The high school season is officially here. Rick Lewis and Jamie Shaw brought a national event to Lewis’ hometown of Winston-Salem, North Carolina and did not disappoint. National powers Oak Hill Academy and Huntington Prep made the trip to the city that CP3 came up in to play against some of the regions top teams. Thon Maker was set to be at the event, but his transfer north of the border left the event with a Carlisle squad minus the nation’s top junior. Still, the Phenom Hoops Showcase brought a legit amount of talent and the college coaches followed.
Drawing over 50 D-1 coaches, the event proved crazy beneficial for the unsigned seniors who were either fighting for that fist scholly or trying to improve their looks. The media followed, too. With scouts from coast to coast in the gym, it provided an opportunity for the guys to get exposure to programs all across the country via national outlets like ourselves and private scouting services that send reports directly to college coaches. The PHR guys took care of us, too.
North Carolina BBQ, pimento cheese sandwiches, and ice cold drinks filled a media room that had all of the day’s best college football on a big screen. Players were available upon request for private interviews, box scores were provided at both half time and at the conclusion of each game, and professional photos were sent to us for editorial use. Plus, our friends at Ballislife were in the building to give us all of the highlights, so it was a dream event to cover.
Here are a few of the top players that we saw at the 2014 Phenom Hoops Report Showcase:
Dwayne Bacon, 6’6, SF, Oak Hill Academy (VA), 2015
The most dominant performance that we saw definitely came from Dwayne Bacon. Pouring in 28 points in less than three quarters of work, the Florida State recruit made things look that easy. While he was playing against competition that won’t be playing at the D-1 level in college, he lived up to his rep as a consensus top-50 guy in the country. Bacon sizzled in transition, finished above the rim,and hit a number of deep three pointers en route to leading Oak Hill to an easy W.
Curtis Jones, 6’3, PG/SG, Huntington Prep (WV), 2016
A guy who has straight exploded on the recruiting scene, Curtis Jones appeared much more comfortable running the show for Huhntington Prep. The bouncy athlete was able to get past just about anyone on the way to the rack, converted at the rim, and made much more sound decisions with the ball in his hands. Still gaining experience as a lead guard, Curtis is definitely making strides in the right direction.
Nathan Bethel, 6’5, SG, St. Louis Christian (MO), 2015
One of the pleasant surprises of the event, Nathan Bethel showed that he could hang with all of the high majors with his 19 points in St. Louis Christian’s upset North Carolina power QEA. In a hyped game, Bethel proved that he could score from all levels of the hardwood. He handled the ball against the press, got to the line at will, and stroked it from deep when he was open beyond the arc. A super motivated and driven kid, Bethel clearly has a chip on his shoulder and should receive his first D1 offer any day now.
Anthony Pratt, 6’6, PF/SF, St. Louis Christian (MO), 2015
Another incredibly productive player for STL Christian was Anthony Pratt. The native of the Bahamas looks like a grown man and plays like one as well. Pratt was a monster on the glass, constantly got buckets against bigger foes, and even stepped out to hit a few jumpers. His 25 points led St. Louis Christian to a huge W and while he only has offers from low-major programs at the moment, expect that to change as more get a glimpse of him.
Karim Ezzedine, 6’8, SF, Huntington Prep (WV), 2016
A native of France, Karim Ezzedine was a name that was heard and that not everyone had seen. After spending part of last year with Thon Maker at the Carlisle School, Ezzedine made the move to Huntington Prep and has not looked back. With the size of a power forward and the game of a small forward, he was a mismatch all over the hardwood. Karim shot it well from deep, beat slower defenders off of the bounce, and used his size to help out on the glass. While he needs to continue to get stronger, that hasn’t stopped programs such as Oklahoma State, Iowa, and UCF from already offering him a scholarship.
Ian Steere, 6’8, PF/C, Carlisle (VA), 2018
The son of the world’s tallest bodybuilder has a serious frame himself and some game to go along with it. Helping fill the void left inside by the departure of Thon Maker, he was great rebounding the ball outside of his area, was a Just a freshman, he’s definitely going to be a name to remember for the future.