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Event Recap: Sports Academy National Cup - West Session 2

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 Gilbert, Arizona for West Session 2:

With the Sports Academy National Cup powered by Matt Barnes Grand Finale set to take place in Thousand Oaks, California from May 19-21, West Session 2 provided a look at some of the programs that will top the final tournament rankings. The 2027 teams that garnered automatic bids into the final bracket: West Session 2 champions LA Soldiers (CA), runner-up Paul George Elite (CA) as well as UH Elite (AZ). Arizona Unity (AZ), after being only able to play a quarterfinal game, will be coming to the finale as a play-in team. The AZ Monstarz (AZ) also earned their invite as a play-in team after winning the consolation bracket.

The 2028 auto-qualifiers: West Session 2 champions Team Bagley (AZ), runner-up Skyrider (AZ), third-place winners Austin Select 2028 (TX) as well as SQUAD (CA). For 2029, SQUAD (CA) claimed the championship, with Austin Select (TX) as runner-up, Hawk Hoops (CA) as the third-place winner and Oakland Rebels (CA) claiming the last automatic bracket bid. There are other teams in 2028 and 2029 that finished near the top of the consolation bracket that will be considered for play-in spots, as well.

Still to be decided: an All-Star game for each class, awards, and of course, the ultimate winner of the Sports Academy National Cup in the 2027, 2028 and 2029 divisions. The finale will feature teams from the East, South and West regions, with the champions of each (or those with the best record) claiming top seeds. Play-in teams will be finalized soon, rounding out the Grand Finale bracket. It promises to be an action-packed three days to close out the inaugural National Cup.

West Session 2 is now in the rearview mirror, and we’ll spend the rest of this article spotlighting a weekend in the desert that saw several of the event’s top stars shine. While some 2027 teams only had a chance to play one or two games, it gave us a chance to see some more of the top 2028 talent, which was in abundance during the semifinal match-up between Team Bagley and Austin Select. The growth even between Session 1 until present is impressive, which is a great indicator for the level of play to be expected at the Sports Academy National Cup Grand Finale.

Event Standouts

Gene Roebuck | 2027 | LA Soldiers (CA)

With imposing size and strength at this level, Roebuck impresses with his functional handle and his consistency finishing through contact. By our unofficial count, he has the most and-one baskets of anyone in the Sports Academy National Cup by a nice margin. His ability to establish first contact and still score is impressive. Roebuck also has shown more confidence as a range shooter, while also improving as a decision maker. While he is still not finishing above the rim consistently and does not have blow-by speed, he’s patient and uses his strength to his advantage, making him a dangerous scorer. Already standing 6’4” with flashes of perimeter skill, his growth over the next few years will be worth tracking. We feel confident calling Roebuck dominant amongst his peers through two West sessions and he’ll look to build on that momentum in the finale.

Josiah Nance | 2027 | Paul George Elite (CA)

The lefty continues to fill out and is getting quite good at finishing with either hand from difficult angles. The 6’5” Nance can get to his spots with his handle and balanced body control aids him as a slasher. Playing more on-ball lately, he is improving as a playmaker and shooter, with range out to the three-point line. He also leverages his physical tools well as a defender, altering shots and playing passing lanes. Though he thrives in transition, he’s still getting used to making decisions out of the double and triple teams he sometimes faces as the primary offensive option. His shooting consistency is also a work in progress, but he still finds ways to get buckets consistently while leveraging the gravity he generates by making plays for teammates.

Heaven Chea | 2028 | Austin Select (TX)

With a tight handle and great spatial awareness, Chea was able to get to spots and find his teammates as he led Austin Select to the third-place slot in a pair of 17-point wins, showing well even in their loss to Team Bagley. Chea has great touch on his shot and is a creative finisher around the basket, and he seems to live at the line. He is a pesky on-ball defender, taking steals for transition buckets and making life tough for opposing guards. He also gets to the charity stripe very often, utilizing fakes and his willingness to attract contact. Possessing a strong offensive skillset and good court sense on both ends, Chea is a floor general with multi-level scoring ability.

Cisco Munoz | 2027 | LA Soldiers (CA)

One of the better passers among the 2027s in the Sports Academy National Cup, Munoz was the driving force in the finals against Paul George Elite, leading the LA Soldiers to a 72-63 victory. He gets good hang time on his drives, where he can convert tough finishes and is also about to finish floaters with touch, making him a tough cover off the bounce. He maintains balance on his jumper, and he’s adept at creating space off the bounce and can make shots off movement. Munoz is quite good at getting into the paint and making plays thanks to his change of pace and functional quickness. He is a leader for the Soldiers and his play in Arizona showed just how complete his game is when firing on all cylinders.

Parks Weaver | 2028 | Team Bagley (AZ)

Playing with a new team in this session, Weaver saw an expanded role which opened up an entire new world for Team Bagley. As part of Austin Select in Session 1, they beat Team Bagley 67-44. Now, with the addition of Weaver and fellow Sacramento resident Jordan Mize, Team Bagley got the better of Austin Select 65-51 in the semifinals. They won the championship 54-48, and Weaver served as a primary catalyst with his ability to create rim attempts, shoot from the outside and find open teammates. He has a quick first step and at times functions as a one-man fastbreak. His versatility as a shooter shines through as he’s able to get going both off the catch and off the bounce. A change of scenery has given Weaver a new chance to shine, and now he and Team Bagley are in a prime spot for a top seed in the finale.

Grant Mattingly | 2027 | AZ Monstarz (AZ)

There is driving craft, and then there is Grant Mattingly. This AZ Monstarz squad’s primary weapon seems to be able to get to the basket and finish over just about anyone. With his team drawing the LA Soldiers in the quarterfinals, Mattingly managed to still get to the paint against this team full of bigger, taller players. His touch is also impeccable, as he tends to get going towards the basket at full speed while still putting it in softly off the backboard or through the net with his floater. His handle, passing, and long-distance shooting are also go-to tools for him, and he also competes on the defensive end. Monstarz have been announced as a play-in team, and that wouldn’t be the case without Mattingly.

Kainoa Patton | 2028 | Paul George Elite (CA)

A skilled outside shooter who has seemingly grown about an inch or so since last Session, Patton is now throwing down easily in warm-ups. He has earned a starting spot and had a string of long-range shots that helped Paul George Elite get within striking distance in the Session 2 finals. He is a tough on-ball defender with good instincts, and is willing to put his body on the line going for rebounds. He’s also improved as a pull-up shooter, while still being dangerous from the corners, with a great sense for finding gaps in the defense. One of the few players who will be 13-years-old playing in the 2027 division, Patton is getting more comfortable in his role off-ball, while still having the skill to create for himself when called upon, maintaining his trademark quick decision-making.

Paul Osaruyi | 2027 | Arizona Unity (AZ)

Injured during West Session 1, Osaruyi immediately passes the eye test in lay-up lines, where he was trying some outrageous dunks. While they were ambitious and many didn’t go down, he had a monster windmill, and he more often just misjudged the distance as opposed to it being something he couldn’t throw down. Projecting to be in the 6’9” range, he also showed signs of being able to put the ball on the floor, make the extra pass and was an imposing defensive presence. His shot also seemed quite fluid, and while it did not fall in the single game they played, it’s something to monitor as another possible facet to his game. He is well ahead of the curve athletically and while he needs to iron out his skillset, he already has an offer from Oklahoma State with a physically mature frame that should add muscle well throughout his high school career. On a Unity team filled with intriguing prospects, having yet another one in Osaruyi will make them a very difficult out in the finale.

Adan Diggs | 2028 | Austin Select (TX)

Already 6’3” with an ability to get above the rim with a running start, Diggs is an electric scoring threat who is very comfrotable grabbing and going in transition. He can make pull-up jumpers and has also shown a comfort level as a spot-up shooter. He generates steals and blocks and brings impressive ground coverage as a defender. Throughout Session 2, Diggs also put in work on the offensive boards and was able to make some smart kick-outs on drives. While he does have the ability to overwhelm with his size and athleticism, he can also have a difficult time when the opposition takes away his ‘plan A,’ which can lead to some tough shots. Nonetheless, he was able to have some huge games in Arizona, and even managed to fill it up in Austin Select’s semifinals loss. Throughout the Sports Academy National Cup, Diggs has continued rounding out his game and has been one of the most intriguing 2028s in attendance.

Izayah Cook | 2027 | UH Elite Ignite (AZ)

An interior presence at 6’5” with some nice flashes of shooting and handle in space, Cook has been a big reason UH Elite Ignite was undefeated up until their 71-51 loss in the semifinals against the LA Soldiers. Cook has strong instincts as a rebounder with a knack for scoring via offensive boards. He’s also good getting to the rim off cuts and has nice touch from out to midrange. Still only 14-years-old until September, he plays with a motor, is functionally strong and is willing to mix it up on the interior, with some scoring ability in his repertoire, as well.

James Evans | 2027 | LA Soldiers (CA)

Playing with a lot of energy on both ends, Evans is a skilled slasher and off-ball mover, who typically is given the toughest perimeter assignment as a defender. In Session 2, he scored at the rim from variety of angles, made smart cuts, ran the floor hard in transition, and kept defenders off balance with his handle. The progress in his long-range shooting also has been noteworthy, as he’s been able to make some timely spot-up jumpers to give the Soldiers an edge. Defensively, he has speed to play opposing ball handlers tightly and is very good at mirroring opponents, netting plenty of deflections on a regular basis. His brother, James Evans, Jr., is currently a highly-regarded 2024 basketball prospect at West Ranch High School (CA), while the younger “Baby James” (often referred to as “BJ”), looks like he should be one to track as he continues to develop.

Darius Wabbington | 2027 | Arizona Unity (AZ)

Another player on Unity pushing 6’9”, Wabbington showed his intriguing skillset in their single Session 2 contest. He can knock down the corner 3, put the ball on the deck in a straight line and is a skilled outlet passer. Wabbington is also able to use his strength to establish deep post position, and displays nice footwork on finishes. He gobbles up plenty of rebounds, and is also impressively effective at keeping his blocks inbounds, sometimes even maintaining control, himself. It’s evident that he has worked on his body and while he still plays primarly below or at the rim, his vertical athleticism has improved. Wabbington is a post player who brings skill and a major interior presence to the stacked Unity front court.

Carter Bagley | 2028 | Team Bagley (AZ)

Sporting a facemask due to a broken nose he had suffered during a previous tournament, Bagley greatly impressed in Arizona with his effort on both ends and willingness to do the little things. Off the top, his defensive intensity stands out. He is also a great help defender and shows good timing while contesting shots. Bagley won’t let a ball handler go through the lane without feeling his presence. He’s also able to make passes on the move and regularly finds open shooters in the corners. While he can put the ball on the floor in space, he is at his best as a spot-up shooter, where he is more than comfortable launching from deep. Bagley is someone who does not need the ball in his hands to be effective. With his intangibles and ability to provide defensive versatility, Bagley is the glue for this team.

Christopher Sanders | 2027 | 7 Days (CA)

It was a tough weekend for 7 Days in terms of their record, but Sanders was the reason they kept every game close and put a scare into Paul George Elite in the quarterfinals. The 6’3” guard is strong and has some tricks in his bag with his handle, evidenced by how he gets to the rim and in how he creates space on his step-back jumper. The lefty is comfortable initiating the offense in the halfcourt and does a terrific job looking ahead and locating transition opportunities. With such a heavy offensive burden, it can lead to overdribbling and questionable shot selection, at times. Regardless, he manages to be an efficient offensive hub, with size and movement to defend multiple positions at the high school level. The development of Sanders’ off-ball game will be important, as will focusing on setting screens which would make him that much more of a threat as a roller, slipper or popper.

Cole Holden | 2027 | LA Soldiers (CA)

Holden toggled between coming off the bench and starting in the Session 2 finals, but either way he is brought energy, defense and yet another offensive weapon for the LA Soldiers. Holden thrives running the floor and getting transition baskets on O and he has high-level awareness and seems to consisntently come up with stocks (steals and blocks) on D. He’s efficient with his dribbles on the attack, has a nice mid-range pull-up he can get to, as well. The long-range ability is coming along, particularly from the corners. It is inspiring to see how hard Holden plays, and he brings the requisite offensive skill that enables him to plug in within just about any lineup.

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.

TJ Wansa | 2027 | Paul George Elite (CA)

Beyond typically playing notable defense, Wansa was a key component to Paul George Elite getting to the finals with his defense in their opening contest. It is becoming commonpace to see him take one of the better scorers on the opposing team and hold them below their typical efficiency. Wansa is a strong 6’1” guard who brings versatility on both ends, though his defense was his calling card throughout West Session 2. Also skilled as a floor spacer, he was able to show off his floor game in the finals with his driving and runner game. His defense on two of the event’s best scorers in Christopher Sanders and Gene Roebuck was commendable, and it wasn’t a coincidence that the five-man line-ups did so well when he was in the game. Wansa is a scalable prospect who plays within himself and works hard on the defensive end.

Other Notable Performers

Carter Barnes | 2027 | LA Soldiers (CA)

Bottom Line: Long range shooting, floater touch, passing and defensive persistence

Isaiah Barnes | 2027 | LA Soldiers (CA)

Bottom Line: Long range shooting, transition ability, relocation, passing, and defensive persistence

Bruce Branch III | 2027 | Arizona Unity (AZ)

Bottom Line: Shooting touch, off-ball awareness, cutting, and defensive intensity

Owen Eteuati-Edwards | 2028 | DSTRKT (CA)

Bottom Line: Size, ball handling, passing, and soft touch

Jason Gardner | 2027 | Arizona Unity (AZ)

Bottom Line: Vertical athleticism, quickness, shooting, and playmaking

Adrian Higuera | 2027 | Arizona Unity (AZ)

Bottom Line: Pull-up game, passing versatility, handle, and on-ball defense

Siincere Hudson | 2027 | Sacramento Soldiers (CA)

Bottom Line: Defensive intensity, slashing, leadership, and communication

Tavid Lee Johnson | 2027 | Branch West (CA)

Bottom Line: Defensive intensity, spot-up shooting and decision making

Lleyton Leonard | 2028 | Austin Select (AZ)

Bottom Line: Vertical athleticism, rebounding, cutting, and shooting upside

Deion Lewis | 2027 | Paul George Elite (CA)

Bottom Line: Handle, playmaking, shooting, and point-of-attack defense

Trace Lopez | 2028 | Team Bagley (AZ)

Bottom Line: Size, rim running, mid-range touch, rebounding, and rim protection

Peyton Lubash | 2027 | UH Elite Ignite (AZ)

Bottom Line: Long range shooting, handle, passing ability, and toughness

Mayom Mayom | 2027 | Arizona Unity (AZ)

Bottom Line: Size, athleticism, long range shooting, rebounding, and timing as a shot blocker

Devin Mitchell | 2028 | Inland Empire (CA)

Bottom Line: Slashing, ball handling and passing on the move

Jordan Mize | 2028 | Team Bagley (AZ)

Bottom Line: Size, defensive versatility, rebounding, and shot versatility

Kingston Montague | 2028 | Team Bagley (AZ)

Bottom Line: Energy, keeping possessions alive, slashing, cutting, and defensive intensity

Nick Reber | 2027 | UH Elite Ignite (AZ)

Bottom Line: Size, rim finishing, ability to absorb contact, affecting a high quantity of shots with positioning

Jasiah Williams | 2027 | Paul George Elite (CA)

Bottom Line: Stride length getting to the basket, ability to run in transition, improved touch, and defensive activity


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