Event Recap: Sports Academy National Cup - East Session 1
In the latest edition of ‘P.I. Pulse’, Pro Insight’s David Hendren highlights prospects who stood out at Sports Academy National Cup after spending the weekend in District Heights, Maryland for East Session 1:
Matt Barnes has recently orchestrated a new tournament platform to showcase the nation’s top young prospects, called the Sports Academy National Cup. The first session out east took place at the Athletic Republic, which is a multi-purpose sport training facility that caters to football and basketball, amongst other sports. Multiple teams represented each age group, with 11 participating in the 2027 pool play, 7 teams in the 2028 pool, and 11 teams in the 2029 pool. With the conclusion of this pool play, there will now be a bracket for Session 2, which will take place in Ohio from February 24-26 at Spooky Nook.
There is also pool play in two other regions (South and West). The first session out west occurred January 7-8. Session 1 in the south concluded this past weekend as well and was held at Drive Nation. Bracket play for Session 2 in the west will occur from April 1-2 in Arizona at Inspire Courts and Session 2 in the south will take place in Florida April 22-23 at Pick A Ball.
The top four programs in each region will receive a prize, plus automatic qualification to the Sports Academy National Cup Grand Finale, which will return to Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, CA which is set for May 13-14. Beyond this leading to a tournament champion, it will also have a Legendary Cup for teams that did not qualify for the National Cup, an All-Star Game which will feature one player per team with the top four teams in each region potentially getting an additional participant, along with regional and overall performance awards. The Grand Finale will crown the Sports Academy National Cup champion and is in line to be streamed as well, with some of the nation’s finest AAU programs battling it out for the crown.
For the purposes of this article, we focused on the 2027 class, as there was quite a bit of talent and several players who should feature prominently in the NCAA recruiting discussions once they hit the high school level. Below, we’ll break down some of the top talent that Pro Insight was able to evaluate, after spring the weekend in the DC suburbs for East Session 1.
Jamaal McKnight, Jr. | 2027 | Team Durant (DC)
The shifty lead guard was dominant all weekend due to his ball-handling and the ability to create separation with his speed. McKnight is constantly establishing himself in the paint and constantly looking to push the pace and apply pressure to the defense. He’s a guard who’s always in attack mode in both the half-court and in transition. He has the ability to finish with either hand around the basket and knock down floaters, making him unpredictable as a finisher around the rim. He is comfortable stopping on a dime from the mid-range as well, and elevates to get his shot off. Defensively, he smothers other guards with his motor and quick hands. He is always playing angles, generating steals and pushing the ball in transition. His team had an impressive record on the weekend, finishing 3-1 in pool play. McKnight will undoubtedly be a guard to monitor in the future.
Munir Greig | 2027 | NJ Scholars (NJ)
The electrifying forward is a unique prospect due to his combination of size, athleticism and skill. He stands around 6’5’’ and moves like a guard, running the floor effortlessly. From a defensive standpoint, Greig’s ceiling is very high due to his length and athleticism. His motor will be the key to his defensive development. When Greig’s motor is running, he’s protecting the rim with his length and verticality, switching onto guards and even stealing the ball from them on occasion. As his endurance and mentality improve from a motor standpoint, he can anchor a defense with high-level activity. Offensively, Greig intrigues with his ability to stretch the floor, as he hit numerous threes in multiple contests over the weekend. He also has the ability to exploit poor closeouts by finishing at the rim. He also showed flashes of playmaking, possessing a handle that is ahead of the curve for his size/age/position. He can lead the break himself and even break down defenders in isolation scenarios, at times. All in all, there is plenty to be excited about as Greig continues to grow, fill out and develop.
Camontae Griffin, Jr. | 2027 | NJ Scholars (NJ)
The best scorer in the gym last weekend was Camontae Griffin, Jr., a multi-level scorer who can get going without any assistance from teammates. From behind the three-point line, he’s comfortable pulling up coming off ball screens and shoots the ball with confidence. As a mid-range creator, Griffin is polished, getting into his shot off step-throughs, stopping on a dime with pump-fakes and exercising patience to keep defenders guessing. Not only is he adept from deep and from mid-range, but he has some real post-game, which you don’t see every day in a middle school guard. He loves using his size against smaller matchups, using his strong frame to overpower, but also has touch and the ability to hit turnaround fadeaways off the glass. Griffin also made some nice passing reads from the post, skipping the ball cross-court to open shooters. He also showed the ability to get to the rim, constantly drawing contact and getting to the free-throw line. Needless to say, Griffin is an advanced offensive guard at this stage of his young career. He also showed flashes of defensive potential, anticipating well in passing lanes and taking advantage of lackadaisical decisions made by opposing guards. He also possesses a chip as a competitor, bringing energy and confidence that rubs off on his teammates. This is one to monitor closely, folks.
Callen Morrison | 2027 | Boo Williams (VA)
A bolt of electricity, Morrison makes plays on both ends of the floor with his elite speed and motor. Morrison is a tenacious on ball defender and the head of the Boo Williams’ full-court press, using his lateral quickness and deceptiveness to disrupt other guards. On offense, Morrison turns heads thanks to his sound shooting mechanics and beautiful release. He shoots a soft ball with great rotation from anywhere behind the arc. Throughout the weekend, he looked comfortable drifting into corners, keeping a strong base and sound balance to consistently knock down open catch-and-shoot opportunities. As a ball-handler, Morrison is both explosive and creative and is comfortable using spins to maneuver around defenders or escape dribbles to create space for his jumper. He’s also a functional athlete when it comes to finishing at the rim, with an ability to contort his body around defenders and finish with craft. His two-way skillset makes him a high floor prospect — and the more he grows, the higher the ceiling.
Babatunde Oladotun | 2027 | Team Durant (DC)
This lanky forward is a perfect fit in the modern game with his positional size and perimeter-oriented skillset. Oladotun has a smooth release and great touch and is a proficient catch-and-shoot marksman. He stands at a towering 6’5” — bigger than a ton of eighth-grade forwards — yet is also mobile enough to operate with comfort from the outside. He regularly exploits smaller defenders by shooting over them in the mid-post and excels as a glass-crasher on the offensive end. Needless to say, Oladotun is a matchup nightmare for his peers. Improving his physicality and ball-handling will only allow him to grow his already impressive offensive repertoire. Defensively, Oladotun’s long wingspan provides potential, but he still has room to improve with his foot speed. He provides flashes of a young Jabari Smith considering his size, frame and shooting ability, and with the requisite work and continued development, his ultimate potential is very exciting.
Daniel Abass | 2027 | Team Durant (DC)