DFW had as many hoopers as it could handle this weekend. 3 big time events took place all in one metroplex. Pangos, Wootten, and of course OTR Fall Shootout II. OTR took to South Dallas and invaded Duncanville HS for a Saturday only showcase featuring some of the most talented players in the country. Huge thanks to Coach Peavy and all of his staff for hosting a great day of basketball.
Let’s get this out of the way and address the “not so elephant in the room…”
DUNCANVILLE HS MIGHT HAVE THE BEST TEAM THEY’VE EVER HAD!
Starting lineup goes as such, no exaggeration: 6’8, 6’6, 6’8, 6’9, 6’10. ‘22s Anthony Black and Davion Sykes, and ‘23s Ashton Hardaway, Ron Holland, Cam Barnes. ELITE. And ’22 Northern Arizona commit CJ Ford wasn’t even playing! Whew. Respect to all the other 6A teams in Texas, but that 4 peat could possibly be on the horizon. Defensively Duncanville was just stifling. All 12 guys are coming to DEFEND. Chest stops, active hands, deflections, blocks, 94 feet of pressure… The intensity they had just for a couple games in a fall shootout was unreal. If you’re the opponent in one possession you could go from Anthony Black guarding you full court; then get a DHO and Sykes jumps you; then PNR and Holland switches onto you; if you manage to get to the rim Cam Barnes is coming to challenge; and if you so happened to get a wide open shot then 6’8 Hardaway is coming to contest your shot. Culture and buy-in is just different. When Coach Peavy and gang actually get on the sidelines look out.
Anthony Black had an astounding weekend, he would’ve been my vote for best passer AND best defender at the shootout (best player overall really). Setting the tone defensively. Long wingspan, with gloves for hands. Nothing gets past him. Almost seems to have gotten even MORE athletic- he was letting the rim have it. His passing is top of the line. When he rebounds his head is up and he is looking to advance the ball no dribbles, full court outlet. And they’re ALWAYS on time on target. His early reads once the defense breaks down is some of the best I’ve seen, especially to spot up shooters. He is a TRUE PG! Not much more to say than I think we are all in agreeance that he and Ronald McDonald are most likely going to be spending some time together come April.
Ronald Holland. A goon (in the good sense of the word). Ron is just going to be Ron. The motor and mentality have always been there. What was most impressive was the improvement on his three ball. His mechanics are much better with his follow thru and control, and most importantly he looks more comfortable and confident. If he’s hitting those consistently at that point you’re just at his mercy. Holland is even showing more adeptness and fluidity with his perimeter skills in being able to get by defenders with one or two moves off the bounce. Very electrifying player to watch.
FAITH FAMILY IS STILL IN THE MIX.
Despite losing some huge pieces to their team, Oak Cliff Faith Family still looks the part. ‘22s TJ Caldwell and Brandon Walker are two very productive division 1 players. The positional size is still present, especially with returning ’24 and now 6’11 C Doryan Onwuchekwa. The team has athletes and guys who play hard. Coach Thomas is going to demand his guys to compete. If they consistently stay engaged and giving max effort they will be very tough to deal with once they start gelling and building their chemistry as a team with a different makeup.
6’4 TJ Caldwell was his usual self. The recent Ole Miss commit’s bounce is really absurd. A human pogo stick. If he blows by you in opencourt, and gets to that 2 foot takeoff… go ahead and run straight to social media because the viral dunk is evident. What was very pleasing to see was the transition of his game to being a point guard. We know him as an athlete, but with the ball in his hands he makes very good natural reads. He knows how to find guys when their open as the defense collapses with an array of passes: hook to the shaker, kick out, dump down. He looked extremely comfortable with the ball in his hands, and I’m certain he will continue to grow as a PG because he is a worker.
6’7 Brandon Walker is a matchup nightmare. 6’6 big body, and super nimble and nifty. Crafty with his handle and it gets better everytime I see him. He also has good form on his shot, and can definitely shoot it from three or midrange. If a player smaller than him guards him, he can easily post them and score however he wants – shoot he can post a player bigger than him as well. If a bigger defender gets on him then he can move to the perimeter and attack fluidly off the bounce. He has a great feel of the game and how to counter the defense. And he also has a motor and is active on the floor. He works really hard and you can see it. The UT Arlington Mavericks have a good one on the way!
DON’T FORGET ABOUT SOUTH GRAND PRAIRIE
If you really paid attention, SGP only lost 1 game last season and that was in the playoffs to Richardson. They may have graduated 2 big parts of their team, but the drop off may not be as you would think. ’22 Khaden Bennett is back for another year and will be assuming the lead role. Continuously improving, he’s a high IQ player who knows how to make the right play, and he scores the ball with efficiency. The athleticism is already there and will only become tougher for opponents to deal with. Being a coach’s son, and playing at a high level this summer with Southern Assault no doubt will have him ready to take care of business. A couple of ’22 pieces who will now be asked to step up even more are Ringo Deng and Chandler Burnett. Burnett provides the sniper and Deng has a really versatile game to battle and compete inside as well as play the perimeter and make plays. This team is solid, fundamental, and plays the right way.
FRISCO MEMORIAL NOT SO DARK HORSE?
The Warriors are ready to run it back this season. A first round exit last season has the boys licking their chops. What has them confident is they have their entire team back! Plus a big 6’8 addition of ’22 Mason Wujek has Memorial thinking they can make a run. Supreme shot maker ’23 Drew Steffe is only going to continue to make shots, but also showing more of his ability to playmake. ’22 Isaiah Foster had great weekend, he gives the team whatever it needs- scoring, rebounding, assisting, poise. ’22 Avery Jackson is showing he can consistently be efficient and pace the team with his shooting and scoring. I believe Memorial has some important pieces coming off the football field. Once ‘22 Josh Thrower gets back in the equation with his activity and rebounding, Memorial will be looking to rack up a lot of wins. They have great size, athleticism, shooting, playmakers, decision makers… If they play tough, they are built to make a run in that 5A race!
6’0 Isaiah Foster would have been my vote for the best feel/IQ at the shootout. He was poised and in control of the floor at the PG spot. His movements and handles were concise and on a string. When a defender pressured him he knew when to blow past and make a play at the basket or a read for a kick out pass. He knew time and score situation and how to not rush or be sped up and execute what the team needed offensively. He knew his moments to try and score, and made dribble moves that countered the defense well. He made the right reads on passes once he collapsed the defense in. Very heady and controlled guard that led his team in their games.
WHAT’S AT LEADERSHIP PREP?
I always enjoy watching Leadership Prep and what Coach Tyler Brewer is building there. No matter who he has one thing that stays consistent is the culture. Coach Tyler is one of the hardest workers out there and building something isn’t easy, but all the kids seem to buy in and they play for each other. You can tell culture by looking at the bench and seeing if players are clapping for each other regardless of score, and if they are vocal and coach from the benches- LP had that for sure. They have two 6’6 players who really impacted the games. ’22 Michael Roberts is a swingman who can do many things. He has great movement off the ball and knows how to attack closeouts slash and will go up and dunk the ball. Sneaky athletic so he gets chase down blocks. Good understanding of the game and plays it the right way. Knocked down several threes. The other is ’24 Gur Dhillon. I was surprised to find out he was a 2024! He has a great feel, and knows how to maneuver around the basket. Good footwork and pivot game. Poised and patient and can operate anywhere in the midpost back down or face up. Super touch and works hard to rebound. Look out for this kid.
LANCASTER IS GOING TO SCRAP
One thing for sure and 2 things for certain is that the Lancaster Tigers are going to be scrappy. That’s one category you won’t beat them in. Pressure defense full court, diving for loose balls, physical on rebounds and screens. Really saw them frustrate teams with their relentless style of play. They are sncyed as a team and move as one defensively. They lose A LOT of scoring from last year (understatement), but they will have to have the next man up mentality. ’22 Dorien Goodman is a pest defensively, and has enough crafty ability to breakdown and get to the basket or shoot the pull up. ’22 new addition Micah Clark was a beast all weekend, he will need to play a huge part in the Tigers’ gameplan for them to be successful. ’23 Kade Douglas will give them the poise and shooting from the 3. If they are all clicking, with the way Lancaster competes, they will be in any game they play.
Micah Clark would’ve been my vote for highest motor on the weekend. He dominated the offensive and defensive glass in both games. At 6’6 he was hard to contain around the basket. Clark can play around the basket and knows how to find open pockets that provide dump downs and assisting opportunities where he will most definitely finish with a dunk or layup. What makes him hard to corral is his elusive ability and how he plays in open space & in transition. He’s tough to find and put a body on because he’s active all over the floor and makes his presence felt. He has great speed and athleticism; big frame; good hands, footwork, and touch; and a worker’s mentality.
** PLAYERS WHO STOOD OUT! **
Trenton Walters 5’8, 2023 Frisco Liberty
Trenton was getting busy all day Saturday. He understands the game of basketball! He made everything look effortless. He played with varying paces, had a superb feel- knew what to do in every situation, handle is extremely shifty and can get by anyone whenever he wants to, finished around the rim with various layups, made shots. His passes were perfect and on time. Not a single thing he didn’t do. He played defense and didn’t allow penetration, had active hands. I am always impressed when a player plays on a good aau team and has a certain role, but comes back to their school team and knows exactly how to operate and do what needs to be done to win games- without doing anything forced. That is a sign of supreme understanding.
Carter Ruck 6’1, 2023 South Lake Carroll
Carter would’ve been my vote this weekend for “Mr. Play the Right Way.” One thing you can guarantee is that Carter is going to splash the nets. However, what you will also notice is that he is the ultimate teammate and leader as well. Always communicating instructions, giving encouragement, coaching from the bench. Not only did he shoot well, but what I noticed is that he made a conscious effort to do the dirty work. Guarding the ball he gave max effort; if there was a loose ball he’d hustle ordive for it; the best thing he did was have active hands and had several deflections and passing lane steals that led to transition points for his team. He stars in his role, doesn’t complain, competes, and without a doubt plays with extremely high IQ and instincts.
Deshawn Jagwan 6’7, 2022 Woodrow Wilson
This kid was really getting to it in all kinds of ways. A mismatch problem. He is very skilled and knows how to get by guys off the bounce. If a big is guarding him they’re good as toast. If a smaller player is guarding him he will attack and put them on the hip and get an easy bucket. Good looking smooth jumper I saw him knockdown several threes. Athletic to where if he attacks a closeout or sees a slow rotating defender he will put them in the rim. Plays physical and embraces contact. He really knows how to use his size to his advantage on the offensive and defensive end. He competes and rebounds both ways. Very intriguing prospect that coaches need to take chance on now!
Gus Harvey 6’4, 2023 Arlington Heights
Maybe at first sight you might write him off, but if you sit and pay attention he’s got super confidence, especially in his shot. I watched him make shots all day against top tier competition. Someone watching called him Larry Bird, in his nature and efficiency of movement. Not a lot of flashy dribbles, but he sold his crossover to perfection to create space for his three ball. He paced himself all day and competed his hardest to try and put his team in positions to win.
CJ Evans 6’1, 2022 Harker Heights
He was getting to it and letting people know about it! Super tough and not backing down from any smoke. Extremely crafty and shifty that really makes him hard to guard. He has all the hesi’s, crossovers, finishes. Mid range pull up and three ball were clicking. Some players are good at creating, and then there’s CJ. Quick with good burst of speed and change of pace. He scored the ball extremely well. Sometimes when you can create shots are just wide open and you have to shoot them. If someone stops him, he will make the correct pass though. A pest defensively. The most noticeable thing was just his competitive edge and spirit throughout the games.
Kayden Edwards 6’1, 2025 Duncanville
Coming into Duncanville with the reputation and players they have, you would think that it would be tough situation to crack. It is, but the cream rises to the top. Kayden understands his role and stars in it. His minutes probably will be limited, but once you get in what will you do. He showed that he will play hard on the defensive end. Then knockdown open shots on the other end. And boy did he make shots. One game we watched Edwards light it up for 16 points in 3 minutes. He made 3 straight threes on consecutive possessions, with a couple baskets on the inside. He battled his butt off defensively guarding the ball and being where he was supposed to be. He understands the culture and he is completely bought in!
Davion Sykes 6’6, 2022 Duncanville
As time goes on the continued development and improvement in his game has been immense. A really big guard with a growing skillset that hasn’t even reached its peak yet. Long arms, big hands, and competitive nature allow for him stifle ball handlers. Always in the correct defensive positions lets him really wreak havoc in the passing lanes. Gets out and sprints the floor on the offensive end- you have to find him in transition if you don’t want to give up dunk after dunk. The good thing to see was that he was knocking down open spot up threes. Had a couple nice moves off the bounce as well. Timing is everything and Davion’s time is right now, he is blossoming!
Jackson Prince 6’1, 2023 Duncanville
Last but certainly not least, SHOOTER ALERT. Now we know that, but let’s talk why and what’s so good to see. He values shot preparation! When there’s a change of possession he’s racing to space so he can stretch the defense and get set up for his shot. Whenever he’s spotting up his hands are up and ready and his wrist is loaded. His understanding of how to relocate and get in the vision line is high level. Very efficient, he makes 2 or 3 maybe misses 1. One game I watched him make 4 straight threes on consecutive possessions. I believe he went 7/13 from 3pt line in that game. At Duncanville you have a role, and he excels in that role. To his credit, he does have some ability to get by and touch the paint. He works his tail off to battle defensively. I remember when Duncanville came to Houston to play legacy and he was a great bench leader and teammate- the loudest and most excited one there. Before the event started, as we were setting up he was the only one in the gym putting up shots and working on his form shooting. Sometimes it’s all of the little things that really make you want to see a kid succeed! And he will!