Arriving inside the K-Sports Complex in Manassas, Virginia to check out DC Premiers Combine, I was immediately impressed with two things with the talent on hand. The versatility and skill. Premier had numerous players at all positions that could go one on one with the best of them and make something happen. Yet, those same players also had the know how and poise to play within the team. This was the first meeting of the programs 16 and 17-under teams for this summer and they did nothing short of but impressed during the nearly three hour session.
Below you can find notes (and highlights) of the ultra competitive combine.
#2 (Grey) Justyn Fernandez/ Virginia Episcopal School / SG-SF/ 6'5/ 2022 -
Dangerous, athletic scoring wing, especially off the bounce. Fernandez got to the basket non-stop, scoring inside with either hand or he found open teammates. Fernandez was also effective at defending the 1-3 due his 6'5 frame and quickness out on the perimeter. Getting more efficient shooting the ball is what is holding him back from being among the best in the area.
#20 (White) Caleb Furr/ Highland School / SG-SF/ 6'7 / 2021 -
Another athletic wing that can shoot it with range and if you're not careful, drive and put you in the basket. Furr impressed throughout the evening with his combination of size, shooting, athleticism, I.Q. and the way he utilized all of that to make an impact on both ends, which isn't common anymore. Supremely gifted wing should have his fair share of D1 offers to choose from soon.
#21 (Black) James Gross/ Rock Creek / Combo Guard / 6'3 / 2021 -
A quiet player who chooses to let his game do the talking but as the saying goes, the quiet ones are the ones you have to look out for the most. Gross is a relentless competitor in every aspect of the game. He's a threat to score from all three levels. A willing defender and is a tenacious finisher at the basket. He's fearless and would be a welcomed addition to a lot of D1 programs.
#4 (Grey) Paul Lewis/ Bishop O'Connell / Point Guard / 6'0/ 2022 -
One of the top juniors in the area, Lewis shined during the combine. Despite his size, Lewis is a complete floor general. Lewis set teammates up for easy baskets, rebounded well, got after it defensively and was able to knock down shots from three levels, especially mid range. Scary to see where he will be over the next couple of years.
#12 (White) Kino Lilly/ Landon / Point Guard/ 5'11/ 2021/ Brown Commit -
Kino Lilly, if I had a vote, would've received my vote as having the best performance at the combine. That's how dominant he was. No one could keep Lilly in front of them and he made them pay with deep threes, mid range jumpers, lay-in's, and pinpoint passes to teammates for scoring opportunities. Defensively, opposing guards were struggling to get pass half court when Lilly was defending. He just disrupted everything. He's a special talent and will have Landon making a LOT of noise next season.
#1 (White) Bez Mbeng / Good Counsel/ Combo Guard / 6'3/ 2021 -
Tough minded combo guard needs no introduction, his impressive junior year season was documented by myself throughout Good Counsel's 19-20 season. Mbeng picked up where he left off, being unstoppable in transition and slashing to the basket, playing solid defense and being an adequate play-maker. The biggest improvement was in his 3-point shooting. Opposing guards were slow at first to run out after him when he raised up to shoot from deep, that didn't last long. Mbeng put on the best shooting I've seen out of him from deep and I'm sure that will put a smile on Good Counsel head coach GJ Kissals face. If this level of shooting continues from Bez throughout next season, Good Counsel will have to be in the mix to contend for the WCAC crown.
#2 (White) Wes Peterson / Bishop O'Connell / Combo Guard / 6'5 / 2021 -
Highly effective two way guard who thrived during the combine attacking off the bounce and scoring in a multitude of ways. Peterson used a variety of moves to create space to score from 3-point range, mid range, and inside. He was also effective scoring and making plays in transition. Defensively, he made an impact, using his length to bother ball handlers and contesting the opposition at the rim. Nice talent that will only get better.
#12 (Black) Abdou Samb/ Frederick Douglass / Forward / 6'8 / 2021 -
High motor, athletic big that is at his best defending and rebounding at this stage. Samb is a bit raw offensively, however, he did showcase some nice moves on the block to score inside and is a threat to hit mid range jumpers if opponents aren't careful. It's not far-fetched to say Samb should be a double double machine and among the leaders in blocked shots throughout the area next season.
#11 (Grey) Dominic Strother/ Woodstock Academy/ Forward/ 6'8/ 2021 -
One of the more talented players at the combine IF not the most talented. Strother handle is on par with point guards, which is saying something with him being 6'8. His handle nearly makes him unguardable, especially when he gets to his spots and is hitting his jumper consistently. Strother can shoot with range, take the rebound and go coast to coast, move well without the ball and is athletic enough to play above the rim. Getting stronger and becoming a better passer once he attracts double teams which is inevitable, will elevate Strothers stock from a promising local product to an elite prospect.
#4 (Black) Day'sjuan Waters/ Good Counsel / Combo Guard / 6'4 / 2021 -
The utility man for Good Counsel who just may be their most important player. Waters can do it all. He can run a team, score from all three levels, defend numerous positions and is an underrated athlete, especially being 6'4. He's a swiss army knife player that will always impact the game in some form and fashion which is what makes him stand out. A slept on prospect that is primed to wake up a lot of programs moving forward.
#11 (Black) Zaakir Williamson/ Neumann- Goretti / Forward / 6'6/ 2021 -
Williamson is a match-up nightmare for opponents. During the combine, Williamson was too shifty and skilled for opposing bigs and too big for perimeter players to slow down. His blend of size and skill reminds me a lot of a former Wake Forest standout and NBA vet, Rodney Rogers. Williamson isn't the explosive athlete Rogers was, but the all around skill and big body is very similar. Williamson can score from outside, he's shifty off the bounce, a good post scorer, a solid passer and rebounder. He can be more consistent defensively to truly max out his full potential, and being in tip top shape will dictate his level of impact. He's a special talent, it's just a matter of how bad does he want it moving forward.