2023 Best of the South: 16U Standouts
ATLANTA, Ga.—In July, recruiting is the main conversation. The 2024 class is in the spotlight right now, but the 2025 class is starting to get some more shine. Our staff spent a lot of time in the 16U division at Best of the South, and these are some of the standouts from the action we were able to see.
There weren’t many in the 16U division that boosted their stock like Nic Niare. The Canadian guard/wing showed his two-way value by opening the weekend with a 30-point game followed by an intense defensive effort that not many are privy to in travel-ball settings. Niare has so many tools that should attract college attention. Length, motor, toughness, skill, the list can keep going. His stock is soaring at this point. Niare added an offer from St. Bonaventure after his BOTS performance. - Josh Tec
There wasn’t a more mesmerizing prospect in the BOTS field than Bennerman. The 6-foot-10 big man with long, gangly arms was a nightmare on defense all weekend as he blocked shot after shot each game. However, the aspect of his game that has onlookers salivating is his offensive potential. He’s no stranger at pulling down defensive rebounds, putting the ball on the floor and starting transition and showing his fluidity with the ball in his hands. Bennerman is also a high-level shooter for a big man. There’s no doubt about it — the rising junior is the best long-term prospect we had this weekend. - Garrett Tucker
The Florida Pro 16U squad was exciting to watch with their electric offense. They had plenty of success in downtown Atlanta during Best of the South. Zion Sampaio was a consistent standout when we caught them. His bounce was on display with aggressive drives to the basket and rim-shaking dunks. Sampaio added some 3-point punch to a team that has no shortage of long-range threats. - Josh Tec
Ladainian Brooks was one of the best defenders at Best of the South. His next level size changes the geometry of the floor on defense, and on offense he possesses a touch rarely seen by players his size. An underrated part of his game is his passing, as he is always looking for teammates out of the double team. - Jack Daigle
Micah Samuels was one of the most exciting players to watch in the 16U division this past weekend at Best of the South. The 15 year old guard/forward hybrid led the DMV Stags Credele to a strong 4-1 record. Samuels is a do it all type of guy. He guards 1-5, he blocks shots both at the rim and on the perimeter, and he can score with a jumper or a thunderous slam. Some of his strongest attributes were his first step quickness and defensive awareness. There were very few players that tried putting up a shot against him, but Samuels would still end with 3-5 plus blocks every game due to his help defense IQ. We saw multiple games from him where he ended with at least 10 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds, 5 steals, and 5 blocks. He’s an intriguing prospect that doesn’t need the ball in his hands to make a winning difference. His positive winning attitude and energy have us looking forward to seeing what Micah Samuels can do. - Theo Han