Two players who improved their stock over the weekend each lead their team to the championship game of the David Rose Memorial 17U championship. Both players have been trending as solid mid major to mid major plus prospects, but if their play from this weekend continues look for their recruitment among high majors to gather traction. Let’s take a closer look at each one of the players.


6’7 ’16 JJ Matthews of River City Reign-Iverson


JJ Matthews came into the tourney ranked no. 28 in the Phenom Hoops 2016 Virginia rankings. To put it bluntly, that is embarrassing low for how he played this past weekend and will deserve a healthy bump in our next rankings. Matthews has a physically mature frame and plays much bigger than his 6’7 listed height. He has excellent footwork in the post and passer friendly hands. Matthews plays with a high motor and is aggressive on the boards on both ends of the court. This past weekend, he was outstanding throughout the tournaments and made his biggest impact in the semi-final and championship game.

In the semi-final game against Team Loaded NC, Matthews was unstoppable in the paint. He finished with a game high 30 points including two 3-pointers to lead River City Reign-Iverson to an impressive 68-57 win. In the championship game against Team Loaded VA, Matthews went head to head against two of the better players in the state of Virginia. (6’8 Javin Montgomery-Delaurier and 6’9 Mamadi Diakite) The 1-2 duo of Delaurier and Diakite may be the best frontcourt in travel basketball. While River City Reign-Iverson came up a tad short (68-66) in their quest to make back to back upset wins, Matthews finished with a game high 20 points. In addition, he finished with two 3-pointers and showed a consistency from the perimeter that will translate well at the high major level. Known basically for his interior post moves and ability to use his body effectively to score, Matthews showcased the ability the entire weekend to step out and stretch the defense, which created problems for the opposition game after game. If Matthews can continue to be consistent from the perimeter, this will create interest from high major schools.

6’4 ’16 SG Nick Sherod of Team Loaded


While Team Loaded VA sports one of the top frontcourts in travel ball (Delaurier and Diakite), Sherod has gone under the radar in regards to the success of the team. That being said, when we asked about team MVP for the event, Head Coach Mike Blackwell quickly stated, “you can’t forget about Nick.” Standing at a solidly built 6’4, Sherod already has a college ready frame. He has excellent physical strength with broad shoulders and long arms. More importantly, Sherod has the ability to keep defenses from collapsing on the interior. Sherod can score without dominating the ball. He moves extremely well without the ball and is outstanding coming off curls where he is highly efficient in a “catch and shoot” situation. Sherod simply knows how to read screens and does a masterful job of running his defender directly into the screen. His footwork prior to catching the pass is textbook, which allows him to square up nicely to the rim and elevate for a picture perfect shot and follow through. Shooters translate and his ability to catch and shoot with high efficiency should make him a hot commodity among high major schools. In the championship game, Sherod finished with a team high 19 points including two 3-pointers. Sherod and teammate Mamadi Diakite were name co-MVP for the 17U D1 division.

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