April Roundtable: Player of the month
The past few weeks have been a whirlwind as travel ball officially kicked off and some of the more well-known prospects hit the hardwood. There were plenty of standout performances but looking back, we asked our HoopSeen team what player or performance you remember the most from the month that was.
Justin Young: Norman Parker Showcase: We had a lot of talent at the NPS this season and guys like Danny Lewis of the Georgia Stars played well enough to be named our MVP of the event. His teammate, Davion Mitchell, was great as always. But MJ Walker was the most impressive player I saw at the NPS. A busted eyebrow that required stitches was the only thing that could slow him down.
Super Regional: Zee Garrett of the Active Elite squad. The 6-foot-6 class of 2020 post was the toughest player to defend in the event. He owned the paint as a scorer, rebounder and defender. Cut from the mold of North Carolina bound big man Tony Bradley, Garrett gave me a terrific first impression as he moves into the next phase of grassroots hoops.
Atlanta Jam: Hard to call it on this one because of the overall depth that we had at the Atlanta Jam. But when in doubt, I always go back to the most steady performers. And Trent Frazier is that guy. The Wellington Wolves guard has racked up top performer accolades for years at our events and he wasn’t going to let up in his senior season. The Floridian was one of the best scorers in the field.
adidas Gauntlet: Pound for pound, no one was tougher to guard than Zion Williamson of Game Elite. He was a one-man wrecking ball throughout the event. He owned it on offense, killed it on the glass and used his unique style of play to leave the opposition scratching their heads. His play and praise was justified by the turnstile-spinning list of offers that has come his way after the event.
Garrett Tucker: This question is an easy answer for me. The most impressive player I saw this month was 2017 Velma Jackson (MS) point guard Nick Weatherspoon, who played with MBA Hoops. The 6-foot-1 athlete has been compared to Russell Westbrook, and rightfully so. Weatherspoon can jump out of the gym and excels at attacking the rim, but at the Adidas Gauntlet stop in Atlanta, he showcased an improved perimeter shot and passing ability. I watched him go for 33 points and singlehandedly keep MBA in the game, as at one point he scored on five straight possessions as the second half came to a close. Prior to April, Weatherspoon was a regional recruit for SEC programs, such as Alabama, Mississippi State, and Ole Miss. Now he’s a national prospect with offers from Louisville, Ohio State, and North Carolina and worthy of McDonald’s All-American Game consideration.
Carter Wilson: Zion Williamson. The sophomore Spartanburg (SC) native has been a scoring machine for Game Elite this spring. On the Adidas circuit he is averaging over 19 points and over 9 rebounds per game. However, the impressive part is how efficiently he is scoring, shooting over 74% from the floor. It is easy to say that he has solidified himself as one of the top sophomores in the nation.
Corey Evans: This is going to sound a bit crazy, and rightfully so, and while it wasn’t the best ‘player’ that I saw all month long, the performance that stands out was out of Nickeil Alexander-Walker, which came last Friday to open the second evaluation period in Indianapolis.
Sure, his final box score tallies of 15 points, five rebounds, and four assists don’t come close to some of the better outputs from the stars that took to the floor throughout the nation in April, but what the Canadian guard did with the ball in his hands blew my mind. Once thought of more as a scorer from off the bounce, Alexander-Walker has continued to develop his game as a jumbo play maker in the backcourt. He sports super long arms, an unbelievable feel and vision, and a competitive mindset each time out. While his team went down with the close defeat against the talented KC Run GMC bunch, Alexander-Walker’s ability to read plays in a quick manner off of the high ball screen was quite impressive. He repeatedly made impressive lead bounce passes to the roller and did so even with his off-hand.
Maryland, USC, and Virginia Tech are the perceived leaders for Alexander-Walker, the star product of the Canada Elite 17-under bunch, and while his numbers won’t blow anyone away, it is hard to not appreciate the 6-foot-5 guard’s developments on the ball, his ability to create for others, and his scoring prowess in spot-up situations.