After the successful opening portion of the first-ever ‘Virginia Live Period Shootout’ last weekend (6/21 – 6/23), I’ve returned back to the grounds of Blue Ridge School (St. George, VA) for the event’s ‘second half.’ Structure will occur in a similar way, with 18 teams participating throughout the three days and using up three different courts in the school’s athletic facilities. Ten teams return from Session I and I’ll have the chance to get a first-look at eight new programs in attendance. Also in a likewise method to the previous weekend, I’m hoping to see each team play at least 1-2 times for a strong evaluation of what’s working (or not working) already in this month of June. I can’t stress enough how beneficial this two-part showcase has been for schools amongst the states of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New York. My hat goes off to the efforts made by Blue Ridge varsity head coach Cade Lemcke and his staff. Stay tuned for what Session II has to offer!

About 17 or 18 games made up Saturday’s full schedule, as some of the same college coaches from Friday night (Kansas, Old Dominion, Hartford, Lehigh, Cincinnati, Longwood, and others) all stepped in to check out the competition. More games just comes with more scouting and I had the chance to take note of a few guys from teams I spent time scouting for a first observation.




(My Six) Saturday Standouts


Gill Williamson ’20 – St. Christopher’s School (Richmond, VA): Having now had appearances in both weekend sessions of this event, it’s honestly been difficult to note a particular standout from the St. Christopher’s Saints due to how well they’ve approached collective team play. Still, during Saturday’s first morning game on Court 2, Williamson went to work to show those in attendance that he’s still not done making strides. The 6’7” forward shot the ball nicely from three-point range; ending with at least 3-4 made attempts. His grit around the paint has always, and continues to, impress me the most, honestly. He has that intangible of leading by example that can really get his team motivated if they ever go through a stretch of playing lackadaisical. I also feel Williamson keeps getting more athletic to finish above the rim; he soared for a pair of dunks in that same morning contest. A very nice performance from the rising senior, whom folks definitely need to keep in mind within the Virginia Prep League next school season.

Kaylen Oweh ’20 – Mercersburg Academy (Mercersburg, PA): There’s been a handful of really good ‘slashers’ in these games for the past two weekends, without question. Still, after considering a number of factors, Oweh might just be the best one I’ve seen in this ‘Live Period Shootout’ in that particular skill. For starters, he has the ideal physical traits of an attacking perimeter player. His muscular 6’3” frame, body control, quick first step, and ability to stay low all fuse together nicely. Oweh’s way of switching hands while in mid-air also looked incredibly smooth and natural; something he did quite often throughout the day. The wing’s jumper could use some work, as he knocked down a couple but showed a release that didn’t look all that fluid. I like that he never settles for passive looks. If he spots an opportunity to take it full-throttle for a punishing finish, one can best believe that he will take that chance. Mercersburg went on a 19-0 run against Carmel School (Ruther Glen, VA) in the second half of a Saturday morning matchup in large part to Oweh’s own production. On the defensive end, he sure knows how to block a shot at his position. Heck, several of his other teammates demonstrated the same thing.

Jaden Freeman ’21 – Nansemond-Suffolk Academy (Suffolk, VA): In the past, I’ve had conversations with others to try and explain that there’s a difference between ‘basketball players’ and ‘hoopers.’ ‘Hoopers’ make it feel like they were simply born to ball; based on areas that include physical appearance, agility, and a feel for the game that transcends past the typical player. I’d classify Freeman as a ‘hooper’ and I’m sure others will agree with me once they see him on the hardwood. The 6’4” guard/wing draws attention immediately by playing the game so smoothly. He showed a clear understanding of how to get open for shots and ended up knocking the majority of them down. Shooting from both close and long distances, mainly by spotting up, worked well for him and, in two games, he made some of the biggest shots down the stretch for Nansemond-Suffolk. His solid wingspan plays a role in how he rebounds well also; I recall Freeman scoring off of multiple stick-backs on Saturday. He’s had a good summer playing for District WAWG 16u and coaches should start paying closer attention to what he has to show soon as a high school upperclassman.

Justus Ross-Simmons ’22 – McQuaid Jesuit HS (Rochester, NY): The Knights have some obvious standout veteran players but the young Ross-Simmons looks like one who already can more than hold his own against the older guys. He’s built impressively as a rising sophomore, with strong shoulders and standing at 6’4.” I’d include him on a list of the weekend’s most impressive slashers, if I were to create one. Ross-Simmons does an excellent job of making his drives in a straight line; whether it’s making his way towards the baseline or middle of the lane. He has a solid handle…not using it much for breaking defenders down or creating his own jump shot. Nonetheless, it definitely works well enough for him at the moment and I didn’t see any notable turnovers from him due to a lack of ball security. I’d classify him as a capable shooter right now, as he’ll likely turn into more of a threat with time. Having various skills, a noteworthy IQ, and selflessness to make good decisions all suits the young bull well. He’s only scratching the surface of how good he can end up.

Quintin Metcalf ’20 – Mercersburg Academy (Mercersburg, PA): Metcalf might as well earn my choice as the day’s ‘best above-the-rim finisher.’ I didn’t see anyone else rising high for dunks in a constant matter compared to the 2020 forward. At 6’8,” he has athleticism that makes him a quick leaper for rebounds, especially off of his own, or teammates,’ misses. I saw a good motor out of Metcalf both around that paint and when he switched onto the perimeter for defense. His instincts looked just as good as his overall athletic tools, in my opinion. He stole away a good number of soft passes thrown to the top of key and finished them all with authority at the other end. I didn’t see any other forward collect steals in a manner likewise to Metcalf. He has a good touch near the basket but, during some occasions, I felt his finishing could’ve been better. This mainly happened from trying to finish the initial play (usually off of second-chance attempts) a bit too fast; just a minor noticing. When he wanted to, however, the forward showed a capability to fully take over the game and go on his own personal runs. During a close game versus Highland School (Warrenton, VA) on Saturday afternoon, he took matters into his own hands for finish after finish and rebound after rebound. In all, there’s a lot to like about his demeanor.

Aviwe Mahlong ’20 – Eastern Mennonite HS (Harrisonburg, VA): One of the returning leaders of this soon-to-be 2019-20 Eastern Mennonite roster, Mahlong plays a great importance for the Flames. He’s not just important in one aspect either. Working as a solid defender and showing a willingness to take over a vocal role, the 2019 Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association (VISAA) Division III all-state first teamer has the chance to act as the anchor on that side of the ball. Honestly, I also think his offense makes a difference just as, if not, greater for the team. When Mahlong turns it up a notch to become fully aggressive, Eastern Mennonite looks like a more dangerous team, scoring-wise. They already likely have defenders a bit tensed up due to how well they can shoot the ball but Mahlong’s versatility causes more havoc to try and contain him. He did really well taking it to the rim through contact on Saturday; the best moments of this happening during a tough battle between the Flames and Nansemond-Suffolk. His way of spacing the floor and consistently moving around the half-court also results in him getting open for other quick, easy finishes. If Mahlong can keep working to sharpen up his handle, it could help his game in many ways and make him one whom his teammates can rely on to make a needed play. I highly encourage others to check out the 6’3” prospect; he’s had a strong spring/summer on the court.

Make sure to look out for my Day 1 (6/28) and Day 3 (6/30) standouts of this second session also!

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