-foot-4 guard Jacob Dunham put on the shooting performance of the night from what I saw. It was one of those performances that had me questioning whether he had missed a shot or not.
Splash after splash after splash, he poured in 18 points to lead MTXE.
If there was a more pure, clean shooter in the building, I certainly didn’t see them. He’s the kind of player that makes me wish we could run a 3-point contest at some point this weekend.
Barrett’s Boost Continues
Over the last few weekends, Grassroots NC guard Trevor Barrett has been as reliable a player as we’ve seen. Steadily, the 6-foot-3 point guard has seen his stock boost over this spring.
He helped lead Grassroots NC to a double-OT win and provided a sense of poise during some of the tensest moments of the game.
Barrett was tabbed as a top performer at the Carolina Jam last weekend, Justin Byerly wrote about him after Atlanta Jam the weekend before, and he’s well on his way to receiving post-Grassroots-Showcase accolades as well.