Josh Tec's Bama Jam Highlights
HOOVER, Al—The HoopSeen road show split in two this weekend. Some were in North Carolina while others were in Alabama. I was part of the latter group that spent the weekend in the Finley Center for Bama Jam.
What a weekend it was. This event is always a solid staple on the HoopSeen calendar, and it was placed as a good springboard for a pair of live periods on the horizon.
Before we plunge into the depths of the event with coverage, I wanted to share some highlights from the action that I took in.
I’ll avoid any grandiose projections for now because he’s still such a young player, but Sam Funches has all of the potential and upside in the world. He already impacts the game in every regard. He uses his physical gifts—size and length—to dominate on defense, on the glass, and when scoring around the basket. He’s the kind of presence that should touch the ball on just about every offensive possession. It was too easy for him around the basket at times.
Funches also showed that he can hit on jumpers with range beyond the 3-point line. That part of his game will continue to round into form with more reps as well.
When watching him, it’s impossible to not notice that he has growing and filling out to do. He is far from a finished product physically. After noticing some of the hallmarks of potential growth, I asked around and was told that he wears a size 20 shoe, so yeah, he has a chance to get to the 7-foot mark. Hell, he has a chance to surpass it. Funches could be even more imposing a year from now.
I haven’t been to all of the Bama Jams, but I’d have to assume that only a handful of players have come through the event that can match Funches in terms of upside. We could look back on this weekend even more fondly in a few years when his career starts to materialize more.
If you asked anyone on the HoopSeen staff—myself included—I’d bet that Simon Walker and Ty Davis would be among the first names to pop up when asked about their favorite players of the weekend.
The Pro One backcourt was electric. When they took the floor, I had to stop and watch for a little while at least. They’re skilled, and they know the game so well.
Watching them combine for 50 in a game was one of the highlights of the event. Both guys can light it up from all levels, and they play with impressive control.
A member of the 2024 class, Davis is one of the hotter prospects in the South and will attract plenty of coaches in the next two weeks. High majors are starting to catch on to how good he is, so his rise could continue when more coaches get eyes on him.
Walker is a 2025 playing up, and he can have a similar trajectory as Davis in terms of recruitment. He’ll likely pull several high-quality mid-major offers early, and as he continues to repeatedly have weekends like this past one, he could level up. He will certainly get his fair share of offers this summer, but his major rise should come when 2025 becomes the focal point of recruiting.
Ask me about this spring in a few months, and watching these Pro One guards and Bama Jam will be among the most memorable moments during a busy stretch of the year for people in my position.
If you’re a newer or lesser-known program, the fastest way to recognition is by winning and winning big. That’s what LionChaser U did this weekend en route to winning the 15U Orange bracket championship.
They had little issue, as they won by an average of 34.25 points per game. This group has talent across the board. We’re going to discuss them more when we get into our 15U coverage, but a name to know is guard Winston Waite. He’s a big-time scorer that can get hot from the field. Waite shoots the ball well and hit three or more 3-pointers in three out of their four games. He scored in double figures in every game and capped a great weekend with a 25-point outing in their championship win.
This new squad has announced their presence emphatically, and I look forward to seeing them throughout the remainder of the spring and into the summer.
Back to the Fusion
I got to take in a lot of Alabama Fusion games. They had their 15U-17U teams playing in the 17U division, and their 14U won their championship. The Fusion brand was everywhere.
I’d be remiss to start anywhere other than their 15U group. Their 17U team won a championship, and their 16U group was good as well, but this 15U group showed eye-popping potential.
Outside of Funches, the Fusion 15s are loaded. 6-foot-6 W/F Colben Landrew had a great weekend at the 2022 Bama Jam in the 14U division. He was only 6-1 at the time, but he clearly had something different than most his age. Now that he’s grown, that difference is still there, but this time, he was proving it against 17U players. His offensive game is already well-rounded and has plenty of room to develop. During the weekend, he picked up offers from D1 programs like UAB, Jacksonville State and Virginia Tech. That list will become more established as he continues to grow as a prospect. He’s off to a great start.
We’ll have more on them in the future.
Their 16s were anchored by Jacoby Hill and Jeremiah Wilson. This duo has so much potential.
Hill is starting to take off as a national prospect after a big high school season. He’s a super scorer with the ability to pop for 30-plus in any game. He’s also a high-level defender.
Wilson is a lefty shot-maker with outstanding vision. He creates for himself and others well. He should start to rise sooner than later as a prospect.
Finally, for now, the 17U group won the White bracket championship after topping Pro One. Adrian Wooley had a great weekend and proved to be another potential stockriser in the state. The athletic G/W was as consistent as anyone and showed to be able to go on solo scoring runs capable of changing the complexion of games.
Team Dr1ven had an incredible weekend en route to making 17U Orange bracket championship. Connor McPherson and Bryson Berry were a scary combo that gave a lot of teams trouble. They were new to me and gave a great first impression.
SP Elite’s Skyler Stovall helped lead them to a 3-1 record. He’s someone to look out for this summer. He’s continually shown to be able to boast huge scoring outbursts. He’s especially dangerous when attacking the rim.
OTP National has plenty of talent in their 17U and 15U groups. Gabe Alterman was one of my favorites from the 15U division, and he helped lead them to a championship win. Bryson Andrews shot the ball well for their 17U team. He has deep range and popped off of multiple threes in every game that I saw him in. I look forward to seeing more out of both teams.
The Tennessee Tigers have been a HoopSeen staple for years, and they have good teams yet again. It’s like clockwork with that program. Keilen Dalton impressed with his tenacity around the basket for their 15U squad. Rodney Henderson broke out for their 16U team and quickly became a guard that people need to pay attention to. Maddux Routh has been a standout in this program for years and opened his season with a solid weekend with the 17U group. Zundra Jackson is a quality 3-point shooter on the 17U team. Coaches should get eyes on this team this 17U group spring/summer.