|Fisher, Ayiss-Etoh, Key, Alexander, Conway & Peeples|
On Friday, Bill Francis rolled out the 2016 edition of his very popular Middle School All-American Camp at St. Johns College High School in Chevy Chase, MD, and as suspected, the event was absolutely brimming over with local and national talent. Year 3 of the event featured 4 all-star games in grades 6th-9th (2023-2020). The opening game of the night featured 6th graders, and saw Team LeBron James down Team Magic 84-77. The story of the opening game was the dominance of Elijah Fisher (WF/2023/Canada), who exploded for a game-high 22 points and 8 rebounds. Fisher’s performance was nothing short of spectacular, and officially announced his arrival on the national scene. Fisher is long, athletic, and skilled and is a problem both offensively and defensively. To be honest, Fisher has as much upside as anybody we saw all night, and that included some really good freshmen! For his production, Fisher took home MVP honors for Team LBJ. Also playing well for Team LBJ were Christian Bliss (WF/New Jersey), who finished with 16 points, followed by Gavin Gillus (G/2023/Virginia) and Wesley Yates (WF/2023/Texas), both of whom finished with 9 points. We also liked what we saw with Derik Queen (C/2023/MD), Jaylen Lyn (G/2023/New York). On the other side of the court was Franklin Ayissi-Etoh (WF/2023/Maryland), who led Team Magic with a team-high11 points and a game-high 11 boards. Much Like Fisher, Ayissi-Etoh has good size, a strong frame and is ok with getting physical in the paint. Behind him is scoring were Aden Holloway (WF/2023/NC) and Jahkary Towns (PG/2023/MI), both of whom added 10 points.
|Freeman, Gillus, Holloway & Towns|
Game two featured a 2022 match-up between Team Isaiah Thomas and Team Derek Rose, with Zeke’s squad grabbing the 89-83 W on the strength of a 16-point, 7-rebound outburst from big Derrick Key (C/2020/Washington D.C.). Key has a nice combination of size, athleticism, and motor. He’s a beast inside offensively, but he can also step away and hit the mid-range jumper and protect the rim from would be shooters. Also putting in work for Team Isaiah Thomas was Dee Morton (6’0/WF/2022/GA), who burst out of the gate with 3 treys. Just when you thought he’s only a three-point threat, Morton used his big frame to slash to the cup and finish with contact. We also liked what we saw from Chris Livingston (WF/2022/OH) and Jaden Johnson (G/2022/MD), who both finished with 12 points. We loved Livingston’s energy and the ability to get to the rim with athletic drives and finishes.
|Livingston, Morton, Bates, Walker & Hamlin|
For Team D Rose, Jarace Walker (G/2022/PA) led all scorers with 13 points in 22 minutes of play. Behind him in scoring were Carlos Alexander (combo guard/2022/MD) who finished with 12 points on his way to MVP honors and Emoni Bates (6’5/WF/2022/MI) who added 11 points. Alexander is a quick and crafty PG with a tight handle, ability to create space and make plays for his teammates. Also, Alexander’s crossover is deadly! Bates started a little slow, but came on late to show flashes of why so many people consider him one of the top players in his class. Antonio Hamlin (WF/2022/MD) was very active and bouncy to the tune of a game-high 11 rebounds.
The 3rd game of the slate featured a slugfest between Team Michael Jordan and Team Kobe Bryant. Team Kobe got the 77-73 win with major contributions from MVP Ryan Conway (combo guard/2021/MD), who dropped a game-high 29 points on 11 of 15 field goals. Conway also handed out a team-high 4 assists and was second in rebounds with 10. Conway is a multi-level scoring machine who get’s it done both to the cup and with perimeter jumpers. Carter Whitt (6’0/ combo guard/2021/NC) was spectacular as well and is clearly one of the most skilled guards in his class. Whitt finished with 15 points on 11 of 15 field goals in 23 minutes of play. Finally, Donnel Harris (6’8/C/2021/FL) finished with 10 points.
|Whitt, Harris, Bradbeyy, Reyna & Nelsons|
Ohio’s Noah Peeples (6’2PF/2021/OH) got the MVP nod after leading Team MJ with 13 points and 6 rebounds. Peeples is a bit undersized for his post position, but his strength, motor and determination more than compensates. Jalen Bradberry (5’11/PG/2021/New York) had some bright moments, scored 11 points and showed he can knock down clutch jumpers if left open. Both Juan Reyna (6’1/G/2021/TX) and Matthew Nelsons (6’4/WF/2021/CN) finished with double digit scoring (10), while Nelson and Ahmed Harrison (6’2/G/2021/MD) grabbed 7 rebounds. All-in all, it was a great day of basketball and a nice lead into the Basketball Spotlight Camp that is set for Saturday for morning.