By: Bryant McGowan
6’5 2021 Treyvon Byrd (NC Ice)
2021 forward Treyvon Byrd is one of the most intriguing prospects participating in the Phenom G3 Showcase this weekend. His combination of height, athleticism, and skill make him a matchup nightmare for opposing teams. While Byrd may be known for his highlight dunks and blocks, he consistently displays a high level of skill matched by very few prospects of his age. He has the ability to guard all five positions on the floor, with the lateral quickness and length to stay in front of guards and the height and leaping ability to cause a problem for opposing bigs. His defensive prowess was on full display, locking down the opposing team’s best players while also recording an abundance of blocks and steals. On the offensive end of the floor, Byrd possesses a ball-handling ability that is rare for a player of his stature. He has a wide array of dribble moves, including an ankle-breaking crossover that consistently leaves defenders guessing. His physical gifts make finishing around the rim seem effortless, but he always seems to put himself in great scoring position. While he may not be considered a sharpshooter, his form and rotation on his jump shot show a lot of promise for his potential to hit shots from distance. Byrd, if he isn’t already, could soon be considered one of the most intriguing prospects in the Carolinas. With plenty of room still left to grow, college coaches should be jumping on the opportunity to help him reach his potential.
6’0 2020 Andrew Smith (NC Raptors)
Andrew Smith has one of the most impressive skill sets in North Carolina, not just amongst guards. His performance Saturday confirmed that he has the talent to excel in a variety of ways on the court, with the most impressive being his natural scoring ability. Smith can score from all 3 levels on a consistent basis. He knocks down 3’s at a high enough clip to make defenders guard him tight. If you guard him too tight he can drive to the hole and finish contested layups over bigger defenders. He can hit one dribble pull-ups, crossover into a stepback jumper, or hit a shot fading away. While he is a well-documented scorer in North Carolina hoops, his vision and IQ combine to make him an extremely tough matchup. He has a very unselfish style of play, only breaking out the previously mentioned moves if it’s in the flow of the offense. Smith consistently looks to make the extra pass or set screens, seeking only to increase his team’s chances of victory. Overall, this 2020 guard has a complete offensive skillset and is ready to produce at the next level.
6’6 2019 Tobias Dillard (LBA Thunder)
Tobias Dillard of the LBA Thunder is one of the most intriguing unsigned seniors in North Carolina. His wingspan alone should be enough to turn the heads of JUCO coaches, but the defensive instincts he has to go with it make him a special prospect. He is a true rim protector with the length and quickness to block or heavily contest any shot that is taken in the paint. He has the patience to ensure he doesn’t get into foul trouble and the timing to guarantee a good shot contest. Dillard makes opposing players think twice before attacking the rim knowing he’s down there. He is a raw prospect with room to grow offensively, but he is due for plenty of easy buckets every game with dump-off passes from teammates or putbacks off of a missed shot. A part of his game that doesn’t show up in the stat sheet is the heart and emotion he expresses in-game, both of which are key intangibles college coaches love to see out of players. Whether he is staring you down after a block or giving you a Mutombo finger wag, you can be sure his presence will be felt. Dillard will always be touted for blocks or dunks that make for plenty of highlight reel plays, but there is so much more to his game that makes him unique. With the right coaching staff, Dillard could turn into a monster presence down low.
6’2 2020 Xavier Kesler (Team Fly)
Xavier Kesler was a force to be reckoned with at the Phenom G3 Showcase. Kesler thrives in transition where he is able to use his speed to run the fastbreak and finish strong with either hand. He has a great feel for defensive rotations and tends to generate steals by being at the right place at the right time. He is always looking to attack the basket and constantly puts pressure on opposing defenses. Kesler has a scorers mentality and knows how to find gaps in defensive sets that allow him to get to his spots on the floor. He has a unique offensive repertoire and uses floaters or pump fakes to catch defenders off guard. His tight handle allows him to play as the primary ball handler and get his team into offensive sets, but he also has great off-ball movement and utilizes backdoor cuts to get easy layups. Kesler has been at the drivers seat for Team Fly and he has a contagious energy that boosts the play of his teammates. Look for Kesler to continue to make noise as he grows into a more complete player.
6’4 2021 Glenn Bynum Jr. (Team Charlotte)
Glenn Bynum Jr. may not be the biggest guy on the floor, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from his playstyle. Bynum skies over defenders who fail to box him out and grabs rebounds better than anyone his size in the tournament. He is the epitome of a “hustle player,” his knack for diving for loose balls and crashing the boards is exactly what coaches preach to all of their players. In key moments for Team Charlotte, Bynum seemed to always come up with a 50/50 ball or a rebound that swung the momentum towards his team. Bynum does all of the little things that can be huge for a smaller team that won’t dominate a game with rebounds. He sneaks behind defenders to get layups, gets out and runs in transition, and has great movement off-ball to keep his team in a consistent offensive rhythm. Bynum was one of the most enjoyable players to watch because you know he is giving 100% on every play. This kid is still young with plenty of time to develop his offensive skillset, but his playstyle and grit on the court will help him dominate games in the meantime.