Monday, November 3, 2014

"The Finest Fall League" All Star Weekend - Studs, Studs, & more Studs


One of the nation’s top basketball markets is the Baltimore region of the DMV; home to Olympians and superstars Carmelo Anthony and Rudy Gay as well as Will Barton and John Shelby – the area annually produces elite level players at all levels. 

We had the opportunity to attend the All Star Weekend in the newly formed “Finest Fall League” sponsored by Under Amour’s BMore’s Finest and ran by Head Coach “Mookie” Dobbins.  The event had some very exciting and intriguing prospects, immense talent, and some new faces that will impact the national landscape.

Che Evans (CheRantula), 2019 – The 6’5 wing has extreme length and excellent finishing ability; there is a Gervin like feel to his game as he is very effective roaming the baseline and attacking the paint. Now playing with Team Melo he will is slated to showcase his skillset on the national stage this year in the NYBL.  Evans handles the ball well for his size and we are seeing improvement in this area.  A firmer understanding of the push and pull aspect could render Evans an unstoppable force.  A soft touch will have scout drooling as mechanics and pull-up game are fine tuned.  Evans has the ability to be a shutdown defender and can guard multiple positions; as a shot blocker he is above average and can rebound in and out of his area.  Evans should be a regular 5 category contributor he is that talented. Sources advise that Evans may take an additional year of development by utilizing the reclass option; doing so would create a problem for the entire country.

Jarace Walker, 2021 - Baltimore you have a problem, and his name is Jarace Walker and he is about to become a national epidemic. Sometimes players require analysis and sometimes you know within a few possessions that a player is special.  Walker is the latter; the best way to describe Jarace is a young Larry Johnson.  A physical presence with strength and athleticism, great anticipation which makes him an exceptional shot blocker and is tough interior defender with swag to his game.  Just like Johnson Walker doesn’t overwhelm you with his handle; keep in mind he is a natural 5th grader and has more than enough time to enhance this aspect.  What saves him and makes him a match up nightmare is that he only needs one or two dribbles to great where he wants and with a solid looking shot with range to the 3-point stripe he is a certified issue for anyone trying to stop.  Just having arrived to the Baltimore area by way of Pennsylvania he is the perfect fit and further exposure will only enhance what views as a top national prospect – this is a name you will be hearing in the future.

Jason Murphy, 2019 – Basketball prototype body, 6’7 and long. Murphy runs the floor well and is a lane filler on the break.   Rebounds in and outside of his area and he is a multiple position defender.   His face up and back to the basket game need improvement; but the tools are clearly there and he is a player who can impact the game in many other facets while that is achieved.  Soft hands and he is a greedy receiver and a decent passer.  So young with so much upside increased play at an elite level will allow him to climb that ladder faster – when he figures out the speed and KNOWS how good he can be he has the tools to be dominant.

Ahmad Harrison, 2021 – So much to love about Harrison, he is a multi-position, multi-category contributor who lets the game come to him.  As a 6th grader Harrison made the 7th grade All Game and as a contributor at that level.  Great build and frame for a wing; his growth trajectory combined with his skill set may allow him to be a big two; where he can use his versatility to dominate the smaller players in the post and interior and by shooting over top – then beat the bigger one with the dribble and dexterity in the paint.  Exciting to watch currently he simply allows the game to come to him; has the ability to dominate at any time just wonder if he knows it.  Dad has phenomenal size and was a bigtime player in his day – Harrison isn’t going anywhere but up.

Jordan Toles, 2020 – Toles is often referred to from a national prospective; but he actually a native of Baltimore.  An honorary roster addition and a city favorite Jordan as usual didn’t disappoint as he attacked the rim and paint with his usual furiousness notching a dunk or two in the process.  Even in an All Star setting you are still seeing growth in the different aspects of his game especially with pace and seeing things develop and most importantly allowing them to develop. 

 “Fatman” Bogues, 2023 – Appeared in three All Star games and adjusted to the level of play like a seasoned vet.  Bigtime improvement in the jump shot both off the catch and on the bounce, you can tell that a concerted effort has been made in this department.  Scoring is certainly a strength but his “generalmanship” is improving with a less is more approach.  The dribble is being replaced by the pass and the use of angles is coming into play with this pure PG.  A kids that has been good and continues to get better.

Sammy Scott, 2022 – An unstoppable force, right now he does what he wants, when he wants, and where he wants as a lead guard.  There are very few that compare to Scott whose also has a motor that will not stop.  Having the advantage of knowing what he going to be 10-years from now; he has a ton of time to further master the PG position.  Reducing his dribbles to attack is the next aspect that will render him unguardable; there are some cases he has defenders beat and will give them a lifeline; only to beat them like a drum again….but why work so hard?  A baby still he is a new age PG on some nights carrying the scoring load on others he is a Chris Paul like assist machine.  Whatever Scott shows up we love them all each time we see’em!

Cameron Byers, 2020 – Antione Carr, Byers is likely to young to remember him, but is game is reminiscent.  A power game but a soft shooting touch describes Cameron to a “T”.  Performs at a much higher level in an up tempo atmosphere currently as his half-court game is most power orientated; learning to utilize his immense skill set in the half court will make him an even tougher cover.  Development of a go to move he is comfortable with could make him deadly as his explosion increases and he becomes and elite finisher.  Byers is a top player with his current tools and is on the verge of elite status with consistent work and development.

Rahim Dante Ali, 2019 – Another new face courtesy of the “Finest Fall League”; this kids is a certified floor general.  This is the type of player you want in your program, want running your team, and want defending on the other end.  So complete and so cerebral; his pace is excellent – he uses the change and speeds to beat his opponents never forcing anything and making the most of what the defense give as a scorer and a passer.  Additionally Ali can space the floor with a solid looking stroke with range outside the stripe.  Will not jump out at you at first glance but will grow on you possession by possession; development of explosion and core strength will ensure a continued upward trajectory for this very talented young man.

Ryan Conway, 2020 – The name that keeps popping up everywhere is also from Charm City; Conway is scorer by nature who is learning the value of versatility and reading defenses. One of the best pure shooter in the class the growth in the other aspects of the game are making him harder and harder to contain.  A hard worker with a motor; he is another league All Star that will make Baltimore proud. 

Chris Winborne, 2022 – Starting to stretch out Chris is one of the best natural scorers in any class.  He is able to flat out do it in many ways which is value and with increased size he proved that he is going to be a problem for a long time to come.  The mastery of the mid-range game, combined with a solid 3-point stoke, and tough finishing game makes him a star.  Winborne now with increased size and strength and exceptional toughness is poised to become a multi-position defender and a lock down stopper.  A silent assassin on the court he assaults the score books and impact the game while he’s on the floor.

“Ziggy” Reid, 2019 – The consummate stretch four; great combo forward size; can put the ball on the deck and is physical enough to dish it out and tough enough to receive it.  Very effective from the baseline and high post at both elbows – rebounds and can take it off the glass and push.  A solid 6’4 the stroke is consistent; very good at many things what will he be great at?  A tough cover due to the array of tools at his disposal; a skillful big with a high ceiling we like Reid a lot; swagger and confidence take this kids game to the next level as he has the goods.  Wont wow you with speed or athleticism he is a true ball player think a less refined Adrian Dantley at this juncture. 


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