Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Basketball Spotlight Future Phenom Camp Recap-Part I

R. Conway, D. Morton, J. Bradley, E. Fisher & S. Bogues
As we suspected late Friday night, the level of talent that attended Bill Francis’ All-American Middle School American games carried over to Mike Melton’s Basketball Spotlight Future Phenom Camp in District Heights, MD on Saturday and Sunday.  Also as expected, many of the stars from the All-American game ended up being standout performers at the camp.  One such player was Ryan Conway (6’0/combo guard/2021/MD), who totally dominated on Saturday.  As he has done at many elite events over the past couple of years (see video), Conway scored the rock at a high level.  With his size, strength and ball skills, Conway easily gets to and finishes at the cup.  That’s not all, as Conway can also stroke it from deep or stop on a dime for the mid-range pull-up Jumper.  For his efforts, Conway was named 2021 Camp MVP. 

He did not receive MVP honors on Sunday, but the same standout performance that led to Dee Morton’s (6’0/WF/2022/GA) MVP selection on Friday was on full display on Saturday and Sunday. Morton’s football-ready size, frame and strength, coupled with an elite skill set makes him a monster to defend.  Too big and strong for many guards, Morton is adept at powering his way to basket where he is absorbs contact and finishes.  We’re not sure if he currently appears on any national lists, but he should! We have to give props to Jaden Bradley (5’11/PG/2020/NC), the 2022 Camp MVP, who did his thing as well. Bradley has good length, athleticism, is super smooth and can also shoot it from beyond the arc.  As we watched him play this past weekend, Bradley made it look easy. We have already featured Elijah Fisher (6’1/PF/2023/CN) in an earlier article, but his dominant performance over the weekend deserves a second mention.  The kid has the talent to be really special one day!

E. Bates, C. Whitt, C. Livingston, D. Harris & C. Furst
Speaking of young talented prospects, Smaritine “Fatman” Bogues (5’0/PG/2023/MD) is still one of the top young guards in the country in his class.  Because he has shed some of the baby fat since the last time we saw him, we almost didn’t recognize him, but as he carved up the defense, ran his team like a general and still managed to score, we eventually figured out who he was. We’ve seen Bogues at our Buckeye Prep Elite Showcases in the past, so we know the kid can go, but it’s clear from what we saw this past weekend that Bogues has not fallen off. Bogues still has the rock on a string, is quick and is tough as nails. Bogues is a dynamic PG who is highly skilled with an elite motor.

In terms of potential, we’re not sure anyone has more upside than Emoni Bates (6’5/WF/2022/MI). If the kid does not grow another inch, but adds bulk to his thin frame, he has a chance to be special. Quite often we mention young players as simple prospects with future potential; however, Bates can be productive as well.  For his size and current skill set, Bates projects as a future star. In terms of guards, one of the best in the class of 2021 is Carter Whitt (5’9/PG/2021/NC).  Whitt has consistently excelled at elite events across the country. In fact, he logged in standout performances at the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase and Middle School Hoops TV events last year, and he did it again this past weekend.  Whitt has an elite skill set and a high basketball IQ.  Not only does he know what he’s doing, he does it with a little flair, the likes of former NBA standout Jason Williams (see video).  Whitt can create his own shot, or breakdown the defense and create an easy bucket for a teammate.  He also has great court vision and is a willing passer.

We also were happy to see Ohio’s own Chris Livingston (5’10/WF/2022/OH) do his thing in DC.  Livingston, one of the top players in the country, demonstrated why so many people are impressed with his game. What we link most about Livingston’s game is his non-stop motor and energy level on both sides of the ball.  Of course he can score the ball, mostly on drives to the cup, but he defends at an elite level and plays hard.  Livingston has good length, long arms and the body type that suggest he has a lot more growing to do.  We would not be surprised to see Livingston at a high-major college program in a few years. While we are on the topic of Ohio kids with national reputations, we have to point out that Noah Peeples (5’10/PF/2021/OH) followed up his MVP performance on Friday with an impressive outing at the camp.  At the end of the day, Peeples is a workhorse who does his damage around the basket.  Strong and determined, Peeples craves contact and converts.  Stay tuned for Part two of our event coverage.

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