The Phenom Hoops platform has served as a constant stage for underrated prospects to shine and showcase their true capabilities. Throughout these guys respective recruitment processes, we’ve seen many players get their proper due, but plenty others that haven’t. The two young men that we will look at in this article have overcome two long, very different paths to this point, but they have secured their place at the highest level of Division I basketball.
The new-look Pittsburgh Panthers will certainly draw a lot of attention under the new management of Jeff Capel. After signing Trey McGowens (another Phenom prospect), Capel went out and secured a complementary wing in Audiese Toney from Trinity Christian/Team Felton. Toney is reclassifying up to the Class of 2018 and heading to Pittsburgh in the fall, which could be a foreshadowing of the possible playing time he may receive as a freshman. Many people aren’t fully aware of Toney’s ability and incredible productivity, which he’s consistently put on display over the last two years. Though he stands at a strong 6-foot-6, few coaches have fully unlocked Toney’s abilities as a ball-handler and passer, but Capel definitely could. He’s made strides as a three-level scorer and versatile defender in the last year, but his best basketball might truly be in the near future.
Most people will immediately know Toney, based on the reputation he’s built here in Fayetteville, North Carolina. That being said, UNLV secured a massive commitment in Joel Ntambwe, who you may remember from two summers ago. He played a short stint with Team CP3 and the former Westridge Academy, and was utterly dominant. One of the first times ever viewing Ntambwe, I wrote:
“Intrigue is the name of the game when it comes to 6’8 Joel Ntambwe. I’ve written on him previously and I’m still quite fond of his game (and upside) because it is just so rare for a guy with his size to have such a diverse game. Ntambwe is truly a player that doesn’t have a set position, as he can play anywhere on the floor. Has a next-level frame to go with fantastic length and build; possesses the ability to get the rebound on defense, handle the ball up the floor, and finish or create on the other end. Great rebounder on both ends, and has shown he’s absolutely a bouncy player. Really can do everything well on the floor, doesn’t have many holes in his game. Programs need to start looking into Ntambwe, as he has as much upside as anyone from this event.”
Some things don’t change, and Ntambwe’s status as a high-level player has been maintained since he exited the state of North Carolina. The point-forward still has potential beyond the college game, and it shouldn’t be a surprise if he emerges as a draft-worthy prospect in the coming years at UNLV.