The Las Vegas March Madness Spring Kickoff took place Friday, March 11th through Sunday, March 13th. The event which took place at the Las Vegas Basketball Center featured middle school programs from 5th through 8th grade. Because of the showcase style of the event, I decided to spend time identifying prospects vs following winning teams. Luckily for me, there were several talented prospects on hand for me to make detailed evaluations. In this article, we take a look at player evals from the event
Benjamin Brown 5’8 SF Desert Freeze 2028 – I got the chance to see Brown about 6 months ago and I thought he was a solid player. I came away even more impressed this weekend. Brown has shown tremendous improvement in his overall game. Previously he was more of a back-to-the-basket post, however this weekend, the 6th grader showed a nice floor game, operating in P&R offense while making plays for teammates. He’s a big guard with a pass-first mentality, and he showed vision and touch, hitting teammates with on time and on target dimes.
Joe Mckinney 5’11 PF CME Bulls 2028 – Mckinney is a big-bodied post. The hard nose forward didn’t blow anyone away with his athleticism, however, he was a dedicated below-the-rim rebounder. Mckinney battled tirelessly on the inside showing good hands and a lot of fight. While rebounding was probably his top skill, he also proved to be one of the better low post scorers, turning over his left shoulder to score the ball with his right hand.
Laronte Johnson CG CME Bulls 2026 – David is probably the prospect I was most familiar with. The game looked like it slowed down for him this week. The lefty played with a good pace, which kept defenders off-balance, allowing him to get into the lane. He knocked down a couple of shots in catch-and-shoot situations, which was huge because his 1 v 1 and shiftiness made him one of the most difficult covers at the event.
Brennen Cuello 4’10 PG CME Bulls 2028 – I remember Cuello from my middle school combine back in the fall, so definitely wanted to check him out. I was most impressed by his improved handle. The PG showed a nice handle, using a few CODs. He’s small so he has to be shifty, and Cuello showed he has plenty of that in his game.
Josiah Stroughter 5’10 CG CME Bulls 2026 – This was my first look at Stroughter as he’s been gaining a lot of attention for his play against top competition. The combo didn’t disappoint. He looks the part, with a good frame and long arms, however, his game speaks for itself. Stroughter is a good athlete who spent some time on the rim despite missing a couple of dunks. His explosiveness combined with wiggle and advanced handle made him one of the toughest 1 v 1 matchups at the event.
DJ Hunter 5’1 PG CME Bulls 2029 – Every time I looked up all I could see was the back of Hunter’s jersey. The guard was one of the quickest players on the court, going by defenders, and sprinting to the rim. Hunter’s overall speed combined with his wiggle kept consistent pressure on the defense.
Deshaun Byrd 5’3 PG CME Bulls 2029 – Byrd was good offensively but he caught my eye with his defense. An intense on-ball defender, the 5’3 PG stayed in opponents’ face, and he wasn’t shy about letting them know. Byrd has good lateral quickness and quick hands, key ingredients for any defensive stopper. Offensively he scored most of his buckets by getting into the paint and drawing fouls on defenders who were a step slow.