Texas Boys Basketball

Traveling With Ani: Memphis, Houston & Back to The DFW

Approximately 24hrs in a car, (albeit 16 of those hrs I didn’t have to drive). Traveling to the city which is dubbed, “Home of The Blues” in Memphis, TN for the Iverson Classic. Back to the place I call home (Dallas) then a quick turnaround trip to “Screwston” (Houston, TX; Named after the chopped and screwed pioneer DJ Screw. Felt like sticking with a music theme) for the Holiday Hoopfest. A lot of gas station stops, junk food eating & basketball watching. Let’s travel with Ani.

 

Memphis, TN 📍

 

Up 5am to get ready and catch my ride. After the car maintenance was complete, we were on the road. I slept about half the way (Shout out to my driver) and arrived at Bartlett HS for the Iverson Classic. The first Premier Matchup of the night included Ischool in a showdown vs a talented Tennessee Prep Team. ‘22 Keyonte George was in a groove the whole game as he finished with 32pts & connected on 8 three pointers. Keyonte holds an effortless shooting stroke & defensively more than held his own. Showed intent on disrupting opponents offensive flow. ‘22 Cruz Davis made an impact on the game and just overall that weekend. Was aggressive with the ball in his hands. Settling less for jumpers & just was getting to the basket & finishing. A wiry lefty that’s showing an improved live-dribble game. Hearing the most from HC  Wayne Tinkle at Oregon State & New Mexico Assistant Coach Ralph Davis. Someone that really caught my eye on Thursday was Junior Jayden Colloway for Ischool. Long, agile forward that was priding himself on the glass & as a rim protector. Still fairly raw offensively but he plays hard, holds a good set of physical tools and looks to slowly be coming together. Ischool gained the win here.

Tennessee Prep had a trio of standouts. Sr. big fella James Flippino is a big body, skilled frontline prospect that early on was giving Ischool trouble. Post spins, hook shots, pump fakes, James was showing full offensive arsenal from 15ft in. Interest from NAU & Missouri State. ‘21 Jalen Brown was big-time with his play. Rangy guard prospect with quick first step. Brown sliced & diced his way to the basket, knocked down a timely jumper to halt runs & competed on defensive end. Senior Lidtrell Blocker led the way scoring for Tenn. Prep with 28points. Excels as a slasher and in transition, he was racking up points by the bunches. Athletic wing that knows how to finish around contact & length. Holds offers from St. Bonaventure, Sienna, Buffalo & hearing from New Mexico & St. Johns.

Day 2 opens up with a premier matchup between traditional Memphis powerhouse Bartlett HS, who sports junior guard Amarr Knox, in which Memphis offered that morning. On the other side was Ischool. It was a back and forth affair, as Ischool held one to two possession leads for most of the day and ultimately secured a 78-75 win. Amarr was fantastic with his overall play. Guard with a big-time first step and touch around the rim. The previous day vs Calhoun HS, who has one of the top guards in 2021 with JD Davidson (Will get to him in a bit) he manufactured a whopping 37 points. Knox can hit shots from deep, although on the streaky end as a shooter, but his handle mixed with athleticism and length was displayed. Along with a Memphis offer, Denver has offered Amarr & he has received interest from Belmont. Another player to note is Terrance Jacobs, who’s a 2022 guard prospect that was stellar with his play. Excelled as a scorer & passer in pick and roll & defended full length of the court. A for sure Division 1 prospect. Jacobs holds an offer from TSU according to source.

Keyonte George continued with his strong play with a 24pt outing. Cruz Davis compiled 12points in a win and 2022 forward Tre Clayton was very solid, obtaining 13points and I accounted for 8rebounds. Doing the dirty work for the Cougars.

Like I previously stated, I’m going to hand out  about my analysis of Alabama signee JD Davidson. Witnessed two games and the one thing I took away on the way back to Dallas was that he holds a mass amount of ability. Next level body, athleticism and when lasered in, he can impose his will on games from both ends of the floor. Was blocking shots as a weak side defender, breaking opposing guards off the bounce to get to the basket, and don’t be late to the helpside, because he’s capable of throwing it down in traffic. Still some things that need to be cleaned up but Davidson possesses a lot of ability.

Arlington HS had a convincing win vs Calhoun on Friday and a ‘21 prospect I haven’t seen in a while in Madison Peaster leads the charge for the Tigers. A strong built, athletic guard that thrives getting downhill and finishing through contact. Senior Isaiah Jones was also impressive, A sturdy built forward with some intriguing inside/out scoring capabilities. Speaking of intriguing, 2023 Javar Daniels is just that. A tall, lanky big man with some skill to him. Physicality and speed sometimes gets the best of him but he shows flashes of promise. A potential diamond in the rough with this one that grew 5inches in the past year.

Now I head back home and I arrived at the crib at 4am.

Houston, TX 📍

Oil change on the car and I’m off to the Bayou City for the 1st Annual Holiday Hoopfest presented by Glen Smith. The Fertitta Center is a beautiful venue to hold basketball games as it’s one of the best atmosphere’s I’ve been to in College Basketball. Anywho, the first matchup of the night was Shadow Creek vs Atascocita. The Eagles took off early vs Shadow Creek holding a double digit lead for most of the first half. Seniors Tom Hart (Physical Guard that puts pressure on defense), Justin Collins (Lefty with shooting stroke and plays with plus effort) & Christian Ashby (Shooter with solid positional size) brought the energy early and were disruptive on both ends. Shadow Creek stamped its way back with strong play from Houston signee Ramon Walker. The summer quarantine weight is off him and he’s been on a year offensively all season. Recorded 28pts and was getting his points in an array of ways. Ramon has entered the conversation as a top 10 player in the state and honestly I don’t like being a prisoner of the moment but could be higher than that with legit argument. ‘22 Cam Amboree was solid. Has made strides as a PG. Doing a better job getting others involved and knowing when to get his as well. Was a steady contributor for the Sharks & has made strides in overall game. ‘22 Shawn Jones had his moments. Slow first half but got it going some in the second half. Started rebounding and getting to the basket to generate a rhythm. Atascosita ended up with the three point win as they are going to be a very tough team to beat in the playoffs.

The nightcap game included an Emoni Bates led YPSI Prep out of Michigan vs “The New Kids on the block” in Legacy School of Sports Science that holds 7 Division One signees right now. Legacy got off to a hot start, Unsigned senior Aaron Scott capped off the 10-0 run with an on-ball steal off of Emoni Bates which subsequently led to a one-handed slam. YPSI got in a groove as the trio of ‘22 Dillon Hunter, Emoni Bates & 2023 prospect Marlon Barnes Jr. Led the way for a 14pt lead vs Legacy.

Dillon Hunter is regarded as one of the better guards in the control. A power athlete, that impacts winning. Rebounds well for size & position, embraces contact & gets to the teeth of the defense, just several things that Hunter did to lead his squad to a victory. Emoni showed why he’s regarded as the best player in the 2022 class and getting looked at as an NBA prospect. Fluid scorer that scores it in all three levels. Smooth jump shooter that’s un-bothered by a contest when launching it. Still was sloppy with ball from time to time, accumulating 6 turnovers but can still obviously see the talent. Marlon Barnes impressed me. Good positional size for a wing with a nice stroke that extends beyond the three point line. Native of Cleveland, Ohio, Barnes is a young prospect that utilizes length defensively and makes defenses pay when given space to shoot.

For Legacy, Prairie View signee, PJ Neal was perfect from the floor. 14pts as he was 5-5 from the field and 3-3 from the free throw line. Neal has made strides as a shooter and although still has ways to go, always good to see progress. ‘21 Aaron Scott was hot early offensively and took the responsibility of guarding Bates. A long, wiry wing-forward with smooth mid-range game. Another unsigned senior for Legacy is Sir Isaac Herron. Had three blocks you see from forwards at a Power 5 School. Shots weren’t falling but his effort, shot altering/blocking impact and willingness to get on the boards was present.

 

Dallas, TX 📍

The late drive back to the DFW is a very common trip and it was as smooth as they come. Three days of high-level basketball providing me good evaluations from a multitude of players. Talk to guys again about the next field-trip.