The DMV has long been known as one of high school basketball’s perennial hotbeds and this year wasn’t different. The area has always been known for having tough guards, wings with size, and athletic big men. Fortunately for scouts and fans alike, Keith Stevens brought some of the best hoopers in the country to The District to take on some of the area’s finest in the DTLR National High School Hoops Festival.
Held in the storied Morgan Wooten gymnasium at DeMatha Catholic, the event ran two days and featured games from before noon until well into the evening. DJ 5’9 and DJ Jo Iyce had hot tracks running throughout every break in action, box scores were dropped off after each half, and they had a hospitality room that had mussels and steak—something I’ve never seen before at a high school basketball event. The Team Takeover CEO ran an A-plus event all the way around. Here are some of the top seniors that caught our eye:
Dwayne Bacon, 6-6, SG/SF, Oak Hill Academy (VA)
After dominating last month in North Carolina, Dwayne Bacon set out to show the DMV how serious he is on the wing. He was simply devastating along the baseline, gliding past his defender before finishing creatively at the rack. Bacon was a monster in transition, hit open jumpers, and used his length to get in the passing lanes on D. The Florida State recruit’s MVP performance was definitely an eye opener to many national scouts who admit that he may be ranked a bit on the low side.
Justin Robinson, 6-2, PG/SG, Saint James School (MD)
Though his squad took an L to Oak Ridge in OT, Justin Robinson flat out stole the show. The combo guard poured in 31 points and made it look easy in the process. He showed off an explosive change of pace, constantly attacked the defense, and had a variety of finishes at the rack. Pouring in 31 points to lead his squad in scoring, the Boo Williams AAU product showed why Buzz Williams locked him up early in the process.
Cheick Diallo, 6-9, C, Our Savior New American (NY)
In the most hyped matchup of the event, Diallo went head to head with 7’0 phenom Thon Maker. While it was Maker who got the win, it certainly wasn’t due to the performance of Diallo. Posting 22 points, 13 rebounds, and 2 blocks, he showed why he is one of the most sought after seniors left on the board. He was outstanding running the floor, made difficult catches in traffic,
DeVelle Phillips, 6-9, PF/C, Clinton Christian (MD)
A guy who we watched extensively in the Under Armour Association with DC Premier, DeVelle Phillips made some serious progress in his game over the last few months. Having grown to a legit 6’9, he used his blend of size and athleticism to wall up on D, rebound the ball out of his area, and provide a ton of second chance opportunities on the offensive glass. The DC Premier big man is a perfect fit for a rebuilding Depaul program.
Jaelin Grant, 6-7, SF/PF, DeMatha Catholic (MD)
The latest in the Grant brothers to roll through DeMatha, Jaelin isn’t quite as polished as his older brothers were at the same stage, but still has some serious upside. The size and length that he brings to the table allows him to defend a myriad of positions, he is a beast on the ofensive glass, and he will knock down the three when left open. Harvey’s son (Horace’s nephew) should receive no shortage of attention as the high school season goes on and he decides upon a school for the late signing period.
Tyheem Harmon, 6-0, PG, Philadelphia, MLK (PA)
A guy who I wasn’t hip to prior to the event, Tyheem Harmon definitely showed out and keyed the way for MLK’s near upset over Antonio Blakeney and Orlando power Oak Ridge. A point guard who controls the tempo of the game, Harmon hit a number of open three pointers and created countless scoring opportunities for teammates. He uses his Philly toughness to lock down on D, making him a guy who should receive a lot of love as the season continues for D1 programs looking for a lead guard.
Terrell Allen, 6-2, PG, DeMatha Catholic (MD)
It was the first time that we got a glimpse of Allen and we were immediately taken impressed with the talents that he brings to the table. He has legit size, can get in the lane at will, and has a number of creative finishes at the cup with either hand. Drexel did an outstanding job of locking him up early in the recruiting process.
Jeremaine Ukaegbu, 6-4, SG, Montrose Christian (MD)
A straight up fearless wing, Ukaegbu went right at many of the elite prospects that Canada’s Orangeville Prep had to offer, including Thon Maker. Looking like a shorter version of Giannis Antekounmpo, he used his incredible length to bother people defensively, finished over the top of the D in transition, and brought the level of energy that coaches dream of to the hardwood. Sacred Heart flat out got themselves a steal in Ukaegbu, provided he continues to progress at this rate.