Started the Memorial Great American Shoot-Out Summer Tip-Off watching some 2016's. The Dream Elite had to fight off a hard working Have Ball Will Travel (KS) squad in the first half, but Fort Worth Dunbar's sophomore Logan Ray took the game into his own hands in many different ways. Ray was versatile playing the role of a ball handler, scorer and rebounder. He displayed that he can really do it all as a combo guard breaking down defenders and getting to the rim with ease. An explosive athlete that got to the rim whenever he wanted played physical. Throughout the game Ray came off the dribble to pull up for jumpers and once he got into the into the lane his athleticism took over. From the perimeter, Ray was able to set up for open looks and nail the three as the Kansas team backed off to watch for his explosive step to the basket. He was able to get out in transition and punch it in. He totaled 19 points, hitting two threes and adding four rebounds.
Teammate Connor Lidiak from Arlington Martin was hot from behind the arc drilling four threes. He's a spot up shooter with a great touch and form, but can also read the defense to get his open look.
Unranked, not for long
Staying with the theme of underclassmen, Dallas Mustangs Blue's T.J. Vasher entered the tourney on Day One as an unranked sophomore. Vasher made an immediate impact for his team and on the minds of the TexasHoops.com staff. Vasher took the ball to the hole and found the gaps he needed to get to the basket. The 6-foot-5 wiry build of Vasher makes him slippery through tight spots. He showed body control once he was in the paint and he finished strong over defenders. Athletically, Vasher is right there as one of the state's best players in his class.
After talking to the Mustangs' coaching staff, it turns out that Vasher is a wide receiver for his high school, Wichita Rider, and as already drawn up interest from top Big XII programs including an offer from Oklahoma. The kicker is, Vasher wants to play basketball at the next level. There is still time for Vasher to decide what his future holds, but the basketball offers should start rolling in. It won't be till August when Vasher turns 16 years old, and that gives him plenty of time to add strength and possibly grow a few inches more.
Teammate and Parish Episcopal guard, Tyrick Bennett was entertaining running the point for the Mustangs Blues. He drove by pressure and penetrated time after time scoring off the glass in traffic. On the defensive side of the ball, Bennett used his body and hands to cause trouble to his opponents.
Basketball University 2016 (Houston) made the trek to Duncanville, and they brought with them 5-foot-9 Home Schooler Elijah Lee. Lee is a smaller point guard but he handles the ball with confidence and poise. He heads up the court with his eyes up looking where to attack the defense. Lee has the court vision that you want in a guard and he has the zip on his passes to get the ball to his teammates. He does take charge when he needs to when it comes to scoring, turning the corner on defenders and taking contact.
Houston Elite's Ricky Nelson put up 26 points last night in a loss against the San Antonio Hustlers. The 5-foot-10 Nelson hit shots from all over the perimeter and made some great looking passes in transition. Will catch more of the 2017 on Day Two.
More Day 1 Memorial GASO player notes
Vandy Hopson is a 2016 to watch in the future. A strong body athlete that will get junk done down low. Still has some areas to grow, but the potential is there.
Even in a 10 point loss to Dallas Showtyme, SABO's Clevon Brown continued his rise in the 2016 class with six blocks and 24 points in a 10 point loss to Dallas Showtyme. Brown showed that he is talented enough to play against players his own size and players outside his San Antonio area.
Rangy combo guard C.J. Massingburg was good as advertise in his first game of the day against the Georgia Tornadoes. DJH5-Baker's Massingburg drove his way to 28 points taking contact in the lane to get to the free throw line where he was a perfect eight-for-eight. His long longs and soft touch catching your eye as he can handle the ball. The most exciting part of his game was his penetration through defenders to lay the ball in at the buzzer to escape with a two point win at the buzzer, 77-75.
My initial thoughts from two weeks ago after watching Charles Kendley from the San Antonio Celtics is that he was a tough and rugged interior player. After watching during his first game versus Rock City (AK), Kendley showed more versatility putting the ball on the floor and hitting the 15-footer. There is more to him as he is still recovering from a leg injury he suffered in the fall.
Smaller guards are a dime a dozen, but SW Elite's combo guard Zak Graves gave us a little more to think about. During his night game against 3D Sports Team Bizness. Graves displayed his ability to finish in the lane with his athleticism. From Richland HS, the 6-foot-1 the explosive above the rim finisher has nice ball handling skills and will pressure the ball on defense.
Out of state talent
Have Ball Will Travel has an undersize four/five in Caleb Tramp. The 6-foot-5 versatile inside man can get to the basket and score around the rim. He has nice size and strong on the boards.
The Oklahoma Wizards had two players in 2015 6-foot-10 Colby Koontz, and 2016 6-foot-5 Lindy Waters. Koontz is a big ol' country bully inside the paint that is a baseball player with a high 80's fastball, but he wants to play basketball at the next level. He uses his body well on the block and clears out the lane. Waters is a lanky two-guard that with a soft touch on the perimeter. Waters is a clear cut division I shooter when the time comes.
Georgia Tornadoes' Shembari Phillips went toe to toe with Massingburg from DJH5-Baker, and had 25 points of his own. The 6-foot-5 wing did his damage around the rim where he was unstoppable driving by the defense. Teammate and fellow class of 2015 prospect Kevon Harris contributed 19 points of his own in the same ways.