Marshall County Hoopfest provided four days of action over the weekend. Here’s a rundown of some of the top talent that was on display.
Jalen Green 6’6 175 SG – Prolific Prep 2020
Green (pictured) was the top prospect in Hoopfest. He covers a lot of ground on drives and can throw it down when he gets to the rim or glide in for a finesse finish. He should look to attack more, he seems to go through stretches without taking it in, then will slash in spurts and can’t be stopped. He’s made noticeable improvement with his ball handling and left hand. He can still expand creating offensively as he’s more reliant on natural athleticism than technique, but the progress has been positive. His jump shot can improve with regard to consistency, shooting 3-10 3PT over the two games. Green scored 26 points in the 75-71 win against Our Saviour Lutheran and 23 points in the win over Orangeville Prep. Showing tremendous reliability as a free throw shooter, going 16-19 over the two games. Adding playmaking and improving as a rebounder can be areas to focus on for Green, with one assist to six turnovers and grabbing an average of five rebounds in the two games.
Daeshun Ruffin 5’10 160 PG – Callaway 2021
One of the best scorers in the country, Ruffin scored 37 points in each game of Hoopfest. He can score at the rim, getting into the paint off the dribble and staying low to the ground on drives along with tight ball handling. Although he got his shot blocked a few times, he continued to take it right at Moussa Cisse. He can also light it up from deep, creating off step backs and getting his quick release off against tight defenses, shooting 6-9 on 3PT in the first game and 5-15 on 3PT in the second. He drew a lot of fouls, shooting 14-18 from the foul line against Chicago Curie. While he has no trouble filling it up at this level, there are some concerns about him as point guard moving forward; he has a scoring mentality and although he can drive and kick, he hasn’t shown to be a full-time floor general with a total of five assists to ten turnovers over the two games. He also shows good body control and quickness but athletically, he’s a below the rim finisher. Ruffin and Callaway went 1-1 over the two games, defeating Lausanne Collegiate 65-44 and losing to Chicago Curie 82-75.
MarJon Beauchamp 6’7 170 SG – Dream City Christian 2020 (Chameleon BX)
Beauchamp didn’t have a strong game in their 55-50 loss to Orangeville Prep, scoring only nine points, missing all seven 3PT attempts, and only grabbed three rebounds. He also shot 3-7 on free throws and has a habit of leaning forward a bit when shooting them. He followed up with 26 points and five rebounds in the 83-75 loss to Our Saviour Lutheran, but he looked more in rhythm. He’s already announced he’s not going to go to college to train for the NBA Draft. As a draft prospect who is going to sell himself as a scorer, he does create naturally and he must expand his scoring repertoire. He tends to force things, hunting opportunities for shots rather than letting those moments come to him. His jump shot also isn’t consistent yet and his release is low. He’s a solid athlete and missed a few poster opportunities. Handling contact should improve as he matures and increases strength in his development season. But the question must be asked, wouldn’t an 18/19 year old prospect develop more effectively playing against actual competition at the college level than sitting out? It’s not as if he has a perceived draft stock to protect.
Matthew Alexander-Moncrieffe 6’7 195 SF – Orangeville Prep 2020
Moncrieffe had some drives to the rim that couldn’t be stopped with his strength and athleticism. He doesn’t have a well-rounded half-court game and his decision making can improve but he finds ways to put points on the board. He’s a solid rebounder as well. Efficiency has a ways to go but he’s still effective. Moncrieffe scored 19 points (5-16 FG) and grabbed 11 rebounds (four offensive) in the win against Dream City Christian and posted 17 points (6-18 FG) and six rebounds in the 68-58 loss to Prolific Prep.
Daishen Nix 6’5 195 PG – Trinity International 2020 (UCLA)
Trinity International lost both games but Nix was very impressive. The one thing I wanted to see from him was how much his jump shot has improved since last year and it’s made great progress. Sometimes letting it fly a few steps behind the 3PT line with no hesitation. He shot 4-6 3PT against Central Pointe Christian and 6-11 3PT against St. Louis Christian. His court vision and passing has always been at the top of the class as he always knows where his four teammates are. He changed his speed and was smooth with the ball, getting where he wanted. He was good on the defensive end as well, sticking to his man on the ball with active hands and although he’s not very explosive as an athlete, he has good timing and blocks shots well for his position. Nix finished with 29 points, six rebounds, six assists, and five turnovers in the 69-67 loss to Central Pointe Christian. He followed up with 36 points, five rebounds, four assists, two blocks, and three turnovers in the 75-69 loss to St. Louis Christian.
Zion Harmon 6’0 175 PG – Marshall County 2021
After not being able to play with Marshall County last year due to transfer rules, Harmon has suited up for the Marshals this season. He’s very skilled and creates against tight defense/double teams. He keeps his dribble going after contact and rarely picks it up early. He doesn’t usually out-quick defenders, but he doesn’t fail to sell his moves to get his shots off. He has very good body control and left hand at the rim. Scoring in isolation and finishing at the rim, which he is very good at this level, projects to be minimized at the next level with his limited size and lack of explosive athleticism. The offense ran through him and to say he took a lot of shots isn’t an exaggeration, scoring 70 points on 58 shots over two games. Harmon finished with 37 points (14-37 FG, 4-17 3PT) in the 67-57 loss to Madison-North Hopkins and scored 33 points (12-25 FG, 4-11 3PT), five rebounds, and four assists in the 84-76 loss to Prodigy Prep.
Moussa Cisse 7’0 210 C – Lausanne Collegiate 2021
Although Lausanne lost their only game to Callaway 65-44, Cisse showed out with 14 points and nine rebounds. Even though his shot has too much arc and he settled for too many (2-7 3PT), it’s nice to see him expand his range and add 3PT shooting to his game as he missed his only 3PT attempt over 18 games on the Nike EYBL this summer. He needs to know his limits as a ball handler and passer, holding the ball too long and doing too much resulting in seven turnovers. Anyone who’s seen Cisse play knows he stands out on the defensive end and is probably the best shot blocker I’ve seen at this stage, recording five blocks in the game. Offensively, he showed a nice up and under and looked smoother around the basket as he’s relied on rim running in the past.
Nimari Burnett 6’4 185 PG – Prolific Prep 2020 (Texas Tech)
Burnett was good as always, shooting well from outside with perfect arc (40% 3PT% over the two games) and getting to the rim when given the opportunity. He’s effective with triple threat but can also penetrate once he puts his dribble down. He put in 20 points against Our Saviour Lutheran, he also had three assists and six turnovers. He followed up with 12 points, one assist, and three turnovers against Orangeville Prep.
Posh Alexander 6’0 180 PG – Our Saviour Lutheran 2020 (St. John’s)
Alexander was fearless and aggressive. Although he doesn’t have great size, he’s strong and plays through contact. He utilizes his quickness on both ends, splitting the defense and getting where he wants with the ball and has a nose for the loose ball and offensive rebounds. He’s a strong ball handler but can work on limiting turnovers. He plays bigger than his size but as a 6’0 guard, he’s going to have to become a better shooter, shooting 1-7 3PT over the two games. Alexander scored 21 points, grabbed seven rebounds (five offensive), passed out two assists to four turnovers in the loss to Prolific Prep. In the second game, he finished with 22 points, four rebounds, four assists, and five turnovers in the win against Dream City Christian.
Kennedy Chandler 6’1 165 PG – Briarcrest Christian 2021
Chandler was impressive in Briarcrest’s only game, with 35 points, seven rebounds, three assists, four turnovers, and three steals. He’s quick, especially with the ball, making moves in the open court without losing speed. He’s a solid athlete and one-foot jumper, getting good lift in the open floor but he generally stays grounded in the half-court. His shot mechanics and ball rotation were good on his outside shooting, resulting in 1-3 3PT. He’s a solid passer but isn’t too creative with the ball and didn’t break down the defense too much in the half-court. He had some strong drives but got the ball stripped while attacking a few times in the 78-70 win against Louisville Male.
Emmanuel Maldonado 6’4 160 SG – Prodigy Prep 2021
Maldonado’s a very good shooter with a quick release. He does have some ball handling ability but most of his points came off quick pull-ups. He doesn’t take a lot of shots at the rim, usually stopping and shooting from midrange before stepping into the paint. He lit it up in the win against Marshall County with 34 points (10-17 3PT). He wasn’t quite as hot against Tennessee Prep going 3-14 3PT but he still dropped 27 points and was huge in both wins. In addition to his shooting, he’s light on his feet and has a nose for the ball defensively, averaging three steals in the two games. He’s not an explosive athlete but he looks like he could grow a little more.
Jordan Nesbitt 6’7 SF 205 – St. Louis Christian 2021
Nesbitt thrived as an athletic slasher. He’s strong and plays physical, embracing and finishing through contact. His physical play led to shooting 13 free throw attempts, making 12 of them to contribute to his total 29 points. Nesbitt also battled the boards with 12 rebounds. Most of his points came in the paint and free throws but his outside stroke doesn’t look bad. Defensively, he came away with five steals but also turned the ball over eight times. St. Louis Christian won their only game of the event against Trinity International 75-69.
Jaden Jones 6’7 188 SF – St. Louis Christian 2021
Jones scored 24 points on an efficient 9-18 FG and 4-8 3PT, showing a nice outside shot with good mechanics. He displayed good ball skills and seemed to make something happen every time he touched the ball, using his creative game and scoring mentality. He provided solid athleticism as well. Jones also recorded six rebounds, three steals, and three turnovers.
Tyrus Baynham 6’5 185 SG – Tennessee Prep 2020
Baynham had a strong showing and looked to prove why he should be mentioned with other nationally recognized players. He’s strong, athletic, and consistently played hard. He showed some ability to create and played physical. He had numerous above the rim aggressive finishes, including a one-handed tip slam. He utilized his fadeaway to rise above the defense and shoot over the top. Baynham scored 25 points, recorded five steals, and five turnovers in the 66-48 win against Aspire Academy. Two areas he has room to improve is shooting and turnovers; going 1-8 3PT over the two games and left a few points at the line late in the game in the 80-76 loss to Prodigy Prep, shooting 7-14 FT. He also contributed with seven rebounds, three assists, three steals, and seven turnovers in the loss.