Deerfield Beach, Fla. — In the final release of top performers from the Class of 2025 at the 2021 Balling On The Beach tournament, we take aim at a talented collection of frontcourt prospects that earned headlines based on their strong play during the weekend in South Florida. Here are five prospects to conclude the breakdown of the event’s best eighth-graders…
Kristopher Carroll | Memphis, TN | Class of 2025
A welcome, new addition to a Memphis Bulldogs (TN) roster, the 6-foot-4 forward showed as much promise as anyone on the team during the 2021 Balling On The Beach tournament. A raw prospect with emerging athleticism, Carroll is adjusting to the speed of the game in more elite settings but provided a versatile presence defensively, demonstrating his ability to switch onto perimeter players when needed while also displaying solid instincts around the rim. He is still weeks shy of his fourteenth birthday, and if his size 14 shoes are any indication, it’s likely that the talented lefty will continue adding inches to his frame as his game continues to blossom.
Hao Chen | Queens, NY | Class of 2025
A competitor with unquestionable toughness, Chen has been a known force among his peer group on the national travel circuit for quite some time, and continues to be a valuable contributor for the Black Ops (NY) Cadets program. It’s clear that the 6-foot-4 forward is strategically expanding his game outward, as he looked increasingly comfortable facing the rim at the 2021 Balling On The Beach event, able to take advantage of matchups on the low block as well as the high post. Chen will need to continue improving his explosiveness laterally but he possesses the awareness, confidence, and skills necessary to have an impact at the next level.
Michael ‘MJ’ Feenane | Miami, FL | Class of 2025
Feenane remains a relatively underrated piece for the Nightrydas Elite (FL) team, despite the fact that he is an original roster member, dating back to the club’s days as the C.B.F. Lightning (FL) when these soon-to-be high school freshmen were in elementary school. The 6-foot-4 forward consistently found ways to get open and contributed from a variety of spots on the court in what was an impressive 2021 Balling On The Beach tournament eighth-grade championship run. A perimeter-oriented prospect with a reliable stroke extending beyond the three-point line, Feenane was efficient with his touches, and competed with intelligence and dexterity.
Cowan Innocent | Palm Beach, FL | Class of 2025
An unpolished, but rangy and athletic prospect with ample natural tools, the 6-foot-5 forward is an ideal example of the opportunities provided to local talents via the 2021 Balling On The Beach platform. Truthfully, I had no intention of watching Florida Stampede (FL) but the group played their way onto my schedule by advancing to the eighth-grade silver bracket semifinals, beating bronze bracket runner-ups 845 Elite (NY) along the way. Innocent was the most physically gifted player on his club’s roster and was productive enough at both ends that his development should continue to be monitored for improvement.
Bobby Montgomery | Hyattsville, MD | Class of 2025
Montgomery made the most of his minutes on the floor with Team Durant (MD) during the 2021 Balling On The Beach tournament. A 6-foot-5 forward with emerging skills, he’s a long and lean frontcourt prospect, and competed with excellent energy throughout the weekend. A bouncy athlete, Montgomery altered shots in the paint and pursued rebounds both inside and outside of the lane, while also capitalizing on second-chance baskets around the rim. He appeared to be very coachable and genuinely receptive to feedback while being a highly supportive teammate; only adding to the list of intriguing intangibles that he brings to the hardwood.
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