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 week four of the tournament style showcase. Special Thanks to Van Johnson Jr of Baseline Hoop Sports for inviting me out to scout this event.
Favour Aire / Bishop McNamara / New World / Center / 6'10 / 2022 -
Aire continued his dominance inside defensively where he once again proved, he is one of the elite rim protectors and rebounders in all of high school basketball. In helping lead New World 17U team to a 3-0 run during week four of the coalition, Aire averaged 3.6 blocks per game, including a 6 block performance in a win over DC Premier. Offensively, he has a way to go, but he is a solid finisher inside and can run the floor like a wing for lobs and easy baskets. He's a force inside that changes the dynamic of a game every time he steps on the floor.
High Major DI
Alphonzo Billups III / Varina HS / VA Havoc / Wing / 6'6 / 2022 -
An athletic, swiss army knife wing. After a subpar performance (7 points, 7 rebounds) in a blowout loss to Team Melo, Billups rebounded with a monster all around performance against the District 16U. Billups finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals in a close loss. What makes Billups stand out in addition to his size, skill and athleticism is his motor. He competed the same way when his team was down big to Team Melo as he did when they were close to defeating the District. A player to keep a CLOSE eye on.
Mid-High Major DI
Tyson Commander / John Carroll / Team Melo / Guard / 6'3/ 2022 -
Commander didn't waste any time going to work in a blowout win for Team Melo over VA Havoc 79-44. He has been unconscious shooting the ball throughout the showcase and it didn't change this weekend. Commander scored a game high 17 points on 6 of 13 shooting from the field, grabbed 5 rebounds and added 5 steals. Commander's ability to score the ball in a number of ways has in a way become a defense for Team Melo. He pours in points at such an efficient rate that it deflate opponents and then Melo as a whole takes them out. He's the best shooter and one of the top players at this showcase hands down.
High Major DI
Brayon Freeman / Huntington Prep / New World / Point Guard / 6'1/ 2021/ George Washington -
Played well throughout this past weekend, specifically, when it came to distributing the ball and making those around him better. In a dominant win for New World over Prospect U, Freeman had10 assists in 16 minutes of action....oh and he only shot the ball twice. In a win later in the day against DC Premier, Freeman posted 15 points, 5 assists and 5 steals in 21 minutes and in a win on Sunday over DMV Sports Academy, Freeman finished with 8 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. The many ways Freeman can impact the game speaks volumes to how skilled and smart he is as a floor general.
Elijah Hawkins / DeMatha / New World /Point Guard / 5'9 / 2021 (Pictured Above) -
Ran the show masterfully for New World, helping lead them to a 3-0 record last weekend. Hawkins along with Freeman has formed arguably the top back-court in this showcase. Hawkins was extremely impactful on both offense and defense as well as controlling the pace of the game. Hawkins averaged 12 points, 3.3 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1 steal on 13-23 shooting this past weekend. Defensively, he was a pest, giving opposing point guards fits where it was a struggle for them to cross half court. Even though he's small at 5'9, he's tough, possesses every skill required to play the point guard position effectively and is extremely smart. New World will be a tough out come playoff time and Hawkins will be a big reason for that.
Low-Mid Major DI
Caleb Kenney / Douglas Freeman HS/ Team Richmond / Guard-Forward / 6'6 / 2021 -
Man-child of a wing just won't fall off the map, which is a testament to his talent and focus. Kenney had another strong weekend individually while helping push Team Richmond 17U to a 2-0 mark. The athletic, versatile wing posted 17 points and 5 rebounds on 7-9 shooting in a win over DMV Sports Academy, and followed that up a few hours later with 14 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks in a win over New World. Kenney has undoubtedly established himself as one of the better players in the Coalition.
DII- Low-Major DI Prospect
CJ Lee / Clarksburg HS / District Basketball Club/ Point Guard / 6'2 / 2022 -
Lee's eye opening play for the District 16U didn't come close to ending. The District 16U enjoyed a 2-0 weekend with Lee leading the way averaging 19.5 points and 3 rebounds on 63 percent shooting from the field. Lee is shifty with his handle, fearless and relentless attacking defenders. If Lee continues his consistency scoring the ball and being a pesky on ball defender, the District 16U will be in the mix for the Coalition 16U championship.
Low-Major DI Prospect
Deon Perry / Our Lady of Mount Carmel / Team Melo / Point Guard / 5'9 / 2022 -
Perry was pretty much flawless in Team Melos 79-44 win over VA Havoc. The 5'9 floor general did it all, posting 15 points, a game high 9 assists and 7 steals, while only turning the ball over twice. No coach at any level would complain about those numbers. Perry read the defense perfectly and executed with precision, either finding teammates in rhythm ready to score or taking matters into his own hands to score. He's an underrated point guard that can beat a team in a number of ways.
DII-Low Major DI
Ryan Sabol / Gonzaga College High School / Prospect U / Point Guard / 6'1 / 2023 -
Fearless scorer that really impressed me by the way he scored with efficiency from all three levels in a variety of ways. Off the bounce, on the move, transition and driving to the cup, you name it, he did it. While his team struggled to earn a win, it wasn't by lack of effort on Sabols part, the kid came to play and didn't stop fighting until the clock hit 0:00. Sabol posted a game high 23 points and 8 rebounds on 9-14 shooting against New World, scored a game high 24 points on 8-16 shooting against the District 17U, yet, struggled with 8 points in a loss to DC Premier. For the weekend, Sabol averaged 18.3 points on 52 percent shooting from the field. This kid may be one that's coming into his own right in front of us. Follow him closely.
Low Major DI
Miles Webb / St Stephens St Agnes /District Basketball Club / Wing / 6'8 / 2022 -
Webb is simply a versatile, walking double-double. His blend of size, length, skill, athleticism and competitive nature is a difficult mix for opponents to slow down. In two games for the District 17U, Webb controlled the paint for the District, posting 12 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists on 4-7 shooting from the field in a win over Prospect U, and he later added a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds on 6-9 shooting from the field in a win over New World. While he does most of his damage inside, he does possess perimeter skills where he can take bigs outside and break them down one on one that way. Talented forward with a lot of room to grow.
Thomas Whitley / Eleanor Roosevelt HS/ District Basketball Club/ Forward / 6'6 / 2021-
If there is a player that I can point to as far as being consistent, it's Whitley. Every weekend, no matter what's going on with the District, Whitley is going to defend all five positions effectively, score inside and out and rebound. Whitley finished with a team high 14 points on 5-5 shooting from the field and 3-3 shooting from deep, he grabbed 4 rebounds and dished out 3 assists in a win over Prospect U. The next day, Whitley followed that up with 13 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists on 4-5 shooting from the field and 3-4 shooting from deep. He's quiet, but his impact on the game is loud. Whitley and Webb are a dangerous tandem in the front-court for the District.
DII- Low-Major DI Prospect
Cam Whitmore / Archbishop Spalding HS/ Team Melo / Wing / 6'6 / 2022 -
Whitmore made it look easy in Team Melo's win over VA Havoc. The high flying wing scored 14 points on 7-11 shooting, yet added 5 blocks and 2 steals in ONLY 18 minutes of action. I've stated before, covering Whitmore at this showcase, how he's in the mix for being the top player in the area, PERIOD, which is due to the various ways he can dominate a game. As the playoffs approach, I'd advise y'all to get to the gym early, Whitmore is worth the price of admission.
Cardell Dudley Jr is the DMV Regional Scout for the Jim Couch National Training Showcase which is sponsored by USA Basketball and Nike Basketball.
The training showcase has featured 50 ESPN top 100 ranked players over the past eight years.
Alumni includes Cole Anthony, Tobias Harris, Kemba Walker, Jabri Abdur-Rahim, Thon Maker, Payton Pritchard, Hunter Dickinson, Thomas Bryant, Mo Bamba, Wendell Carter Jr and Trevon Duval.