Cartersville, Georgia - The best of the best filtered into their respective brackets to compete for the Adidas Memorial day Classic gold on Monday afternoon. With so much talent in the 16u division, I skipped the upperclassmen and spent some time checking in on some of the younger, promising prospects.
The glass is owned by Trinity Bell
Garrett Tucker was spot on in his assessment of Trinity Bell after evaluating him at the Southern Spring Invitational. It's not every day that you'll get to see a prospect of Bell's stature shift around and move so well defensively. Furthermore, his efforts on the glass is what ultimately wins games at the next level. While some bigs get lost in trying to prove their perimeter value, Bells throwback approach is one that mid to high major programs will appreciate.
Tennessee's next best shooter
Slatten made the most of the few inches of space that the defense gave him this weekend. Three after three poured in as he constantly worked to free himself up from behind the arc. Every attempt was shot with confidence as Slatten found ways to produce as the Upward Stars started to rotate defenders to find an answer. Not only from three was he effective as a feathery soft pull up jumper was shown around the elbows. It was an impressive showing from an undervalued guard that still awaits his first division one offer. Morehead State, East Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech, and Belmont have shown interest thus far.
The makings of a two-way prospect
It has been thoroughly documented that I believe Matthew Cleveland is one of the countries top 50 prospects. Nothing has made me step back from that statement as Cleveland continues to produce at a very high level. With injuries sidelining multiple starters, Cleveland has been forced to bring value in other areas. Against Team Carroll his defensive abilities were put to the test as he found himself shifting between a number of positions. The length and size have been present for some time and there have been steady improvements in his toughness a well. This was evident during the possessions that Cleveland was tasked to matchup with bruising forward Trinity Bell. As guys return from their injuries it will be interesting to see what the long term takeaways were from their absence.
Bryce Mcgowens has another level to reach
In a narrow win over EAB, Mcgowens was forced to tie together two complete halves of offensive stability. It seemed as if every big possession was countered by a quiet, but equally as important and effective play from the 6'5 playmaker. Some dead-eye shooting was on display, so was his natural ability to penetrate and kick out or dump off to those in waiting. At this stage in his early career, Mcgowens is not only bigger than his brother, Pittsburgh sophomore Trey Mcgowens, but a better shooter as well. A host of high majors have offered our eventual top-ranked prospect in South Carolina's 2021 class. An uptick in his national position should soon follow.
Cesare Edwards remains as one of my favorite long terms prospects. His excellent shot making aside, defensively I saw more than in my first viewing back in March.
Fayette County may have a nice budding sleeper in New York native Terry Brown Jr. Great size at 6'4 with some playmaking from the guard spot. Could be a rising junior to track.
Sutton Smith continues to put together a great travel season. 19 points, 2 rebounds, and 3 assists were the final marks against a talented Southeast United group featuring high major target Peyton Daniels. From the championship game at Bob Gibbons to a final four finish at the Adidas Memorial day classic, Smith gets it done.