Everyone is always looking for that next guy. While scouting players at the middle school level is a bit taboo among recruiting circles, it’s always nice to be familiar with players before they hit the high school ranks. With the Class of 2018 getting ready to make that jump, the table was set for the nation’s best to show their stuff.
Held in Winston-Salem, NC, the CP3 Rising Stars Camp showcased the talents of players from over 35 states and four different countries. The camp culminated with the DunkDog All-American Game. All of the campers received some dope Jordan Brand jerseys, backpacks, and even had the chance to show their stuff in front of the League’s best point guard himself. CP3 and Magic rook Elfrid Payton observed on the camp’s final day, bringing up the intensity level a notch and showing the young prodigies some love.
With over 200 players playing throughout the weekend, there was no shortage of talent. Here are a few of the top guys that we saw:
Robert Woodard, 6-5, SF, Columbus HS (MS)
The unofficial MVP of the game, Woodard straight bullied opposing wings to become the game’s leading scorer. At 6-5 and around 200 pounds, he was able to use his strength to give it to smaller guys on the blocks, yet had the agility to blow past taller ones on the perimeter. The inside/out versatility that he offered made him a tough guard for anyone, regardless of position. His polished game and legit physical profile makes him one of the best in the class out of the Magnolia State.
Nazreon “Nazi” Reid, 6-8, PF, Hudson Catholic (NJ)
The most highly touted player of the weekend definitely lived up to the hype. “Nazi” was a problem to guard all over the court, smoking slower defenders and straight shooting over smaller ones. His raw ability to handle the rock in the open floor is intriguing, but it’s his athleticism and ability to run the hardwood that really has scouts drooling. Look for this top-five freshman to make an impact from day one at Hudson Catholic.
Damon Harge, 5-9, PG, Orlando Christian Prep (FL)
Already a YouTube sensation, Harge proved that he could really go this past season by leading OCP to the state title as just an eighth grader. He already had three years of varsity basketball under his belt and it showed with his basketball IQ throughout the camp. Harge made pinpoint passes, got his teammates involved, and used his immense offensive talents to score when the opportunity presented itself. Naturally, people are going to hate because of his size, but there aren’t many lead guards as productive in the class.
Simi Shittu, 6-7, SF/PF, Corpus Christi Catholic (CAN)
Next up out of Canada, Shittu showed that he could hold his own with the best that we have here in the States. He has the size of a power forward, but handles the rock and glides around the floor like a swingman. Simi’s blend of versatility and game above the rim will make him one of the next to watch north of the border.
Cameron Reddish, 6-5, PG/SG, The Haverford School (PA)
Philly has been producing big guards for a minute now and the lineage appears to be continuing in the form of Reddish. Equipped with deep range and filthy court vision in transition, he was a tough matchup for the vast majority of opposing wings. Still growing into his body at nearly 6-5, Reddish has the potential to be next in line in Philly.
Kamaka Hepa, 6-8, PF, Barrow HS (AK)
You don’t see many ballers coming out of Alaska, much less making the trek to the East Coast to show their stuff before ever playing a high school game. After drawing some buzz throughout his summer training sessions at Impact Basketball in Vegas, he showed that could hold it down with the nation’s best at CP3. A skilled power forward, Hepa showed off ridiculous coordination for a player of his size and is already comfortable going to work facing the rack. Showing range as a pick and pop player out to the three-point line, he was also able to put it on the deck to get past defenders off of the bounce. Hepa will still need to get stronger and develop more of a post game, but the talent is there for him to be yet another stud from The Last Frontier.
Elijah Hardy, 6-0, PG, Bishop O’Dowd (CA)
With Ivan Rabb almost graduated at Bishop O’Dowd, someone had to come in and fill his shoes. While he’s not 6-10 like his heralded teammate, Hardy has a chance to be a special prospect. The 6-foot point guard has the flare that you’d love to see out of a confident youngster, outstanding court vision, and can shoot it from deep. Coming off of a trip to the state title game last year, look for Hardy to boost O’Dowd’s backcourt during Rabb’s final campaign.