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Bendel's Best: Summer Havoc (Part 7)

08/02/2016, 10:00am EDT
By Phenom Hoop Report/ Jeff Bendel

PHR Analyst Jeff Bendel continues his standouts from the Summer Havoc

Jake Lanford


Beginning with the youngest player in this part, 6’5 Josiah James (2019) constantly blew away coaches with his unbelievable poise running the lead guard position. Blessed with great length and a next-level IQ, James truly has the ideal build for a guard. He is brilliant with the ball in his hands, able to create for himself and others quite easily; distributes the ball meticulously and with great frequency. I’m not sure there was a single guy at Summer Havoc who played the role of a true point guard better than James. He can score on three levels, but often picks his spots and stays selective about where he wants to shoot it. Defensively, he’s a plus; the length and IQ are especially evident as he is capable of forcing turnovers in the blink of an eye. Once he gets out in transition (especially with the ball in his hands), he’s impossible to control, as those opportunities result in points more times than not. James has huge upside, it’s easy to forget that he’s only entering his sophomore season; it’ll be great to watch him try and reach his potential as time goes on.

Next, another young guy playing on an older team and doing more than simply holding his own, 6’9 Jake Lanford (2018). He stands out immediately, as he’s built like a rhino and possesses a true next-level frame. Lanford is a big man capable of handling any assignment on either end of the floor, knows how to force his will against opposing big men. Offensively, he’s great from the free throw line in, extremely smart and efficient with each opportunity given from that area. Displays the ability to draw his jumpshot out to the elbows, however, he’s a natural post up brute. On the low block, he’s strong, has shown the ability to finish well with either hand over either shoulder. Lanford was hands-down the best pick-setter showcased from any team during Summer Havoc, both on and off-ball. Defensively, he controls the paint and is a consistent defensive anchor for his team; blocks shots with regularity and guards the perimeter well for a big man. Works incredibly hard every second on the floor, motor is not an issue. High upside possibilities, possesses all the tools to become a successful big man at the next level.

SR1 All-Stars 17U

Next, a dynamic combo guard who is able to play both ends of the floor with incredible intensity, 6’3 Eric Thornton Jr (2017). His team was quite successful throughout Summer Havoc, as they ended up winning their division with ease, thanks in no small part to Thornton. He possesses such a strong feel on both ends, but especially on defense, where he hounds opposing guards on every dribble. Thornton rarely gets scored on, but when he does, expect him to get it back immediately on the offensive end. He’s a natural slasher, yet has shown flashes of scoring all over the floor, from all three levels. Defensively is where Thornton makes his money; was one of the best defenders on display, both on and off-ball. He wears down opposing guards with his strength and sharp footwork, has tremendous feel defending the pick and roll. Thornton will draw the attention of even more coaches as his intense two-way play should impress them as much as it impressed me.

Team SC 17U

Few big men on display at Summer Havoc were more ready to play at the next level than 6’10 Nicolas Claxton (2017). Armed with fantastic length, Claxton has two-way potential that is clear from the opening tip. Offensively, he’s intriguing; has shown off a serviceable jumper but really makes his money from being smooth in traffic and in the low-post. Claxton wears his heart and emotions on his sleeve; few players show more passion in their game. Defensively, he controls the game through constant movement and blocks shot after shot. Displayed a high IQ on that end, really patient around the paint and has phenomenal timing on his rotations. The smooth lefty recently announced his top six schools: Baylor, Florida State, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina State, and South Carolina. Fans will remain on the edge of their seat until Claxton makes his big choice, as he will make one program quite pleased.

Last but certainly not least, a Phenom favorite from Summer Havoc and has become a must-see talent, 6’3 Temetrius “JA” Morant (2017). Every time I’ve seen him play, I find myself wishing the game would go into overtime just so I can watch him perform longer. He’s bloodthirsty, willing to annihilate anyone that stands between his team and victory; he and Elijah Joiner stood alone as the two hungriest guys showcased. Offensively, there’s not a single hole in Morant’s game, he has the ability to pile up points in a hurry from all three levels. The opposition is forced to be on their toes whenever the ball is in his hands; he’s deadly off the dribble, able to create for himself or others in a pinch. Morant is a very quick, smart ball handler who can play either guard spot quite well. The scoring cannot be overstated; he’s an absolutely lethal scorer that consistently gets it done game after game. Defensively, Morant displays great understanding of where the ball plans to travel and knows exactly when to pounce in order to pick up steals. His high IQ must be mentioned, as he never has a lapse in judgment on either end of the floor. Morant’s stock has seen tremendous rise this summer and it all began at Summer Havoc, I’m excited to see what program figures out just how incredibly good he is.

Tag(s): Summer Havoc