EJ Liddell, Belleville West

Posted On: 12/31/17 3:30 PM

The final day of the holiday tournament season was spent at the tradition rich Centralia Holiday Tournament.  This year’s field might be one of the best in a long time and there were several games and prospects that backed that up.  Check out who were the best on the final day of the Centralia Holiday Tournament!


PF EJ Liddell (Belleville West – 2019)

Liddell was an absolute force on his way to leading Belleville West to the championship and earning MVP honors.  The 6’7” power forward has gotten stronger especially in his upper body.  He was aggressive from the jump in both games we saw.  He got deep post position almost every time down the floor and finished with an array of post moves.  Really liked the short turnaround jumper.  Several spin moves in the lane.  Ball handling has improved looking extremely smooth attacking from the mid-range and even beyond the arc on occasion.  Finished multiple monster slams above the rim.  Works well in the pick and roll in the few times he was put in those positions.  Didn’t shoot it much from three in the first game, but connected from beyond the arc in the final.  With all that said where he might have been best was on the glass gobbling up rebounds at an insane rate on both ends.  Offensively he grabbed a lot of boards and then converted second chance opportunities.  An area that we noticed significant improvement was his passing.  He made quite a few quality dishes including cross court out of the post to shooters.  Defensively he showed he is one of the better shot blocking prospects in the 2019 class projecting the rim well in both games.  His stat line in the semi against Alton was 24 points, 8 rebounds, 8 blocks, and 5 assists.  In the championship game he had 22 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 blocks.  Priority high-major prospect for Midwest schools.


SG Malachi Smith (Belleville West – 2018)

Smith is a Wright State commit who is one of the more underrated prospects in the 2018 class.  He is a scoring two guard that can get buckets in bunches.  His best of the two games they played was the semi against Alton where he went up against several of his travel team program mates.  Smith at times can be a bit of a streaky shooter, but he shot it well especially early connecting on a pair of early threes.  Clean looking shot.  As a driver he gets downhill and scores well at the rim through traffic.  Flashed the ability score in the post as well.  He had 24 points and 7 rebounds in the semi.  In their championship game win he was a beast on the offensive glass crashing from the perimeter for three put backs along with an and-1.  He had 9 points and 8 rebounds.


SF Donovan Clay (Alton – 2019)

Consistent day for this Alton small forward.  The 6’3” rangy wing has long arms and showed much improvement on his perimeter jump shots.  In previous evals he was more of a slasher and transition player.  Clay shot the ball well from beyond the arc spotting up in both of their games.  He had 12 points in each game.  One to monitor closely this summer.


PG Kevin Caldwell (Alton – 2018)

Caldwell was solid, but not spectacular in their semi against Belleville West.  The 6’0” point guard had only 7 points in that game, but in the 3rd place game he shined in a nice matchup against another quality point guard.  Caldwell shot it from beyond the arc drilling threes both off the catch and pulling up off the bounce.  Rebounds well for a guard.  Good speed in the open floor.  Caldwell had 19 points.  D2 prospect.


SG Tim Finke (Champaign Central – 2018)

Finke played well in the championship game despite injuring his back in the semi.  He played an “old man” type game as it was obvious his athleticism wasn’t going to play into his performance as much as it usually does.  The top 5 2018 recruit toughed through it and gave his team a chance to win.  Grand Canyon commit played in front of one of his future coaches showing why he will be a great player there.  He drilled a variety of jumpers throughout the contest from both mid-range and three.  His best might have been a tough fade away.  The gritty senior had 23 points.


SG Jonte Coleman (Champaign Central – 2018)

Coleman was a consistent threat in both of their games.  The senior 6’3” shooting guard showed he could really shoot it from deep!  He was on fire in both games connecting on a ton of triples both off the catch and pulling up.  He hit several tough ones with hands in his face.  Mixed in drive every now and then, but the majority of his offense was shooting from deep.  Needs to be looked at by small colleges.  He had 16 points in the semi and 20 points in the championship game.


PG Morgan Taylor (Marist – 2018)

Taylor was very good in their 3rd place win over Alton.  The 6’2” point guard is tough as nails and finishes well around the cup.  He is a better athlete than we previously thought and has a knack for converting tough layups at a high rate.  Most of his offense comes from scoring in the paint on drives or getting on the offensive glass.  He is an impressive rebounder from the guard position with a quick second jump on the offensive end.  Jump shot isn’t a consistent weapon at this point.  Pushes it in transition.  Solid defender.  Outstanding leader.  He had 18 points.  Taylor is a D2 prospect.


PG Jahiem Holden (Evanston – 2019)

Holden is a junior point guard that has dynamic ability when he is clicking on all cylinders.  The 5’10” lefty plays with a lot of speed in the open floor blowing past defenders.  Quick off the bounce in the half court as well getting in the lane where he can score with runners, layups, or kick to shooters on the perimeter.  Good feel for the game.  Solid spot up shooter.  Active defender.  He had 22 points against Carmel.  D2 prospect with chance to elevate.


SG Blake Peters (Evanston – 2021)

Peters has impressed early in his first high school season.  The 6’0” two guard is a great perimeter marksmen connecting at a high rate from beyond the arc.  Jump shot is pure from three and has repeatable mechanics.  Moves well without the ball to get open.  Mixes in a drive every now and then.  Peters is definitely one of the freshman to watch in this class.  He had 18 points.


SG Evan Myers (Carmel – 2019)

Myers was one of the breakout players of the day at the Centralia Holiday Tournament.  In their AM game in the annex Myers woke everybody up with his perimeter shooting.  He drilled five triples in the first half off the catch.  Continued that shooting into the second half and made some key free throws as well.  Mixed in an and-1 late.  Overall though he is mostly a spot up shooter that could be looked at by small colleges.  He had 27 points in their win over Confluence.


SF Johnny Roeser (Carmel – 2019)

Roeser is a rangy 6’5” small forward that plays mostly on the interior for his high school team.  He was impressive at the tournament getting on the glass and finishing around the cup with short jump shots.  Also made threes off the catch.  Skilled wing that showed more versatility to his game than we have seen on the travel team circuit.  Roeser right now projects as a D2 prospect with the chance to elevate with a big spring on the Illinois Wolves.  He had 12 points and 17 points in the two games we evaluated.


PF Leon Perry (Confluence, MO – 2018)

Perry is a coveted JUCO prospect out of the St. Louis area.  The 6’7” power forward has length and a projectable frame.  Extremely bouncy rebounder that got on the glass particularly the offensive end at a high clip.  Quick second jump.  Handles it well from the mid-post attacking off the bounce and getting to the hoop.  Really struggled shooting from the free throw line.  He had 19 points, 13 rebounds, and 3 blocks.


PG Jalen Hodge (O’Fallon – 2018)

Hodge played well in their morning game against Arlington (TN).  The point guard is a smooth floor general that always has his head up looking to make a play for himself or others.  Hodge plays well in the open floor weaving in and out of the defense.  In the half court he has a first step that allows him to get past the defense and to the rim where he is a quality layup maker scoring on acrobatic finishes consistently.  Also likes to use floaters over big men.  Streaky perimeter shooter.  As a distributor he makes crisp passes to teammates.  Doesn’t have a lot of scorers around him on his high school team.  Defensively he is a force pressuring the ball and cutting passing lanes.  He had 17 points in a win.  Hodge is a D2 prospect.