In the latest edition of ‘P.I. Pulse’, Pro Insight contributor Alex Walulik recaps the Zero Gravity Prep Classic by highlighting several prospects who differentiated themselves in Stoughton, Mass:
The National Prep Championship held its second event of the 2022-23 cycle outside of Boston earlier this month, and much like November’s National Prep Showcase, it was another stellar event. Quite simply, Dana Barros Basketball Club hosted some of the most talented prep school prospects in North America on December 2-4. Pro Insight staff was in attendance and we’ve opened up our scouting notebook to share some thoughts on seven of the most impressive performers.
6’3” Guard | 2023 | Brewster Academy (NH) *UConn commit
At 6’3” with a big time frame, Solomon Ball is as physically gifted as any guard in the country, and those gifts were on full display at ZGPC. Ball is a freight train going north-south, using his grown-man strength and explosiveness to get into the lane and finish through contact. The threat of Ball’s athleticism opens up the floor, and he is more than adept as a decision maker to find open teammates. The combination of athleticism and playmaking is very encouraging for his long-term outlook. Additional facets of Ball’s game — like his ball-handling and defensive awareness — are coming along nicely, too, which will only raise his ceiling as he gears up to head to Storrs next season.
Taylor Bol Bowen
6’9” Forward | 2023 | Brewster Academy (NH) *Florida State commit
Bowen was one of the most-discussed names at ZGPC, and it’s not hard to see why: he moves with supreme fluidity on both ends, he’s a great athlete and he competes at a high level. There is more to his game, but those traits have become his differentiators over time. For a lanky forward, he has a great feel for how to play both inside and out, for rebounding in and out of his area, and to move without the ball in order to preserve court spacing. Bowen makes an impact as a rim-running lob threat out in transition, he displayed good hands here and seemingly looked to throw down each finish with power. In the half court, when given chances to face-up in five-out sets, Bowen displayed an increased composure than in previous viewings. He exhibited more confidence when handed self-creation opportunities, which is encouraging for his continuing offensive development. From a holistic standpoint, it seems as if Florida State found the latest gem in their perennial pursuit of the long/lanky/versatile/two-way prospect archetype.
6’8” Wing | 2026 | St. Sebastian’s (MA)
A list of the most impressive players from ZGPC would not be complete without the 6’8” wing from Massachusetts. Dybantsa, just a 15-year-old freshman, has been drawing raucous crowds wherever he plays for quite some time and last weekend was no exception. With Dybantsa, it’s all about versatility — everything he does is multi-dimensional. Pick-and-roll duties are handled with pace, finishing through contact is ambidextrous, passes are delivered on time and on target, and the list goes on. Dybantsa used his deep, layered skillset to make an impact in every St. Sebastian game in Stoughton. He was one of the best grab-and-go playmakers at the event, finding Trevor Mullin and others in transition and then cutting hard to bring open-court spacing with his large lob catching radius. Most young and developing score-first wings have difficulty with playmaking or with their composure — and this is also where Dybantsa excels, playing in-control in the open court as well as making plays for others within the halfcourt setting. Being so lanky as a point-forward provides another advantage, as he’s able to survey the defense, seek out and exploit mismatches. There is some room for improvement in Dybantsa’s overall strength and physicality, but that feels like splitting hairs. The growing body of work, existing physical tools, well-rounded skillset, sound footwork and soft touch alleviate any minute strength-related questions.
6’8” Wing | 2023 | Kingswood-Oxford (CT) Rutgers commit*
A big wing who consistently turned heads in Stoughton, Griffiths’ best attribute on the court is his pro-level shooting prowess. He uses his size, footwork and quick trigger to shoot over defenders from behind the arc and is also able to convert with excellent touch if run off the line. Defenders seem to have a tough time contesting his shot, as well — no matter how close they are. His playmaking is also impressive — standing at 6’8”, Griffiths is able to initiate from the high-post and out on the wing, delivering smart passes to teammates. The ball-handling is still in the refinement stage, but the advanced coordination and dexterity is there as a foundation. His ongoing development as a finisher is a swing skill, as he is capable of getting to the rim from the wing, but also still coming along in terms of adding strength. Against smaller opponents, he finishes around the rim through contact — it’s just a matter of functional core strength and beginning to grow his comfort level finishing over elite size/strength/athleticism. All in all, Griffiths has a legitimate chance to go down as one of the most important recruits for Rutgers in the modern era.
6’4” Guard | 2024 | Brimmer and May (MA)
Mills has long been an underrated name who’s really been trending up throughout 2022. He continued his steady ascent at ZGPC. He’s a hyper-athletic, big ball-handling playmaker with mid-range touch and special defensive instincts. With Brimmer and May (MA), Mills assumes a higher usage role on offense than we’ve seen in previous viewings and he’s maintained efficiency despite the additional reps. He possesses poise as a creator and leverages his size, length and burst to collapse defenses without wasting dribbles, where he then makes savvy reads to find teammates for open shots. Mills mostly looks to call his own number within the flow of the offense, but could certainly increase his offensive output considering his slashing, touch and creation flashes. On defense, Mills has a long wingspan/broad shoulders and functional strength, which really help him at the point-of-attack. Throughout the weekend, he made plays (timely rotations, cross-court interceptions, on-ball deflections) that highlighted an advanced feel of scheme and defensive placement, as well. The length, strength and awareness make Mills an on-ball pressure defender on the perimeter. What he does best projects up levels really well, hence our staff being bullish on Mills long term.
6’3” Guard | 2023 | Worcester Academy (MA) *Marquette commit
Norman has strung together some impressive performances this season, with ZGPC being just the latest. Norman is a big-bodied guard who projects to be a primary scorer as he improves his range shooting consistency. His physical tools are intriguing: plus-strength, broad shoulders, long arms, and elite start-and-stop agility. What helps differentiate Norman from other physical guards is his mindset: he attacks bigger, more highly-recruited opponents with an edge. For example, in the matchup against Elmarko Jackson and South Kent (CT), Norman logged a double-double and recorded a victory vs. the 2023 Kansas-bound guard. Layered upon the glimpses of elite talent are more under-the-radar displays of really translatable traits, in how Norman creates space, keeps his balance, makes defenders miss, asserts himself as a decision-maker, etc. Off-ball, Norman has displayed an ability to hit catch-and-shoot threes, attack closeouts when run off the line and fill the lane in transition — a combination that should enable his role to be multifaceted at the next level.
6’3” Guard | 2023 | South Kent (CT) *Seton Hall commit
New England basketball followers are becoming increasingly aware of the sharpshooting Watts, who opted for a post-grad year at South Kent this season after graduating as a 17-year-old at West Seattle (WA) this past June. Watts has been settling into his role nicely and not only shot the ball well, but stood out as a decision-maker with the ball in his hands at ZGPC. The versatile combo guard plays with a unique shiftiness and a high feel, and further development as a facilitator could be a huge unlock for him at the next level. Watts has the foundational tools to make a positive impact at either backcourt position and though the shooting is currently the main draw, (the touch is elite and Watts gets open a lot), his activity level on both ends, budding primary initiator game, and upside as a defensive disrupter should all be fun developments to track as this late-bloomer takes his talents to the Big East.
Check out our recent interview with Isaiah following the announcement of his commitment to Seton Hall: