NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The unofficial start to the high school basketball season is the National Prep Showcase. Held at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Conn., the Showcase gathers around 20 of the best prep school teams in the country. Most of the teams play two games during the weekend, giving everyone a chance to see where they stack up compared to the competition. Brewster Academy (N.H.) and Tilton (N.H.) were the marquee teams, but New Hampton (N.H.) and South Kent (Conn.) were also standout teams. With plenty of college coaches in the stands – including John Calipari, Steve Lavin, Chris Mack, Ed Cooley and others – unsigned players were looking to make an impression. Who stood out? Let’s take a look.
Noah Vonleh, 2014, New Hampton: At an event mostly focused on upperclassmen, Vonleh really stood out. He’s a tremendous rebounder at 6-foot-8, using his length and athleticism to dominate the glass. He’s also developing his offensive arsenal to become a matchup nightmare.
Nerlens Noel, 2013, Tilton: Tilton had an easy win against Kiski, but Noel still showed why he’s in consideration for the top spot in 2013. He’s a tremendous shot blocker, but he’s also improved his offensive game. He face-up and knock down shots and also worked on his ball-handling.
Ricardo Ledo, 2012, South Kent: Ledo is a flat-out dominant scorer when he is focused. He has tremendous range on his outside jumper, and his length and size makes him tough to stop when going to the basket. Cooley must have loved what he saw over the weekend.
Ryan Taylor, 2012, Hargrave Military Academy: The former Louisville commit (right) made an impact and showed off a versatile game. He dominated the inside in his Friday game, but then went and worked on his mid-range jumper against a bigger team on Saturday.
Semaj Christon, 2012, Brewster Academy: Christon continues to rise up the charts with his stellar play. The future Xavier Musketeer is nearly impossible to stop going to the basket, and he knows how to finish at the rim. He can make a case for best point guard in the class.
T.J. Warren, 2012, Brewster Academy: Warren comes off the bench for Brewster, but his scoring arsenal is nearly unparalleled. He can score in so many different ways, from getting to the rim and finishing in the lane to pull-up jumpers and baseline leaners.
Dominic Woodson, 2013, Vermont Academy: The junior big man is one of the more dangerous scorers at his position. He is a big, strong body who can finish inside but what makes him tough is his face-up game. Woodson is not afraid to shoot jumpers from the perimeter.
Jakarr Sampson, 2012, Brewster Academy: Easily the best unsigned 2012 prospect at the event. Sampson is still raw offensively, but he knows how to get points in the lane using his athleticism and length. Defensively, he is aggressive and loves to get out in transition
Other Notables: Was really impressed with the improvement of Jalen Reynolds. He’s extremely active at both ends and has a strong body . . . France native William Howard made a name for himself as one of the best unsigned players at the event. He has a good frame and can do different things . . . New Hampton sophomore Jared Terrell is a tough scorer who can get to the rim or shoot from the perimeter . . . A sleeper prospect could be Hargrave’s Ambrose Mosley. He can knock down shots and handle the ball . . . Myles Davis and Sam Cassell Jr. are a very good scoring duo, but they’re both volume shooters . . . Adonis Filer needs to be more of a facilitator for Notre Dame Prep, but he’s strong and quick . . . Virginia Tech-bound Montrezl Harrell is an absolute beast down low. He’s so strong and looks to dunk everything . . . Former Arkansas commit Aaron Ross played pretty well; he just needs to improve his quickness . . . Amir Garrett was quietly productive, while Malik Nichols was a very good scorer from the wing . . . At St. Thomas More, Chier Ajou replaced Andre Drummond. He’s 7-foot-2, and is fairly mobile . . . When Chris Thomas is hot, look out. He can fill it up . . . La Jolla Prep wing Jarion Henry is a tremendous passer for his size. Loves the one-handed pass . . . Future Cleveland State forward Darnell Harris is one of the best 6-foot-8 shooters in the country . . . Morehead State got a sleeper in Corey Heyward . . . Codi Miller-McIntyre is a dynamite offensive player; gets to the rim at will . . . Nehemias Morillo is a high-major sleeper . . . Mitch McGary wasn’t overly impressive on the offensive end, but his enthusiasm is unmatched . . . Purdue signee Raphael Davis was really good at getting to the basket. Used his body effectively . . . Virginia-bound Mike Tobey is healthy and played well. He runs the floor well for someone his size.
Photos: Nation of Blue (Ricardo Ledo), Indy Star (Ryan Taylor)