With over 70 teams at the event, there was bound to be a few stars that put on performances in Greensboro

There are a couple of things that stick out about running local tournaments. The first is that there are no other tournaments in North Carolina. The local teams need a platform for exposure and Phenom Hoops is the best place for that. Second is any time you come to a Phenom event you are assured to see a lot of names you know, but also find a lot of names you hadn’t heard before.

The Phenom Hoops Challenge was no different. The kids with multiple offers, played very well. However, this event brought some new names to the forefront, names that are sure to be getting college recruitment now.

6’1” 2017 Carter Collins (Durham Hurricanes/East Chapel Hill HS)

This one got Rick Lewis very excited. Collins, is a true throw back point guard who can handle, distribute, and shoot, all to make his team better. Playing as a 16U, in the 17U division, Collins dictated pace and made a living with the 15 foot pull up. Collins has a great pace to his game, and showed the ability to make the proper pass in the half court and pitch ahead situations. Look for Collins name to make a huge jump in rankings, and for his recruitment to pick up asap.

6’8” 2017 Jacob Brown (Team Winston/Winston Salem Christian)

Brown was on the Phenom Hoops radar as he is an avid attendee of the NC Phenom 150 camps. However, up until this point, Brown has just been a nice pick and pop option behind the arc. In the Phenom Challenge he showed the ability and willingness to attack the rim. Brown, was aggressive on the offensive end without taking away from his ability to shoot the ball. Brown attracted the interest of a few low to mid major coaches in attendance, and is sure to pick up a lot more throughout the summer.

6’7” 2016 Akia Pruitt (Team Winston/RJ Reynolds)

Every team needs a junk yard dog type player, and Pruitt excels in that role for Team Winston. He is long, and appears to have grown another inch over the last year. His activity level is his best skill set, the deflections he is able to accumulate along with his ability to rebound outside of his area make him an attractive big. His offense, right now, is relegated to put backs and dump offs, but he produces without needing plays run for him.

6’1” 2016 Bishop Walton (Team Vision/Hibritten)

Walton was virtually unstoppable throughout the weekend. The lefty lead guard plays with a flair and a swagger that was enjoyable to watch. Walton scored with a hesitation crossover (both ways), into a pull-up jump shot. He got to the rim at will, and consistently made shots with range. Walton was awarded the MVP of the 17U Big Ten Division. Walton turned the heads of several of the D1 coaches watching, who will now be tracking him throughout the summer.

6’2” 2017 Donte Tatum (WCBA/Cary HS)

Tatum is a name that deserves to be know, but even in his own city people don’t really know who he is. This previous year, as a Sophomore playing on a 4A varsity team, Tatum averaged over 20 Points per game. He is an explosive player, and everything he does on the court is loud and with purpose. Tatum finished quite a few momentum shifting dunks, and defensively took it upon himself to lock down the opposing teams best player. Still flying a little under the radar, do not expect him to for long. Tatum has the type game that will make a lot of college programs happy.

6’1” 2016 Marcus Burwell (River City Reign/Thomas Jefferson HS)

The buzz of night one all surrounded how Burwell played, and it was much deserved. Burwell was a one man wrecking crew in the lane. The 6’1 paint getter is a known scoring commodity around his city, but in this setting he played set up man. Look for him to pick up some traction, as the summer continues. His skill set warrants it.

6’6” 2016 Jalen Wall (NC Court Kings/Dudley HS)

Wall, a lefty shooter, with deep range and an unwavering confidence with the ball in his hands. On the final day Wall made 11 3s in his two games, and almost carried his team to the 17U ACC bracket consolation championship. With his size and ability to shoot, Wall is absolutely a next level player. As for how high, it all depends on how his ball skills develop.

6’6” 2017 Kaiden Rice (Central Carolina Force/Ridge View HS)

Rice came out of no where in the Phenom Challenge, and quickly made his mark on the event. Rice is a scorer extraordinaire. Playing varsity at Ridge View he only averaged 6 points with limited playing time. This event, Rice averaged over 20 Points, scoring over 26 twice. Rice is a smooth shooter, with great length and confidence. He attacks the lane well from the wing, and showed a consistent one-two dribble pull up. Each D1 coach that watched Rice came away impressed. I suspect that trend to continue, this kind of length, size, and shooting touch warrants quite a bit of interest.

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