South Carolina Top 80 Evaluations
Coach: Michael McCray
#10: 5’9 ’22 Shane Blakeney (Rock Hill, SC)
Starting things off, we look at a player that showcased an intelligent and unselfish approach to both sides of the ball, Shane Blakeney. He’s a point guard prospect with great quickness and a fundamentally sound feel for the game. Blakeney does a nice job of initiating the offense and moving without the ball as a cutter; he doesn’t force the action and plays within himself. Defensively, he was among the top players in his age group and forced numerous turnovers at camp. Next in his development process is continuing to add strength, as it would allow him to become a better rebounder and penetrator. Coach McCray: “Shane is a very fundamental guard with a high basketball IQ. He’s a good on-ball defender that is fully capable of knocking down the wide open three-point shot. He also has a very great attitude.” Blakeney is just entering his freshman season and has already built a terrific foundation as a player. He’ll continue to improve over time and should definitely be a prospect worth monitoring.
#18: 5’11 ’21 Darius Porter II (Hopkins, SC)
Next, we look at a player that was able to make solid contributions throughout camp, Darius Porter II. He’s a guard prospect with nice length and fantastic open-court speed. Offensively, Porter is at his best operating in space, where he’s able to blow by opponents and touch the paint. He displays solid footwork and works hard on defense, looking to make hustle plays whenever possible. Porter is quite problematic in transition and scored a strong amount of points on fast-break opportunities. Next in his development process is continuing to work on the consistency of his jumper from midrange and three-point territory, as it would make him a more complete offensive player. Coach McCray on Porter: “Darius is lightning fast in the open floor. He tends to get out quick in transition pushing the ball at a high pace. Darius plays with great energy and is a fearless competitor.” Porter enjoyed a quality showing and should look to build off his time at camp.
#28:6’0 ’21 Jordan Martin (Columbia, SC)
Moving onto a player that displayed a consistent ability to make plays on both sides of the ball, Jordan Martin. He’s a strong-bodied guard prospect that takes genuine pride in his two-way efforts. Offensively, Martin is typically slotted away from the ball, which allows him to expose defenses with his cutting and ability to knock down open jumpers. He looks to make the extra pass whenever possible and showed quality vision in traffic. Right now, Martin is arguably better as a defender, where he’s able to eliminate all operating space for opponents on a pretty frequent basis. Next in his development process is becoming a more committed rebounder, as it would allow him to become a more complete two-way presence. Coach McCray on Martin: “Jordan moves very well without the ball. He possesses the skill of being in the right place at the right time. He has a knack for being around the ball. His ability to stop a ball-handler in their tracks is a tremendous asset.” Martin brought a clear competitive streak to camp and enjoyed a solid two-way showing as a result.
#34: 6’0 ’20 Jordan Jones (Florence, SC)
Continuing onto a player that knows how to provide his team with a steady, reliable, two-way presence, Jordan Jones. He’s a point guard prospect with nice strength and an excellent feel for the game. Offensively, Jones does a terrific job of running a team and getting everyone involved; he takes care of the ball and makes the right pass whenever possible. He showcased the ability to initiate offense, relocate without the ball, and knock down open jumpers throughout camp. That being said, his defensive prowess was even more useful, and he made opponents uncomfortable in a variety of ways. Jones forced steals and jumped passing lanes with regularity. Next in his development process is improving the utilization of his off-hand, as it would make him a more complete offensive player. Coach McCray on Jones: “Jordan is a terrific team player that gave tremendous effort on the defensive end. He has the ability to knock down jumpers when left alone. Jordan has the proper footwork that allows him to be in the right position to stop the ball. He is a floor general at the point guard position.” Jones made an excellent impact at camp and will be one to keep an eye on, as he’s just entering his sophomore season.
#42: 6’1 ’22 LeBron Thomas (Bishopville, SC)
Next, we look at a player that has already begun to generate a lot of buzz across the state of South Carolina, LeBron Thomas. He’s a point guard prospect with incredible vision and playmaking abilities. Thomas is young, yet already possesses impressive feel and instincts on offense, able to manipulate on-ball defenders with his quickness and carve up the interior with his craftiness. He scored in various ways at camp, knocking down pull-ups, frequently finishing at the rim, and showcasing a nice arsenal of in-between floaters and runners. Thomas utilizes his length extremely well on defense and already understands how to make life miserable for opponents. He’s already quite a solidified two-way presence, which is a scary thought, because he’s only going to get better. Next in his development process is working on his movement without the ball and sharpening the consistency of his jumper from beyond the arc, as the additions would make him virtually unstoppable. Coach McCray on Thomas: “LeBron is a great young talent. When you are speaking to him, he is very respectful to the knowledge provided. He brings great energy and is a tenacious slasher; he gets to the basket for an abundance of scoring opportunities. He also finished well in transition.” Thomas is an extremely talented prospect and we’ll be monitoring his progression closely over the next four years.
#68:6’3 ’22 Jacob Brown (Travelers Rest, SC)
Moving onto a player that brought an exceptional attitude and team-first approach to camp, Jacob Brown. He’s a young forward prospect with a great motor and the ability to frequently utilize it. Offensively, Brown does a nice job of operating without the ball and scoring most of his points on second-chance opportunities. He rebounded the ball quite well on both ends of the floor and was able to consistently outwork bigger/stronger opponents on the glass. Brown was willing to do whatever necessary to provide his team with an edge and made numerous hustle plays on the day. Next in his development process is continuing to refine his offensive skillset, as a go-to scoring avenue would make him a much more lethal option on that end of the floor. Coach McCray on Brown: “Jacob presents a really good attitude with his team. He was the guy motivating everyone to leave it all on the floor. His effort is relentless around the basket, finishing with guys hanging onto him. He’s also the ultimate team player, making sure everyone is involved.” Brown’s terrific unselfishness and leadership qualities allow him to thrive with any group of teammates, and that was put on display throughout SC Top 80.
#70: 6’3 ’20 Jamel McGowen (Goose Creek, SC)
Continuing onto a player that worked incredibly hard at camp and enjoyed a strong two-way showing as a result, Jamel McGowen. He’s a wing prospect with length and the ability to score effectively from all three levels. McGowen applies pressure as a penetrator and showed the willingness to make plays for others on drive attempts. He displayed solid vision and was able to do what he wanted on offense. On the other end, McGowen was extremely disruptive for opponents and forced numerous turnovers. He’s a pretty poised all-around defender with nice quickness. Next in his development process is continuing to work on his ability to shoot off the dribble, as it would make him a much more lethal offensive threat. Coach McCray on McGowen: “Jamel is a silky-smooth shooter with a nice stroke from beyond the arc. He has deceptive speed and finishes well with either hand around the basket.” McGowen simply knows how to impact the game and doesn’t require the ball to do so, which is a large part of what makes him intriguing. Expect him to enjoy a strong upcoming season if he continues honing his team-first mentality.
#90: 6’5 ’20 Asanti Price (Columbia, SC)
Next, we look at a player that is going to see a strong uptick in his recruitment within the coming months, Asanti Price. He’s a long, athletic, wing prospect with tremendous polish and physical attributes. Offensively, Price is skilled and scores efficiently from anywhere on the floor. He’s able to create for himself or play without the ball and still find scoring chances, making him a nightmare matchup for most opponents. His size is quite bothersome to opponents on both ends of the floor and most players struggle to prevent him from getting to the rim. Price has an excellent IQ and feel for the game, which shows on each and every possession in a given contest. On defense, Price is able to guard two to three positions seamlessly and displays great instincts as a shot-blocker and anticipatory off-ball defender. Next in his development process is continuing to work on his presence as a rebounder, considering he possesses the tools to lead a team in rebounds on any occasion. Coach McCray on Price: “Asanti is a super-athletic scoring machine. He scores the ball at a very high volume and plays the passing lanes exceptionally well.” The wing prospect could be due for a big-time upcoming season, where he should be a leading force on both sides of the floor.
#103: 6’6 ’20 Dillon Jones (Columbia, SC)
Moving onto a player that possesses a lot of unique and distinguishable qualities on the court, Dillon Jones. He’s a big, strong tweener-forward with a lot of skill, intelligence, and upside on both sides of the ball. Offensively, Jones is capable of attacking opponents in a variety of ways, but his finishing ability and three-point jumper remain his most reliable scoring avenues. He’s a terror with the ball in transition, considering few matchups are capable of stopping him from getting downhill and making plays—for himself or others. Jones is a phenomenal two-way rebounder that utilizes his body extremely well to secure boards and push the break. He’s also a menace on defense and does a terrific job of containing his assignment, both on and off-ball. Next in his development process is continuing to work on his quickness, as it would allow him to dominate power forwards with even greater regularity. Coach McCray on Jones: “Dillon has a very high motor and gives it all he has on both ends of the floor. He’s a physical specimen that powers through defenders around the basket. He is a very vocal leader and plays with a great amount of passion on the court.” Jones is clearly a quality Division I prospect and it’ll definitely be exciting to see how his upcoming season fares at Keenan, since he could realistically collect five to ten more offers over the year.
#120: 7’0 ’21 John Butler (Simpsonville, SC)
Finishing things up, we look at a player that has more long-term potential than most everyone in the country, John Butler. He’s quite a tantalizing big man prospect, given his incredible physical gifts and blossoming perimeter skillet. Butler is unlike any other recruit in the area; he possesses exceptional length and understands how to properly utilize it. Offensively, he scores efficiently from all three levels and is capable of finishing with either hand around the basket. Butler can post-up or face-up if he chooses to operate inside the arc, and has the ability to score from anywhere on the court. He’s still somewhat thin, but that doesn’t affect his motor or mentality, as Butler can typically be found monitoring the paint and swatting away one shot attempt after another. He displays a pretty nice IQ and feel for the game on both sides of the floor, but will truly dominate both ends of the floor upon adding strength. Coach McCray on Butler: “John is a shot-blocking extraordinaire; he blocks shots at a very high level. He also runs the floor well for a seven-footer. John has nice shooting touch and touch around the basket.” The two-way ability that Butler possesses is incredibly rare and he should have no problem maintaining his national status, especially if he continues to expand his game.