Plenty of star power on display in 2015 Richmond VA ASSIST Team Camp

Mr. William Carter founded the ASSIST (Athlete Scholastic Support Initiative for Securing Success Tomorrow) foundation in 2003 and has since assisted well over 1,500 student athletes attain college scholarships that might not have otherwise had the resources to pursue their quest for higher education and athletic dreams. Some of his ASSIST alumni have gone on to play at the professional level in both football and basketball. Carter, a 6’6 forward for Huguenot High School prepped at Hargrave Military Academy before playing his college basketball at Virginia State and Bridgewater College. He graduated from Bridgewater College in 2003 with a Business Administration Degree and immediately set out to assist student athletes by holding instructional seminars on understanding NCAA requirements and completing NCAA Clearinghouse registration, contacted college coaches to attend open gyms for prospective athletes, provided mentorship and training for players to improve their skills and prepare for the next level AND he provided his services free of charge! His foundation has grown to include basketball and football combines, individual and team showcases for girls and boys, NCAA certified showcases, NCAA seminars and a number of events designed to educate student/athletes, provide exposure and competition. The ASSIST Team Camp held in Richmond VA recently was another in a long line of highly successful, well attended and well run events Mr. Carter has conducted. This year’s team camp featured the defending Group 5A VHSL State Champion Henrico Warriors, Conference finalist James Monroe, Conference Semi finalist Prince George, 2015 VISAA Div I State Quarterfinalist Bishop Sullivan, VISAA Div II State Quarterfinalist and Metro Conference Champion Atlantic Shores, 2015 VISAA Div III Quarterfinalist Amelia Academy along with Kecoughtan, Warwick, Princess Anne, Western Branch, Team ASSIST and Life Christian Academy out of Colonial Heights VA.

Henrico, with a star studded backcourt went 3-0 and was impressive all afternoon. University of Richmond commitDe’Monte Buckingham who won a number of Player of the Year awards last season including the All Metro Player of the Year and similar awards from various media sources led the way using his impressive strength and frame to overpower most defenders playing every position on the floor. The 6’4 185 pound guard had several D1 offers before settling on his hometown Spiders. He has led Henrico to two state titles and based on what we saw at the ASSIST Team Camp a third state title could be in his future. If you want to see what a Division I guard looks like, Buckingham is the one to watch. Strong and physical, yet bouncy and quick Buckingham is a man-child and showed at the camp there is nothing he cannot do on the basketball court. His backcourt mates have impressive high school basketball resumes as well. Gus Rowland(5’10 2016) already holds an offer from Bryant University and has interest from a number of other schools including Longwood, Loyola and Radford. He demonstrated he could get his shot and score and also set up teammates. Rowland’s basketball IQ and court vision are so impressive; things he does on the court are things you can only do if you were born to do them! He was born to ball. Rowland impacted both ends in each game. Jamal Newton (6’0 2016) can flat out shoot the basketball and mix in a strong drive by a defender to the basket. Quick and tough Newton is a lock down defender and plays with a great motor! Add in that mix one of the most promising 2018’s I have seen in Timon Jones. Quick, shifty and crafty Jones is a bucket getter and is worthy of any other adjective you can come up with to describe an elite playmaker! His is a name you will hear a lot about in the coming years and he fits right in with their successful veteran playmakers. Henrico has the pieces for another championship season! Inside Henrico has 6’6 230 poundD’Marco Suggs who ran the floor well for a big guy and his obvious presence inside is a factor.

With the Kecoughtan Warriors we got what we expected from their talented returners Taqwain Drummond and Damian Knowlin. Drummond, a 6’3 rising junior saw his 2015 season cut short after an ACL injury but he looks like he’s back at full strength and ready for a state title run. Drummond is physically stronger and his perimeter game improved. A slasher who has blow by quickness and is a high flying finisher has added consistency to his jumper to three point range and shows more of a complete skill set, also a better set up guy displaying good point guard characteristics. Damian Knowlin (6’4 2016), a Hampton University commit was Kecoughtan’s leading returning scorer averaging 16.6ppg last season enroute to earning all conference honors. I was first impressed with how much leadership he showed on the floor with the younger players. He was positive and supportive and really impressed me in that regard. Of course his talents are undeniable and he looked to be in mid season form. A decisive finisher at the basket Knowlin mixed in some mid range jumpers and was active rebounding the basketball on both ends. One of the standout performers at the team camp was 6’4 rising sophomore Marion Moore who is a serious prospect in the 2018 class. He is athletic, quick and skilled and is an excellent playmaker. He had a stretch against Atlantic Shores where he scored on three consecutive possessions, two layup and a pull up jumper just outside the lane where he looked indefensible! Another promising player for the Warriors who played well was 6’6 W/F Devonte Peterson. A lanky, smooth shooting and athletic player, Peterson can score from the perimeter where he is a good shooter or score in the paint mostly with face up moves. The rising senior was an honorable mention all conference player last season and should draw a lot of interest this season.

Bishop Sullivan came in to the team camp with one of the deepest rosters in the field. Gerrard Simpkins (6’3 2016), who holds an offer from High Point is a punishing offensive player attacking the basket aggressively as he has done throughout his career. He defended well which is an area he deserves more credit in. Gerrard is an excellent defender matching strength, quickness and excellent footwork. Lance Tebay (6’4 2017) was very active especially the aggressiveness with which he rebounded the basketball. A very good shooting wing has an improved handle and finishing ability but his desire to rebound and battle inside caught my eye. His younger brother Evan Tebay (5’10 2018) did a great job distributing the basketball and running the offense, looking comfortable in the lead guard role. A player who caught my eye who I hadn’t seen before was 5’11 2018 Jacob Sobbers. Jacob handled the ball well and shot it well. Made good decisions with the ball and looked like a seasoned veteran. He is a 2018 to put on your watch list, his skill and poise was impressive.

Another deep team was Atlantic Shores who played without a few key guys but were plenty deep nonetheless. I was anxious to see how Coach Hudgins would maneuver a very deep backcourt and I was pleased to see how well the guards played off each other. Atlantic Shores added All PenSouth Conference point guard Mastadi Pitt (6’1 2017) who averaged over 16ppg and 5apg last season at Hampton HS. Pitt can flat out score but is a willing passer and he used his dribble well to create shots for teammates. Pitt has added upper body strength and is benching 215 pounds so opposing guards will certainly have their hands full! Byron Nelson (5’11 2017) is another scoring point guard and excellent passer who shot the ball well at the camp but also moved the ball around. After hitting back to back jumpers late in the Kecoughtan game, Nelson made a great pass inside to a cutting Christian Kimbrough who was fouled but the pass was indicative of Nelson’s great vision. Hunter Ladler (6’2 2016) shot the ball well and Marvin Trotman (6’3 2017) made key shots mostly on drives to the basket. Trotman defended at a high level often matched against the opponents best players. Trajen Fahl (6’6 2017) a transfer from Tallwood HS looks like he’s added some bulk and he rebounded well and showed he can face up and hit the medium range jumper.

Prince George HS went 2-1 and has a very athletic and talented team. Savonte Chappell (6’5 2016) is a physical, high motor inside presence who rebounded, has great footwork and bounce and blocked shots! The 265 pound Chappell has great hands, moved well without the ball, ran the floor and he does not miss on touches around the basket, he can flat out score! Virginia State, Virginia Wesleyan, North Carolina Wesleyan and Christopher Newport are among the schools taking a close look at Chappell. Cory Hill (5’10-2016) is a lightning quick and shifty point guard who can get to the basket or use his penetration to free up teammates. He made plays all day not only for himself but for teammates! His backcourt mate Asante Turner (5’8 2016) showed the ability to not only knock down the three point shot with good consistency but also drive to the basket and score with contact. Coach Carr’s team showed very good depth and a number of guys who are capable of coming in a giving him solid minutes. 2018 Christian Chappell and Su’Wayne Turner are players to keep an eye on!

Let’s take a look at some of the ASSIST Team Camp’s other top performers:

BriQuan Harrell (6’1 2019 Western Branch HS). Strong and powerful, the lefty guard showed he could do it all including rebound. Was able to breakdown defenders off the bounce and shot the ball well especially pulling up and hitting the mid range jumper with great consistency.

Kendall Bynum (5’11 2019 Western Branch HS) A crafty, high IQ guard Bynum attacked the defense to create shots for teammates as well as himself. Shot the mid range jumper well and did a great job talking and leading the offense. He defended well and showed great leadership, a very good facilitator who made things happen.

Percy Burt (6’6 2016 James Monroe HS) Long and versatile the 6’6 Burt impacted each game inside and out. He handled well and shot the ball well proving he can score at all three levels. Has a great motor as he was an aggressive rebounder on both ends. Burt shot the jumper, scored on the drive and got stick backs and was one of the most impressive performers I saw.

Dre’Jon Boley (6’5 2016 James Monroe HS) Boley can flat out score! A lanky wing who showed he can do it all whether its making the right pass and getting teammates involved or shooting the jumper or slashing his way to the basket for a dunk, Boley displayed versatility and game changing skills.

Joshua Campbell (5’10 2019 Life Christian Academy) Campbell can flat out shoot the basketball! The son of LCA Head Coach Toby Campbell, Joshua took good shots and hit at a high percentage even from deep. He has a quick release and disciplined shot mechanics and proved to be a serious long range threat. Campbell also put the ball on the floor well, a heady guard who makes good decisions and defends!

Eric Valentine (6’5 2016 Life Christian Academy) Just in the United States for two weeks, Valentine was MVP of several showcase events Coach Campbell held in Africa. Valentine is powerful and has great footwork around the basket showing both back to the basket and face up ability. An active rebounder with a great motor Valentine is still learning but already has attracted the attention of a number of JUCO programs namely Richard Bland who is very high on him.

James Stewart (6’5 2018 Life Christian Academy) One of the most impressive athletes I saw. A bouncy, high motor wing Stewart plays above the rim and outworks people. He rebounded, stayed around the basketball defensively. He showed quickness and shifty playmaking skills and is a strong finisher on the drive.

Mike Barfield-Owens (6’5 2017 Princess Anne HS) Mike has a great motor and scored putting the ball on the floor with the short drive or hitting the short jumper. He has improved his shot making consistency and decision making and is now coming into his own. Always athletically impressive you can see he is becoming more of a basketball player where his skills are on display as much as his athleticism allowing him to be a more effective player away from the basket.

Brandon Porter (6’5 2017 Princess Anne HS) Porter is a very good shooter with NBA range! He is LONG and showed he has gotten better at putting the ball n the floor, sweeping through to attack the basket. Brandon was as active on the glass as I’ve ever seen him and he is quickly developing into an inside out presence for Coach Tim Sparks. The progress of guys like Porter and Barfield-Owens, Tim Montgomery and Nyrell and Cam’Ron Goodson has been impressive.

Quevan Jackson (5’9 2016 Princess Anne HS) Quevan plays with a great motor and toughness. Is a solid floor leader who handles the ball exceptionally well and facilitates. He is a willing passer but can get to the rim, he’s tough to stay in front of!

Domonique Carter (6’1 2016 Warwick HS) Domonique is a physical, yet crafty point guard who gets teammates involved yet picks his spots and is an excellent shot maker. An All PenSouth Conference performer Carter showed his strong skill set running the offense, playing the off guard spot and showing his shot making ability. He defends with toughness and excellent mobility. The addition of former Phoebus guard Deandre McLean allows Warwick to move Carter around where he can look for his shot more often.

Tajh Eason (6’4 2016 Warwick HS) Eason is super athletic, a high flyer who attacks the basket and finishes. He can shoot the mid range jumper and has range but often is able to get good looks off the drive and takes good shots. He was expected to play sparingly after recent patella surgery but Eason played often and showed no signs of being slowed or hampered. He rebounded the ball and defended the perimeter.

Daniel Rahama (6’3 2017 Warwick HS) Rahama is an exciting athlete with excellent leaping and repeat jumping ability. He was a harassing defender be it on the perimeter or around the basket; he rebounded and did a great job in help defense. Daniel shot the ball well in the 12-15 foot area and was a presence on the offensive glass.

Imrane Amadou (6’8 2016 Amelia Academy) Imrane controls the paint on both ends! A shot blocker with very good mobility, active and energetic. Was quick off his feet and he defended around the basket well showing his lateral mobility. Offensively he finished STRONG. He’s a double/double guy who will have an occasional triple double because he is that good a shot blocker! The Citadel has strong interest among others.

Korey Turner (6’1 2016 Amelia Academy) Korey is a solid point guard and is one of the most underrated players in the 2016 class. He is skilled and smart and was as complete a guard as I saw in the camp! He runs the team with strong leadership, unselfishness and very good playmaking skills. Always on the attack, Korey made all the right decisions and really makes his teammates better. Korey shot the ball well at all levels and looked like a DI prospect. Tough, active defender as well.

Kam Harris (6’0 2018 Amelia Academy) Put Kam Harris’ name on your watch list because you’ll hear a lot about him in the coming years! Very athletic, quick with great bounce. Harris is a long 6’0 with explosive quickness, has a crafty handle and will dunk on you! He can shoot the jumper and the mid range shot but is a paint getter and a dynamic playmaker. Has cat-like defensive footwork.

Robbie Osbourne (6’4 2016 Hermitage HS/Team ASSIST) Osbourne has a great motor and plays much bigger than 6’4. He was a relentless rebounder and has the quickness to defend the dribble away from the basket. A lefty can convert around the rim and in the mid range area. Gotta keep a body on him because he goes after every rebound and gets a lot of them!

Amp Williams (6’3 2016 Meadowbrook HS/Team ASSIST) Williams can flat out shoot the basketball with range! He has a great stroke and can score from anywhere on the floor. Handled well and showed very strong playmaking skills.

Kimani Donovan (6’1 2017 Hermitage HS) Kimani is a high IQ combo guard with a great motor. He attacked the basket well, shot the mid range jumper which he does with great consistency and hit the long jumper. He is strong and has very good size; he’s a diamond in the rough!

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