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Posted On: 03/7/18 11:39 PM
State Championships: Top Youngsters at 5A in Topeka
TOPEKA, Kan. — The state’s quarterfinal round of play in the Kansas 5A state tournament in Topeka featured several thrilling games, including a 68-64 upset win by Mill Valley over Eisenhower behind a huge performance by Loyola recruit Cooper Kaifes.
Also posting wins were Salina Central over Wichita Heights (54-46), Pittsburg over Topeka Seaman (59-40) and Bishop Carroll over Schlagle (68-57).
Here, Prep Hoops Kansas takes a look at some of the top young players on Wednesday in Topeka.
Keeshawn Mason, 6’4, F, 2021, Mill Valley (pictured)
Mason is definitely among the state’s most underrated young freshmen. He is a long, rangy, athletic big man who plays much bigger than his listed 6’4 height would suggest. He got off to a slow start on Wednesday, going scoreless in the first half, but got on the board with a thunderous one-handed slam late in the half, then went to work in the third quarter and had it all working, driving to the basket, scoring in the post and knocking down a mid-range jumper. He scored xx points in the frame and finished with xx in the game.
Gavyn Elkamil, 6’4, SG, 2020, Pittsburg
Elkamil is a talented wing player who can shoot it, handle it and do a lot of different things well. He probably didn’t have his best game on Wednesday however, as he finished with xx points while others took over at the offensive end of the floor. However, he’s a player with a lot of ability and terrific long-term upside.
Javon Grant, 5’10, PG, 2021, Pittsburg
Grant didn’t put a lot of points on the board, knocking down a 3-pointer in the third quarter and finishing with five points, but he came off the bench to play some tough-as-nails defense as he showed the ability to pressure the ball and helped take Seaman out of its offense in the second half. Grant brings speed and quickness to the court as well as the ability to handle the ball and break down a defense.
Alex Littlejohn, 6’4, F, 2021, Bishop Carroll
Littlejohn is an undersized forward who probably needs to continue to work on developing his strength, but has terrific instincts and footwork as an interior player. He moves exceptionally well off the ball for a player who primarily does his work in the post and also shows some ability on the perimeter as well. He battles and works hard in the paint and with added experience and strength he could develop into a really good player.
Tanner Mans, 6’4, F, 2020, Bishop Carroll
Mans is one of the more underrated players in the 2020 class in Kansas. At 6’4, he spends a lot of time playing in the paint and around the basket, but is a terrific perimeter shooter, runs the floor well and can finish in transition. He likely projects as a wing player and is among the better shooters in the younger classes.
Jordan Vincent, 6’1, G, 2020, Goddard-Eisenhower
Vincent had the unenviable task of defending Mill Valley 2018 standout guard Cooper Kaifes throughout much of Wednesday’s contest and had some good moments, making the Loyola signee work at the offensive end of the court. At the other end, Vincent is content to play his role and let the offense come to him. He handles it well is a capable passer and might be at his best driving to the basket and finishing in traffic. He put together a terrific second half and finished with 11 points.
Danair Dempsey, 6’6, F, 2021, Wichita Heights
Dempsey is still relatively raw at the offensive end and while he has a nice shooting stroke and the ability to finish garbage buckets around the basket, he mostly serves as a defensive anchor and a rebounding machine for Heights. He is a terrific basket protector who plays bigger than his 6’6 listed height would suggest as he has the ability to block or alter shots and he is all over the glass at both ends of the floor. He has terrific quickness and really pursues the ball with determination. If his offense progresses like we suspect it might, Dempsey will emerge as one of the state’s better prospects in his class.