The opening night of the annual NY2LA Sports Spring Extravaganza tipped off in Minnesota and with it came the debut of the NY2LA Basketball Association at the 15U-17U levels.  After an evening of action here’s a few of the individuals that stood out on opening night at the 16U level…

TOP PERFORMERS
2018 6’4” Mitch Listau – Wisconsin Swing – Listau is a skilled two guard. While his shot was touch and go in the Friday evening session, his shot looks good leaving his hand even when he misses. Mitch moves well without the ball, which isn’t a common trait at this stage of the game for young players. The Waunakee backcourt member does a solid job slashing and finding his scoring spots on the floor. If he can’t get his shot off, he doesn’t try to over dribble, he gives the ball up easy and continues to move without the ball trying to find space in the defense. Listau’s production should continue to elevate given his natural instincts and skill.

2018 6’4” Robert Harvey – All-In Athletics Young & Restless – Harvey was flat out tough in the Friday night session. As a close game went later into the night against the SYF Players, Harvey continued to attack and make plays for is team. It can be argued that he got better as the game went on. The Hillcrest product got into the lane at will at times in the game and he took contact and finished. He’s a solid ball handler and can get in and out of his dribble rather quickly. While there are some details in becoming a point guard that Harvey needs to focus on, he is capable of being a scoring guard as well as a pretty skilled and willing passer that translates into him developing into a playmaker down the line.

2018 6’1” Rashad Williams – R.E.A.C.H. Legends – Williams formed a nice duo with teammate Anthony Roberts in the Friday night session as both guards showed toughness, range from the perimeter and confidence in their shooting ability. The Wayne Memorial guard had a stretch in the Legends’ game against the Wisconsin Swing where he connected on three consecutive three-pointers. Aside from being able space the floor, Williams is a capable point guard who can break down a defense and get to the rim or score in the paint on the move.

2018 6’2” Anthony Roberts – R.E.A.C.H. Legends – Roberts delivered daggers all game long against the Wisconsin Swing. His production was a huge key to keep the game close and was much needed. There is a confidence in Roberts’ game that allows him to be a good perimeter shooter. He never showed even a glimpse of backing down from a big shot.

2018 6’3” Mason Steffen – Wisconsin Swing – Listed as a combo guard, it was clear after his showing against the R.E.A.C.H. Legends in the Friday night session that he is naturally wired to be a point guard. Mason sees the floor well and delivers timely and accurate passes that keeps the offense in rhythm. His shot was come and go, but he showed solid ability in the mid range area. Once his perimeter jumper catches up with his jumper inside the arc, Steffen will make it difficult for opponents to game plan against him.

2018 6’3” Zion Young – SYF Players – Young is a legitimate three-level scorer. He possesses a smooth stroke combined with range from the perimeter. He has solid length and a solid build to his 6-foot-3-inch frame. He has a pretty quick release and showed he can create space with his dribble and quickly pull-up. Young is also pretty bouncy demonstrating he could finish strong above the rim. 

2018 6’7” Orlando Allen – SYF Players – Allen has a thing and long frame that he uses pretty well on both ends of the floor. He helped contest shots at the rim, grabbed some boards and he finished plays in transition. While not especially explosive, he is certainly crafty around the hoop. He has plays where he caught the ball around the rim, made a move and scored. He did so even when there was contact. If he can expand his range, Allen has stock booster potential.

2018 5’8” Chase Adams – SYF Players – Of you need an example of why size doesn’t determine how good a prospect can be at basketball, take a look at Chase Adams. He’s very quick with the basketball end to end and has good court vision. He can push the action and still remain in control and find open teammates. His size helps him get into the crease of the defense and when he gets in the lane his vision shines. Adams is able to break down the defense and drive and dish to open teammates. He can do more than just create offense for others as Adams showed he has a good mid range game that opposing defenses must respect. Chase is definitely a fun playmaker to watch.

2018 6’5” Deandre Gholston – SYF Players – Gholston’s strength is to be a good glue guy. He’s someone who rebounds with determination and boxes out, contests shots at the rim as if he’s offended you would try to score at the rim, and he’s a capable scorer. Deandre has the size and possesses a willingness to defend multiple positions as well. 

2018 6’10” Brady Heiman – OSA Crusaders – The Platteview rising junior proved to be one of Friday’s biggest surprises. Heiman showed just enough flashes in his offensive game to make it clear that small schools should be taking a look at him. He did a good job of keeping plays alive by tipping balls and running the floor and securing offensive rebounds on missed shots. Brady had a nice play where he secured deep post position, he caught a well timed passed and he went up with a short hook over his left shoulder for a paint score. Defensively he was engaged, contested shots and covered a good amount of ground making it tough for opposing players to get an easy look in the lane. Heiman does have a lot of work ahead of him, but a foundation is there.

PLAYERS TO WATCH
2018 6’2” Cedric Johnson – OSA Crusaders
– Johnson was one of the more engaged defenders on or off the ball in the under 16 association during the Friday session. He did a solid job helping teammates when needed and he almost never missed a defensive assignment. Offensively Cedric is a capable scorer. While his overall production was on and off, he handles the ball well enough to break his man down and he uses that to attack the paint. Once he gets stronger physically and develops his jump shot, Johnson has the potential to be a two-way player.

2018 6’2” Christian Dickson – Minnesota Select – There is something to be said for point guards who can be the calm in a game that can be played up and down at a fast pace. That calm is the poise demonstrated by Dickson. He did a solid job initiating the offense, reading the defense on the occasional pick and roll and showed he could make open threes if his man plays off him. Christian keeps his head up when handling the ball and surveyed the floor well for his team. 

2018 6’6” Mitchell Weber – Minnesota Select – Dickson’s teammate, Mitchell Weber, was the recipient of some good passing and he used that to convert easy buckets around the rim. The biggest impact Weber provides for this team is energy. He competes at both ends and did a solid job of keeping balls alive when trying to rebound. At this stage, he seems to be much more of a catch and finish undersized four. If he can continue to develop his post game and add a reliable jump shot, Weber’s energy could eventually combine with some solid skills. To his credit, one of those catch and finish plays was a strong dunk as he caught a tough pass along the baseline.

2018 6’7” Latrayvion Jackson – R.E.A.C.H. Legends – Jackson’s game is both intriguing and a bit mysterious. At 6-foot-7, Jackson has a long, wiry frame. His length makes his athleticism look that much better simply because of his body type. While he’s not explosive, Jackson showed flashes of being able to handle the ball and get to the rim. If he can improve his athleticism and physical strength, there is something very intriguing about him. Offensively he’s primarily rebound and put back at this stage. He did take one jump shot near the perimeter that did not fall, but looked good leaving his hand. It’ll be interesting to see how much Jackson will develop.

2018 6’5” Toraze Dobbs – All-In Athletics Young & Restless – Dobbs is also a glue guy type. He communicates pretty well on both ends of the floor, is willing to set picks to free up teammates, he helps on the glass and can make the occasional three-pointer. It was his three ball that splashed through the net in the Friday night session game against SYF that sent the game into overtime tied at 69.

2018 6’7” Chinedu Okanu – All-In Athletics Young & Restless – Okanu has the potential to be a real paint presence as he matures his game. He contests and block shots well. He already has some pretty good size on him. Once he learns how to consistently use that size to carve out space in the paint he can increase his production on the glass.

2018 5’10” Jalen Hughes – All-In Athletics Young & Restless - There’s a toughness a dependability about Hughes that is appreciated. It’s not because of the usual things: size, athleticism, or big production. Rather it’s the simple things like being steady and making simple plays and open shots. There’s nothing wrong with being solid and Hughes should be recognized for that.