basketball Edit

Garland shows poise at The Warmup

SPRINGDALE, Ark. -- Next weekend, college coaches will be able to watch prospects all around the country play with their grassroots teams during one of two NCAA certified weekends. This weekend, teams across the country are getting tuned up for those important games in front of coaches. At The Warmup, four-star sophomore point guard Darius Garland looked quite comfortable with his new team the St. Louis Eagles.


Darius Garland
Darius Garland

If you walked into a gym and picked out the players by why looked the best, sophomore point guard Darius Garland might not be your first pick. But, it wouldn’t take long after the skinny 6-foot point guard from Nashville (Tenn.) Brentwood Academy hit the floor to understand why he ranks No. 36 nationally in the class of 2018.

Playing his first weekend with his new summer team the St. Louis Eagles, Garland impressed in many ways playing up a year in the 17U age group. The son of former NBA point guard Winston Garland, he is a heady floor general who can shoot with range and is a much more tenacious competitor than one would expect from a kid with his slight build.

Garland listed offers from UCLA, Tennessee, Wake Forest, Indiana and Vanderbilt (previous staff) and feels like he had a big sophomore year leading his team to a State Championship.

“I was good at being a leader and being vocal,” said Garland. “I still have to become more aggressive and be more of a leader.”

For now, Garland says that he’s focused on his academics and grassroots ball and that he’s trying to lead the Eagles to the Nike EYBL Finals before worrying too much about his recruitment.


Michael Porter
Michael Porter
Nike/Jon Lopez

Headed into the grassroots basketball season, the expectation is that Kansas City based MoKan Elite is going to be one of the top teams in the country. Led by class of 2017 five-star prospects Michael Porter and Trae Young, MoKan looked the part during two lopsided wins at the warmup.

Ranked No. 2 nationally in 2017 and considering the likes of Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Syracuse, Oklahoma, Virginia, Indiana and others, Porter is a crazy skilled 6-foot-8 small forward. He’s added bulk and explosion to go along with his offensive arsenal and he was particularly effective playing around the rim on Saturday.

While Porter can play inside and out, Young is out pushing things at the point. He’s a deadly shooter from deep and he was really pushing the pace on Saturday. Young and Porter remain committed to trying to find a place to play together in college and it’s easy to see why given the rapport they share on the floor.

But, MoKan isn’t just about those two. Juunior wing Jared Ridder recently made the Rivals150 for the class of 2017 and he backed up his No. 142 national ranking because of his 6-foot-6 size and skill. Fellow class of 2017 three-stars Derrick Walker and Bryan Trimble also showed well. Walker is a rugged interior player who does the dirty work while Trimble is an explosive two guard who comes off the bench looking to score. Also working his way into the mix is 2018’s No. 20 ranked player, 6-foot-8 Carte’Are Gordon who is playing his first summer in the program.

Bottom line, expectations will be high for this group and they look poised to deliver.


Keyshawn Feazell
Keyshawn Feazell

Saturday was our first look at power forward Keyshawn Feazell from Monticello (Miss.) Lawrence County. A well build and athletic 6-foot-7 (maybe 6-foot-8) four man, he was grabbing grown man rebounds, playing above the rim and made his presence felt for the Jackson Tigers. Feazell mentioned offers from Mississippi State, Kansas State and Iowa State to go along with interest from Ole Miss and many SEC programs. Feazell said he’s expecting Baylor to jump in because of recently hired assistant Al Brooks who was recruiting him at Kansas State.

Look for the 2019 trio of power forward James Wiseman, center Francis Okoro and shooting guard Marcedus Leech to make big noise for the St. Louis Eagles 16U team. Wiseman is a long, skilled and fluid big man with touch. Okoro is a hulking low post big man with athleticism while Leech is a long, quick and athletic wing with tremendous size. The trio is surrounded by talent and their group is expected to be one of the top 16U teams in the country.

There is plenty of time to watch them down the road, but 2019 guards Tyrese Maxey and Devion Harmon of D1 Premier’s 16U group look like nice prospects. Maxey is around 6-foot-3 with a basketball body, some feel for playmaking and a good looking stroke. Harmon is a physically tough southpaw who plays with a football mentality and makes plays for others.

On the 17U level for D1 Premier we are intrigued by power forward Everett Ray. At 6-foot-7 or so he plays with toughness, a motor and he’s got a nicely developed basketball frame. He looks like one that will be evaluated closely on the upper mid to possibly high major level because of how hard he plays.

He’s a few years away and needs strength, but Keenan Fitzmorris looks like a kid that will sneak up on people. A 6-foot-9 sophomore power forward from Lenexa (Kan.) St. James, the skinny and skilled four man showed some impressive flashes for MoKan Elite’s 16U squad. He runs the floor well, has good hands and has budding athleticism.