2018 #E75 - Best of the Guards
The 2018 Elite 75 College Showcase hosted some of the best rising seniors and post-graduates in New England with over 60 college coaches from the division II and III levels looking on.
Over the course of the last three days we’ve profiled some of the event standouts by position, but we saved the best for last as there was an absolute surplus of guards in attendance. The depth of backcourt talent was absolutely off the charts as literally every player was a legitimate college prospect and more than a few have a chance to compete for a scholarship before it’s all said and done.
Top Prospects and Performances
Tyler Thomas, Williston Northampton – One of the more polished scorers in the field, Thomas made shots off both the catch and the dribble while also throwing down some athletics dunks. He had his total game going though as he created shots for others with good vision. He wrapped up his illustrious high school career at Amity with numerous D2 offers and should only add to his scholarship collection in the coming year.
Mykel Derring, Proctor Academy – With scholarship offers already in hand, Derring was one of the more pursued prospects in attendance. He did nothing but grow his list of potential suitors as well as he showed himself to be an absolutely lethal shot-maker, capable of pulling quickly off the catch and the dribble, and making shots in bunches.
Lyron Bennett, Tech Boston – It’s been a breakout year for Bennett, both during the school and grassroots seasons, and he continued to distinguish himself here. There wasn’t a more versatile playmaking guard in the field as Bennett is super smooth with the ability to get to the rim, pull-up in the mid-range area, or splash deep threes.
Kevin Constant, Central Catholic – The D.C. Blue Devils product has made a name for himself this spring but he’s only just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential. Constant has long arms, big hands, big feet, and a frame that looks like it’s just going to keep coming. He’s already got a lot of game off the dribble and length going through the lane but jumps out at you as the type of guy who could continue to emerge in coming years.
Tim Dawson, Hamden Hall – Dawson had a breakout performances at the Super 16 Showcase on Memorial Day weekend and continued to shine here. He’s at his best going north to south with the ball and was true to form in this setting, staying in attack mode all night and showing his shifty handle, lay-up making touch, and quick playmaking instincts.
Doug Alves, South Kent – The lefty playmaker is incredibly tight with the ball and able to create his own shot from various levels. There’s a level of polish to his game that most others lack and so he stood out as much in the competitive breakdowns as he did five-on-five. He saw the floor well, made good reads in pick-and-roll, and was heady picking his points of attack.
Ryan Salzberg, Bridgton Academy – Standing at 6-foot-3, Salzberg is a big, crafty combo-guard who can play on or off the ball. He’s still just beginning to grow into his body but plays with absolutely no fear and competes at the very highest level. He plays with an aggressive style and good handle but has a high basketball I.Q. and an intriguing upside.
Travis Evee, Vermont Academy – It’s been a big spring for the B.C. High School grad and incoming Vermont Academy post-grad as he’s led the way for his Metro Boston club. Evee is a quick lefty who loves to get in the lane and collapse a defense. He’s equally capable of finishing himself or playing draw and quick.
Robert Baum, St. Andrew’s – Coming off a breakout junior season, Baum has continued to distinguish himself this spring. He’s quick and athletic with a good handle and the ability to get where he wants on the court. He’s also become increasingly capable of making open shots. The fact that he coaches noted how coach-able he was on the night was another positive.
Aireus Raspberry, Cranston East – A physically strong southpaw lead guard, Raspberry came in with an aggressive mentality and was in attack mode throughout the course of the night. His handle is as tight and shifty as his body is strong so he can both shake and overpower opposing defenders to get himself in the paint.
Stephon Baxter, Marianapolis Prep – A priority D3 recruit with increasing D2 interest, Baxter is an attacking guard with a high skill level. He plays with pace, has range on his jumper, and touch at the rim. He also changes the game defensively as he’s scrappy and able to get underneath opposing handlers for steals and deflections.
John Gates, Hingham – He continues to show new dimensions to his game. A month ago, he distinguished himself as one of the best shooters at the Super 16. Here, his quickness and athleticism were on full display as he got to the rim at all. His versatile tools and consistent productivity have allowed him to make a big name for himself this spring.
Jay-Juan Hayes, Rocky Hill – The RI Elite point guard can score in bunches. Although undersized at 5-foot-8, he’s slippery and shifty with the ball, capable of lighting it up from three, and able to thrive low to the ground on both ends of the floor both by getting into the seams of the defense and getting under opposing ball-handlers.
Taylor Schildroth, Nation Christian Academy - After recently completing a decorated high school career in the state of Maine, Schildroth will now head south for a prep year in Florida. He’s a proven scorer and shot-maker who has built up his body and is now ready to play through the level of contact the scholarship level dictates.
Steven Lora, Rocky Hill – He may not be the biggest or most athletic, but he’s proven to be a sheer winner with a proven history in both the winter and spring. Lora is also a well-known shot-maker with great mechanics and a soft ball. He has a high I.Q. and has continued to build up to his frame.
Matt Becker, Fairfield Warde – A classic late bloomer, Becker has sprouted into a big guard who is only just scratching the surface of his potential. He’s good with the ball but has floor vision and a feel for the game that can’t be taught. As he continues to fill out his frame and polish his jumper, don’t be surprised to see him shoot up recruiting boards.
Mikey West, Holy Cross – The New Haven Heat guard is highly skilled with deceptively long arms and a high level shooting stroke from long range. He’s equally quick with the ball and shifty off the bounce. He can stop on a dime for his pull-up or be very crafty with his lay-up touch around the rim.
Damien Perry, Bishop Stang – He’s already scored his 1000th point for Bishop Stang and run the show in the EYBL. What he hadn’t done, until now, was prove his ability to make plays for himself and others against other low-major and division II prospects. Perry has a soft shooting touch, knows how to create space with his dribble, and is composed with the ball.
Solomon Neuhaus, Williston – His talent has never been in question as he’s always been long and smooth with good hands and touch. But Neuhaus is now starting to put all the pieces together. He’s still very fluid with the ball but showing a mature feel for the game, passing instinct, and very solid overall floor game.
Nkosi Cooper, Suffield Academy – An attacking guard with a wiry build, Cooper utilized his length, quickness, and lay-up touch to be one of the better playmakers in the field. He’s shifty with his dribble and goes through the lane with long and efficient strides.
Dylan Lien, Worcester Academy – A skilled and polished offensive threat, Lien played his way into some newfound scholarship interest on Tuesday night. He’s a good shooter who bases his game around the arc but has the versatility to attack close-outs and score in different ways.
Marc Dolgin, Kimball Union Academy – His improved conditioning and newly cut-up frame was noticeable from the jump. He played with an extra step of quickness on both ends of the floor, made some heady passes, and showed the attributes necessary to run the show from the point guard position.
New Names to Know
John Buggs, Putnam Science – The incoming post-grad from Louisiana introduced himself to New England in starring fashion. The explosive 6-foot-3 guard shut the gym down with a couple of highlight dunks and was equally potent from long-range with a smooth stroke and quick first step. Already holding multiple D1 offers, Buggs is a high academic prospect who will look to build his recruitment through the summer.
Jalen Enchevarria, St. Marys – Enchevarria has served as a valuable running mate for Bennett in the Warriors’ backcourt all spring. He’s scrappy and highly competitive but also very skilled. He makes threes off the dribble at a high clip and is also effective on the break as well as in pick-and-roll. He even has use of a floater inside the lane to score over bigger defenders.
Jamison Evans, Rutland – One of the best players from the state of Vermont, Evans came south and left having proved he belonged. He got hot early with his jumper and continued to shoot it well throughout the day while also being effective scoring in transition.
Joel Villanueva, Torrington HS – It was an impressive showing for a prospect that was previously under the radar. Villaneuva consistently knocked down shots from three with a quick release, showed solid size, a cut-up frame, and the ability to get his shot off over bigger defenders.
Aaron Latham, Glastonbury – Coming off a solid year for Glastonbury, Latham has used this spring to make a name for himself beyond central Connecticut. He’s competitive, unwilling to back down from anyone, able to find ways to impact the game whenever he’s on the floor, has a high IQ, and a consistent spot-up shooter from three.
AJ Edwards, Amistad HS - A quick lead guard who loves to get out on the break, Edwards made a name for himself here and impacted the game in various ways. He plays with an aggressive mentality but was able to create for others as well as himself and even distinguished himself on the defensive end of the floor.
Pedro Fonseca, Portland – His game wasn’t loud or flashy but there was plenty of substance behind it. Fonseca showed a great feel for the game, unselfishness, and a lot of intangibles. He understands spacing and consistently knocked down open shots.
Jaiden Kimbro, Notre Dame West Haven – A budding lead guard with great size, Kimbro also has a wealth of intangibles at his disposal, a great full for the game, and a developing weapon with his pull-up jumper. Overall, he continues to improve at a rapid rate.
Manasseh Small, South Kent – An incoming South Kent guard, Small is a playmaking lead guard with good tools and an aggressive style. He’s quick, good with the ball, and able to make shots, just needs to learn to pick his spots and be efficient.
Brian Berritto, Shelton – A two-sport star at Shelton who had a big junior year on both the gridiron and the hardwood, Berritto is a skilled and tough guard. He shoots it with range, is a crafty lay-up maker around the rim, and an aggressive dribble driver.
David Giuggio, Lexington Christian – Guiggio was very solid and proved he belonged in this setting. He has a heady floor game with a high basketball I.Q. He plays the right way, doesn’t turn it over, and knocks down open shots.
Noah Cummings, Pembroke – A well-built guard with the potential to play multiple perimeter positions, Cummings has good size, ball-handling ability, and the ability to hit threes at a high clip with a quick release.
Jason Finkst, Ipswich – The EVO guard played his way into the #E75 field following a good showing at the #S16 and proved he belonged. He’s quick with good ball-handling ability and a consistent jumper. He scores it but has a chance to evolve into more of a lead guard down the road.
Bobby Fiorito, Bishop Hendricken – A quick guard who impacted the game on both ends of the floor, Fiorito was one of the better defensive guards in attendance. Offensively, he moved the ball well and made a couple of tough shots off the dribble.
Tyreek Davis, Avonworth – Davis is a tough and aggressive driver with good perimeter size at 6-foot-3. He plays through contact off the bounce and has good finishing touch at the rim. His game will go to new levels as his jumper continues to develop.
Drew Thibeault, Milton Academy – Hard-nosed, tough, and willing to do all the little things, Thibeault set himself apart with his effort. He’s also a high volume three-point shooter off the catch who is effective moving without the ball.
Ben Silvia, Barrington – A southpaw guard from the state of Rhode Island, Silvia proved himself worthy of belonging at this level. He made some heady pick-and-roll finds, shot his pull-up well, and showed some deceptive athleticism at the rim.
Best of the Rest
Jackson Benigni, Xavier - The PTT drilled shots from all over the floor while also demonstrating an enhanced secondary skill set as a passer and playmaker. Most impressive though was his approach as he was tough with a high-motor from start to finish and making hustle plays even into the later games.
Joe Hoch, Canterbury – He’s solid across the board and able to impact the game in a number of ways but distinguished himself most with his court vision and passing ability as he made quick and heady passes without trying to be flashy. He was also scrappy enough to mix it up defensively and on the glass.
Ty Vitko, Dover – A shot-maker who had a terrific showing at the recent Super 16 on Memorial Day weekend, Vitko continued to impress here with his skill level and basketball I.Q. As his ball-handling and ability to attack close-outs continues to develop he’s only going to keep emerging.
Hunter Jameson, Choate – This guy just knows how to play and play the right way. Yes, he’s skilled and can really shoot it but the real value is in knowing where the ball needs to go, making the right play at the right time, and simultaneously being able to make defenses pay every time they leave him unchecked at the arc.
Aidan Sullivan, Scituate – A southpaw point guard who came back from a torn meniscus earlier this season and is currently playing the best basketball of his career, Sullivan passes well and has good vision. He’s a deceptive shot-maker with unorthodox mechanics and also the master of the one-handed lay-up.
Elliot Nelson, Brooks – He’s adjusted to higher levels of competition over the course of the last year and established a niche for himself at that level as he runs the show, moves the ball, and knocks down open shots from behind the arc.
Jack Skrzypiec, Portsmouth – A good sized lefty guard with a lot of shift and shake in his game, Skrzypiec has a knack for keeping opposing defenders off balance. He’s deceptively long and very crafty with his various fakes, wrong-footed lay-ups, and a lot of tricks up his sleeve.
Trevon Setzer-Smith, Notre Dame West Haven – What he may lack in size or athleticism, he makes up for with craftiness. He’s a stocky guard who knows how to use his body, can hit open shots, and make plays for himself and others.
Xahn Frater, Berwick Academy – Frater was known as a drive first player as an underclassmen, but he’s developed himself into a shooter in recent years and stood out behind the arc on Thursday night to show that he’s a capable scoring threat at multiple levels.
Alex Batista, St. Mark’s – This was a re-emergence for a prospect that was well-known as an underclassmen and has gone on to distinguish himself as much on the gridiron as the hardwood. He’s a physically strong guard with a good handle and playmaking ability to the rim.
Evan Cook, Groton Dunstable – A high academic prospect, Cook has an equally intelligent floor game. He makes good decisions, doesn’t turn it over, is a capable playmaker with the ball in his hands, and also moves well laterally on the defensive end.
Andrew Geshickter, Gould Academy – An incoming Gould post-grad from Brookline, Geschickter is a late bloomer like his older brother. His game has grown alongside his body in recent years as he’s a solid shot-maker and floor spacer with a well-rounded overall game.