NY2LA Swish 'N Dish: Bossi's Sunday takeaways
MEQUON, Wisc. -- Top 30 ranked junior forward Jaemyn Brakefield helped lead a loaded Phenom University team to a 17U title at the NY2LA Swish 'N Dish.
Sunday was my second day in attendance and I have plenty of takeaways.
THE BEST TEAM I SAW WAS PHENOM UNIVERSITY
All weekend long, Phenom University was the best team that I saw and they came through by winning a title in the 17U division. The team is loaded and has the chance to be one of the country's top Grassroots teams this summer as they compete in Nike's EYBL.
Not surprisingly, top 30 junior Jaemyn Brakefield had a lot to do with their success. A skilled four man who can play some inside and out, he was a reliable bucket-getter who made jumpers and showed more physicality around the rim than in the past.
He's taken an official visit to Ole Miss and saw Kentucky, North Carolina and Louisville during the college season. Brakefield also confirmed that he is sticking with the class of 2020 after seriously considering graduating early to enroll with the class of 2019.
Also more than backing up their national rankings throughout the weekend were bouncy and slender forward Jamari Sibley and point guard Reece Beekman. Sibley can run the floor and knock down shots and showed why he has double-digit high major offers and most of the Midwest after him. As for Beekman, he's a four-star prospect like Sibley but is making an early case to make a nice move up the Rivals150. He had a strong high school season and looked like the real deal running the show and playing tough defense.
That's more firepower than most teams can bring to the table and there's a very good supporting cast around them. Now consider that Phenom actually played the weekend without their two best players. 2021's No. 1 ranked player Patrick Baldwin Jr. was in Minneapolis for USA Basketball while top five ranked junior Jalen Johnson rested a sore ankle. When these guys enter back into the mix later this month, they are going to be tough to beat.
WHEN CAM FLETCHER HAS THE MOTOR RUNNING, WATCH OUT
When top 40 junior wing Cam'Ron Fletcher has his motor running, he looks like one of those guys who can be as good as he chooses to be. The motor was running on Sunday morning and it was a great thing to watch.
Fletcher is athletic, explosive and has added strength. He used all of that to attack the rim in transition and the halfcourt setting for Brad Beal Elite. The jump shot has been a question mark and he's still working there, but he sure did step up and shoot with a level of confidence not before seen. He also has all of the tools in the world to be a big-time defender on the wing. There are some good wings in 2020 and if he wants to stand out, he'll keep playing with that energy.
Michigan State is big on Fletcher, has worked him aggressively and had him on campus. Kentucky has his attention after showing interest during the season and Missouri would love to keep him close to home, Ohio State has been more active and Fletcher also said that Duke has reached out.
THE YOUNGER BROTHER IS ON THE RISE
The Johnson brothers can play a little bit of basketball. Oldest brother Rod Johnson is a player at Chattanooga, middle brother Jalen Johnson is a top five player in 2020 and now the next in line, Kobe Johnson is looking more and more like a high level player in his own right.
A growth spurt has gotten him to at least 6-foot-3 (his brothers are 6'7" and 6'8") so he's gotten nice size for a combo guard and he's got a nice all-around skill base. He's also a clutch dude when it comes to winning time and I was impressed with his willingness to not only try and make plays when the game was on the line, but to finish the plays off.
DePaul offered early and they'll get joined in by others as Johnson continues his brother's tradition of being terrific players.
THESE GUYS LEFT AN IMPRESSION
.... Class of 2022 guard Nick Smith from Arkansas has a chance to be a high level dude. He's still very skinny and isn't the most consistent. But, he's a freshman so he's supposed to be skinny and inconsistent. He's also got good size, tremendous scoring instincts and huge upside. Oklahoma State offered early and they'll soon have company.
.... By the end of this month, I would expect that more high major programs join Ole Miss in offering four-star class of 2021 wing Jordan Nesbitt. He's physical and tough at around 6-foot-5 or 6-foot-6, has an explosive first step that gets him to the basket and he can be relentless with his energy. I've been most impressed by how much he's matured and learned not to get too high or too low.
.... He's just a pup, but 2021 big man Chris Hodges of the Illinois Wolves has a lot going for him. The 6-foot-8 post has a strong body, very good hands and I was surprised at his feel for passing out of the low post. He was good on the boards and will surely get lots of upper end mid to possibly even high major attention as he gets older.
.... I'll be interested to see where 2021 power forward David Joplin is a year from now. The 6-foot-7 four man has a strong frame, a good motor and showed some skill scoring the ball. The Wisconsin product should be pretty popular playing for Chicago-based Meanstreets 16U team this spring and summer.
.... Finally, I like the high school (Chicago Morgan Park) and Grassroots (Mac Irvin Fire) backcourt duo of Sincere Parker and Marcus Watson. Parker goes about 6-foot-4, is really bouncy and can stretch defenses with jump shooting. New Mexico is among those on him early with an offer. His teammate Watson is a jet quick point guard who really puts pressure on defenses with his ability to get into the paint and make plays off the dribble as a passer or scorer.