The Back to School League is currently underway. Hosted by the Las Vegas Knicks, the League features 35 teams ranging from ages 7U – 17U. The league had always served as the unofficial start of the high school season, but according to league director Denard Taylor, it had even more significance this year. ” With so many kids missing out because of Covid, we wanted to get back involved in giving the kids a chance to play”. Games took place at the Tarkanian Basketball Academy beginning at 9 am and ending at 1. The league provided a terrific opportunity to evaluate new young players, and check up on others. Here’s a look at who caught my eye.
Benjamin Brown (Desert Breeze) featured image
I’ve gotten a chance to see a lot of Brown during the last month, his biggest improvement is his shooting. He is starting to grade out as one of the top shooters in his class, and he can shoot it from distance. He nailed a couple of bombs in the game I watched. What made him dangerous is the fact that his best skill is his driving ability. Brown got downhill with ease and showed a knack for finishing from a variety of body angles. His positional size and skill make him a young potential prospect to keep an eye on.
Aaron Mcmorran II (Tribe)
What stood out to me most was this kids defense. Mcmorran played low and in a stance, and at times was able to simply take the ball away from his opponent. Another thing that I liked was his IQ, he played with unique patience when operating from the high post, making the correct decision between, passing and shooting on almost every occasion. He only made 1 three in the game I watched, but he did show a nice stroke and looked natural shooting it from behind the college line.
Eric Hopkins (Desert Breeze)
I’ve seen Hopkins before, but this was the best I’ve seen him look. The first thing you notice is his frame, as Hopkins has wide shoulders and a good upper frame. He competed hard, and it distracts from some of the rawer aspects of his game. Hopkins was a problem on the glass, competing for boards even when blocked out, and doing a good job of grabbing in-traffic rebounds.
Jordan Troya (Sin City Sauce Boyz)
Troya impressed me with his ability to finish a couple of weeks ago at the Labor Day Battle. Today was more of the same. The PG used his wiggle and craftiness to get into the lane and finish with runners and mid-range jump shots.
Vari Floyd Johnson (LV Aces)
VFJ was an interesting player for me. He got my eye with his effort, motor, and rebounding. The wing then mixed it up by showing off some good perimeter skills including knocking down a couple of threes in the game I watched.
Nicolas Coleman (West Coast Select)
Coleman popped for me today. I’m on the hunt for high IQ pg play, and the lefty showed several of the characteristics of just those skills. His combination of instincts and vision was magnificent and he showed it off by hitting several teammates with on-time and on-target dimes. This being middle school basketball, not all of his teammates were able to catch the passes, but his creativity was evident.
Dominick Rudd (Las Vegas Punishers)
I got a glimpse of Rudd a couple of weeks ago when he participated in the Labor Day Battle. I liked what I saw. Today I got a longer look and am officially intrigued. Rudd has a smooth and efficient game. He showed the ability to get out and score in transition as well as create for himself. Rudd used a variety of angles to shield himself from defenders in attempts at the rim. While he did not finish all of them, his craftiness was evident.
This is more of a gut feeling because I only saw a small glimpse of Hunter, but he showed off an elite skill. The PG is an absolute blur with the ball in his hand, showing terrific shiftiness, good ballhandling, and straight-up speed. He showed the ability to be a human press breaker, zooming by defenders in full-court action, and showing the ability to get into the lane in the half-court. With his speed and quickness, I envision him being a heavy paint touch getting PG.