Updated: Dec 2, 2021
In the latest edition of ‘P.I. Pulse’, Pro Insight’s Eric Rubenstein shared some early-season musings from The Grind Session. In part II, he names his All-Glue Guy Team and highlights stock-risers and underrated standouts after spending the past two weekends in Phoenix, Arizona:
If you missed part I of The Grind Session Notebook, read it here.
All-Glue Guy Team
During my time working in the NBA, I was blessed to have the opportunity to learn under some great mentors and front office veterans (some of whom have been working in the NBA as long as I’ve been alive!). One of the most valuable lessons that I learned is the importance of fit in the NBA (on many levels). With the majority of the offensive workload often being devoted to two or three players, NBA teams are constantly searching for players who can complement their stars and fill a role while doing the dirty work. Over the last few years we’ve seen several players on winning teams (including many former second-round picks and UDFAs) thrive as utility players around their teammates. I often find myself gravitating towards these types of players, as feel for the game and an understanding of one’s role within the team are underrated skills that are difficult to quantify. With that being said, we wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the more impactful “Glue Guys” on The Grind Session from the past two weekends. These guys may not be the number-one or number-two options on their team and they may not always put up the flashiest numbers, but they have caught our eyes with their ability to contribute to winning and fill a role.
Robert Cowherd | Southern California Academy (CA) | Wing | 2022 *Ole Miss commit
Stats (4 GP): 4 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 1 APG on 36% FG, 39% 3PT, 1-2 FT
The Ole Miss commit is a hard-nosed wing who keeps the game simple. He is generally the fourth or fifth option offensively when on the floor for this talented SCA team, but when his name is called he rises to the occasion. Cowherd knocks down open shots with ease and makes quick decisions to keep the ball moving. He sticks to his strengths and doesn’t look to break off offense. He extends pressure on defense and guards the ball with physicality. His numbers may not pop, but he has been a definite catalyst in Southern California Academy’s 4-0 start.
N’Famara Dabo | Prolific Prep (CA) | Forward | 2023
Stats (4 GP): 4.8 PPG, 4.3 RPG (1.5 O) on 69% FG, 1-4 FT
The junior forward may be built to play on the gridiron, but he embodies the concept of being a “Glue Guy” with his approach to the game on the hardwood. Dabo is an opportunistic scorer — he’ll never have a play called for him to shoot or score, but he has a knack for being in the right place at the right time and generating looks off his energy. Dabo is active as a cutter and offensive rebounder — the type of guy who can put up 15 points without using one dribble. He’s a willing ball-mover who knows his role and sticks to his strengths. He always seems to be in the right place defensively and he regularly puts his body on the line to draw charges. Dabo’s high motor and understanding of his role have been critical components to Prolific Prep’s strong 3-1 start.
Erik Jarecki | Our Saviour Lutheran (NY) | Guard | 2022
Stats (4 GP): 6 PPG, 1.5 APG, 0.8 RPG, 1 SPG on 31% FG, 26% 3PT, 3-6 FT
Most teams are fortunate to have one glue guy, so for OSL to have two on this list tells you all you need to know about their scrappy and competitive group. Jarecki may not scream ‘glue guy’ at first sight, but he impacts winning in a variety of ways that don’t show up in the box score. He’s a high IQ player who is also a tremendous teammate and leader. Jarecki does an excellent job of taking younger teammates under his wing and coaching them up. He’s a confident, poised offensive player who lets it fly from deep without any hesitation and does a nice job of facilitating off his drives. He shows a willingness to stick his nose in and make hustle plays on the defensive end, as well. Jarecki’s contributions to his team off the bench are valuable and he is definitely a player who is worthy of recognition.
David Tubek (Dream City Christian (AZ) | Forward | 2023
Stats (4 GP): 14.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG (1.8 O) on 51% FG, 38% 3PT (2.3 3PM/G), 80% FT
Tubek is a talented and intriguing prospect who has thrived in a simplified role for Dream City. As a junior playing on a team filled with seniors, he has embraced his role and seems to understand that his time will come. Tubek shoots it efficiently when spotting up for threes and is active as a cutter and as an offensive rebounder from the weak side. He plays with a very high motor on both ends of the floor and flashes strong defensive versatility thanks to his blend of physicality, athleticism, and energy. He comfortably guarded 1-4 in these viewings and made a great effort to pursue and high-point defensive rebounds. Tubek has stepped up to the plate whenever his number has been called and has become a key cog for this Dream City team as a benefactor of all of the defensive attention that his other highly regarded teammates receive.
Sadiku Ayo | Our Saviour Lutheran (NY) | Wing | 2022 *Iona commit)
See Stock-Risers and Underrated Standouts (below)
Honorable Mentions: Omarion Bodrick (Donda Academy), Cbo Newton (Denver Prep), KK Thomas (Dream City Christian)
Stock-Risers and Underrated Standouts
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic greatly impacted the ability for many prospects in the Class of 2022 to develop and be evaluated. We will use this section to highlight some of the prospects in The Grind Session who caught our attention as underrated/under-recruited and have improved their stock.
Signed/Verbally Committed Seniors
Garrett Anderson | PHHoenix Prep (AZ) | Wing | San Jose State commit
Stats (4 GP): 17.3 PPG, 6.8 RPG (2.3 O), 1.8 APG, 2 SPG on 47% FG, 33% 3PT (2.3 3PM/G), 71% FT
Anderson plays a highly efficient and translatable game. He’s a strong spot-up shooter with good positional size and athleticism. He shoots a soft ball and is more than capable as a straight-line driver attacking closeouts. He rebounds his position effectively, too. Anderson blends in nicely and doesn’t do anything to hurt his team — a great get for San Jose State.
Sadiku Ayo | Our Saviour Lutheran (NY) | Wing | Iona commit
Stats (4 GP): 12.8 PPG, 9 RPG (3 O), 1.8 APG, 1.3 SPG on 43% FG, 25% 3PT
Ayo is a long, athletic small forward who plays with an impressively high-motor. He doesn’t need the ball in his hands to make an impact and thrives as a cutter, spot-up shooter, and offensive rebounder. Ayo is a good open floor finisher who uses his athleticism to play above the rim and finish with power. He spots up for catch-and-shoot threes from the corners with a pretty good stroke and is a capable straight-line driver attacking closeouts who also shows to be a very willing ball-mover. He does a terrific job taking what the defense gives him and is a versatile defender with the potential to check multiple positions effectively. He’s an excellent wing rebounder who consistently competes for rebounds in traffic and out of his area. Playing with a chip on his shoulder and giving multiple efforts is not uncommon for Ayo, either — a true glue guy who complements his teammates well and is an absolute steal for Iona.
Mekhi Mason | AZ Compass Prep (AZ) | Guard | Rice commit
Stats (2 GP): 7.5 PPG, 0.5 RPG, 0.5 APG on 38% FG, 2-5 3PT, 88% FT
The Rice commit stays within himself and really simplifies things. There’s nothing flashy to his game, but he won’t do anything to hurt your team, either. He spots up in the corners for catch-and-shoot opportunities and shoots a soft, high-arcing ball. When his feet are set, he’s basically automatic. Mason moves well without the ball in his hands and is a willing passer off penetration and out of pick-and-roll. He’s a patient straight-line driver when run off the line, as well. An engaged and sound wing defender, Mason does a good job of keeping his man in front and is generally in the right position off the ball. His translatable skillset is evident, despite playing alongside more highly-touted teammates.
Langston Reynolds | Colorado Prep (CO) | Guard | Northern Colorado commit
Stats (2 GP): 11.5 PPG, 5 RPG, 3.5 APG on 50% FG, 1-3 3PT, 57% FT
The talented lefty is skilled as a playmaker for others with excellent vision as a secondary handler. Reynolds plays downhill and makes his teammates better with his ability to deliver crisp and creative passes. He’s crafty off the dribble and accelerates well into the lane with a head of steam. Despite shooting it with his left hand, Reynolds is primarily a right-handed driver and finisher with nice touch at the rim. He is continuing to develop into a more effective three-point shooter but he really makes his impact felt on defense as a physical and competitive on-ball defender. Reynolds is a well-rounded and high IQ prospect who should thrive as a day one contributor at Northern Colorado.
Omarion Bodrick | Donda Academy (CA) | Forward | Youngstown State commit
See Superlatives: JYD (part I)
Nate Pickens | Dream City Christian (AZ) | Guard | UC Riverside commit
See Superlatives: Defender (part I)
Oziyah Sellers | Southern California Academy (CA) | Guard | USC commit
See Superlatives: Shooter (part I)
Alton Du Bois | Balboa School (CA) | Guard
Stats (4 GP): 14 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.3 APG, 2.5 SPG on 41% FG, 35% 3PT, 72% FT
The Balboa School shooting guard demonstrated a nice 3-and-D skillset and strong intangibles, throughout our viewings. He took pride in locking up highly-rated opposing guards, regularly fighting over screens and bothering handlers with his quick hands. He’s efficient as a spot-up shooter and he made some big shots during close games for Balboa. Du Bois is aggressive going to his right-hand as a straight-line driver and he finishes well through contact. He plays with a nice toughness and definitely looks the part of a D1 contributor.
Juanse Gorosito | Denver Prep (CO) | Guard
Stats (2 GP): 10.5 PPG, 4.5 APG, 2.5 RPG, 2 SPG on 37% FG, 33% 3PT (2.5 3PM/G), 2-2 FT
The confident Argentinian lead guard joined Denver Prep for the second weekend of Grind Session play and instantly injected a different dynamic into their lineup. Gorosito plays with a certain swagger to his game and while he is extremely confident in his own shot, he can also distribute the ball not only with success, but with some creative flair. He has deep range as a shooter both off the catch and off the dribble and can heat up in a hurry from beyond the arc. He’a scrappy on-ball defender who has the potential to be a pest on this end as he moves up levels. Gorosito does a nice job of keeping his man in front and will put his body on the line in order to get a stop. He’s been a nice addition to this Denver Prep lineup and someone who will inevitably draw increased recruiting interest.
Boston Harker | Edge School (CAN) | Guard
Stats (5 GP): 13.4 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 3 APG on 43% FG, 38% 3PT, 81% FT
Harker is a confident and creative lead guard with a strong build. He is aggressive off the dribble with a solid IQ and an ability to make plays for himself and others out of ball-screens. He finishes well around the rim with both hands and he shoots a really nice ball from deep, as well. Another thing we noticed — he doesn’t take plays off on the defensive end and he consistently competes. Harker will bring a nice blend of skill, feel, and toughness to whichever college backcourt he joins.
Andrew King | Bella Vista Prep (AZ) | Guard
Stats (4 GP): 14.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG (3 O), 2.8 APG, 1 SPG on 45% FG, 41% 3PT, 70% FT
The former Rice commit won’t open your eyes with elite explosiveness or measurables, but he just has a very well-rounded and efficient game. King consistently plays on balance and finishes with good touch around the rim. He knocks in spot-up threes at an efficient clip and is a more than willing ball-mover who does an excellent job of getting his teammates involved. He has his head on a swivel defensively and he rebounds the ball very well for a guard. King’s smooth and mature game from the backcourt definitely stood out throughout Grind Session play.
Jorge “George” Ochoa | Veritas Prep (CA) | Wing
Stats (4 GP): 23.8 PPG, 7 RPG, 2 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.3 BPG on 47% FG, 50% 3PT (4 3PM/G), 65% FT
Ochoa is a physical and competitive wing with a soft touch as a shooter. He embraces contact as a driver and uses his strong frame to finish effectively vs. pressure. He shoots a nice ball from deep and is a threat to heat up in a hurry. He’s also very efficient when run off the line, comfortably rising up for mid-range jumpers off 1-2 dribbles. Defensively, he is disciplined with the ability to hold ground and keep his man in front thanks to his strong base. With some strong performances in The Grind Session, Ochoa looked the part of a really good mid-major prospect.
Jordan Pope | Prolific Prep (CA) | Guard
Stats (4 GP): 14.5 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 2 APG, 1 SPG on 56% FG, 48% 3PT (2.8 3PM/G), 88% FT
Pope’s improvements in recent months have been quite notable, as he is playing with more confidence than ever and shooting the ball exceptionally well. The combo guard plays a steady and mature game on both ends and is a poised and competitive piece to Prolific’s roster. He’s efficient with his dribble and unselfish as a facilitator, consistently playing within himself. Pope doesn’t shy away from contact and he finishes well around the basket, without forcing the issue. He’s an engaged defender with active hands, as well. On his current trajectory, he’ll be someone that contributes to winning at the college level.
Daniel Rouzan | Balboa School (CA) | Big
Stats (4 GP): 11.8 PPG, 6.8 RPG (3.3 O), 1.3 APG, 1 BPG on 50% FG, 65% FT
Rouzan is a crafty low-post player with good footwork and touch on the block. He can finish with skill with either hand. He is savvy with his use of fakes and he uses his body well to create finishing angles and draw fouls. Rouzan plays with his head up and distributes the ball well, too. He’s a high IQ defender with quick hands and good anticipation. Rouzan is a bit more of a throwback player, but his blend of toughness and finesse could realistically help a D1 team in need of a low-post playmaker.
Amaree Abram | Southern California Academy (CA) | Guard
See Superlatives: Stock-Riser (part I)
Bubu Benjamin | Edge School (CAN) | Wing | 2023
Stats (5 GP): 19.2 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2 APG, 1.6 SPG, 1.4 BPG on 38% FG, 29% 3PT (2.4 3PM/G), 57% FT (7 FTA/G)
Benjamin is an intriguing long-term prospect as a lengthy and athletic wing with good positional size and versatility. He can play above the rim in transition and he’s also a comfortable shot-maker in the half-court. Defensively, he is a bothersome help defender who uses his length to disrupt and generate events. He’s a plus-shot blocker as a wing. As time goes on, he’ll need to do a better job of keeping things simple and letting the game come to him, but he displayed surefire 3-and-D upside here, with the potential to thrive in a lower-usage role with less creation responsibility. We fully expect his recruitment to pick up as the season progresses.
Justin Chase | Orangeville Prep (CAN) | Wing | 2023
Stats (4 GP): 9.5 PPG, 3 RPG, 1.5 APG on 53% FG, 36% 3PT, 2-5 FT
The athletic wing opened eyes and dropped some jaws with his above-the-rim finishing ability and confidence as a scorer these past two weekends. Chase does a great job of getting out in transition and in the half-court, and is an effective straight-line driver who wants to dunk everything. He elevates well on mid-range pull-ups and is a willing ball-mover who finds success making the simple play. He also showed to be a solid team defender by properly leveraging his physical tools. Chase seems underrated and fills his role nicely for this Orangeville team — he definitely has the potential to develop into a really good player.
Cbo Newton Denver Prep (CO) | Guard | 2023
Stats (4 GP): 12 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 4.3 APG, 2 SPG on 59% FG, 56% 3PT (2.3 3PM/G), 5-6 FT
The early-season Grind Session weekends have been a productive and efficient stretch of games for the lefty lead guard from Louisiana. Newton is steady across the board and doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses. He has a very mature court presence and he keeps the game simple. He’s also an excellent facilitator who does a great job of pushing the tempo and setting the table for his teammates. Newton manages the game and takes care of the ball. He takes contact and finishes well around the basket, as well. He has a beautiful-looking stroke from deep with great range and efficiency off the catch. On the other end, he can really provide ball pressure, as he uses his strong base and anticipation to slide and cut off drivers. Newton’s recruitment has been quiet to this point, but we doubt that will be the case for much longer if he can keep up this blend of production and efficiency.
Christian Jones | Our Saviour Lutheran (NY) | Guard | 2023
See Superlatives: Hands (part I)
Marcus Wilson | Albuquerque Prep (NM) | Guard | 2024
See Superlatives: Sleeper (part I)