Last weekend had a nostalgic feel to it because it’s been a while since the industry had high level grassroots games in July in Las Vegas. From The Sportsradar Showdown to the Las Vegas Big Time, and Elite 64 Summer Championships, the gyms with packed with college coaches.
Let’s recap what I saw and hand-out some evals.
Larry Johnson, DeMarco Johnson Shine With The Cali Stars
Premier players in their respected class, Larry Johnson (2024) and DeMarco Johnson (2025), suited up with the Cali Stars at the Elite 64. It’s interesting watching Larry Johnson play. A right-handed guard that heavily prefers attacking left. He thrived in transition as a ball handler, passer and finisher. Holds a quick first step and can get to the rim and finish. Larry Johnson's pull-up game is solid and can connect when the defender plays the drive. Like his length, athleticism and rim pressure he hands out. One of the shiftier guards I got to evaluate this weekend was DeMarco Johnson. Can really break his defender down off the bounce and finish around the rim in an array of ways. Wide cross-overs, split double teams and can just generate his own look. DeMarco Johnson received an offer from Illinois and Virginia Tech after his performances.
Isaiah Harwell Puts On Show
I enjoy watching the Utah Prospects group because they play the right way. They move the basketball, team defend, communicate and most importantly they make shots. All were the ingredients in their successful Summer with a Adidas 3SSB Title and a championship game appearance at the SportsRadar Showdown. The main player to note is five-star 2025 guard Isaiah Harwell. His game keeps polishing up each time I see him. The passing is what caught my eye, as he set-up his teammates to be in ideal scoring opportunities in the half-court and in transition, advance the ball to get easy and quick buckets. Harwell also exhibited his scoring prowess. Coming off a pick-n-roll and connect, in isolation, or use height and size advantage in the mid-post. I also like his offensive versatility and growth in his handle and decision making.
Sportsradar Showdown Evaluations
Derik Queen, 6’9 2024 PF - Team Thrill: Was a man amongst boys. Best player/performer at the event. Led his team to a championship this weekend. Couldn’t stop him on the block from scoring or when he’s facing up because of his advanced footwork, touch, passer vision and I.Q. Not a whole lot that needs to be said about him. Was one of, if not the most, dominant player I’ve seen this summer.
V.J. Edgecombe, 6’5 2024 SG - Southeast Elite: There’s an argument that he may be the best 2024 player in the country. A legit one. Now that may not be the case right now, but V.J. is a player! Athletic guard with powerful finishes. Can create and score, embraces playing defense and is disruptive as an on-ball and team defender. He plays with an edge, and has polished up his game immensely since my first viewing of him last September.
Jamie Vinson, 2024 6’10 PF/C - Southern Assault: Talk about improvement, Vinson has figured out how to consistently be productive on the floor. A stretch big that’s a reliable shooter as a pop-trail guy. He has solid length to his frame and that allows him to alter shots at the rim or when he’s closing out on a shooter. He still could get tougher and get his motor up in larger spurts, but his presence is showing more in games than it has been in the past.
Dillon Battie, 2024 6’6 Tweener - Team Trae Young: Can impact games without even scoring the ball. Athletic, tough 4/3 tweener that’s a capable, switchable defender, above the rim finisher and an improved ball handler that looks to attack and score at the rim from the wing. Shooting is still in the works and needs improvement, but he’s a more comfortable shooter compared to the past.
Modou Thiam, 2025 6’5 Guard - NBA Academy: I like the lefty two-guard’s game. Capable shooter from the outside, holds quality length and vertical pop. Showed off on-point passes and nice reads when driving to the cup. I believe there’s upside with the playmaking down the road.
Khaman Maluach, 2025 7’1 C - NBA Academy: The big fella was a rim deterrent. Any shot in the paint, he was looking to reject. Mobile, quality vertical athlete that communicates well on defense and is fine guarding ball screens. Offensively has some ways to go, but was effective as a finisher on the dunker spot and as a lob threat.
Efeosa Oliogu, 6’6 Wing - Canada Elite: Big time athletic wing that is a terror when he can get a sniff of the rim. Strong finisher off two feet that embraces contact on drives and draws fouls because he can keep a defender on his hip. He can hit the open three or mid-range pull, which allows him to be able to get to the rim and score because the defender can’t give him too much space.
Sir Mohammed, 6’6 Wing - Team Curry: Son of former NBA player Nazr Mohammed. Sir Mohammed is a big, playmaking wing with a strong frame. Uses a mix of drives, drive to post-ups to get to his spots, survey the defense and make a play. Can thread the needle on passes, zips the ball to his teammates and as he improves as a shooter, I think his game can open up even more.
Flory Bidunga, 6’9 C - Indiana Elite: Athletic, lefty big man that’s quick twitched. Looks to dunk everything,can catch everything in his area, block anything he could. The overall skill-set is still a work in progress, but Flory still is a hard-working athletic finisher that’s one of the best players in 2024.
Sunday Night At Big Time Was One To Remember
Kiyan Anthony/Bryce James Eval
Bishop Gorman High School was the place to be on Sunday night as the gym was packed to see 2025 Bryce James (LeBron James’ son) and Kiyan Anthony (Carmelo Anthony’s son) team up with Strive for Greatness to play JSizzle (Jalen Sugg’s program). Every time I’ve seen either Bryce or Kiyan play, I bank on them attracting a large crowd on the court and this game was no different. I want to take a dive on their performance and overall game so let’s get to it.
Bryce, who’s really 6’4 (maybe 6’5) but has a body of a kid that’s still growing so the current exaggeration of the 6’6 billing, I do believe he could reach or surpass as he gets older. Anyways, he started out hot, pushing the ball in transition and getting to the rim and completing with finesse finishes. He splashed his mid-range game and spot up shooting. When his feet and balance and right, he can connect on pull-ups and catch-n-shoot threes. In the second half he wasn’t as productive offensively, as the ball pressure applied got tighter. His handle currently isn’t great versus pressure, translatable length and physicality, so it limits his ability to generate his own look but I feel that’s fine because he’s better as an off-ball cutter and spot-up guy plus he has an understanding of trying to do other things when he’s not scoring.
Kiyan was more assertive with the ball and excels as an outside shooter. Utilized size advantage when he could, as he used his length and improved vertical bounce to finish over smaller defenders. The outside shooting is real as he can connect from beyond the 3-point line and his handle, albeit still has some ways to go in regards to being a primary ball handler and be more efficient getting to spots, has improved and he looked more comfortable on Sunday being the main ball handler and initiating offense. Overall, an improvement from what I saw in the Atlanta and Dallas EYBL Sessions.
With the legacies of their father’s, the limelight will always be on this duo, especially when they get on the court. They are both Division 1 prospects, where their game gets to at the end, time will tell. I do believe it’s not wise to heavily critique their games, as it’s not smart to herald them as future bonafide pros. They got some ways to go like a lot of rising juniors do, some are just further along than others, plus the 2025 is a loaded crop and there is a strong depth of guys that can really play and have a lot of upside, too. So let's just wait and see how it pans out for them like we do for the majority of prospects.
Now To The Game
I talked about the hot start Kiyan and Bryce had in the game as the SFG leas was extended to 18 points. 2025 Brayden Burries played a huge role for SFG as he’s a big guard that rebounds very well for size and position. He’s assertive with the ball in his hands and gets paint touch after paint touch. His motor mixed with his ball-skills, rebounding instincts, finishing prowess and passer vision was on display.
JSizzle didn’t give up though and this game was decided by only one point at the end. 2026 Jayden Moore played a big-part in his team's comeback as he constructed a phenomenal performance. A speedy guard that scored it in multiple ways. Has a big-time first step, strong floater and runner game, capable to streaky 3-point shooter and overall, he's unselfish. Knows when to let his teammate operate and score, as he communicates and gives them the confidence to believe the next shot is going in. Just me nit-picking, I did want him to take over more with his scoring in the last 4-5 minutes of the game, but I like how poised he was for a rising sophomore in a packed gym and his understanding of time and possessions is advanced for a player his age.
One player I did want to note that I thought was very solid in this matchup was 2025 Bryce Cofield. A physical wing prospect at 6’6 that finished through contact. He had timely makes inside the arc, offensive rebounds that allowed his team to get second and third chance opportunities when the opposition was making a run. Little things he did impacted the outcome in my opinion.
NightRydas 16U vs Phenom United 16U
I normally wouldn’t be at the gym at 8:50pm on a Sunday, but if Cam and Cayden Boozer, Darryn Peterson and Jalen Haralson are going to be on the court at that time, I’m sitting on the bleachers. NightRydas had control of the game for the most part with Phenom making runs to keep themselves in striking distance. Cam Boozer is one of, if not the most efficient and complete player in high school basketball regardless of class. Rebounding, handles it well for size, shoots it, posts up and scores, a helluva outlet passer and overall passer period. Oh, and he just turned 16. It looks like the game comes easy for last season's Mr. Basketball USA. His brother Cayden played well, too. He’s a strong guard that uses contact as an advantage to create space and score around the rim. He’s also a guard that can make defenses pay when going under on ball screens, as Cayden has made a name for himself with his play. Alexander Lloyd I was very impressed by. NightRydas play fast and in transition, Lloyd is a common target of Cam’s outlet passes that lead to finishes. Runs the floor, plays with length on both ends, can make open shoots from deep and knows how to play off the ball. Excels in his role and plays to his strengths.
On the other side, I thought Peterson was very impressive. A big guard at about 6’5 that can score and play-make. Operates comfortably as the primary ball-handler and gets to his spots effortlessly to gain a shot he wants. He enjoys making plays for others, but understands his passing will lead to easier scoring opportunities for himself later in the contest. Top point guard in the class of 2025 and one of the top tier of prospects in the country. There’s much to like with Haralson’s game as he has good size, long arms, and a strong frame. A play-maker on the wing. Good decision maker coming off ball-screens, can get to the rim in isolation and overall a tough cover with size, advanced handle and feel for the game.