Appleton, Wis. — The Prep Hoops Next circuit got rolling again on Saturday as the Future Stars Classic tipped off from the Community First Champion Center. While the 12-hour day was grueling, it was also fruitful, as the eight-court facility proved to be an ideal setting to evaluate many of the Midwest region’s top sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade teams. The competition level was fairly high, with the opening day’s action divided between a handful of new names, as well as a couple of familiar faces. Here are the handful of players whose performances on Day 1 could simply not be ignored…
Derek Bishop | Mundelein, IL | Class of 2025
The six-foot guard got better as the day progressed, and as Bishop improved, so did his Kessel Heat (IL) club. The crafty backcourt prospect scored 17 points in his first game of the day; a loss to Full Package Black (IL). However, he immediately followed up with 20 points in a win against D1 Wisconsin before ending the day with a 29-point explosion versus Chapman Basketball Academy (WI), which resulted in a 48-47 victory and catapulted his team into the Futures Stars Classic gold bracket semifinals. Overall, Bishop averaged 22 points per game on the day, and his final performance of the night was easily one of the best from Day 1.
Lamont Hamilton | Racine, WI | Class of 2026
Based on his showing at the Prep Hoops Next Midwest Kick-off, I was excited to see Hamilton in action at the Future Stars Classic, and he certainly did not disappoint. Hamilton and the Wisconsin Elite seventh-grade squad were absolutely dominant on Saturday, winning a trio of games by no less than 35 points each, while looking like one of the best squads that the Midwest region has to offer in the Class of 2026. Individually, Hamilton was terrific, scoring 25 points to begin the day against Wisconsin Blizzard and later posting a Prep Hoops Next circuit season-high 42 points versus Racine Truth (WI). He closed out his day by hanging 24 points on TSA Select (WI) and has his squad surging into the platinum bracket semifinals that will take place tomorrow morning.
Treyvon Taylor | Moline, IL | Class of 2025
The big fella went to work from start to finish at the Future Stars Classic on Saturday, leading his EZ Work Elite (IL) squad to their best day so far on the Prep Hoops Next circuit. The eighth-grade group clinched Pool F, advancing to the platinum bracket, and then picked up an opening-round win against ECI – Winczewski (ND) in convincing fashion, which launched them into the semifinals to be played on Sunday. Taylor began the tournament with 14 points versus Rock Summit Basketball (IN) and then provided a statement performance by scoring 30 points against the Midwest Tarheels (IL) to help seal a 54-46 victory. To close the evening, Taylor scored 14 points in limited minutes, as his team won handily.
Ladell White, Jr. | Milwaukee, WI | Class of 2026
As the Prep Hoops Next Future Stars Classic got underway on Saturday, X-Men United (WI) quickly emerged as one of the favorites in the seventh-grade division, putting together a trio of impressive victories to secure the top seed in Pool B. The group scored 70+ points twice before ending their day with a hard-fought victory against Wisconsin Academy – Hibner by a score of 59-52. A versatile backcourt prospect, White played all over the floor for X-Men United, doing whatever it took to keep his team on top. One of Saturday’s most consistent performers, White posted 18 points versus Wisconsin Blizzard, then followed up with a 22-point outing while facing tNBA Milwaukee (WI), before closing out the event’s opening round by scoring 15 points in the aforementioned contest against Wisconsin Academy – Hibner.
Jalen Wilson | Golden Valley, MN | Class of 2025
The D1 Minnesota – Dewey (MN) eighth-grade squad logged the longest day of any team in attendance at the Prep Hoops Next Future Stars Classic, playing in the opening round of games at 9:00AM, and then closing the night with the last round of contests that tipped at 8:40PM. Although several players stepped up for this group on Saturday, Wilson was arguably the most impressive by helping lead his club to three dominant showings, all of which resulted in at least a 20-point margin. The talented forward scored all of his game-high 19 points against Full Package – White (IL) in the first half, while dropping 16 points on Wisconsin Academy in limited minutes due to another blowout win, and finally, Wilson posted another 16-point performance versus Minnesota Magic that concluded in a 62-40 victory.
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