Houston, TX - This years John Lucas All-Star Tournament might have been the most exciting one ever. With both the 8th and 7th grade finals coming down to last second makes and misses.
The 8th grade title game was Nike sponsored Drive Nation out of Dallas against Florida's Team Swoop. Drive Nation was the favorite going into the game and showed it most of the game, with big man 2022 Rylan Griffen scoring at will. Team Swoop was led back with their two headed monsters 2022 PG Kamdyn Ayers and 2022 WF Ryan Davis. Both Ayers and Davis blew up on the national scene this past weekend. Ayers is one of the most poised PG I've seen nationally in his class. He seemed to always make the right play. He played with a great pace. Davis was the most versatile forward the whole weekend. He scored 18 points in one half without missing a shot. He had very good post moves and scored in the post at will. He also showed NBA range from deep. In the last 10 years Team Swoop is one of the best coach 8th grade teams I've seen.
The 7th grade title game pitted two teams from the same program. North Coast Blue Chips led by 2023 Bronny James. They knocked off the team people felt to be the tourney favorite to win, the Houston Hoops Blue Chips. The Hoops built a big lead by pushing the ball and when they decided to pull back, that's when North Coast made its run. I was highly impressed with Bronny and his feel for the game and not trying to do to much. He has a lot of pressure on him and for kid his age to play with the poise he does, is very impressive. Now leading the charge with Bronny in that comeback was the very talented 2023 Rodney Gallagher. This kid can go and once he got going there was no stopping him. The big man 2023 Jahzare Jackson made a few plays, but this game was played at a high tempo which hampered him.
Now this past week there was a number of other standout performers and below is the rest.
2022 6'5 F Rylan Griffen (Drive Nation) Plano, TX
The big fella can score in a variety of ways. He can get you with his back to the basket are step out and knock down the jumper. He moves well without the ball and knows how to get to his spots. He contest shots on the defensive end. He has a very nice upside.
2022 6'6 F Jaxon Kohler (Utah Elite) American Fork, UT
I loved this young mans footwork. He had a very good pivot move in the post and he used it to go either way. He was double and tripled teamed all weekend and made excellent passes out of it. He has good touch on his jump shot and he knocked down the occasional three ball.
2022 5'11 G Kamdyn Ayers (Team Swoop) Coral Springs, FL
He's a silky smooth point guard, that has a great feel and plays with very little flash. He plays the position the way it should be played. He can only get better.
2022 6'2 F Ryan Davis (Team Swoop) Palm City, FL
He was clutch all weekend making big shot after big shot. I don't know how big his ceiling going to be, but I do know he's the type of player that makes an immediate impact on the high school level as a freshman.
2022 6'6 F Colin Smith (Texas Hardwork) Dallas, TX
This young mans silky smooth. He's definitely a point forward. He has a great feel and excellent court vision. He has a sweet stroke from deep and can put in on the floor and get to the cup. He must get stronger so he can handle contact better, but if you seen his dad, you know that should be no problem in the future.
2022 5'10 G Kendall Dow (TJ Ford) Nairobi, Kenya
He was on attack the whole game I watched him play. He took contact and kept attacking. He has good handles and showed good court awareness and vision. He was very crafty getting to the hole. He showed a nice mid range jump shot.
2022 5'11 G Demari Henderson (Team Florida Prospects) Sanford, FL
Along with his twin brother, is one of the most tenacious players I've seen on the circuit in years. He is relentless on both ends. He's a lock down defender and is great at playing the lanes and the ball. He may not shoot as good as his brother, but nobody stopped him from getting to the basket. He's also a top football prospect in Florida, which I heard he's concentrating on more.
2022 5'11 G JaCari Henderson (Team Florida Prospects) Sanford, FL
Has all the same attributes his brother has and is the better shooter out the two. It's scary how good these two could be, if hoop was a priority.
2022 6'7 Mark Mitchell (Drive 5 Power Elite) Lansing, KS
This young mans a stud. He has great hands, good footwork and is strong and tenacious as a bull. He destroyed on the glass and was swatting everything out the gym. He had a real soft touch from 12 feet in.
2022 6'7 F Max Allen (Truth OC) Las Vegas, NV
Has a big body and knows how to use it. He has decent skills and made some good offensive moves. He didn't try to do to much and has a real nice upside. He's definitely a player to watch in the future.
2022 6'9 C Mo Ngon (Houston Hoops) Houston, TX
He was a major problem for the opponent at certain times in the game. He has to become more consistent. He plays hard on both ends but made a bigger impact on the defensive side. If he stays in the lab and work on his game, he may be able to add his name to the list of special players that played for the a Hoops.
2022 6' G Jordan Williams (Houston Hoops) Houston, TX
He's a very physical guard that plays downhill all game. He's very aggressive on both sides of the ball. He's more of a scoring guard and that's his feel right now. When he slows down and gets a better pace to his game, he'll will be a monster to guard.
2022 5'7 G Keiveon Hunt (MS Express Elite) Jackson, MS
He's quick, athletic and plays with no fear. He's played with one gear fast. He knocked down many threes, but with a better shot selection his percentage will go up. Once he adds structure to his game, we will see a special type player. He's just starting to tap his potential.
2022 6' G Carl Fauntroy (YHWH Kings) Mobile, AL
He's another guard that stayed on attack all weekend. Whoever guarded him, didn't catch a break. He's lightning quick, physical and had a real good change of direction. He also got up in you on the defensive side.
2022 6'4 F Taj Manning (Drive5 Power Elite) Grandview, MO
He showed at times how good he can be. He made some real nice plays in the post. He played good post man on man and helped defense. The main issue I had, he had the tendency to disappear at times. He has to keep the motor running.
2023 6'8 C Cameron Barnes (Drive Nation Red) Wichita, KS
The young big fella has a chance to be special. He surprised me with his athleticism and coordination when I saw him play. His still a little raw but plays with a lot of effort, which made him an immediate impact on the defensive end. He contested every shot it seemed like and stayed on the glass.
2023 5'7 G Zach Fluellan (Drive Nation Red) Plano, TX
He has a deadly shot for a young fella. He was money if left open and even knocked down some contested threes. He could put it on the floor and get his shot also. He has a tremendous upside.
2023 6'4 F Jayden Nicholson St. Louis, MO
His a physical beast for such a young age. He seemed to punish everybody in the post. He surprised me with a decent skill set and played within himself. He was Mr. Windex man the whole weekend, he acted like every rebound belong to him. He also surprised me how well he ran the floor.
2023 5'8 G Jordan Ross (Utah Elite) Cedar Hills, UT
For a young age just has a good feel. He seemed to know where his teammates were at all times and where they liked the ball. He didn't take many bad shots and showed he could score at all three levels.
2023 5'4 G Demarcus Singleton (Triple Threat Raptors) Gray, LA
The Lil man is a bucket getter and a straight headache to defend. He keeps the pressure on you and plays downhill. His strong and jet quick with handles. He plays with passion and with a flare, which makes him a fun to watch.
2023 6'4 F Tyler Ringgold (Houston Hoops Blue Chips) Baton Rouge, LA
He oozes potential. He's long athletic and has a decent skill set. He can get better in all aspects of the game, but you can't teach his God given gifts. If he works he has a chance to make major strides these next couple of years.
2023 5'10 G Chris Lockett Jr. (Houston Hoops Blue Chips) New Orleans, LA
He's been out on the scene for a while and we all know he can play, but this past weekend it looked like he took his game up a notch. He always seen the floor, but he made passes that I didn't see coming at all. He has a heck of a understanding for the game. He knows when to score and when to get his teammates involved. If need be, he has the talent to take over.
2023 5'11 G Bronny James (North Coast Blue Chips) Akron, Oh
I just really liked his feel for the game. He didn't try to force it and let the game come to him. He was really good at getting his teammates involved and giving it to them in the right position. He definitely plays beyond his years.
2023 5'8 G Rodney Gallagher (North Coast Blue Chips) Uniontown, PA
He was a killer, oncd he got going there was no stopping him. He got wherever he wanted when he wanted. He played with ice in his veins. He's definitely not scared to take the big shot.
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