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.
Tyler Simpson | Lead Writer
Rifen Miguel, a native from Angola, a country in Southern Africa has only been stateside for over a year now, but has quickly drawn the attention of several top tier division one programs due to his size and innate ability to pass for a big man with his stature. Miguel takes great pride in his vision and passing ability as he labels it one of his strengths of his game.Miguel has been labeled as a space eater in the post who gets great positioning while there also. Miguel who currently plays for West Oaks Academy in Florida was recruited to come to America in 2014 when he was playing for the African National Team in the 16 and under championships. While he said the the play style between the two countries was different, the transition wasn’t that tough to overcome.
Miguel will be attending our event in Orlando ready to go up against all the talented big men and other competition. Miguel will definitely be someone to watch during the event as he has his eyes set on destroying the competition and separating himself from everyone else. How he handles himself against Vernon Carey, Jr., Kentrevious Jones,and several other talented big men will be something to keep an eye on. Rifen and I touched on a variety of topics recently.
How’s your season been going this year?
Very great. My season will be over in two weeks, we just have a couple of games left.
Do you guys have a good shot at making the state tournament?
Yes we do.
Awesome. I believe I read somewhere that you’ve only been stateside for a year now, can you just give me a little brief insight on where you’re from and how you ended up in the United States?
Yeah, of course. I am from Angola, I was recruited to play high school in America in 2014 when I was playing for my national team in the African under 16 championships.
So you’ve been playing basketball for a while now? I know a lot of kids who come over to the United States from different countries usually have only been playing since they’ve come over.
Yeah, I’ve been playing for a while.
What was the transition like coming over from Africa? Is the style of play in America different than Africa?
Yeah, it’s real different.
For people who have never seen you play, how would you describe yourself as a player?
I’m always aggressive in the paint and can score over anyone, I can also shoot 3’s.
Think I read somewhere that you’re a pretty good passer as well, do you enjoy getting your teammates involved?
Yeah, I like to play with vision.
That’s awesome and always a great trait to have. A big man with an exceptional passing ability from the post and all-around is great for any team. You play high school ball down in Florida, you guys definitely face a ton of competition, who’s the hardest player you have guarded or had to play against this year?
The hardest player I have had to guard this year was Bruno Fernando, he plays center for IMG.
Fernando is a big guy. Really good. IMG is really good as well. How’d you do against him?
Bruno is like my brother, he plays on my national team. I did pretty good against him.
At least you held your own, have you been hearing from any colleges yet?
James Madison, Chattanooga, FGCU, with interest from Louisville, Memphis, and Samford.
You graduate in 2019, right? So you have some time to pick up some more offers. Obviously the Louisville interest is big time, they’re a prestigious program. Have they talked to you at all, or mainly through your coaches?
Yeah, they talk to my AAU coach.
Is it just a timing thing before they offer?
Yeah, it is.
I hope you get that offer, that’s a highly regarded offer. You’re coming to our event in Orlando, are you excited about that?
Yeah, of course.
Lots of big names will be there, do you have any goals for the event?
I’m coming to kill every big man in the camp.
Love the tenacity and mentality that you’re going to bring. Do you play with that same mentality every game?
I can show you better than I can tell you.
I love that! Now you’ve got me excited to see what you bring in Orlando. What excites you the most about the event?
Being able to match up against other top players.
Awesome, who do you like to compare/model your game after?
Boogie. (Demarcus Cousins)
Boogie does have that killer mentality, not a bad one to model your game after. What’s one of your weaknesses that you’re really trying to improve before the AAU season?
Improving my body.
Trying to improve your conditioning?
Yeah, conditioning as well.
That’s a huge part to anything. Anything you’d like to tell our readers or attendees before our event in Orlando?
I don’t want to talk too much, I just want to wait for the day and ball.
I like it. Awesome, thanks for taking the time out of your day to talk to me! Can’t wait to watch you in Orlando!
Gotcha, boss. Thanks!
Tyler Simpson | Lead Writer
The Top Rank National Showcase in Orlando, Florida has come and gone, and after carefully evaluating the prospects over the entire weekend, the staff all put their heads together in order to create a list of top ranked prospects from the event. After careful deliberation, here is how the kids stacked up against one another...
#TRSORL TOP RANK TOP 50
Tyler Simpson | Lead Writer
6’1” 2018 PG Jaylen Jones
Booker High School (Sarasota, FL)
Jones entered the event as virtually an unknown until he began lighting up teams in the scrimmages. Jones dropped 26 on IMG Academy earlier in the year and he showed that he deserves recognition. Jones, the breakout player of the camp and the MVP made himself well known at the camp. A guard with a nice handle and range that extends beyond the 3 point line can do it all. Opposing defenses were on their heels all day as the guard was getting in the lane and finishing with ease. The crafty guard can score at all 3 levels. Jones had a scoring barrage during the Top 20 game while connecting on 4 three pointers in a row. Jones also played the passing lanes well on defense, showing he could be a ball hawking guard on defense.
5’10” 2018 PG Rahsaan Lewis
Windermere Prep (Windermere, FL)
Lewis, the son of NFL Hall of Famer Ray Lewis was as good as it gets. Lewis, who could have been co-mvp with Jaylen Jones was just as impressive. He takes great pride on the defensive side of the ball and it shows. Lewis was tasked with locking up Jones after he made four straight three’s and did just that. Lewis was the best defender of all the players. Lewis showed his ability to drive to the hoop and find the open man when the defense collapsed as well. The outside shot for Lewis wasn’t falling as much but he still showed his ability to hit it.
6’2” 2019 G James Lee
Vanguard High School (Lake Wales, FL)
James Lee took home the #1 prospect ranking after his stellar play during the weekend. Lee is an athletic guard who can jump out of the gym. Even though he didn’t take home MVP honors he was easily the most impressive prospect in the gym. Aside from his elite athleticism, Lee showed his ability to shoot from outside and added an impressive mid-range game. Lee also showed that he could get to the rim with ease while driving through the lane. Only a sophomore, Lee still has a lot of time to get incredibly better. With some strong performances during the summer Lee can move up in the rankings of the 2019 class and garner more offers.
5’9” 2018 PG Devon Knaub
Oviedo High School (Oviedo, FL)
Knaub was one of the smallest guards in attendance but that didn’t slow him down. Knaub quickly impressed all of the coaches and staff with his handles and his fearlessness against the bigger guards. Knaub can hit the 3 and drive to the rim and finish through contact as well. He compares his game to Isaiah Thomas and it shows. He’s not scared of anyone he goes against and his confidence is through the roof. His height will certainly be a question mark, but he showed that it should be overlooked. He will be a big time playmaker.
6’5” SG Alec Sherman
Mitchell High School (New Port Richey, FL)
One of the unknowns coming into TRS Orlando, Sherman had a productive day and found himself playing his way into the Top 20 game. Despite being ranked as #11 on the prospect rankings, Sherman was a standout player due to doing just a little bit of everything. Sherman played great defense, finished well at the rim, and shot the ball from outside consistently. Sherman will be a steal for any college that starts to show interest as he knows how to get it done on both sides of the ball and does the little things.