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Event Recap: Sports Academy National Cup - East Session 2

Updated: Mar 8, 2023

In the latest edition of ‘P.I. Pulse’, Pro Insight’s Michael Visenberg highlights prospects who stood out at Sports Academy National Cup after spending the weekend in Hamilton, Ohio for East Session 2:

With the first weekend in the books for the West, South and East sessions of the Sports Academy National Cup powered by Matt Barnes, it was time for tournament play in East Session 2, which took place February 26-27 at Spooky Nook Sports at Champion Mill in Hamilton, Ohio. With the ability to play on up to eight courts at once, the gym was buzzing and the stakes were high with automatic bids for the finals (which will be at Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California May 19-21) and prize money on the line.

East Session 2 featured teams from East Session 1 from DC, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Virginia. It also featured teams that were recently eligible to play AAU basketball from the Midwest (Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio), plus saw Tre Mann Elite from Florida switch their 2027-29 teams from the South to the East to compete at Spooky Nook.

Both teams that finished with perfect 4-0 records in the first East Session, #1 seed Team Takeover (DC) and #2 seed Boo Williams (VA), faced each other in the final. Boo Williams came out the champion and will have a very high seed going into the finals in May. The third-place game went to new entry, George Hill All Indy (IN), who bested Team Durant (MD) 60-37, with both rounding out the automatic bids to Thousand Oaks.

There will be possible play-in opportunities for the remaining teams, with NJ Scholars (NJ) and New World McNeil (DC) facing off in the finals of the consolation bracket, with Scholars winning the 5th place game 56-55. 2028 will feature East Session 2 champion Team Future (PA), along with runner-up Team Durant 2028 (MD), along with Team Takeover 2028 (DC) and Tre Mann Elite 2028 (FL). 2029 had NJ Scholars 2029 (NJ) taking home the championship at Spooky Nook with NJ Legacy 2029 (NJ) finishing as runner-up who will be joined by additional qualifiers for Thousand Oaks in Battle-Tested (MD) and All Ohio BNU (OH).

Seeding is yet to be decided, as it will be after West Session 2 (April 1-2 at Inspire Courts in Gilbert, Arizona) and South Session 2 (April 22-23 in Deerfield Beach, Florida). The East Session 2 tournament gave us a great look into some prospects that will make noise in California in May, and players to monitor moving forward in the Class of 2027. We were also able to catch a few 2028s who had stood previously, along with a few new players that were intriguing prospects, as well. Below, we’ve analyzed just some of the noteworthy standouts we evaluated in Ohio.

2027 Standouts

Jordyn Houston | Boo Williams (VA)

At around 6’6” with an impressive frame, Houston is a major presence who also adds some ball handling ability and flashes of shooting touch. He’s fully capable of taking it full court off a rebound or blocked shot to make a soft finish in transition. He finishes through contact as well and is a force on the offensive boards. Houston is not the quickest in a straight line, and uses more of a change of pace and his strength to get to his spots. He certainly asserted himself in Ohio, and couples an intriguing positional skillet with impressive physical strength.

NaVorro Bowman | Team Takeover (DC)

The toughness and energy that Bowman plays with exemplifies the style one typically expects from Team Takeover. The son of former Penn State and NFL linebacker NaVorro Bowman, the younger Bowman is a crafty finisher and scrappy defender. He notably converted a lay-up in the closing seconds of the championship game that tied it up with 3 seconds left. He has a functional handle, is an unselfish playmaker and a threat from long range. He is not very tall for his position and still quite skinny, but plays bigger than his size, with leadership and a skillset that makes Team Takeover a Sports Academy National Cup contender. He recently announced he will be attending Paul VI (VA), a school with a tremendous history of producing elite guards.

Peyton Kemp | George Hill All Indy (IN)

With a tight handle and good balance on his jumpshot, Kemp has a complete scoring package and does a great job initiating the offense for his team. He is a killer in transition, where he can lead the break and create easy offense. He has range out to the NBA three-point line and a high level of comfort in his ability to create separation. Defensively, he moves his feet well and is a good anticipator while playing the passing lanes. He still does tend to gamble and can be turnover-prone at times, but overall had a positive weekend at Spooky Nook, showing why he’s such a highly-touted prospect.

Jamaal McKnight | Team Durant (MD)

The first East Session MVP had to deal with an injured ankle in the quarterfinal match-up with Tre Mann Elite and even still, McKnight flashed his playmaking and ability to break down a defense, traits that make him such a well-regarded point guard. Creative as a handler with an extra gear of speed, he is quite adept at finding cutters and shooters. He finds ways to get into the paint and is a big threat with his shooting, as well. Still diminutive in size, he plays bigger, is a pesky defender and a leader for Durant. This is a very talented team who had a tough Sunday at Spooky Nook, but with a fully healthy McKnight at the finals in May, they will not be an easy team to deal with.

Cooper Zachary | George Hill All Indy (IN)

Another huge component of the George Hill All Indy offensive arsenal, Zachary brings feathery touch from deep, quick processing speed, smart decision-making, an advanced floater game, creativity as a finisher, and some pick-and-roll acumen. He’s also a ball hawk as a defender and can quickly turn defense into offense. His physical growth will be something to keep an eye on, but he really knows how to play and displays many of the skills you look for in a PG prospect.

Babatunde Oladotun | Team Durant (MD)

At 6’6” with long limbs, Oladotun has such an easy release and seems to get his shot over anyone at this level. His father is 6’8.5”, so it is likely that he keeps growing and fills out his frame. “Baba” can also handle the ball and is a good passer. It appears that down the line he will be able to play either forward spot, while making an impact as a versatile shooter and defender. In Ohio, he was still able to finish near the basket at times, though he’ll have to work on improving his strength to maximize that aspect of his game. The size and skillset are both tantalizing, making him a potentially very scalable prospect.

Callen Morrison | Boo Williams (VA)

The key to the Boo Williams offense is Morrison, who provides rim pressure, great start-and-stop ability and defensive energy. He’s noticeably crafty as a paint finisher with some tricks up his sleeve. He possesses touch and ability both from midrange and from beyond the arc as a shooter. He also has some real live dribble passing ability and is an effective ball mover, overall, regularly finding himself producing hockey assists. Morrison keeps defenses off balance and has been a primary catalyst in his team’s 8-0 record through two weekends of Sports Academy National Cup play.

Daniel Abass | Team Durant (MD)

A big man with a strong frame, Abass is light on his feet and able to keep great composure in traffic. He excels as a rim runner who can finish amidst contact in transition and he’s comfortable putting the ball on the floor. Overall, he keeps the ball high when in the post, finishing at the rim with regularity. He also takes up a lot of space on the boards and has keen timing as a rim protector. There is room to improve his shooting and decision making but strides in those departments appear realistic. His combination of size, strength, and agility while already pushing 6’6” makes him a must-track, moving forward.

Jahari Miller | George Hill All Indy (IN)

Miller exhibits an ability to score on and off the ball and is dangerous from deep, as well. He does not make a living with his straight-line speed, more so with his craft, balance, and touch. His floater game is about as advanced as you’ll see at this level. He also does the little things, takes charges, pushes the ball in transition with a sense of urgency, and has good timing as an offensive rebounder. Already 6’1”, he brings a good blend of offensive skillset and size that should translate well to higher levels. He also has some eye-catching vertical pop and good defensive instincts and is someone we would not be surprised to see net some early offers.

Josh Rivera | NJ Scholars (NJ)

One differentiator for Rivera: he’s typically the first guy in the gym, getting tons of shots up before most others have tied their shoes. It translates into games, as he’s able to knock down shots from range at a good rate in catch-and-shoot scenarios as well as off movement. His handle is functional, which enables him to get to his floater, where he finishes with touch. He has a good feel as a passer with an ability to find open shooters. He is also a strong communicator on the floor and consistently provides encouragement for teammates. Rivera is clearly mature, evidenced by his ability to quickly shake off a close quarterfinal loss to Boo Williams to win the consolation bracket. At 6’5”, he brings size and skill to the perimeter, a dynamic personality, and just as importantly — he has the right approach and a special work ethic.

Kevin Parker | Boo Williams (VA)

It’s rare if Parker walks into a gym and he’s not the quickest — with or without the ball — amongst his peers. When there’s a loose ball somewhere in the vicinity, Parker is able to tap into that extra gear to either keep it alive or deflect it to a teammate. He also a very hard cutter who maintains body control to finish in the paint. The speed is not limited to straight-line ability, as he is a really strong lateral mover and pesky on-ball defender. He shows flashes of a pull-up game, as he’s able to put it on the floor and get into his shot. Put simply, Parker is a crucial piece for one of the best teams in the field and gives evaluators a lot to like as a combo guard.

Bryce Curry | George Hill All Indy (IN)

Beyond standing 6’3” with a nice perimeter skillset, Curry’s vertical athleticism also quickly stands out. He finishes above the rim with ease in games, something not many non-bigs his age can claim. His vertical pop helps him play up the line-up on defense as well as become a force on the glass as a rebounder. He has some passing chops and his shooting stroke is projectable at this stage. He does a lot of intangible things coaches love and as an elite run-and-jump athlete, Curry is someone who could see success early and often in high school.

Darrell Davis | Team Takeover (DC)

The ball seems to constantly be in Davis’ hands with this Takeover squad and he plays with a contagious brand of pace and confidence. He brings nonstop energy to the floor and seemingly never stops moving. He’s an adept playmaker and passer (especially kick-aheads, kick-outs and looks to cutters), straight-line driver, a threat from outside and effective as a pull-up jump-shooter. Davis is also a key cog in his team’s defensive scheme, with a knack for generating deflections and steals. There is a lot in his bag and he shows encouraging instincts on both ends, which makes his future bright.

Matthew Mena | Boo Williams (VA)

Mena isn’t just the clutch free-throw shooter who iced the East Session 2 championship game, maintaining Boo’s perfect record, but a huge part of his team’s overall success. He has a soft spot-up shot out to the three-point line and is a killer from the corners. Mena is able to flourish while playing a physical style as well, effectively clearing out space near the basket, scoring through contact and creating a lot of possessions with his opportunistic tip-ins on missed shots. He’s also a particularly good outlet passer and decision maker in general. At 6’7” with shooting touch and feel, Mena his play has warranted an early offer from Radford.

Sequel Patterson | Tre Mann Elite 2027 (FL)

Patterson quickly caught our eye during Tre Mann Elite’s showing in South Session 1 and proved more than sustained that early intrigue with his play in Ohio as part of East Session 1. We stand by the early notion that Patterson may be the single-most entertaining player in the field, as he possesses elite speed, unique separation ability and can currently finish well above the rim in warm-ups and is not more than 6’0” tall. In games, he flashes a combination of dynamic finishes along with some crisp pull-up creation ability. Patterson also has advanced footwork and a functional handle — he’s not someone a defense wants driving baseline and he is very good at using his crossover to lull opponents into a false sense of security. There is some work to be done as a playmaker, though there’s reason for optimism as he is a highly-regarded quarterback prospect, as well.

Matt Barnes Defensive Spotlight Award

This award goes to the best defensive player in the session. The recipient must exhibit a high-level of defensive capability, affecting the game in multiple ways on the defensive end.

Amani Asare | 2027 | Team Takeover (DC)

Asare implements his quick hands, tough on-ball ability and gritty overall approach (he may have led the weekend in charges taken) to impact games on the defensive end. His defensive prowess was a major key to Takeover’s semifinal win against George Hill All Indy. A large part of Asare’s approach begins with his motor and it’s not uncommon for opponents to have an “off game” when Asare is on the floor, which is not a coincidence. Beyond his large defensive imprint, he also has a soft lefty stroke, finishes well inside and is effective with his timing and cadence as a cutter. The 5’10” guard is slated to attend Bishop O’Connell High School (VA) next year, though there’s still more work to be done with Team Takeover in the meantime.

2028 Standouts

Willie Darden | Tre Mann Elite 2028 (FL)

The 6’4” Darden dazzled in South Session 1 and kept it going in the East bracket. He uses long strides to get to the basket, with an ability to still lay it in with touch despite going full speed. He also has some pull-up ability in the halfcourt, though his real bread-and-butter comes in transition. Darden can grab-and-go off a defensive rebound, is really good at using his length on defense, and is an overall incredibly tough match-up for opponents.

Javieon Plaza | Team Future (PA)

Plaza exudes toughness. This lefty simply doesn’t seem to be affected by whatever is in front of him. Most of his work comes off slashing/driving and he has no problem leveraging his strength and frame to score over and around bigger opponents. The Chester, Pennsylvania resident is also a killer in the middle of the zone and plays hard-nosed on-ball defense. Team Future may not have been favored to win their bracket entering the weekend, but there is no denying who made it possible: Plaza.

Nijaun Harris | Tre Mann Elite 2028 (FL)

Harris took on a different role in the East Session compared to our first viewing in South Session 1, where he played more on the ball — nonetheless, there is a ton to like, here. Harris is a sharp decision-maker who can score through contact, stretch the floor as a shooter and mirror opponents on defense. Regardless of the position he’s playing or role he’s taking on, his mature demeanor, physical tools and versatile skillset shine through.

Jett Harrison | Team Future (PA)

Harrison, the son of NFL Hall-of-Fame wide receiver Marvin Harrison, is unafraid of the big moment, evidenced by his late-game heroics for Team Future in their upset win against Tre Mann Elite. Beyond range shooting ability, Harrison is a bouncy athlete who can finish at the rim and chip in on the offensive glass. He has some innate scoring ability, plays with defensive intensity and consistently makes clutch plays on both ends, a big reason Team Future won their bracket.

Jahmir Wallace | Tre Mann Elite (FL)

A recent addition to the Tre Mann Elite program, Wallace is a physically imposing player with straight-line driving prowess and flashes of perimeter ability. He plays on-ball and is still getting accustomed to his new team, but plainly, there are not many players with his combination of strength, movement, and ability to absorb contact as a finisher. He’s also capable of blowing up plays as a shot-blocker, yet another reason he’s one more player from Florida to keep a close eye on.

Other Notable Performers

Ayden Ashe | 2027 | Tru2Form ClayWay Elite (MD)

Bottom Line: Generates events on defense; a deadly and versatile shooter who can also put it on the deck and make plays

Antonio Baymon | 2027 | George Hill All Indy (IN)

Bottom Line: An adept driver who can make plays, offer shooting gravity as a spot-up threat and provide sound on-ball defense

Jomar Bernard | 2027 | Tre Mann Elite (FL)

Bottom Line: Provides pull-up flashes, plus-rebounding and defensive versatility; making strides as a handler

Isaiah Carpenter | 2027 | Tru2Form ClayWay Elite (MD)

Bottom Line: Brings positional size and length, and effectiveness as a cutter, slasher, and outside shooter; can sit and slide on D

Derek Daniels | 2027 | Team Takeover (DC)

Bottom Line: Can be counted on as a strong finisher around the basket and above the rim; cleans up his area as a rebounder and provides rim protection

Carlos “Smooth” Ferguson | 2027 | NJ Scholars (NJ)

Bottom Line: Appropriately named with a soft lefty stroke, and an ability to finish in transition; intriguing movement ability on defense

Maddox Harden | 2027 | Tre Mann Elite (FL)

Bottom Line: Brings size, fluid movement, scoring touch around the basket, the ability to high point rebounds, and impactful interior defense

Isaiah Hill | 2027 | George Hill All Indy (IN)

Bottom Line: Stands 6’9” while being one of the younger players in 2027 class; impressive movement skills, rim protection and shooting flashes

Jaiden Hunter | 2028 | Boo Williams (VA)

Bottom Line: Only 12-years-old (at the time of the tournament) playing up with Boo Williams 2027s; 6’3” with some positive handling, shooting and defensive glimpses

Deon Johnson | 2027 | George Hill All Indy (IN)

Bottom Line: Possesses size, athleticism, handling, and driving ability while providing switchability on D

AJ Jones | 2027 | Indy Heat (IN)

Bottom Line: Brings quickness, toughness, an ability to get to the basket, range shooting, playmaking, and on-ball D

Asante Jones | 2027 | NJ Scholars (NJ)

Bottom Line: Already 6’7” with some touch from midrange, trending toward three-point range; interior finisher with functional length as a defender

Jayden Mills | 2027 | New World McNeil (DC)

Bottom Line: Has size, finishing ability through contact, a rebounding presence, a good feel of how/when to use his body, and strength as a rebounder and defender

Brian Mitchell, Jr. | 2027 | Boo Williams (VA)

Bottom Line: Nailed a game-winning three-pointer; great around the basket with his vertical pop; makes his presence felt on the boards, and leverages strength well on defense

Aiden Monroe | 2027 | Indy Heat (IN)

Bottom Line: A strong interior presence at 6’5” with impressive movement ability; makes a consistent defensive impact

Cam Riggs | 2027 | George Hill All Indy (IN)

Bottom Line: Brings versatility as a defender, at-the-rim finishing, smart movement off the ball, and an overall unselfish approach

Nate Sidney | 2027 | Bates Fundamentals (MI)

Bottom Line: Loaded with confidence as a spot-up shooter; a tough defender who is quite young for class

Kareem Smith-Bey | 2028 | New World McNeil (DC)

Bottom Line: 6’3” with a versatile inside-outside ability; functional handle; brings toughness on defense

Jeremiah Stanford | 2027 | Team Takeover (DC)

Bottom Line: Intriguing pull-up ability; comfortable as a spot-up shooter; two-way toughness

Israel “Izzy” Tchoubfong | 2027 | Team Durant (MD)

Bottom Line: Brings a nice blend of fluidity plus size; energetic rebounder; flashes of open-court handle

Troy Tomlin | 2027 | Team Takeover (DC)

Bottom Line: Possesses great instincts as a cutter and is a constant mover on offense who can finish at the rim; a versatile defender with a habit of turning defense into offense

Jymin Veney | 2027 | New World McNeil (DC)

Bottom Line: A poised, high-feel guard who’s comfortable on-ball and in finding teammates in good scoring spots; a pull-up creator who can call his own number; brings defensive intensity

Quincy Wright | 2027 | Bates Fundamentals (MI)

Bottom Line: 6’5” with fluidity and positive off-ball activity; an effective hook shot that’s tough to contest; an ability to get to the free throw line


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