The July LIVE period is one of the most vital times of the year, both for recruits and the college coaches in pursuit of prospects. There aren’t many teams that feature a variety of Division I guys, but Phenom’s Summer Havoc always seems to unveil a new squad with so many intriguing players. That being said, Team Loaded is looking like the odds-on favorite to emerge as that breakout program. They showcase DI prospects at all positions and have the ability to overwhelm nearly any opponent with their versatility on both sides of the floor. These guys play a rugged, unselfish brand of basketball, and win a lot of games as a result. However, July is about scholarships and this team is worth watching for all kinds of college coaches.
It would be difficult to overstate the importance of quality big men in today’s game, even though teams rely on the three-pointer more than ever before. The positional roles have drastically changed, but players with size always find a way to be successful, whether by rebounding, rim protection, or adapting to the modern offensive game. Fortunately for college coaches, this Team Loaded squad has all of the above with Omarion Jay and Dean Reiber.
Both prospects are more versatile than your average big man, but they still have various distinctions from each other. Reiber is quite an intriguing player, who has continually elevated his game on both ends of the floor throughout these last two years. Offensively, he burns teams from all three levels and post-ups whenever he wants. Reiber is incredibly efficient with his touches and seems to score almost every time he touches the ball. His athleticism has always been advanced for his age and size, but now that he’s developed a mean streak, opponents don’t stand a chance. He blocks shots and snatches rebounds at a high frequency, yet still possesses upside as a primary option on offense.
Meanwhile, Jay is more of a throwback big, given his strong, sturdy frame and ability to bully opponents around the basket. He is certainly capable of scoring from midrange and three-point territory at a quality rate, but the interior remains his most efficient area of attack. Like Reiber, Jay stands at 6-foot-9 and excels in the rebounding and shot-blocking departments. There aren’t many guys who can match his intensity, killer’s mentality, which is part of what sets him apart from other prospects. Jay has done an amazing job of consistently improving his overall physique and appears to be in terrific shape for the month ahead. He is really intriguing as a mismatch big man, given his ability to operate the two-man game or draw opponents out to the three-point line and take them off the dribble.
Those two are incredibly valuable to Team Loaded’s plan of attack, but one could argue that Justin Wright is the heart and soul of this team, considering his leadership by example. Offensively, the lead guard is incredibly smart and displays impeccable decision-making with the ball, both when creating for others or for himself. Wright may “only” stand at 6-foot-2, but his frame is rock-solid and opposing guards tend to struggle with his overall physicality. That being said, Wright is as smooth as they come, especially on offense, and he just knows how to conduct an offense at a high level. His game isn’t necessarily flashy, but his phenomenal scoring ability and nearly mistake-free basketball should have college coaches quite enamored at Summer Havoc.
Alongside Wright, we have Daqon “Bobo” Stewart, who is somewhat of a new face on this Loaded squad, yet he already fits like a glove. Since most of the ball-handling duties go to Wright, that allows Stewart to affect every other facet of the game on a frequent basis, by playing with a high motor and never showing fatigue. Offensively, he makes his biggest impact as a cutter, offensive rebounder, and secondary ball-handler. Stewart simply plays harder and more physical than most other guards, which quickly becomes overwhelming for opponents on both sides of the ball. His value might not always show up in the box score, but it’s certainly evident through the eye-test.
Add in the consistency of Jordan Battle, Jahamri Harvey, and Gemini Kerns, who can all coexist together or be featured separately, and thrive in either scenario. Battle is a high-level scorer from the point guard position with a quick first step and the ability to shred opponents from all three levels. He has nice length and knows how to disrupt action on defense through quick hands and quality positioning. Harvey is the only wing of this group, but his role is quite valuable, given his versatility and scoring from the perimeter. Like Battle, he can score from wherever he wants on the floor, but Harvey has even more length and athleticism at 6-foot-4. His best basketball is probably still in the future, but he should be getting a variety of looks this week. The final guard, Kerns, is a true point guard who initiates offense and plays with a consistently high IQ. He prefers to create scoring opportunities for others, as opposed to taking it himself, but Kerns does possess the ability to knock down shots when necessary, especially from three-point territory.
This Team Loaded 2020 squad should have at least fifteen to twenty college coaches sitting courtside whenever they suit up at the Upward Stars Center throughout this week. It’ll be quite entertaining to see how these prospects respond to the bright lights and high expectations, especially with Division I coaches watching the action unfold.