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Prospect Analysis: MADE Hoops Midwest Mania

In the latest edition of ‘P.I. Pulse’, Pro Insight contributor David Hendren recaps the top performers from Midwest Mania hosted by MADE Hoops, an annual event that brings some of the top AAU programs around all under one roof. Multiple high-level prospects across numerous age groups were on display, including:

17U Standouts

Karter Knox

6’6’’ Wing | 2024 | Tampa Catholic (FL) | Florida Rebels 17U

The highly-decorated Florida Rebels wing was one of the most impressive players at Midwest Mania, displaying his full skillset throughout the weekend. Offensively, Knox proved to be a handful with his clean release from the perimeter and his springy athleticism around the basket. Knox keeps defenders on their heels due to his shooting touch and explosiveness. If you don’t close out hard enough, he will shoot over you with ease; but if you close out undisciplined, he will use his deceptive first-step and long strides to get into the paint, where he can finish with authority around the rim. Also, Knox can stop on a dime from the mid-range and pull-up, making him a three-level threat offensively. His smooth jumper and finishing ability make him a dynamic scoring threat. As his playmaking continues to improve, Knox will become an even more well-rounded offensive piece. Defensively, Knox has a high ceiling thanks to his mobility and length. With his frame, Knox is capable of guarding up and down the lineup. What will determine his true ceiling as a defender will be his discipline and motor. When engaged, Knox can be disruptive defensively. Occasionally, he can get caught gambling, but has all the measurables and athleticism to be a plus-defender.

Darius Acuff

6’1’’ Guard | 2025 | Detroit Cass Tech (MI) | The Family 17U

This prospect out of Michigan is a strong, aggressive guard who constantly puts pressure on opposing defenses with his speed and finishing ability. Playing up an age group, Acuff can break down the D with his shifty ball-handling and change of pace, and can finish at the rim with effectiveness, using spins, contact finishes, or finesse. He can easily break down mismatches on the perimeter, as well, leveraging his deceptive handle and speed. He can also stop on a dime and get to his pull-up from the mid-range, which makes him difficult to slow down. Defensively, Acuff is disruptive, highlighted by his physicality and anticipation. With his strong frame and agility, he gets physical with opposing guards and anticipates well, often beating his man to the spot. Overall, he is a prospect who should be on everyone’s radar going forward, especially considering his ability to score with ease while playing up an age level.

Jacob Theodosiou

6’4’’ Guard | 2024 | Western Reserve (OH) | Wildcat Select 17U

The Canadian-born guard, who’s played with the Wildcat Select program throughout high school, is a gritty, heady point guard who plays to his instincts. Theodosiou is a natural ball-handler who uses an array of moves to create driving angles against his opponent. He particularly differentiates himself as a slasher, where he loves contact and constantly finds himself at the free-throw line or finishing through contact. When driving to the rim, he shows natural feel, knowing when to score himself or find teammates, using passes with either hand to distribute. He also can finish on the block against smaller defenders, using his height and strong frame to create space for layups. He has an innate passing feel both in transition and in the halfcourt and consistently makes mature reads as a decision-maker. Theodosiou matches that physicality on the defensive end, jockeying for position in the post when switched onto bigger frontcourt players. He also crashes the glass on both ends of the floor, at an uncommon rate for a guard. Power 5 schools need to take notice of the PG, and per Jacob, programs like Clemson and Penn State already have.

Liam McNeeley

6’8’’ Wing | 2024 | Montverde Academy (FL) | Florida Rebels 17U

The sweet-shooting wing out of Dallas displayed his offensive reliability throughout the weekend, continuously knocking down catch-and-shoot threes from well beyond the arc, while finishing plays in transition. McNeeley is comfortable off-the-ball, where he can fill lanes in transition or space the floor in the half-court. In transition, he can either trail for jumpers or finish at the rim. In the half-court, McNeeley showed some craftiness around the basket, whether it was baiting defenders into fouls or using a soft floater. McNeeley’s shooting and size are his ticket to playing basketball at a high-level, going forward.

Five-star 2024 prospect Liam McNeeley. Credit: MADE Hoops

Trent Noah

6’7’’ Wing | 2024 | Harlon County (KY) | Midwest Basketball Club 17U

This steady presence for MBC is a versatile offensive threat who can handle secondary ball-handling duties or spot-up off the ball. As a playmaker, Noah is smart and disciplined. He takes care of the basketball and regularly makes the extra pass. He plays within the flow of the game and doesn’t force the issue, as every player seemingly does on MBC. As a scorer, Noah is multi-faceted and excels off ball, whether that’s scoring off put-backs, shooting from distance, or using his instincts as a cutter to find seams in the defense. He reads the game and picks his spots, continuously looking for advantages and easy opportunities to score. His versatility as an offensive player combined with his size make him an intriguing prospect who is due for a bump in the national rankings.

Mason Shrout

6’4’’ Guard | 2024 | Preble Shawnee (OH) | Wildcat Select 17U

The sharpshooter out of Ohio is the definition of a competitor, constantly putting his body on the line for loose balls and playing with a high motor on both ends. Not only does he play hard, but Shrout brings a contagious edge to his team. He isn’t afraid to mix it up and plays with a chip on his shoulder, which elevates the energy of his teammates. He’s always vocal, making sure he is on the same page with the four other guys on the floor as well as his bench. Every team needs players that bring energy to the floor, and that is something Shrout emphatically does. From a skill perspective, he is a skilled shooter from distance, who is also capable of knocking down mid-range pull-ups off poor closeouts. He’s also comfortable getting to his floater in the lane. He isn’t an advanced shot-creator, but keeps the game simple and plays to his strengths. Defensively, he brings his trademark effort and toughness. Shrout is the definition of a player you want on your team, but don’t enjoy playing against.

Masar Diop

6’9’’ Center | 2024 | Mercyhurst Prep School (PA) | Wildcat Select 17U

This bruising, high-motor center is the guy who does all the dirty work for this Wildcat Select team. He has a nose for the ball and does a great job of doing his work early on the glass, consistently boxing out and using his massive frame to shield opponents as he pursues balls. Defensively, he is a paint presence. He’s a good vertical athlete, enabling him to block and alter shots. Offensively, he is a great offensive rebounder who creates second and third-chance opportunities, constantly working for put-backs or tipping it out to his teammates. He also does a nice job of ducking in for post position, using his strong frame to seal opponents. He plays with aggression and authority as well, regularly imposing his will and attempting to dunk anything near the rim. Continuing to grow as a post playmaker and face-up shooter will expand Diop’s game, but there is no denying the effect he has on the glass and and around the rim on both sides of the floor.

Jayden Quaintance

6’10’’ Big | 2025 | Word of God Christian Academy (NC) / Holy Rams (OTE) | Team Thad 17U

The OTE League participant has arguably the most upside out of any prospect in the event. The physical big, who is actually playing 17s as a 15-year-old, is only scratching the surface of what he can become. The flashes from Quaintance are very intriguing, such as a possession where he rebounded the ball off the rim, used multiple dribble moves in the open floor, then finished with power over an opponent, which sent shockwaves throughout the gym. Quaintance has all the tools one could ask for in a center prospect: mobility, strength, defensive versatility, and skill on the offensive end. From an athleticism standpoint, he has intriguing mobility, running the floor with ease despite his big frame — and he can play above the rim with eye-popping explosion. His skills offensively are unique as well for his size, showing multiple instances of handling the ball on the break, scoring on the block, and stretching the floor with his jumpshot. He is currently at his best around the rim, but the shooting and playmaking flashes are tantalizing.

Elite 2025 big man Jayden Quaintance. Credit: MADE Hoops

Jerry Easter

6’3’’ Guard | 2025 | Emmanuel Christian School (OH) | All Ohio Red 17U

The combo guard out of Ohio playing up an age group was steady throughout the weekend, where he was relied upon as a playmaker and scorer. Easter is a guard who is ahead of the curve physically, and someone who uses his positional size to his advantage against smaller guards. He utilizes his broad shoulders to bully smaller opponents in the paint and does a good job of using his body around the rim, absorbing contact to finish or get to the free-throw line. Easter can be relied upon in pick-and-roll scenarios, as well, showing a requisite comfort level in knocking down pull-ups from the mid-range, finding bigs rolling to the basket, or getting to the cup to finish. Finding consistency as a three-point shooter will really open up his offensive arsenal. Easter’s physicality and size allow him to guard multiple positions, where he has the height to switch and battle with forwards due to his physical tools. Easter excelled off-the-ball defensively in All Ohio Red’s press throughout the event, successfully tapping into his length and quick reaction time to earn deflections and steals. Easter projects to have a big summer in store, and he got off to a good start this weekend in Ohio.

Ishan Sharma

6’5’’ Guard | 2024 | Fort Erie International Academy (CAN) | UPLAY Canada 17U

The Canadian prospect is a natural shooting the basketball, especially as a catch-and-shoot threat. Sharma has soft touch from behind the arc and does a good job of relocating and moving without the ball to position himself for open opportunities from distance. Even though shooting is Sharma’s primary trick, he has the capability to read the defense with his feel and has smart instincts of when to shoot or pass. He can attack bad closeouts to either pull up from the mid-range, or kick out to an open teammate. He is the type of player who can help almost any team thanks to his intelligence and shooting gravity. He can play off teammates and is also an effective team/positional defender who’s constantly in the right position on help-side rotations and is disciplined while closing out to shooters. Overall, Sharma provides stability on both ends of the floor with his shooting and IQ.

Jackson Washington

6’4’’ Guard | 2024 | Chaminade Julienne (OH) | All Ohio Red 17U

The smooth-shooting lefty did just that at Spooky Nook, knocking down plenty of jumpers from the perimeter. Washington’s quick release allows him to get shots off in a hurry, as he is a viable asset offensively who must be monitored at all times by opposing defenses. Where scouts want to see growth with Washington is as a shot-creator and in his decision-making when he isn’t just taking open jumpers. Throughout the weekend, he showed flashes of improvement in those areas, capitalizing in transition as a finisher as well as some instances of shot-creation in the half-court — highlighted by one possession where he caught the ball off a ball reversal, quickly got to an in-and-out dribble, and separated from his defender and finished through contact at the rim. He also possesses some sneaky feel as a playmaker, which adds another layer to his offensive repertoire. An underrated part of Washington’s game is his ability to play within himself and to his strengths. Even though he isn’t the most flashy, Washington is going to impact games with his effortless stroke from deep and via his feel for the game. Look for more programs to get involved with Washington, this summer.

Labaron Philon

6’4’’ Guard | 2024 | Baker (AL) | Team Thad 17U

The highly-touted guard from Alabama and recent Auburn decommit is a dynamic athlete who makes his teammates better. Philon also does a nice job seeking mismatches for his team to capitalize on and shows the characteristics of a true point guard in that regard. He loves getting his teammates involved and is a good entry passer, with good timing on his deliveries. Philon also excels in the open floor, constantly finding teammates for open looks or using his physical tools and finishing ability to score around the rim. He is deceptive as a slasher, using both hands to finish and able to contort his body in the air for difficult finishes. Philon is also a competitor on the defensive end, bringing constant activity and toughness. He picks up full-court and generates events with his anticipation and lateral quickness, jumping passing lanes to create fastbreak opportunities for himself and his team. The former Auburn commit is now back on the market and a hot commodity, making his recruitment one to monitor closely.

Dayton Williams

6’4’’ Guard | 2024 | Butler (KY) | Griffin Elite 17U

The under-the-radar prospect out of Kentucky was impressive this weekend, showing the ability to score the ball from all three levels, displaying a unique scoring package. He finished with 24 points against The Family, proving he can hang with elite competition. Williams is a difficult shot-maker who has no issues creating space in the mid-range, using side-steps, pull-ups or step-backs to get to his spots. He makes for a difficult matchup when playing as a lead guard due to his height and ability to elevate, which allows him to rise up over smaller guards and shoot over with ease. He can also finish at the rim with athleticism, making him a tough cover for opposing guards. Defensively, Williams plays with a chip and is clearly eager to show college coaches what he is capable of. His gritty approach and positional size allow him to guard up the lineup, as well. This summer is crucial for Williams, with it being his last go-around with AAU. Keep an eye on Williams over the next few months, as he is a late-blooming guard who could garner some Division 1 interest throughout the live period.

Additional Standouts

Jalen Reece

5’10’’ Guard | 2025 | Oak Ridge (FL) | Florida Rebels 16U

This Florida native is a high-level PG who’s starting to garner serious interest from schools across the country, and rightfully so. Reece was impressive this weekend in showing his versatility offensively. He displayed his ability to play both on and off the ball, as he can adapt in different scenarios as both a playmaker and scorer. With the ball in his hands, Reece dictates the tempo and forces opponents to react with his speed as a handler or via hit-ahead passes to open teammates. Reece shows high IQ in advancing the ball as quickly as possible, looking to capitalize against defenses before they’re set. He’s also a creative facilitator in the half-court, using no-look passes to keep the defense scrambling. What makes him especially intriguing as a point guard is his anticipation offensively, as he thinks a step or two ahead to make reads. Reece is also pesky on the defensive end, using his low center of gravity, lateral quickness and speed to stay in front of ball-handlers. He has quick hands, as well, which he puts to good use in passing lanes.

Skilled 2025 point guard Jalen Reece. Credit: MADE Hoops

Donovan Williams

6’1 Guard | 2026 | The First Academy (FL) | Florida Rebels 16U

One of the most intriguing prospects from the weekend, Williams is an explosive athlete who impacts games in a multitude of ways. His motor and engagement defensively were noteworthy, as he constantly made effort plays, whether he was crashing the glass, wreaking havoc as a perimeter defender in the Rebels’ trapping defense, or being active on the defensive glass. As a guard, Williams has the potential to be a great rebounder due to his vertical athleticism and explosiveness. He doesn’t mind rebounding in traffic and has a nose for the ball. His motor will be the key to his potential as a rebounder and defender, because when it’s running hot, he can be very effective in both departments. Offensively, Williams displayed high-level shotmaking, knocking down multiple three-pointers with great rhythm and elevation on his J. His quick twitch movement allows him to stop and start quickly, making him hard to contain when pulling up on the move. Considering his explosiveness off the bounce, he can be difficult to contain when the jumper is falling. Williams is a very intriguing prospect who should be a high-major caliber prospect down the line due to his two-way versatility coupled with his functional athleticism. Williams is also playing up an age group, making his productivity that much more notable.

Cole Edelen

6’2’’ Guard | 2026 | Male (KY) | All Ohio Sumner 15U

Edelen was nothing short of spectacular in the 15U championship at Midwest Mania, posting 31 points and going 8-10 from deep. He brought his ‘A-game’ on the biggest stage of the weekend, validating his status as a future prospect, especially thanks to his elite shooting ability. The stroke combined with the confidence make for an intriguing combination: he’s truly a player who believes the next shot is always going in. After seeing him numerous times in the past, Edelen has taken a noticeable step forward as a shot-creator, showing an increased ability to beat defenders with pivots and footwork off the catch. With his brother and former teammate Jack graduating, expect Cole to take a massive lead in usage and production on the high school scene. As Cole’s body and ball-handling improve, there is a lot to like from an offensive perspective. Improved athleticism and strength will help him grow as a perimeter defender, over time.


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