Another spring and summer of travel basketball has come and gone. For some, the AAU ball has stopped bouncing for good while others will continue their travel ball career in the spring of 2018 a year older and hopefully a year better. With so many great HoopSeen moments to look back upon this travel ball season, here are a few of the most memorable:
While in years past, there was one clear cut standout, this year three players from the Peach come to mind. Nelson Phillips (pictured) cemented himself as a certified high major recruit and did so in a cool way, returning to his local program, Warner Robins All Stars. Usually players make the reverse transition going from small program to shoe team. However, Phillips shined all year and made himself a top 120 recruit nationally. It’s hard to argue against the flashes of dominance that I saw from AC Georgia big man Kalu Ezikpe. He came into the travel season a relative unknown to many collegiate coaches and ends the travel ball season a priority recruit for a number of mid major programs. Last is Atlanta All Stars point guard Alex Jones. He was consistently tough and consistently won. The Lipscomb staff sought him out early and were rewarded with his commitment at the end of July, making him one of the best recruits coming into the A-Sun in the 2018 class.
I’m bought in on two players from the Georgia Stars 15U squad. Brandon Boston jumped on the radar of high major programs this year with his combination of size, versatility, and skill level. In the 2020 class, he will be a name that gets talked about a lot on the national scene and he could have a huge breakout year with Norcross as as sophomore. The other is Grayson (GA) point guard Deivon Smith. The skill level and athleticism is all there for the young guard, and when the size follows he will be a special player in Georgia’s 2020 class. He has all the skills and savvy to be a very good lead guard and despite being 5-foot-9 he can still make impressive plays at and above the rim.
Player I Was Wowed By
I’ve seen Ashton Hagans play since before his high school career even began. Even so, every time I see him play I get glimpses of something new he has added to his game. He’s grown as a scorer to go along with his playmaking and tremendous IQ, he is developing as an athlete and coming into his own, and he is a lock down defender. The five-star guard reminds different people of different things but if you want my comparison he’s a hybrid of Jason Kidd and Tony Parker.
One thing I love at HoopSeen events is when shoe company squads get challenged by smaller, non-shoe teams that are not scared one bit. That happened at Best of the South when Mississippi based Da House took on Nike Team Florida. Led by Tada Stricklen, JonDarius Warren, and KJ Williams they were able to outlast Nike Team Florida in overtime. NTF forwards Vernon Carey and Khavon Moore were well worth the price of admission for many and watching them against stiff under the radar competition was a lot of fun.
I have to go with the obvious here. We saved the best moment for the last event and that was when Zion Williamson and SC Supreme took on Emmitt Williams and E1T1. The crowd was incredible, the best players matched up against one another, and the atmosphere was something that I’ve never seen at a travel ball event. Zion Williamson stole the show with a 37-point performance but E1T1 took the game on a Nick Honor buzzer beater. The scene after the game was insane, with crowds of people trying to get autographs and pictures with the two phenoms Williamson and Williams. This moment tops anything that I have been apart of in my years with HoopSeen.