by Martinis Jackson / Hardwood Insiders
As the high school season officially comes to a close this weekend following the Dick’s Sporting Goods National Championship, the summer circuit is already in full gear for players around the country. The time between now and August may be the most critical period for prep hoopsters looking to land scholarships to fulfill their dreams of playing on the next level.
This weekend, Separation Sports Management hosted its first annual Metro Challenge showcase at Dematha High School. The event displayed approximately 60 of the area’s most highly touted players in head to head match-ups within a fast paced setting. “We wanted a situation where we could get the top guys in one gym to get some exposure, and also to give them some momentum going into the AAU circuit” stated Athletic Director, Doug Martin, when asked about the event’s inspiration.
The six teams with 10 players each were aptly named after local legends and Nike affiliates Kevin Durant, Jerami Grant, Victor Olapido, Ty Lawson, Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert. The squads boasted some potential future legends in D.J. Harvey (ESPN #20), Markelle Fultz (ESPN #55), Anthony Cowan Jr. (Maryland Commit), Corey Manigault (Pittsburgh Commit), and a number of other highly rated players with Divison-1 offers. The selection process consisted of compiling statistics from local high school and summer programs and making the difficult decision of who to select. “It’s never easy, there’s always someone saying you forgot someone but we try to make it as exact as possible [by using statistics].”
Fultz and Aaron Thompson, who both played on Ty Lawson’s team, made up one of the strongest backcourts in the challenge. Fultz’s athleticism continues to impress scouts as he uses his quickness to blow by defenders and finishes with freakish athleticism at the rim. The 6’4 shooting guard dropped 35 points on 14 of 23 shooting in an overtime loss to team Oladipo that capped a dominant all around showcase performance. His running mate Aaron Thompson also made a name for himself with his change of pace and cat quickness off the dribble. He and Montrose Christian point guard Alani Moore exchanged baskets in a one on one duel that lasted about 5 possessions where Thompson refused to back down. The 6’1 point guard will look to turn a few heads this summer before heading into his junior year at Paul VI in Fairfax, VA. The Metro Challenge was a bellwether for what’s to come in next month as the shoe company’s kick off their circuit play.
Here is a list of just a few of the other notable players from the challenge.
Ako Adams | 6-3 Jr. (Offers : Towson; DePaul; Charlotte; La Salle; Lehigh; George Washington; Loyola; Old Dominion; Richmond)
DeQuan Bracey | 5-10 Jr. (Offers: Dayton; Marquette; Towson; Kansas State; U-Mass; Richmond; Georgetown)
Stefon Fisher | 6-9 So.
Blake Francis | 5-9 Jr.
Chris Lykes | 5-7 So. (Offers: George Washington; Old Dominion; Richmond; Hofstra; Siena)
Alani Moore | 5-9 Jr. (Offers: Penn State; U-Mass)
Jamir Moultrie | 6-1 So. (Offers: Richmond; Southern Miss; Old Dominion; Towson; James Madison)
Justin Route | 6-5 Jr. (Offers: St. Joseph’s; Temple; Boston College)
Nate Watson | 6-8 Fr.
Photo Credit: i95ballerz.com