#BOTS: 17U Top Performers Part 1

Braxton Beverly Shoots Basketball

The 2015 Best of the South was loaded with talent and the 17 and under division was a dogfight from start to finish. There were a number of top performers and we’ll go through them this week here on HoopSeen.com. Here’s the first run of our top players from the 17U division. 

Braxton Beverly, 2016 PG, The Travelers: Beverly is the epitome of what a Traveler player is like. The 6-foot guard is a tough floor general that understands how to control the game and facilitate, as well as pick his own spots to score. He excelled at doing both this week. Beverly was automatic with his pull-up jumper from 15 feet and getting by the opposing defender. He’s a solid mid-major level point guard that will be productive at the next level. - GT 

Andrew Gordon, 2016, C, Team Speights Elite: Prior to Team Speights' being ousted from the field, I thought Gordon would be in the running for tournament MVP. Few guys have improved their stock from the spring to now like Gordon has. The 6'10" big man was a monster around the rim, particularly due to his agility and athleticism. Gordon reportedly has enrolled at South Kent Prep for a year of postgrad and high-majors are already calling. As long as he keeps on this trajectory, those calls won't stop. - KK

Ray Kowalski, 2016, SG, PSB Select Elite: Kowalski has a skill so many are lacking in today's grassroots game: shooting. There may not have been a better perimeter shooter in the tournament than Kowalski, as he helped lead his team to the semifinals of the 17U Gold bracket. Kowalski moves well enough and is physically enough to make plays on the move, but he excels when shooting from the perimeter both in spot-up situations and off the dribble. It's easy to see why low-majors came with offers after the weekend. - KK 

Jamal Johnson, 2017, CG, Alabama Challenge: Johnson shot with confidence all week long. He ran the show from the point guard position and effectively moved the rock around the offense with great efficiency and poise. From start to finish, the 6-foot-4 guard was one of the best at his position in the entire tournament. Johnson didn’t disappoint. The best part of Johnson’s game at the BOTS? Consistency. He always delivered. — JY

Alex O’Connell, 2017, SG, Atlanta Celtics: One word to describe O’Connell’s performances this weekend: fearless. It did not matter who he was going up against or the situation, he was primed to perform. Looking considerably taller than he was in the winter, the 2017 Milton guard was fantastic in multiple aspects of the game. He was in attack mode all weekend, trying to get to the rim, where he can finish well above the iron. Do not let his unassuming look fool you. He also employed a very effective pull up jump shot. As far as scoring the ball goes, he has one of the best weekends out of anyone in the 17U division. - CW 

Jordan Poole, 2017, SG, Wisconsin Playground Elite: The 2017 guard was consistently one of the top offensive threats of the tournament. With the ball in his hands, he is very smooth putting the ball on the floor and has the ability to be a solid playmaker, creating shots for himself as well as others. However, where Poole really separates himself is with his ability to shoot the ball. He was terrific from deep, knocking down shots from all over the floor. It was a successful weekend for Poole, so look for him to add more offers to his long list in the coming days. - CW

Ibi Watson, 2016 SG, All-Ohio Red: From Wednesday to Sunday, Watson may have been the most consistent player throughout the entire tournament, ending in him being awarded the 17U MVP. The 6-foot-6 shooting guard was a threat from behind the three-point line with his shooting ability, but he showed spurts of his sneaky athleticism with some plays at the rim. He consistently hit shots and made smart plays for his teammates. Watson’s MVP award speaks volumes about his play over the course of the week, as he plays alongside Michigan State commit Nick Ward and Dayton commit Trey Landers. - GT

Evaluators: Jalen Butler (JB), Jazz Felton (JF), Kory Keys (KK), Garrett Tucker (GT), Carter Wilson (CW), Justin Young (JY)

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