Monday, June 26, 2017

UA Next Combine Washington-Top Guards

Amar'e Marshall, Carter Whitt, Brayon Freeman, Saveon Freeman & Ahmed Harrison
The UA Next Combine Series had its final stop in Washington DC and the talent level was as high as expected.  Let’s take a look at the backcourt players that impressed us during the one-day event.  Our analysis will cover the top point guards and combo guards that attended.  Amar’e Marshall (6’2 PG Montclair, NJ) was the top guard at the conclusion of the event.  He played both ends of the court, was very active on defense and was always in the passing lanes getting steals and going the other way for uncontested layups.  Marshall plays with great pace and is an elite passer that can drive and finish at the rim or knock down the 3ball.  What also impressed us that he rebounded at a high level for his position and he always seemed to be around the ball and in the right spots on the floor.  Last year a NJ guard Noah Farrakhan emerged as a top national PG at the UA Next Combine in DC and we believe that Marshall has next.

Right behind Marshall was Carter Whitt (6’1 PG Raleigh, NC) who was the best pure PG in attendance.  Equipped with great court vision, a high IQ, and a good feel for the game, Whitt is a winner and makes everyone around him better.  He has a nice pull up jumper off the bounce and we saw him make many great lead passes for assists along with hitting defenders with his nifty crossover and exploding to the rim either and finishing or dropping off a pass to one of his teammates for an easy bucket. 

Brayon Freeman (6’0 PG Washington, DC) came to play and wasn’t too far behind Marshall and Whitt.  Brayon, who will be attending national powerhouse Dematha Catholic next year, will be a key contributor to their success over the next four years.  He is a crafty guard that is more of a scorer than a facilitator at this point in his development, but he has the ability to run a team and facilitate the offense.  We saw him lull his defender to sleep with his nifty handle and then hit a turnaround jump shot.  He will also hit you with his crossover and does a great job getting into the lane and finishing in traffic.  Freeman always seems that he is getting to the rim and he has a nice stroke from the line as he is getting fouled a lot attacking the basket.

Saveon Jackson (5’11 CG Greenbelt, MD) was one of the best athletes in the building, not to mention this kid can ball.  Jackson has good court vision and he is always in attack mode.  Very athletic finishing at the rim and he rebounds at a high level for a guard.  Saveon made a nice alley oop pass to one of his teammates and also had one of the better defensive plays of the day as he ran down a player on a breakaway and did a Lebron James type block pinning the shot off the glass. 

Rounding out our top five guards is Ahmad Harrison (5’10 PG Baltimore, MD.)  Harrison is a long-armed guard that looks like he has some inches to grow.  He is the floor general for one of the top teams in the country Team Thrill.  One of the better on-ball defenders in the country he always plays hard on both ends.  He makes the right plays on offense either scoring it himself or setting up his teammates.  Harrison is a good finisher in transition and we saw him make a tough contested layup on the break. Next in line was Freddie Young (6’1 PG Ewing, NJ) who you could tell he really enjoyed passing the ball and getting his teammates involved.  He has nice size for the position and he always pushed the ball with his head up advancing the ball with nice lead passes or throwing nifty bounce passes.  Yong also rebounds well for his position, which allows him to start the break quicker. 

Freddie Young, Avery Brown, Zion Russell, Ryan Conway, Kyle Duke, Tae Perie & Tariq Eubanks
Avery Brown (6’0 PG Bridgeport, CT) is a dynamic point guard that plays well beyond his years.  He can score in bunches or be a facilitator.  We saw him drive hard to the lane and kick to the corner for a wide-open 3ball.  He is strong and compact which allows him to finish in traffic with either hand and he is an above average 3-point shooter as we saw him knock down a pull up 3 pointer off the dribble.  What also impressed us in a camp type setting is that he made the extra pass to get a better shot for his teammates. 

Zion Russell (6’0 CG Upper Marlboro, MD) is quick and explosive and can get to any spot on the floor that he wants.  We saw him display a nice crossover dribble to set up his defenders and attack the paint.  He is a bully going to the basket and is strong enough to finish and ones, but he also displayed a nice euro step in transition.  We also saw him throw a nice lob entry post pass.  Ryan Conway (6’1 CG Lutherville, MD) is a scoring machine.  He didn’t have his best day, but this kid might be the best pure scorer in the country in the class of 2021.  Conway can score from all three levels, but what makes him so deadly is that he’s a knock down 3-point shooter as well.  I liked the fact that he was making a conscience effort to make plays for his teammates by distributing the ball. 

Kyle Duke (6’1 PG Toronto, CN) is a do it all point guard that was coming off an injury so he wasn’t 100% coming into the combine.  Duke is considered the top point guard north of the border and has shown his skills in the states a few times this year playing against elite competition.  He can score from all three levels and has the ability to run a team and he can lock up on the defensive end.

Tae Perie (5’8 CG Barberton, OH) is a flashy lefty guard that isn’t afraid to let it go from deep behind the arc.  Tae knocked down a bunch of 3 pointers with range to the NBA line.  He also has nice handles that help him navigate through the defense.  Tariq Eubanks (5’9 PG Buffalo, NY) is a quick point guard that is always going downhill and putting pressure on the defense and trying to get into the paint to either score or drive and kick.  We liked the energy that Tariq brought and the passion that he played with.  Stay tuned for our breakdown of top wings and bigs.

Photo Credit goes to Kelly Kline

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