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 two 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 -
Top ranked player locally in the 2022 class got off to a slow start due to the District Basketball Club's intense swarming defense, yet, when he found his groove, Aire helped spark a 19-0 run that blew the game open for New World. Aire posted a near double double with 15 points (7-9 FG), 9 rebounds and 3 blocks but it was the MANY shots Aire altered that changed the direction of the game. He's an elite rim protector, good rebounder and solid scorer inside. With his size, athleticism and length, it's easy to understand why he's seen as the best prospect in the area.
High Major DI
Devin Ceasar / Saint Stephens Saint Agnes / New World / Guard/ 6'1/ 2022 -
Ultra aggressive, athletic, FEARLESS scoring guard shined for New World in a win over the District Basketball Club. Ceasar posted a game high 17 points on strong drives to the basket, mid-range shooting and nice transition threes. Ceasar, although a streaky shooter, can put the ball in the cup at a high rate and carry a team offensively when he gets in a rhythm.
DII- Low Major DI
Tyson Commander / John Carroll / Team Melo / Guard / 6'3/ 2022 -
Commander may be the best shooter in the showcase. The scary thing is he's an all around basketball player with that elite skill. Commander shot the leather off the ball from deep, going 4-7 to post 16 points for the game. His shooting opened things up for his teammates to have room to operate offensively. The gifted guard should continue to have a major impact for Team Melo as the event continues.
Ryan Cornish / Sidwell Friends School/ District Basketball Club / Guard/ 6'2/ 2021 -
Cornish once again stood out for the District Basketball Club 17U team with his efficient scoring in a tough loss to New World. Cornish is one of the most poised, savvy scorers in the DMV high school ranks and he displayed that well, finishing with a team high 15 points on 5-8 shooting from the field, 2-4 shooting from 3-point range in 19 minutes. For most of the game, Cornish was the only consistent offense for the District and when New World put quick defenders on him or threw traps at him, he calmly adapted, got to his spots and knocked down shots. Cornish has emerged as a go to scorer for the District and he's one opposing teams must account for as this showcase progresses.
Low-Major DI Prospect
Nick Evans / Gonzaga College High School / District Basketball Club / Forward-Center / 6'8 / 2022 -
Evans made strides for the District in a close loss to New World. He went to work inside, finishing with a team high 16 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocks on 8-11 shooting from the field. Evans scored inside with both hands, ran the floor, altered shots and defended guards out on the perimeter very well. When Evans is aggressive, he's a totally different player. If he remains aggressive, it changes the dynamic of the District 16U team moving forward.
Brayon Freeman / Huntington Prep / New World / Point Guard / 6'1/ 2021/ George Washington -
Freeman was unstoppable throughout New World's win over the District. His combination of speed, quickness, ball handling and shooting, kept defenders from the District off balance all game long. Freeman scored at an efficient rate off pick an roll actions, spotting up from 3-point range and in transition where he was a one man fast break. As devastating as Freeman was offensively, he was equally as impactful defensively. Freeman suffocated the Districts guards, forcing numerous turnovers and helping hold them to 18 percent shooting from deep. George Washington commit finished with a game high 20 points on 6-12 shooting from the field, 4-8 shooting from deep and 4-6 shooting from the free throw line.
Caleb Kenney / Douglas Freeman HS/ Team Richmond / Guard-Forward / 6'6 / 2021 -
Kenney continued his eye opening run from week one with a 18 point, game high 9 rebound performance against a well coached Philly Pride team. Kenney was deadly efficient shooting 8-12 from the field. 6'6 wing is extremely athletic, has a college ready body and ALWAYS plays with a high motor. You don't have to coach effort and energy with him, which helps him win battles against players twice his size often.
DII- Low-Major DI Prospect
Stevie Mitchell / Wilson HS/ Philly Pride / Point Guard / 6'2 / 2021 / Marquette -
The Marquette commit showed not just how talented he is, but how tough. Mitchell had a nightmare first half shooting the ball, going 1-10 from the field for 4 points resulting in Philly Pride trailing Team Durant 32-23. In the second half, Mitchell exploded, scoring 14 of his game high 18 points on 5-8 shooting from the field to lead Philly Pride to a comeback win 60-52. Mitchell was phenomenal in the second half and showed why he was such a coveted prospect for Marquette. He completely controlled the game on both ends and made clutch play after clutch play to pull off the win. Mitchell has all of the tools to be a standout floor general at the next level and possibly beyond.
Christian Watson / St John's College HS / Team Durant / Wing / 6'6 / 2022 -
Long, skilled, athletic wing was the only reliable offense for Team Durant in a seven point loss to Team Melo. Watson scored in transition, knocked down 3-10 from deep, converted all four of his free throws and finished well off the bounce. He's also a rangy, versatile defender who can defend the one through the three and some fours effectively. Watson finished with a team high 21 points on 7-16 shooting and 4 rebounds.
Cam Whitmore / Archbishop Spalding HS/ Team Melo / Wing / 6'6 / 2022 -
If it's one word I could use to describe Whitmore's performance, it would be dominant. The 6'6 junior put on a show above the rim, finishing with 24 points (11-15 FG), 6 rebounds, 6 steals, 3 assists and 2 blocks to lead Team Melo to a 62-55 win over Team Durant. Whitmore was honestly a man amongst boys all game long. Team Durant struggled keeping Whitmore out of the paint where he exploded to the basket time and time again to score inside. He was active defensively, anticipating passes from Durant's guards resulting in timely steals, while also using his off the charts athleticism to block and alter shots at the rim. Whitmore is a more consistent jumper away from being the undisputed top player in the area and it wouldn't be close.
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.