Evaluating middle-school prospects is an incredibly challenging process. On one hand, the talent gap between an elite player and his peers is larger than that of any other stage within their development. However, the difficulties come into play upon realizing how many variables are involved when projecting an individual’s long-term ceiling. Physical growth obviously matters more than the vast majority of attributes, as a 6-foot-1 post player is much more appealing going into their eighth-grade year rather than their senior season. Sure, players can get smarter, more skilled, or become more fluid athletes, but those are somewhat controllable factors. We mention all this to reaffirm a potentially special group of players within the Team Takeover 2030 roster.

After covering them extensively in April, we were afforded another viewing this past weekend at the US Open Basketball Championships. Although we watched them absolutely thwart opponents in Virginia Beach, they were somehow even more unstoppable this time. It’s a true team effort where everyone contributes—even when adding new pieces into the mix. Team Takeover Keels played five games from Friday to Sunday. Not only did they win each game, but they won by an average scoring margin of 60.4 PPG. Yes, to reiterate, they won by over 60 PPG—including a 108-point victory. Folks must see these guys perform to truly understand their level of dominance.

Cruz Webb dictates the action as a young, high-IQ point guard while his twin brother, Mason Webb, poses a lethal shooting threat from beyond the arc. Guys like Chase Godfrey, Corey Hawkins, and Santana Knight provide steady identities as smart, tough, team-oriented guards. Paris Kennedy and Calvin-Joel Klassou offer dynamic, highly active presences from the wing position. Furthermore, Oliver Gusky continues to showcase the makings of a forward/post player who should only continue to trend upward. Regardless of their young age, each of the players listed is worthy of attention right now. Considering their trajectory, both individually and as a team, it’s easy to get excited. In addition to the aforementioned slew of talented prospects, their interior duo of Khyri Tomlinson and Aaron Hornaker have as much appeal as any pairing in the Class of 2030.

In looking at Tomlinson, it’s impossible to be anything other than excited about what he could become. Read what we wrote over two months ago here. Over the past weekend, he continued to impress. Outside of an eighth-grade Jalen Duren, Tomlinson might seriously be the most dominant middle-school prospect I’ve ever evaluated. He’s a strong, physical athlete who makes the game extremely simple. Tomlinson is talented enough to score on virtually every possession, yet clearly has a firm grasp on how to produce within an unselfish, team-first manner. His vision is truly staggering for any position at this age, much less a post player. He plays incredibly hard and possesses a unique combination of IQ, playmaking instincts, and nose for the ball. Tomlinson constantly finds opportunities by crashing the glass and running the floor. He finishes through contact and above the rim while wreaking havoc defensively. Everything he’s shown thus far makes Tomlinson a special prospect.

His frontcourt mate, Hornaker, is also brimming with potential. Though still quite dominant, he might have as much upside as anyone on the roster. He’s an amazing passer and defensive player with unbelievably strong instincts for his age. Hornaker is very fluid for a young post player of his size, yet will only become stronger and more athletic in time. He, like Tomlinson, makes the game very simple. Offensively, Hornaker finishes seemingly everything around the basket while being a precise, unselfish passer. He’s an active cutter who finds open seams with ease and capitalizes as needed. Hornaker also rebounds, causes a ton of problems defensively, and spaces the floor when necessary. There’s no predicting where he’ll end up, but the maturity, unselfishness, and foundational toolkit is undeniable.

Share to...