Ashton West | Writer
TYRESE Maxey is a highly skilled combo guard with the ability to score the rock at all three levels in the class of 2019, very few are better in the position. If you keep up with spring and summer basketball, then you'll know this kid has burst onto the national scene in the last 6 months, receiving offers from high major programs such as LSU, Stanford, Texas, California, Oregon, Texas Tech, and others all in the last few weeks. I caught up with Tyrese of Nike RM5 to discuss some of these accomplishments and get his take on the highly competitive EYBL circuit:
AW: "What's it like seeing all of your hardwork pay off in the return of all of these recent scholarship offers from high major programs like Texas and LSU?"
TM: "I'm really glad to see my hard work paying off, but really it only makes me want to work that much harder."
AW: "What does being in the gym each day with Tyrese Maxey look like? What do you focus on the most?"
TM: "I focus on the fundamentals and work my way into shooting and passing. I try to work on a lot of my weaknesses, including my mid-range game."
AW: "For someone who hasn't seen your game in person or on film, how would you describe your game to them?"
TM: "I am a scoring point guard who can play off the ball and I'm a willing defender."
AW: "RM5 is new to the EYBL circuit, what's it like playing with that group?"
TM: "We are new and we don't get to practice together all that often, but I think the more we play together the better we will become. I think we'll make a push for the Peach Jam!"
AW: "At this point, is there any school that has offered that you favor more than the others?"
TM: "I try not to worry about all that. It's still really early and I am just focusing on my game."
The 6'3 2019 4-star prospect will rise in the national rankings this year and will continue to see his stock grow as a recruit. A special talent for RM5 and one of the best players in the 2019 EYBL class. If you haven't seen him yet, check him out this spring and summer as his next stop will be in Atlanta, GA on May 12th-14th for the 3rd session of the NIKE EYBL.
Ashton West | Writer
JARVIS Thomas is a 6'7 native of Minnesota where he plays in the EYBL with Howard Pulley, a program known for producing Division I players. He is an athletic forward who can stretch the floor by stepping out and hitting mid range j's and passing the ball well. Jarvis is at his best when in transition where, if you're not careful, you'll end up on a poster. Few have experienced the rise he has, earning multiple NCAA Division I high major offers over the last 12 months. Including offers from Marquette, Arizona State, and Iowa State.
HE described to me what it is like actually playing on the biggest stage in high school basketball, stating that "The EYBL is like no other circuit, EVERYONE can play. It's fast, physical basketball." I don't think anyone would disagree with Jarvis as the EYBL has produced thousands of Division I athletes and pros. According to D1Circuit.com, the ELITE 8 of the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament this past year featured 38 EYBL alumni, led by future national champions, North Carolina with 8!
THE rise junior SF Jarvis Thomas has experienced is anything but normal. After beginning basketball in the 7th grade, he was cut from his middle school team. Where most players at that age would move on to another sport or activity, Jarvis persevered and came out again the following season for try-outs, making the B team his 8th grade season. The floodgates had opened, Jarvis was exposed to his first taste of organized basketball that year leading him to find his first AAU team, the Minnesota Lockdown. Things would begin to move quickly for Jarvis after this, growing a few inches and beginning to play above the rim in 9th grade.
NOW Jarvis is faced with the most important 2 months of his high school basketball career. Sitting on a handful of offers, I asked J, "If you could go anywhere in the country, regardless of size, position, etc. where would you go?" His response was direct and quick, "If I could go anywhere, I'd want to go to Kentucky." It will be interesting to see where the 3-star prospect lands after his spring and summer campaign with Howard Pulley.
Follow Jarvis on Instagram: @jarv.10
Ashton West | Writer
KC Team Rush participates in the Adidas Uprising circuit. A series of tournaments that are only available for Adidas sponsored teams. After seeing Team Rush in Bentonville, Arkansas for MADEhoops' The Warm Up, I stopped by their practice in Kansas City on Saturday to cover the workout.
From the first addressing to the final drill, players were engaged and the energy level was high. When players were not in the drill they were clapping their teammates up and shouting words of encouragement. When players were in the drill, you would hear a lot of talking on both the defensive end and offensive end. Coach Vic is known for his disciplined teams. It was apparent early, these talented kids have bought into what Team Rush is trying to do. The 17u Team Rush group features a few of the most talented players in the Kansas City metro area. Take a look below at my breakdown of each player after interviewing the team.
Anthony Selden has the most BOUNCE I have seen in a high school player in a long time. At just 6'2 or so, he has a great frame and is very strong but you wouldn't expect him to boast the athletic ability that he possesses. The junior combo guard will add a great boost to his teams momentum, throwing down thunderous dunks in transition. Although he is solid defensively, Anthony needs to polish up his handle and become a better shooter and an overall play-maker. With no DI offers as of yet, I expect him to have a big summer and land at a LM-MM school during his senior year at Lawrence High.
The 2018 6'7 big man, Elijah Farr offers great size for Team Rush. He also displayed the ability to step outside and be a threat from the perimeter. Elijah is also a great Football player for Lees Summit North High School in Missouri. It will be interesting to see what takes place this summer and who becomes involved with Elijah as he currently has no NCAA Division I offers. This may have something to do with playing for UA KC Run GMC the past few years in the shadow of Bol Bol and Yor Anei. Don't let that goose egg distract you, Elijah is a big time talent and is sure to earn a handful of DI offers this spring/summer with Team Rush.
Few have experienced the rise to relevancy like 6'8 SF Christian Bishop has. Coming from a JV starter to Varsity leader in under a year with a handful of Division I offers, stories like Christian's are always fun to hear about. The 6'8 lefty is lethal outside the 3-point line. After seeing him play and in practice, Christian is your prototypical HIGH MAJOR small forward. What I like most about his offensive arsenal, is his ability to get to the rim virtually anywhere inside half-court within 1-2 dribbles. Multiple DI offers including the most recent, Purdue and Oklahoma State. Christian will become a household name this summer with Team Rush on the Adidas circuit.
UNDER THE RADAR. Those three words perfectly describe 2018 6'0 PG Deng Bol and his recruitment. With NO offers and virtually NO interest, a MM school is going to get an absolute steal. After seeing him in action during a tournament in Arkansas and in practice, I am a believer in Deng Bol. The best part about his game is his defense, an incredible on ball defender he constantly made things uncomfortable for the opposing team, forcing turnovers left and right. However, the most exciting part of his game is his athleticism. At 6'0 on a good day, Deng can FLY! During a scrimmage at Team Rush practice, I witnessed one of the best contested finished dunks I have seen since Xavier Rhodes' poster at the #PHRoute66 event in Tulsa. Deng's dunk almost stopped practice, almost. He can score, defend, pass, and lead, look for DENG BOL to receive multiple MM offers over the next 2 months.
Jamar Madge Jr. attends Baytown South High School in Kansas City, MO. At 6'3-6'4 Jamar adds nice length and scoring ability, coming off the bench for Team Rush. He models his game after Cj McCollum. Explaining that CJ isn't the quickest or most gifted guy, but is really sound fundamentally and very crafty in his ability to create and make plays. He plays extremely hard and is a great defender. No offers or interest at this point but I could see him playing at a NWMSU (D2) or UCM (D2), even possibly a LM-MM school after this summer with Team Rush.
The guy that makes this team go.
2018 6'4 PG Jordan Lathon has seen his recruitment explode over the last year or so. With 7 DI offers from schools like Butler and DePaul. At 6'4 his height, strength, athleticism, and length make him a tough cover for defenders and a strong defender himself on the other side of the ball. I have seen this kid grow as a leader over the years and coach Vic has done a great job mentoring him into the HM Point Guard prospect he is today. As I have said before, Jordan Lathon can do it all. Look for him to extend that number of offers into double digits over the next two weekends in April.
SHOOTER ALERT. 2018 6'3 Logan Jenkins is one of the best shooters in the class of 2018. This kid can shoot 2-3 feet beyond the 3-point line and consistently make shots. What I like most about his ability to shoot is his efficiency. He doesn't throw shot after shot up, he is an unselfish shooter who, when he gets hot, look out! However, if you're going to play for Coach Vic and Team Rush, you better be able to do more than just score and shoot. Logan is a good defender as well. A smart player, look for him to commit to a great DII or LM this fall.
Quite possibly the most under rated player in the Kansas City metro area, Ronnie Bell is the total package. Although he is undersized, that is where the doubts stop. He can play above the rim, handle the ball, score, shoot, pass, defend. Like his teammate Jordan Lathon, 2018 6'0 PG Ronnie Bell does it ALL. He has been one of my favorite players to watch since first seeing him torch UA's KC Run GMC last year in the Jayhawk Invitational. One of the best parts of his game has to be his motor. Energy energy energy. Ronnie brings it every possession. If this kid isn't a LM-MM, OVC player.. no one is!
2018 6'7 Sevon Witt has the ability be a DI player. He can hit shots from mid-range and beyond the 3-point line, as well as bully smaller defenders inside with his good size and length. It is the little things with Sevon that make him special, like his ability to catch the ball after setting a hard screen and rolling to the basket for the finish.
Yor Anei has the potential to be a HM star. A fundamentally sound, BIG MAN. Growing since I have last seen him at the Top Rank National Showcase by Under Armour in Kansas City, MO last fall, Yor now stands at 6'10 with over a 7-foot wingspan! Yor has also transferred from Shawnee Mission South to Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita, KS. It is apparent that his athleticism and explosiveness has improved since transferring. If Yor can continue to work hard in the class room and on the court, there is no limit for him. He is going to have a BIG summer on the Adidas circuit for Team Rush.
Tyler Simpson | Writer
BENTONVILLE, ARK. -- Few kids have ever seen the rise that Christian Bishop, a 6’7” SF from Lee’s Summit West has had. A little over a year ago Bishop wasn’t even seeing the court for the varsity team and had only scored one career point, off of a free throw. Now, he’s a mainstay and a big part to their success. Bishop in his first year with Team Rush is looking to build off of his strong high school season and continue playing at the high level he currently is.
Bishop is surrounded by incredible talent, including himself. The Lee’s Summit West basketball team has talent up and down their roster and it doesn’t go unnoticed. “It’s awesome playing with them, they can get you in position to make plays. There’s a lot of great players on that team.” Said Bishop of his Lee’s Summit West team. While his high school team is good, Bishop thinks playing with Team Rush is better. “We’re expected to do a little bit more, it’s hard but fun though. We get to play hard, and play against great teams.”
There is one thing in mind to what he wants to improve on this spring and that’s his ball handling. “My ball handling still needs some work, so I’m really trying to work on that this spring and improve it a lot.”
Due to his rise he has seen a number of schools offer and reach out to him. Bishop recently picked up his newest offer from Oklahoma State with several more to come. “Tulsa has offered, Missouri has reached out, Wichita State, Butler, Creighton, Nebraska, Florida Gulf Coast, and Missouri State.”
No schools have stood out in particular with Bishop, “I’m just trying to keep an open mind with everybody, I like Nebraska a lot though. They have my field of study, athletic training and their program is phenomenal.”
Bishop’s waiting on the offers from other schools but isn’t so sure when those will come. “Wichita State and Creighton are going to come and watch me play this spring.” Said Bishop. While being a 2018 kid, he has no timeline about a decision at the moment, just trying to take his time with everything.
There will certainly be no shortage of offers coming this spring for the young man who has an incredible talent. He will be a player to watch progress through the Spring while him and Team Rush play in the Adidas Gauntlet against other top teams and players.
Tyler Simpson | Writer
BENTONVILLE, ARK. --- Few kids in AAU play up a year in their age group, but when they do they are usually a special kind of talent and see no disparity in their game versus others. Isaiah LeBlanc from Houston, Texas of Nike Team Griffin could be playing this spring with the 15u’s but instead is playing up a year. With two tournaments already under their belt, Nike Team Griffin is looking like one of the top AAU teams in the country for 16u and it’s all thanks to their dynamic backcourt that features 4 incredibly skilled guards.
LeBlanc is a versatile guard who can shoot lights out from beyond the arc and has the ability to drive to the hoop and finish around the rim. LeBlanc was able to showcase all of that and more this past weekend at Made Hoops’ The WarmUp, he was able to show his ability to handle the ball and play more of the point guard role.
LeBlanc while only being 5 months into the age of 15 will definitely be a kid to watch for in the 2020 class. He currently holds an offer from Georgia Tech and interest from several other high major programs. When all said and done, LeBlanc should end up being one of the most sought after PG’s in the class of 2020. I was able to catch up with Isaiah to talk about a variety of things.
What are you most looking forward to during the AAU season?
Just making my teammates better, and being able to expand my game for next year. Also being physically adapted to the older play style, and just make everybody better.
You’re a pretty good scorer as well, is that what you’ve always been known for? Shooting the ball and scoring it?
Yes sir, I started off as a shooting guard because I was a bigger kid when I was younger. Now that I’m moving up and playing older I’m moving to a point guard. I’m still able to score though when I need to get it done.
What do you like most about playing with Team Griffin?
I like that everybody is unselfish and everybody has one common goal and that’s to win the game. We do whatever we can, if that’s me with scoring or playing defense, I’ll give my best to help the team, I’m not worried about stats.
How was your high school season for you?
High School season went great, we lost in the final four by one point. We started off down 25-0 and fought back but just couldn’t win it.
Houston has a lot of good basketball talent there, was there anyone specific that was a tough matchup?
We played private schools but we played a couple schools that had good guards that used to play with the 17u Team Griffin. It was a pretty good matchup, we played them in the final four.
You’re obviously still young, have you been hearing from any schools at all?
I have an offer from Georgia Tech, I’ve been hearing from Virginia, A&M, Baylor, UCONN, Florida, just a couple of schools. I’m on their radar.
What’s Pastner’s message been to you?
He just wants me to play my game, and just keep on adapting and being aggressive with my shot and keep working on my defense. He told me I’m blessed to play at his high of a level and to keep up the intensity that I bring. He just told me to keep working.
Ashton West | Writer
The Top Rank National Showcase in Des Moines, IA on 9/2/17 will feature some of the most talented high school basketball prospects across the midwest and country. In conjunction with Under Armour, this event will feature 125 nationally recognized prospects competing for exposure, all-star status, and bragging rights. Each player will be featured in 3 games throughout the day, as well as an intense workout at the beginning of the morning session. Top performers will then be selected to participate in the Top 30 "Best of the Best" game.
Tyreke Locure of Nike MoKan Elite will be in attendance he tells us this weekend as we caught up with him at #TheWarmUp in Bentonville, Arkansas. Tyreke is currently ranked as the #2 overall player in Iowa behind University of Iowa commit, Patrick McCaffrey. Tyreke has a lightning quick first step and is virtually unguardable when he decides to attack. He is also a very good shooter. He has the ability to step out a few feet behind the 3-point line and make shots consistently. One of the better guards in the midwest, he is sure to shine at the Top Rank Showcase.
Interviewed by Tyler Simpson
This is your first year with MoKan, how are you enjoying it so far?
TL: "I really like it. This is a good group of guys to be playing with. Everybody is here for each other, they really accepted me as the new guy."
This is your first tournament with MoKan, how have you played so far?
TL: "I think I've played well. Making open shots and getting teammates involved."
How'd your high school season go?
TL: "It went really good. I think we finished 19-5."
What is one goal you have this summer with MoKan?
TL: "Definitely to pick up some offers. I want Iowa State and Iowa bad."
Who is showing interest in you right now?
"Creighton, Western Illinois, Nebraska, and a few more."
Tyreke is certainly one to watch out of Iowa, look for him to explode onto the recruiting scene this spring with a big summer for MoKan. You can follow him on Twitter at @locuretyreke3.
Ashton West | Writer
Jordan Lathon is a dynamic scoring point guard with a high basketball IQ. The Kansas City native displayed a wide array of skills this past weekend at The Warm Up in Bentonville, Arkansas. Standing at 6'3-6'4, Jordan has great size for the point guard position, making him a tough cover for smaller guards.
Defensively he is long and showed the ability to play solid on-ball defense. Any point guard that plays for Coach Victor Williams is going to be sound fundamentally and solid defensively. You can certainly tell that he is a "Coach Vic" player. He took smart shots and found teammates like Ronnie Bell, Yor Anei, and Christian Bishop for easy baskets throughout the day.
Jordan also has progressed physically. He showed he could really play above the rim and its apparent that he has been in the weight room. Seeing him from when he was a freshman to now, you can tell he has really worked hard on and off the court. Check-out my interview with Jordan below:
What is practice like with Team Rush preparing for the Adidas Uprising?
JL: "You know Vic, intensity is crazy. It's like a college environment, everything is taken seriously, no joking around, its all business."
Your first game in #TheWarmUp, how'd you feel you played?
JL: "I felt good, I don't think I missed a shot the whole game and I finished with 16 points. It was a good first game for us as a team."
What're your goals as an individual for the Adidas Uprising and as a team?
JL: "Just win and get scholarships. To have everyone go play college basketball, thats what it's about."
Who's pressing you the hardest right now and who's offered?
JL: "I have 7 offers right now. Butler, Colorado, Tulsa, DePaul, Boise State, Air Force, and Florida Gulf Coast. Butler and Oklahoma are showing me the most interest right now."
The 4-star recruit is being targeted by a majority of the midwest MM-HM schools. You can tell from speaking to Jordan that he really likes Butler, but his dream schools are Kansas, Mizzou, and Duke. At this point he is looking for the best fit for him. He is going to have a big spring and summer campaign with Team Rush. Look for his number of offers to grow exponentially over the next three months as schools will come out of the wood-work for a dynamic point guard like Lathon.
Ashton West | Writer
2019 Camryn Dennis is one of the most exciting players I have seen this spring. The Nike Team Griffin Shooting Guard can get to the rim with ease and I have yet to see anyone be able to stop him when he decides to attack. Camryn is at his best in transition where his uncanny driving ability and great vision allow him to score or find an open teammate for an easy basket. He is also a tenacious defender, turning defense into easy offense creating turnovers for the opposing team.
When asked about practice and preparing for the EYBL circuit, Camryn was able to sum it up in just a few words: "Its intense, very competitive. Everyone is going at everyone." It would make sense that Camryn plays with such intensity and energy, at Team Griffin thats the way they practice. Camryn knows his game, stating his biggest strengths as a player were getting to the rim and creating for others. He also understands where he needs work, telling me he needs to become a better shooter. It will be important for Camryn to develop an outside scoring attack to pull in some MM-HM offers which he has the potential to do.
He is working hard this summer in hopes of receiving his first college scholarship. As of right now, Oklahoma is the only school showing interest in Camyrn but expect him to pile on the offers as he continues to perform throughout the spring and summer months.
Tyler Simpson | Lead Writer
Few have had the whirlwind of a month that Jontay Porter has had. Porter’s dad was on the Washington staff and was let go after the surprising firing of Lorenzo Romar, who many had thought would get one more year with the impressive recruiting class he had coming in. Porter, who is still living in Seattle until the end of the month is playing part of the spring with MoKan Elite, until he comes to a conclusion on his reclassification. The traveling has been exhausting for the younger Porter, but he’s not letting it hinder his gameplay.
Porter, a one time Washington commit and Columbia native won a Washington High School State Championship this year under former NBA player, Brandon Roy. A Missouri State basketball championship and now a Washington State basketball championship to add to the already impressive resume of Jontay Porter.
“It was a blessing, it was awesome to have a coach with a lot of experience and knowledge of the game. He taught us not just skill wise, but how to approach things with a professional mindset.” Porter said of Nathan Hale High School Coach Brandon Roy.
The one remaining question with Jontay is whether or not he will decide to reclassify from the class of 2018 to 2017. “I want to get it over within the next week, the only reason it hasn’t happened yet is because we’ve been all over the place due to recent events and traveling, we’re going to sit down and figure it out this week.”
Whether Porter reclassifies or not, the main assumption is that he’ll go back to Father Tolton High School in Columbia to play his final senior season, “I need to assess what’s going on in Columbia, but that’s more than likely what’s going to happen.”
“This is my first summer without Mike, so it’s not so easy to rely on him to get some buckets or score 30 a game, I’m trying to take my offensive game to the next level. Defense will always be there and I will always improve on that too. My mindset is something I’m working on as well.” Porter said of what he’s trying to improve on.
Although Porter has not officially committed to Missouri, it’s the perceived notion that he will attend there. “Some coaches have inquired about my situation, but I’ve politely shut it down. As long as my dad is coaching there, I’m going to go there and play for him.”
Porter has high hopes for Cuonzo Martin and company to cash in big time this weekend with the highly touted recruits they had on campus in Kevin Knox and Blake Harris. Whether or not they are able to secure commitments, there is still a palpable buzz around Missouri Basketball again and it’s all thanks to the Porter family. If Jontay decides to reclassify then he thinks it will be an all-time great recruiting class.
“Fab Five 2.0.”
Ashton West | Writer
Very few players are having the meteoric rise that 2019 Roman Wilson is experiencing. Over the past 6 months, Roman has went from an unsponsored AAU team to Nike's MoKan Elite club playing up on the EYBL 17u squad. A program that in 2016 won the Nike Peach Jam in demanding fashion with future pro's Michael Porter Jr. and Trae Young. Roman and MoKan took to #TheWarmUp in Bentonville, Arkansas this weekend to test their skills against some of the premier AAU programs in the midwest. I caught up with Roman after their first game against Nike Team Penny 17u:
What's it like day in and day out leading up to this weekends games with MoKan EYBL?
"It's intense. Everyone is competing every practice to make each other better. Coach makes us bring the energy the entire practice."
What do you think you and your team need to improve on most before the EYBL circuit?
"Definitely turnovers. We need to do better at taking care of the basketball."
Obviously you're a 2019, playing up on the 17u EYBL team. What goals do you have as an individual this summer on the EYBL circuit?
"I just want to improve as much as I can. I am behind two really good bigs right now in Cart'Are Gordon and Jontay Porter. I want to learn as much as I can from those two."
Who's recruiting you the hardest right now?
"Interest is pretty crazy, everyone is showing interest right now. Kansas State, Wichita State, and Tulsa are the only schools to offer."
Roman certainly seems to have the correct mindset about this spring and summer with MoKan. Look for him to land a few more high major offers before the summer is up!
Ashton West | Writer
Everybody loves a lefty! Camryn Dennis was a fun player to watch last weekend for Nike Team Griffin 16u at the #PHRoute66 tournament in Oklahoma City, OK. He showed off his ability to get to the rim at will, displaying his Court awareness and basketball IQ by either pulling up for an easy J, getting to the free-throw line, or kicking it out to the open man on the wing. Camryn also showed the ability to play above the rim, breaking away from the defense in transition and throwing down a couple of nice dunks. He reminds me of a shifty Jamal Crawford like player with the ability to score in bunches and be a lock-down defender. I am looking forward to seeing him have a big summer and pick up multiple key offers throughout July.
Ashton West | Writer
The PrepHoops Route 66 Kickoff featured a number of talented programs and players this past weekend in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Offering multiple brackets and every team receiving a minimum of four games, this event was perfect for teams attending to get some game time before the live period. Here is who stood out over the weekend:
2018 PG Xavier Rhodes, Team Carroll
After starting for MoKan Elite the past three years, one of the best all-around guards in the Kansas City metro area, Xavier is now playing with Team Carroll and was outstanding this past weekend, getting to the rim and scoring at will. The best facet of his game is his passing ability. A smart player with an unbelievable feel for the game, he rarely makes the incorrect play. Towards the end of their third and final game Saturday night, Xavier leaked out in transition threw down one of the best in game dunks on another player I have ever seen live. Fundamentally sound, smart, and athletic. Look for him to have a BIG summer while picking up Division I offers along the way.
Tyler Simpson | Lead Writer
A small guard is almost always overlooked, unless you’re Isaiah Thomas, who has made every team that passed on him or traded him look quite foolish. There was one guard in particular that caught the interest of everyone in attendance at the Top Rank Showcase Orlando event, that was Devon Knaub, with game like Isaiah Thomas. Knaub a 5’9” guard from Oviedo High School in Florida was one of the few standouts that showed his game is bigger than what he looks. Knaub who was one of many undersized and small guards in attendance made sure he was well known after the day was over. He started the morning on the stand-by list and ended the day as a Top 20 All-Star and ranked #4 in the Top 50 prospect rankings.
Knaub’s quickness and handles had everyone in awe as he quickly turned heads to start the morning scrimmages. At one point a coach for the TRS said “He’s the best guard in attendance, he’s immediately Top 20!” Quite the claim for such a small guard during the first game of the day. Knaub continued to impress throughout the day and it was no shock. His favorite player happens to be Isaiah Thomas and a player that he models his game after, the similarities are uncanny.
Knaub is a quick and shifty guard who has nice handles and is fearless while driving to the hoop, he’s also not afraid to make you pay if you sag off of him, which he showed relentlessly at the Showcase. Just like Isaiah Thomas, he’ll really exploit your defense when you’re not thinking.
He is certainly used to being overlooked, as he has for much of his high school career but he’s determined to make a name for himself and to show everyone that’s taking a pass on him that his talent trumps his height.
Devon showing off his handle and finishing with a pretty floater in the lane at the #TRSORL
I had the opportunity to sit down with Knaub and talk about a variety of things, and where his game is inspired from.
You were the talk of the entire staff after that first session, so I had to come watch you at the start of the second session. Smaller guy, how tall are you?
You’ve got a great handle, you’re really pesky on D as well, I like that a lot. What are your thoughts when you’re on the court?
Basically just expose everybody, because my idol is Isaiah Thomas. When I watch him play I try to take things from him. He’s shorter than people, “Alright, I’m going past you, you want to step back? I’ll drain it in your face.” He’s gonna get all of that attention and feed his teammates for assists. It’s like Andreas and I, he tells me to take the ball and grab the attention and I’m just able to throw him the ball for a dunk.
You guys play on the same AAU team?
Yeah, on Team MOAM. Kids like that love playing with me because I draw attention and I’m able to find them for the easy bucket.
Is Andreas your only teammate here?
I think so, yeah.
So, he has a lot of faith in you?
Yeah, it’s like that wherever I play though. I’m able to form a bond with my teammates.
You try to model your game after Isaiah Thomas then?
Yeah, that’s my idol. He’s a good person to model.
Absolutely, he’s got that dog in him.
He don’t care. He’ll go after you without hesitation.
When’s your guys’ first AAU event?
We’re playing in a showtime event and then we’re going to Pittsburgh, I heard that’s a huge tournament. Five people that I know got signed off of that event. Then after that we’ll play in the Adidas Uprising tournaments.
Have you been hearing from any schools?
Yeah, a couple in the SWAC. Stetson has watched a couple of my practices. Florida Gulf Coast came in and watched my teammate and they told my coach that they liked me, but that’s all that has happened. Last summer Iowa State watched me play and really liked me, but they won’t offer because I’m not tall enough.
What’s one thing in your game you want to improve on?
Defense, to be honest. A lot of people say they want to be a better defender but never really work on it. Coming into my junior year I didn’t really care but the second half of the year I started guarding the best player and got better at it. Getting my body better as well. Defense is something I’m going to really work on. You can only play at the level you defend. If you can’t defend they’re not going to put you out there.
What did you like about this event?
Honestly, just coming out. Make some new friends, meet new players that are really good. I had a lot of fun at this showcase. It’s always good to put your name out there.
You were on our stand-by list to start the morning.
Yeah, Andreas told me about it and said I should go and that I was definitely good enough to play in it. This is my second showcase event, actually. I enjoyed it a lot, I’m glad I got to show out, because a lot of showcases kids don’t pass the ball a lot. I was able to show my ability pretty well, though.