After a long break from the hardwood, there was an excitement in the air as 72 prospects from across the southeast converged to Suwannee Sports Academy. Our HoopSeen Academy featured prospects from every high school classification and gave us several memorable moments through the course of two days. Here is part VII of our player evaluations.
Kai Simmons, 2021 F, St Francis: It's been a while since I've seen Simmons so it was refreshing to see that he's improved in a number of areas. Mainly his rim running and finishing ability remain as his best utilized skill set but there is room for other ones to grow. Simmons would show different skills through out the camp and with his mobility and current abilities it is not out of the question to develop more perimeter qualities.
Austin Fortune, 2023 W, Eagles Landing: Fortune didn't use the fact that he was one of the youngest in camp as an excuse not to produce. During our full court drills he competed well, especially on the glass where he snagged down several at the level of the rim. As the games went on he seemed to get stronger as he played with a ton of heart and energy. On a group that had many older prospects, Fortune found a way to separate himself.
Ryan Taylor, 2021 W, Creekside Christian: Defenders had a hard time challenging Taylor's shots with just how quick he seemed to get it off. A quick flip shot coupled with the ability to move without the ball made him a easy target for his teammates that could create scoring opportunities. With his perimeter size and skill set as a long distance shooter, Taylor can fill a role this year for Creekside Christian.
James Watts Abrams, 2021 G, Legacy: On both ends of the court Abrams was able to keep his imprint stamped on the game. Defensively he guarded his position, rotated well, and communicated at times to make his teams defense a little more cohesive. Offensive players tried to challenge his abilities and Abrams would stand up to the occasion every time.
Wesley Roberson, 2022 F, Alabaster: Roberson often rewarded his teammates by knocking down shots at a pretty efficient rate. Whenever he didn't have the ball he did a good job of spacing out behind the perimeter and setting up in open spaces. Roberson's simple approach to being productive allowed him to fit seamlessly into multiple lineups.
Derrick Daniels, 2023 G, Wilson: Playing hard comes naturally for Daniels.It was one of the biggest compliments that our staff could pay forward, especially when taking his size and age into consideration. Daniels made myself and others take notice with his non stop motor and willingness to play his role. From defending to running the court, Daniels tried to do the little things himself so everyone would reap the benefits.
Grant Hickey, 2023 G, Veterans: Just another Veterans prospect that knows how to get the job done without the flash and over complicating the game. Hickey was a player favorite because he played well in a team oriented game. Rarely did Hickey make a questionable decision that would leave his team in straits. Hickey was a model teammate that kept himself involved without scoring the basketball.
Makai Vassell, 2021 G, Lanier: Vassell had spurts of showing our staff what he brought to the table as a scorer through the first day of the academy. His natural instincts took over as he diced his way though the lane for a few acrobatic finishes. While Lanier will have to rebound from the loss of Sion James, Vassell will give them a nice scoring boost to make up some points.
Chris Reddick, 2022 G, Creekside Christian: The best is yet to come when evaluating the scoring ability of Creekside guard Chris Reddick. Although he made a lot of his plays below the rim, Reddick would show his athleticism through his ability to change up his speeds. From quick burst to slowing down completely, Reddick is well ahead of the curve in regards to manipulating his speeds.
Bryant Graham Davis, 2023 W, Henry Grady: As one of the few 2023 prospects in attendance it is hard to often find a niche that separates you from your older peers. Davis found a way through his efforts and timely shot making. There weren't many occasions where his decision making and shot making didn't come through as his older teammates found themselves relying on his play at times. Davis did just enough over the course of two days to make him one to watch.
Jaylen Priester, 2023 G, Creekside Christian: Priester was all about turning defense to offense as his activity allowed him to get his hands on deflections. As a speedster in the open court he broke away from defenders as he cashed in on a fast break layup or two. Many of Priesters teammates benefitted from his speed as he created a numbers advantage once he broke free from his defender. At this point in his early career he has developed a great ability to use his speed as a weapon.