Grind Session World Championships Standouts

The high school basketball season has wrapped up in just about every state in America, so we are now in a transition to travel ball in many places. The travel ball season is jumping off in spots such as Atlanta, Houston, and North Carolina. States such as Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio are still amidst their state tournaments, creating a vastly different landscape with regards to where players are in the normal cycle of development and recruiting.

Having watched the Midwest all season long, I rolled out to Vegas to take in some of the NCAA conference tournaments. With the PAC-12, WCC, MWC, Big West, and WAC all playing their respective tourneys in Vegas, there were more games than there were hours in the day. I stopped by Impact Basketball (NBA Draft training facility that has produced more than 50 NBA players) to watch cerebral lefty point guard brothers Dedan “D.J.” Thomas Jr. and Tyus Thomas, who both just wrapped up their high school campaign with Liberty (Henderson, Nev.). Having won the state title last year in Nevada, the Thomas brothers fell short in the championship game for ‘22-23, falling to FAB 50 ranked Durango (Las Vegas, Nev.), but were back in the gym sharpening their game up immediately for the Adidas 3SSB circuit with Dream Vision.

From there, we shot to Phoenix for the Grind Session World Championships. The Grind Session Final Four brought no shortage of D-1 talent by the way of Prolific Prep (Napa, Calif.), Bella Vista Prep (Scottsdale, Ariz.), West Oaks Academy (Orlando, Fla.), and Dream City Christian (Glendale, Ariz.). Ultimately, national powerhouse Prolific Prep won the ‘23 Grind Session title with a 91-79 win over Dream City. Next up for the 35-1 Napa Valley power is GEICO Nationals, set for March 30-April 1 in Ft. Myers, Fla.

Here are a few of the top players that we saw in Las Vegas and at The Grind Session World Championships:

Trey Green, 5’11, PG, Prolific Prep (Napa, Calif.), 2023
The MVP of the Grind Session World Championships definitely put on for his hometown of Charlotte, dropping 30 points (7 3-PT) in the title game and by being a threat to put points on the board every single time he touched the rock. Green has effortless range on his jumper, plays with great pace, and is showing significant growth as a facilitator. Green will have plenty of opportunity to play right away as a freshman, as Sweet 16 (at time of publishing) Xavier will be losing a number of players in the backcourt.

Dedan Thomas Jr., 6’1, PG, Liberty (Henderson, Nev.), 2024
Wrapping up his junior season with a tad of disappointment after losing in the Nevada state title game, Thomas was back in the lab immediately after the season ended. Already playing the game with great pace, Thomas focused on a number of drills involving getting defenders on his back and making himself a scoring threat (similar to Chris Paul) coming out of ball screens. Thomas is one of the most sought after junior point guards in the national and led the Adidas 3SSB in assists last year for Dream Vision, despite playing a year up on 17U.

Yves Missi, 6’11, C, Prolific Prep (Napa, Calif.), 2024
As far as NBA potential is concerned, Yves Missi is right there amidst the top of the Grind Session and his production mirrored that in the championship game. The Cameroonian big man dropped 24 points and 8 rebounds in the title game via a flurry of explosive drives to the basket, powerful dunks, and plays all over the floor defensively. Given the Baylor recruit’s combination of size, explosiveness, and mobility on D, he definitely has the makings of a probable McDonald’s All-American for 2024.

Christian Hammond, 6’3, PG/SG, Dream City Christian (Glendale, Ariz.), 2023
Originally from Denver, Christian Hammond flew under the radar for a little bit there. His brother plays at Colorado and Christian spent some time at So Cal Academy prior to making the move to Dream City. The combo guard impacts the game in so many ways (14 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals) with his ability to defend multiple positions and finish high with creativity. Hammond is off to play for esteemed coach Herb Sendek next year at Santa Clara.

Jason Fontenet Jr., 6’5, SG/PG, Bella Vista Prep (Scottsdale, Ariz.), 2023
Bouncing back from an injury that cost him nearly a full calendar year, Fontenet is one of the elite unsigned seniors that The Grind Session has to offer. He has the size to play both backcourt spots, is a threat shooting the ball from deep, and uses his shoulders/size to finish through contact at the rack. His father, Jason Fontenet, was a point guard at Oregon State and his son will be following in his footsteps at the D-1 ranks.

Tyus Thomas, 5’11, PG, Liberty (Henderson, Nev.), 2026
With lineage certainly on his side, Tyus Thomas is the next in line out of the Las Vegas family of lead guards. His father, Dedan Sr., was the starting point guard for UNLV in the early 1990s and finished top-10 in the nation twice in assists. His brother, Dedan Jr., is arguably the best point guard in the nation for the class of 2024. Tyus himself is no slouch, either. The lefty has a very strong IQ and is a far more advanced shooter than his brother (shot 21/25 from NBA 3PT to end workout) at the same stage. Already owning a Big East offer from Creighton, expect many more to follow when he’s running with Dream Vision in Adidas 3SSB.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *