The 2016 NY2LA Next Level Invitational carried on from Mequon Homestead High School on Saturday. Day four featured bracket play in the 15, 16, and 17U open divisions. In arguably the game of the day, DTA outlasted the Wisconsin Playground Warriors in the 17U division thanks to a huge performance by Justin Brookens, who had a performance to remember…

Justin Brookens – 2017 – PG – DTA

Brookens had DTA on his back most of the way in Saturday’s upset win over the Wisconsin Playground Warriors. The electric, 5-foot-7 point guard was hitting some ridiculous shots from downtown en route to a game-high 26 points. Brookens has terrific handles and is very hard to stay in front of. His shot comes off his hands so quick that defenders can’t contest. In the pick n’ roll, Brookens was dynamic. He came off the screen looking to score and put home shots from all over. Brookens also shred the defense with his passing ability and doesn’t need much space to fit the ball into his teammate. A big sleeper in the state of Wisconsin, Brookens is showing his name belongs up there with some of the best. 

Demarius Jacobs – 2017 – PG – All-In Y&R
We’ll see what happens Sunday, but Jacobs has been MVP worthy through four days. Leading All-In Y&R to a win over the Wisconsin Shooters, Jacobs helped break a grind-it-out game open and turned it into a 21-point victory. Jacobs is very bouncy. He will throw down on people on the fast break and swat shots off the backboard on the other end of the floor.

Kobe King – 2017 – SG – Wisconsin Playground Warriors
The Wisconsin commit had a team-high 21 points, but it was not enough as the Playground Warriors fell to DTA. In terms of an all-around package, it’s hard to find someone as skilled as King. The 6-foot-3 wing does everything well. He scores from all three levels, defends on the ball, rebounds, and passes all at a high level. King also does all of it by playing mistake-free basketball as well. With a wrist injury behind him, King has started to shoot the ball much better from three-point range and went on some strong streaks this week. 

Terrence Lewis – 2017 – SF – Playground Elite
Lewis was a man among boys in Saturday’s overtime win over North Dakota Phenom. He scored 16 points in the first half alone and finished with 29 as his team needed a big effort. When Lewis can set up his offense by hitting outside shots, it opens everything else up. A tremendous slasher, there’s nobody tougher going to the rim than Lewis, who is a junkyard dog. The 6-foot-5 wing is also a nightmare in transition. Lewis sprints up and down the floor looking for easy buckets or to simply clean up the mess off the glass. Lewis holds many high major offers. Iowa State, Illinois, Minnesota, and others have tracked him hard this week. 

Luke Loewe – 2017 – G – Wisconsin Playground Warriors
The week came to an early end, but Loewe was very strong throughout. A great two-way player, Loewe carried more of the offensive load and shot the ball very well from mid and three-point range. Loewe can come off screens, slash, post up, and has greatly improved his ability to pull-up off the dribble. Defensively, you won’t find a better on-ball defender in the Midwest. Loewe bodies people up and forces the opposition into tough shots and does so without fouling. He had a great performance in Saturday’s loss to DTA, scoring 20 points. 

Connor Niego – 2017 – F – Chicago Lockdown
Niego had 19 points in a loss to All-In Future Elite Saturday morning. The 6-foot-8 forward has a great feel for the game and does the little things that help make his team successful. Getting better offensively, Niego shot the ball well from the outside and also showed the ability to slash from the high post. Defensively, Niego is a strong rebounder and shot blocker. He always seems to be in good position, keeping his head on a swivel and protecting the paint. Green Bay has offered Niego, while Drake, Western Illinois, and others have been watching this week. 

Koreem Ozier – 2017 – PG – Playground Elite Green
Ozier got off to a fast start as Playground Elite dropped Northern Michigan Drive Saturday morning. A 6-foot-0 point guard that can score and distribute, Ozier scored most of his points early and put the game away in the first half. Ozier does a great job of taking what the defense gives him and make smart plays with the basketball. He rarely forces shots and understands how to draw defenders to him and kick to open teammates. Sam Houston State has offered Ozier, who’s also attracting a handful of other Division 1 programs this summer. 

P.J. Pipes – 2017 – G – Illinois Stars
Pipes was hot in the spring and seems to have hit another level so far in July. The rising senior was working people offensively and hitting shots with a hand right in his face. Pipes went off for 16 points in the first half and finished with 20 for the game. Pipes is playing some of his best basketball early in July and his confidence appears to be at an all-time high. Pipes is really good going 1-on-1. He can shake his defender with ease and either pull-up or get to the rack. While he perhaps didn’t finish around the rim as well as he would have liked, Pipes has definitely improved his athleticism and transition ability to set himself up for better looks at the cup. 

Steve Webb – 2017 – PG – Missouri Hustle
Webb led Missouri Hustle to an easy win over Colorado Fire Saturday morning. He was very active on the defensive end, pestering the ball handler, and turned a number of steals into easy buckets. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound point guard is a smooth operator offensively. He’s got a good blend of strength and quickness and was able to create a lot of offense for his team. Webb has good vision and instincts once he gets into the paint. He dished out a handful of assists and took very good care of the ball. Webb finished with a game-high 18 points in the victory. 

Joe Duty – 2017 – SG – Wisconsin Dynasty

Duty has a nice feel for the game and is skilled in a number of different areas. He’s a guy that can catch and shoot across the perimeter and does a nice job of playing angles off screens to free himself. He can over-dribble in transition at times, but shows he’s confident in his handles to go coast-to-coast and certainly has made the defense look foolish when he shakes them in the open floor. Duty has some underrated athleticism and finished very well around the rim, showing the ability to adjust in mid-air. He is also committed to the glass. At 6-foot-2, Duty aids the bigs and chases down loose balls. He had 13 points, nine rebounds, and three steals in a loss to WOTN on Saturday. 

Tyree Eady – 2017 – SF – Wisconsin Playground Warriors
Although the Playground Warriors were bested by DTA in the round of 16, Eady made a ton of clutch hustle plays that gave his team a chance. Eady was scrappy on the glass and had a bit put back that pulled his team within one late. The 6-foot-5 senior knocked down a couple of triples and attacked the basket well. A strong, athletic wing, Eady is a standout defender with an offer from Lafayette. 

Alec Hillman – 2017 – F – AUSA Hoops Silver
A promising forward, Hillman showed a nice skillset in Saturday’s loss to the Illinois Celtics/Hoopers. His versatility causes some matchup issues for the opposition. Hillman can step out and shoot the basketball and knocked down a couple of triples. He also is efficient down on the block and appears comfortable going over either shoulder. Hillman can play either forward spot and looks like he could develop into a nice offensive weapon at the next level. 

David Hunt – 2017 – SF – TAW
An intimidating prospect, Hunt looks the part at 6-foot-5, 220 pounds. His game is also very loud. Hunt is a very good athlete that can over or through defenders. He killed Martin Bros. in transition during Saturday’s win and out-toughed people around the rim. Finishing with 16 points in short work, Hunt controlled both ends of the floor. He kept people out of the paint as a shot blocking threat and also defended 1-on-1 on the block exceptionally well against taller players. 

Allante Pickens – 2017 – PG – TAW
Pickens was stealing the show offensively for TAW in their win over Martin Bros. The speedy 5-foot-9 lead guard picked the defense apart off the dribble en route to 14 points in a win over Martin Bros. Pickens drained a couple of triples and also worked his way into the paint and hit some tough mid-range jumpers. Pushing the pace for TAW, Pickens made good decisions in the open floor and his transition play was a big reason for Saturday’s blowout. 

Derek Sabin – 2018 – PF – Wisconsin Shooters
Sabin came up big in Saturday’s win over Kessel Heat Black to advance to the 16U quarterfinals. A versatile, 6-foot-8 forward, Sabin dropped 20 of his team’s 58 points in the win. Still coming along and learning how to put all the pieces together, Sabin has the potential to be a mismatch nightmare in the future. He’s long, athletic, and strong. Sabin can handle and shoot the basketball as well. He needs to be a little more selfish as the tools are there to dominate games, but it was refreshing to see his breakout and show flashes on Saturday. A number of Division 1 programs are currently interested in this intriguing big man. 

Jacob Shields – 2017 – SF – RL9
Shields is a hard-working, physical wing who presents quite a challenge to defenders. The 6-foot-6 senior is a terrific slasher and transition player. Shields absorbs contact well at the rim and showed very good ability to hang and finish. The lefty is also a threat from beyond the arc, which opened up a big day for him. Shields scored 22 points in a win over Crossfire and then ended Saturday with a 20-point performance to lift RL9 to another victory over All-In Future Elite in the Gold Division. 

Adam Smith – 2017 – SG – Wisconsin Playground Warriors
Smith has had a really strong week taking over more of the scoring initiative. A sharpshooter who’s been known to get extremely hot in long stretches, Smith has a sweet stroke from downtown and has been hitting at a high rate. A tough ball handler, Smith has also shown the ability to put his head down, attack the paint, and finish against contact. Holding a couple of Division 2 offers and a walk-on opportunity at Minnesota, Smith was in double figures as the Playground Warriors dropped Elite National Basketball Saturday afternoon. 

Alondes Williams – 2017 – G – Young Legends
Finishing his big week, Williams had 15 points in a loss to the Illinois Stars. A strong, physical guard, Williams is so explosive off the bounce and will posterize people if they don’t bring it. The 6-foot-4 senior is best in the 1-4 low. He does exceptionally well in isolation settings and can blow by just about anyone. Williams isn’t a great shooter, but came up with some big outside shots on Saturday, including a three-pointer that temporarily tied the game late. Williams is playing some of his best ball and Division 1 and 2 programs should definitely give a look the rest of July.