basketball Edit

Takeaways from CBG Live Winter Series in Virginia

Jayden Epps
Jayden Epps (Matthew Hatfield,

Chesterfield, Va. - The CBG Live Winter Series has allowed teams along the Eastern Seaboard a platform on which to play. During session three, teams from Coastal Virginia, West Virginia, Middle Virginia and Maryland gathered in Chesterfield, Va., to compete and, most importantly, get seen.

Here are the storylines from the session.


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Matchup of the day

The beauty of showcase basketball is the matchups. They are preset and predetermined.

Jayden Epps, the 106th ranked player in the Rivals250, found himself paired off against George Washington signee Brayon Freeman. Epps has a nose for the bucket and the confidence to get to his spots and get his shots off. Freeman is a pass-first guy who can touch the paint and make a decision.

These two went right at one another from the start, and the game had the be stopped multiple times as it got a little chippy. Epps made timely shots throughout to keep his team in the game, but Freeman took over the game in the fourth quarter down the stretch.

Epps finished with 25 points, five rebounds and two assists, while Freeman finished with 16 points, four rebounds and three assists. But, as we know, point guards are judged by wins, and Freeman walked away with the 62-58 victory in this one.


Breakout of the day 

This was my first live viewing this season of Beckley Prep IJN (W. Va.), while there is familiarity with their program and I have watched them play on film, nothing beats in-person viewing.

Let me introduce you to Joryam Saizonou. The 6-foot-3 point guard, originally from the Netherlands, finished with 31 points while going 11 of 21 from the field with six assists and two steals. He did a bit of everything on the floor, showing comfort on and off the ball.

Saizonou has great length and an advanced skill base. He sees the floor exceptionally well, allowing plays to unfold and slotting pocket passes into the tightest of spaces. He shoots the ball very well off movement and he has a deadly, left-handed hesitation that got him into the paint at will. Saizonou said he studies Ja Morant relentlessly. Yes, he is a true point guard, but he can also play off the ball.

Saizonou has fielded calls from Montana State, Eastern Michigan, Oral Roberts, Northern Kentucky, UC Riverside and others, but no offers have come through yet. In a normal year, we would be talking about Saizonou having numerous offers to choose from, but being from the Netherlands, in West Virginia, during a COVID-19 shutdown, exposure has been limited. I would not be surprised to see schools from the Mid-Atlantic, Colonial Athletic, Atlantic 10 or Missouri Valley jump in here.


Kenyon Giles makes shots

On this day, perhaps no player made shots at a better clip than Kenyon Giles. Giles is a compact, scoring lead guard who was tasked with playing the 8 a.m. game in this showcase. Giles did not let that stop him as he exploded for 20 points and three steals in his 16 minutes on the floor.

Giles describes his game as a “high-tempo guard who brings energy on both ends of the floor.” He did just that, with a tight dribble and an understanding of where he wanted to get on the floor and the skill and footwork to get there.

Giles currently carries offers from Jackson State, Norfolk State, Southern Utah and Virginia State while he says he is in contact with schools like Navy, Radford, New Orleans and Murray State. One thing is for certain, if you can move your feet and put the ball in the basket, you can play somewhere. A lot to like here.


Kanye Clary knows hoops 

There is a big difference between playing basketball and knowing how to play basketball. Kanye Clary falls into the latter group, knowing how to play basketball.

The smallish, lefty lead guard is a killer on the floor. With the ball in his hands, Clary moves around the floor like he has it on a string. He knows what spots he needs to get to, and his balance and footwork are able to get him there. Clary finished with 30 points and 3 steals in this one, while showcasing he knows how to play.

Clary rattled off offers from Old Dominion, Norfolk State, James Madison, Hampton and Texas A&M. He is one you need to see live, because the size is very real but so is the production and the heart.


Jaden Daughtry is a Swiss Army Knife 

I love when a player is outside of the norm and you cannot place them in a box. Let me insert Jaden Daughtry’s name here and explain what he is as a player. Whether it be cutting to get open, facing and attacking downhill or knocking in the quick jumper, the 6-foot-6, 215-pound Daughtry was a mismatch.

With his game, you would love for him to end up being a versatile defender who is able to defend up and down a lineup, and he has the capability to do so. He is a good rebounder; he is very active and he bleeds production.

Daughtry finished with 21 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists in this one. He claimed offers from Marshall, Charleston Southern, Troy, Old Dominion, Hampton and NJIT. He said he is hearing from the likes of UNC-Greensboro, North Carolina A&T and even some ACC offers.


News and notes 

Dana Woodley, one of Virginia’s top unsigned seniors, finished with 16 points and five steals while going 4-for-6 from three-point range. He listed Southern Utah as his lone offer. While he is talking to some other schools as well, he said he wants to commit within the next month.


Watch out for the development of sophomore James Okonkwo. The 6-foot-9 big man from Great Britain has a great frame with head-at-the-rim explosion and length. High majors need to start checking in, because this could end up being a national recruitment.


Another sophomore the high-majors should be checking in with is Isaiah Coleman. He has a great frame with the ability to make shots, move the ball and rebound his position. You would be hard pressed to know he was the youngest player on the floor.