By Darnell “Tate” Johnson
REEBOK SUMMER FINALE
August 7-9, Cape Girardeau, MO
This was my first time covering a Reebok series event and I was very impressed on how well the tournament was ran. Marc Mares does a great job of selecting the teams and having good matchups to watch.
Below is just a few some of the outstanding standout players I watched this past weekend
2023 Rashaad Marshall 6’8 CF 316 (Jonesboro High) Jonesboro, AR
This young man oozes potential. He has great athleticism. He has tremendous bounce and runs like a greyhound. He plays with a non-stop motor and with much enthusiasm. He needs to work on moving back the range on his jump-shot, but he looked comfortable pulling up from 15 feet in. He was by far the best prospect at the camp and if it wasn’t for the unseen circumstances going on in our country, he would’ve blown up on the national scene this summer.
2021 Jaquais Franklin 6’1 CG Hoopdreams (Elizabethtown High) Elizabethtown, KY
He’s fundamental sound and physical PG. I like it better when he’s attacking but he can really hurt you with the open 3. He needs to show more explosiveness on the offensive end. He is just so solid with an all–around game and will never beat you. At the end the game, when you look at the box score, he can definitely fool you because he’s a major stat stuffer.
2021 Camden Pfeister 6’4 WF Hoopdreams (Southern High) Louisville, KY
He by far was the most athletic player on the 17u championship winning team. He had highlight play after highlight play all weekend. He shows flashes on both ends of the court at times on how good he can play. His problem is, he plays in spurts and that’s frustrating to watch with a player of his talent.
2021 Aziel Blackwell 6’2 CG Hoopdreams (Henry Clay High) Lexington, KY
He was the 2nd piece to what looked like the best 17u back court all weekend. He was aggressive and attacked the rim and finished at the cup repeatedly. He knocked down the 3 ball with consistency and his on-ball defense was terrific.
2021 Levi Boyer 6’5 SG/WF Storm Elite (East Carter High) Elsinore, MO
He was their leader and most skilled player. He knocked down big 3’s all weekend. He handled the press and made good decisions out of it. He was the engine that made his team go. He was a very tough, hard nose on ball defender.
2022 Jesse Washington 6’1 PG 316 (Jonesboro High) Jonesboro, AR
He was the lead guard for 316 that was exciting all weekend and was the team’s catalyst. As he went the team went. He was good at putting his teammates in position to do what they do best. He was the energy that drove the team. When his jumper was on, they were nearly unbeatable
2022 Arlandus Harris 6’3 CG Ball Hogs Elite (Vashon High) St. Louis, MO
He impressed me at times with his decision making and the ability to make plays for himself along with plays for his teammates. When he played within himself, he looked like a PG that could play his way into something nice. He just had to many plays that didn’t make sense and that hurt his team. If he finally puts it all together, he could be really nice to watch. I hope he understands that.
2022 Marques Jones 6’5 WF Storm Elite (Malden High) Malden, MO
He was one of their best players all weekend and was by far their best talent with best upside. He’s bouncy and active. He’s very good on the glass even though he’s light in the seat. He can guard multiple positions on defense.
2022 Brian Griffith 5’11 PG Hoopdreams (Owensboro Catholic) Owensboro, KY
When this young man is on his game, he’s one of the best PG in the state of Kentucky. He’s lightening quick and very elusive. He very good orchestrating through traffic and finishing among the trees. When he’s hitting his jump-shot he’s almost un–guardable. He’s so talented, but with him being the leader, he must bring it every game.
2022 Ian Hart 6’7 WF Hoopdreams (McCracken County) Paducah, KY
If you leave this you man open, its lights out. Once his jumper starts going in, it opens his whole game up. He starts attacking the basket, dropping dimes and tear dropping the floater. His offense drives his defensive game.
2022 Cole Dees 6’4 PF Ball Hogs Elite (Ofallon High) Ofallon, IL
They say looks can be deceiving and they were right. This big fella was a handful against everybody he went up against this past weekend. He was more physical than any player on any team in the tournament regardless of class. He played with a nasty disposition. He had excellent footwork and was great at carving space. What made him fun to watch, he left it all on the floor.
2023 Devarious Montgomery 6’5 WF 316) (Jonesboro High) Jonesboro, AR
This young man’s game is very raw, so I had to watch him a few times to really peep his potential. He’s very bouncy and a has terrific second bounce. His game was most effective from baseline to baseline. He continuously attacked the rim, but for lack of strength had problems finishing. I watched him easily guard four positions. This young man has a tremendous upside.
2023 Barrett Summer 5’9 PG Memphis Redhawks (Memphis University School) Memphis, TN
His IQ was off the chart. This young man orchestrated a great run to winning the championship. He’s tough as nails and always seemed to make the right play. He knew where his teammates were at all times and more than not got the ball to them on time. He’s a gritty on ball defender.
2023 Cooper McRae 6’3 SG/WF Memphis Redhawks (Collierville High) Memphis, TN
He’s physical player on both ends and plays the game within himself. He just made winning plays after winning plays all weekend. If there’s a loose ball I can guarantee you he’s in the pile. When that ball comes off the rim, I can guarantee you he’s in the mix for the rebound.
2023 Michael Pepper 6’2 CG Memphis Redhawks (Christian Brothers) Memphis, TN
He’s everything you want in your best player. He’s a lights out shooter from 3. He’s not afraid to bang in the post with bigger players and was very successful scoring over them. He very good passer and doesn’t force many shots. He can guard multiple positions and will get physical with you.
2023 Rico Coleman Jr. 6’3 G SEMO (Blazers Charleston High) Charleston, MO
He’s athletic with a motor and its shows from start to finish. He guards 94 feet and isn’t afraid to mix it up. If caught slipping he will punch on you. His jumper needs a lot of work, but I’ll take his effort any day.
2023 Trey Skaggs 6’5 WF Hoopdreams (Madison Central) Richmond, KY
This young man is blessed with an array of talent. He has good post moves, can knock down the 3 and he has eyes in the back of his head. His problem is, at times he becomes a disappearing act and there’s no excuse for that. Once he puts it all together and understands how good he can be, his game can be scary. As of right now he’s, his own worst enemy
2024 D’Trevion Foster 6’1 CG Ball Hogs Elite (Alton High) Alton, IL
This young fella played with skill and poise as a senior this past weekend. He can handle the rock, shoot the deep three and when he needed too could play on the ball and make things happen for his teammates. The problem I had with the young man, to be at such a young age, he played with way too many antics. I would love to see him just play ball.
2024 Jadis Jones 6’2 CG SEMO Blazers (New Madrid County Central) Madrid, MO
He’s a long skilled combo guard that oozes potential. He has nice handles and decent court vision. He reboundsgood from the guard position. At times when watching him play, I see special in him and other times I wonder why he was on the court. If the light doesn’t come on theres going to be a lot of talent that goes to waist.
2024 Tyler Doyle 6’ PG Hoopdreams (Woodford County) Versailles, KY
This young man had an excellent weekend leading his team to a championship and being named MVP in the championship game. He played with great pace and poise. He attacked the basket and was finishing with either hand around the basket. His jump shot was on the money all weekend.
2024 Payton Maythorn 6’5 F Hoopdreams (Hayes) Lexington, KY
This is a perfect team for the young fella. He still a project in the making, but this weekend he showed progress. His touch is looking better on his jump shot. He was more aggressive on the glass. He’s starting to use his length better. He needs to toughen up and when he does his game and confidence should skyrocket.
2024 Carter Stewart 5’10 G Hoopdreams (Corbin) Corbin, KY
He set the tone early in the weekend for this team. From game one he came out aggressive and with reckless abandon. The way he attacks the basket and defends is fun to watch. He is the glue to this team.
2025 Jarvis Palmer 6’ G Arkansas Flight Forrest City, AR
He was a skilled wing that was relentless on the offensive and defensive end. He has a knack for getting buckets and getting them in bunches. Whenever a team made a run, he seemed to make that shot that stopped it are slowed it down.
2025 James Elgas 6’1 G Arkansas Flight Arkadelphia, AR
He had a really tough and mean streak about him, and I really liked it. He would go up against way bigger players in the post and more than not came out the winner. His energy and toughness were contagious to the team they seemed to thrive off him emotionally.
2025 Labraun Christon 6’ G Arkansas Flight Hot Springs, AR
He just had a good feel for the game and made his teammates better. He seemed to consistently make the right play repeatedly. He played with a good pace. He picked and choose his spots to score. He had a nice little stroke and knocked some down from deep.
2025 EJ Walker 6’5 Post Hoopdreams (EJ Hayes) Lexington, KY
The big fella is very skilled. He has soft hands, good feet and a nice touch from 15 feet in. He runs the floor well for his size. He needs to do a better job carving out space and holding his ground. If he gets tougher his game will show dramatic improvement.
2025 Jace Scrafton 6’5 WF Hoopdreams (Michael Laudill) Lexington, KY
This young man has the complete game and it showed. He has excellent size, good ball handling skills, unlimited range and very good court vision. He has a chance to be a special player. He must not become content with his play. The skies the limit if he doesn’t get caught looking up.
2026 Amari Owens 5’6 PG Hoopdreams Lexington, KY
This young man is the person that makes the team go. He’s very aggressive but more than not, plays under control and that’s very unusual for a kid his age. He has incredible court vision and has a knack for finishing with contact, which is outstanding for a 6th grader. Some things you can’t teach a kid and that’s him competing and this kid competes like no other.
2026 Jacob Hughes 5’8 F Hoopdreams Lexington, KY
This kid has answered the call time and time again for this team. He plays within himself and knows what he needs to do to help his team win. When he gets to his sweet spot, more than not he’s going to knock it down. I like to see him more aggressive on the boards and on the defensive end, but hey let’s not forget he’s only a 6thgrader.
2026 Cam Woodard 5’9 F Hoopdreams Owensboro, KY
Amari Owens may have been the MVP, but this kid was no less important. He was the difference on both glasses. He was a physical and at times a dominant presence in the post. His motor is the same on both ends and that’s non-stop. He also bought a little nastiness to the team that was very well needed.
2026 KT Franklin 5’6 NEA Bulldogs
He was a major problem in the post for the championship Hoopdreams team. He has good feet, stays active and does something even some big men in the league don’t do, he keeps the ball up. He easily had a double, double in mostly all the games they played. I really liked his competitiveness.
2026 Oscar Patterson 5’10 WF Ball Hoggs Elite St Louis, MO
This young man played with so much heart and intensity, I was almost at a loss for words. It’s hard to find his type of competitiveness at such an early age. He’s long, athletic and has the energy of the energizer bunny. The young man was a pleasure to watch and I’ll be following his growth in years to come.
2028 Avery & Aiden Mozee G Hoopdreams Louisville, KY
The brothers are hard to tell apart by looks and by their game. They are two of the most tenacious young fellas I’ve seen at any age. They play with an energy that you can’t help but love. They play so poised and show little emotion when things are going bad. You can tell they push and challenge each other by their interactions on the court. Young Avery was the tournament MVP, but that trophy could have easily gone to his brother.
2028 Ben Warren G Hoopdreams Lexington, KY
This lil kid had ice water in his veins. He didn’t see a shot he didn’t like all weekend. If he’s 1 for 10 he’s going to keep shooting. I love his confidence. He has a sweet stroke for such a young age.
2028 Gabe Williams 5’3 Woodz Elite
He did all for Woodz Elite. He was the catalyst that lead them to the championship game. He put his team on his back all weekend. When he broke the press, he made positive plays out of it. He could score from 3 but was more successful when he got to the basket.