Updated: Aug 13
Select AAU programs from Maryland, Washington D.C. ,Virginia and Philadelphia came to the St James in Springfield, Virginia to square off in the inaugural I95 Coalition Basketball Showcase. The I95 Coalition, which was hosted by Team Durant and The St James, is a tournament style showcase that will be held every weekend throughout August and will conclude Labor Day Weekend with a champion. The objective is to give the players of participating programs as much exposure as possible to lessen the blow of regularly scheduled circuit/showcase games being canceled for the summer due to COVID-19.
Let's take a look at who shined during the opening weekend.
Special Thanks to Van Johnson Jr of Baseline Hoop Sports for inviting me out to scout this event.
Sam Ayomide / Phelps (PA)/ Team Durant / Center / 6'11/ 2021 -
Ayomide is a grown man in the paint. Ayomide, in a time where players with the size of a center are focused on being out on the perimeter trying to be the next Kevin Durant or Giannis Antetokounmpo, understands his bread and butter is dominating the paint. He runs the floor well, protects the rim with emphasis, is a ferocious rebounder and tries to dunk everything out of the post. Right now, he's limited with his arsenal of post moves while being right hand dominant. Becoming more skilled in the post, adding a consistent mid range jumper to go with his motor, size and athleticism, will make Ayomide a dominant walking double double at the next level and possibly beyond.
High Major Prospect
Darren Buchanan / Wilson HS / Team Durant / Wing / 6'5 / 2022 -
Buchanan is a hard match-up for opponents due to his versatility and skill. He can defend 1-4 and has the skill to play multiple positions offensively as well. He can score from three levels, is a solid passer, willing rebounder and is a terror in transition. If he isn't putting someone in the basket, he usually ends up with an opportunity for a three point play. Being consistent EVERY game is the next step for Buchanan to put his name in the mix with the best in the 2022 class nationally.
Mid-Major - High-Major Prospect
Ryan Cornish / Sidwell Friends School/ District Basketball Club / Guard/ 6'2/ 2021 -
Cornish is a fearless scorer and shooter that is also underrated as a play-maker and defender. He already has deep range shooting the ball, is shifty as a ball handler, allowing him to play both guard spots and is a sneaky athlete. Cornish made a solid impact for the District against a tough, physical, Team Richmond. One to keep an eye on.
Kwame Evans Jr/ Baltimore Poly / Team Durant / Forward / 6'8 / 2023 -
Special talent that was as good as advertised. Evans jr is literally capable of playing all five positions during a game effectively, even though, he is primarily used as a wing. In a win over the District 16U team, Evans was at the top of Team Durant's full court press defensively, facilitated the offense, scored from 3-point range, off the bounce and from the high and low post. He has all of the tools to be among the best players in high school, regardless of class. Once he adds strength to his thin frame, it's no question that he will be.
Amani Hansberry / St Johns College HS / Team Durant / Power Forward / 6'8 / 2023 -
Hansberry is a technician on the low block but is capable of stepping out and hitting mid range jumpers at an efficient clip. In a match-up against the District 16U, Hansberry controlled the boards, scored with either hand out of the low post, knocked down fade-away jumpers over both shoulders from mid-range and passed well to open teammates. He isn't the most explosive athlete, however, he more then gets the job done.
Jordan Hawkins / DeMatha Catholic / Team Durant / Shooting Guard / 6'4 / 2021/ Connecticut -
Hawkins may not have put up big offensive numbers, but his presence was felt doing the little things. It's a rare trait for young players. Defensively, Hawkins was outstanding. He applied consistent on ball pressure, made the right rotations to help out, he dug down on drivers, denied passes well and led the team in rebounds in Team Durants win over Team Richmond. Offensively, he added 9 points and 3 assists on 4-8 shooting from the field. Efficient all around impact. UConn has a good one coming.
Caleb Kenney / Douglas Freeman HS/ Team Richmond / Guard-Forward / 6'6 / 2021 -
Kenney literally jumped out at every one with a vicious dunk (although called a charge) against Team Durant. Kenney followed that up later in the day with an impressive 12 point, 7 rebound, 3 assists and 2 block performance against the District. He has a college ready frame and pro level athleticism already. He's a streaky shooter, solid ballhandler but is left hand dominant which limits him at times. He's also a tough versatile defender and effective rebounder from the perimeter. If he works and add some more ball skills specifically a reliable 15 foot jumper and right hand, he will be an impact player from day one at the college level.
DII- Low-Major DI Prospect
CJ Lee/ Clarksburg HS / District Basketball Club/ Point Guard / 6'2 / 2022 -
Lee gave Durant 15U all they could handle. The shifty point guard relentlessly attacked Durants guards either scoring (12 points) or finding open teammates for baskets, nearly leading the District to a big win over one of the top 15U teams in the country. Lee's performance garnered an offer from Bryant soon after the game. Definitely one to watch closely.
Tyrell Ward / DeMatha Catholic / New World / Shooting Guard / 6'6 / 2022 -
Highly skilled, athletic wing with length. Ward scored at will for New World. He was efficient shooting pull up three pointers, pull up mid-range jumpers, he finished strong at the basket and swarmed Durant defensively all game. Ward struggled running pick & roll sets which resulted in a few turnovers as Durant trapped him hard once he came off the screen and forced him into being a passer. When Ward corrects that, he's a triple double threat as soon as he walks in the gym.
Jalen Warley / Westtown School / Team Durant / Shooting Guard / 6'4 / 2021/ Florida State (Pictured Above) -
Highly efficient guard in every aspect. Warley was the best player on the floor as Team Durant knocked off a feisty Team Richmond 59-53. Warley got to his spots and scored at will, finishing with a game high 14 points on 6-10 shooting from the field,3 rebounds and 2 assists. Warley is effective running point or being off the ball, yet is as complete a guard you will find at the high school ranks. Great talent that still has room to improve.
Thomas Whitley / Eleanor Roosevelt HS/ District Basketball Club/ Forward / 6'6 / 2021-
Whitley impressed all game long in a tough loss to Team Richmond, a team that I'm sure you realize by now, made things tough for each opponent they faced. Whitley posted a double double with a team high 11 points and a game high 10 rebounds, on 5-6 shooting from the field. He was good offensively, scoring inside and from the perimeter, yet, his all around defense is what stood out the most. He altered countless shots, not just at the rim, but on run outs contesting open shooters. He helped force turnovers by using his length to get into passing lanes and didn't mind banging with Richmond's 6'9 center Cole Grubbs. The result was Whitley holding Grubbs to 5 points and 6 rebounds on 1-3 shooting, which was huge. The underrated Whitley should get his fair share of offers if he continues this level of production for the remainder of the showcase.
DII- Low-Major DI Prospect
Zy'ever Wingfield / Fork Union / Team Richmond/ Guard / 6'4 / 2021-
Explosive two way guard brought it this weekend. Wingfield averaged 10.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3 assists on 52 percent shooting from the field while helping lead Team Richmond to a 1-1 record against Team Durant and the District Basketball Club. Wingfield is a streaky shooter, but, an explosive slasher and finisher at the basket. Best part of his game is his excitement to defend. He takes pride on being effective on that side of the ball. Improving his shooting will open his game up tremendously.