Posted On: 03/14/18 3:45 PM
The Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) has wrapped up with a weekend of high quality basketball culminating in twelve state championship teams. Highly ranked players like Josh Leblanc (Georgetown), Greg Williams (St. John’s), and Javonte’ Smart (LSU) ended their careers with big time performances. Other seniors, whose names are not as bright, ended their careers with some key performances as well. Even though they are unranked, these six players ended their careers showing that they can play on the next level.
Tanner Yates / 6’1″ Sr. Guard / Simpson High – In Simpson’s championship game with Summerfield, John Buggs was the senior everyone knew about beforehand. However, Simpson had their own senior who had an impressive game. Simpson’s guard/forward Tanner Yates did his best to keep the Broncos with striking distance of their opponent. By the beginning of the second quarter, Yates had double figures. His play was not extraordinary, it was plain intense and effective. Yates kept the pressure on Summerfield by rebounding the ball and taking it the length of the court for layups. He also scored through contact a couple of times as well. Using his court savvy, he was able to play probably one of his better games of the season. If a college is looking for a hard-nosed player who can handle the basketball and make plays, Tanner Yates from Simpson might fit their team well.
Ladarius Cutright / 6’1″ Sr. Guard / Zwolle High – Ladarius had a rough championship game against Simsboro. Their defense seemingly focused on limiting his touches and was very effective at doing so. From his semifinal performance, Simsboro did the right thing. Ladarius has developed the ability to play either lead or off guard with effectiveness. He is a strong guard who has an upper body to take contact on the drive. On offense during Marsh Madness, Cutright showed an ability to shoot from deep as well. He is a natural athlete with great leaping ability. This allows him to shoot jumpers with clear looks and contest players who are taller than him. Cutright’s leaping ability also allows him to be an effective rebounder. The Cutright name is synonymous with Zwolle basketball and Ladarius is the latest member to be a basketball standout. With this ability, Ladarius should be able to help a team on the next level.
Abdell Phillips / 6’2″ Sr. Guard / Delhi High – Mr. Phillips is another player that did not have the best game during the championship final in 1A. He got two early fouls and never got a chance to get into a rhythm. Even with the dismal title game performance, there were glimpses of the talent that helped Delhi make the championship game. Phillips has the ability to change ends quickly and get to the rim. Abdell can also make passes in tight spaces like a small guard which helps when he penetrates the lane. His best asset from watching game film might be his wing span. During the semifinal game against North Central, he deflected passes and was able to disrupt passing lanes. Those long arms also allow him to tip rebound misses to himself on the defensive or offensive end. Though he might not have scored in bunches, he displayed stat sheet-filling talent which will garner him looks at the next level. With being a participant in the LHSCA All-star game, Phillips will get a chance to show that talent.
Chas White / 6’3″ Sr. Wing/Post / Woodlawn High (Shreveport) – As one of the Woodlawn post players, Chas was big in defending the post players for McDonogh #35 and Carencro during Marsh Madness. During the championship game, Carencro’s August and Chaisson had height advantages over him but he held his own. The reason he held his own with these guys is due to his quickness, upper body strength, and leaping ability. Chas even showed some offensive ability by putting the ball on the floor and finishing over the 6’7″ August towards the end of the championship game. Basically put, Chas has a myriad of skills that can help a team on the next level. He does the dirty work along with defending bigger players and rebounding. Consequently, he has some offensive talent that can be explored with some more work. Given the right situation, Chas can make a difference on a college roster.
Tre Melancon / 6’1″ Sr. Guard/Wing / White Castle – Not being ranked on PHLA or any other site did not stop Tre Melancon from being one of the most complete players that played during Marsh Madness. All Melancon did against Tensas and Delhi was score nearly 20 points a game, shoot a high percentage from three point land, and play good perimeter defense. For his hard work during those two games, he was the most outstanding player in 1A (during the tourney) and named to the all tournament team. He actually looks taller than 6’1 and may have grown a couple of inches during the season. Tre put his imprint on both games displaying the before mentioned skills. He also showed the ability to be a willing passer and facilitator on offense. He was even more solid on the defensive end. Melancon stuck to his defensive assignment but was always in position to help a teammate. For a guy his height, he definitely seemed to be the most well-polished on the floor. A college looking for a player who is like a Swiss army knife on the floor will find Tre Melancon to be a welcomed commodity.
Jalen Brooks / 6’5″ Sr. Forward/Wing / Woodlawn High (Shreveport) – With Woodlawn down to Carencro in the waning minutes of the 4A championship, all this guy did was bury a three pointer, make two free throws, an altered a shot attempt to give Woodlawn a possession to go ahead. When people think of the best player in class 4A, he is not the first one to come to mind. However, he has been the most clutch player in the Knights storybook season. If the final shot of his high school career had gone down, he would have solidified that title. Jalen Brooks has been the best unranked player in north Louisiana and probably the state. As coaches and recruiters from several schools saw during those final minutes, he is a scoring, rebounding, and defensive presence. If he was not being highly sought after during the season, he may be a hot prospect for schools looking for a player of his caliber.
Rashard Naylor / 5’10” Sr. Guard / Rayville – Rayville was by and far the most impressive team of any class or division this season in Louisiana. They had the top junior in the state in Mylik Wilson as well as a bevy of other 6’4 and taller players who are highly skilled. Even though Mylik and others get all of the press (and deservedly so), the most important player is their 5’10” senior Rashard Naylor. In the Red River and North Caddo games, Naylor was the commanding presence that got his teammates together. In the championship game he set the tone early scoring the first points. Even after two early fouls, he came back in the game and hit back to back three point shots while talking trash to the opposing point guard. Naylor is a tone setter and a leader on the floor. Rayville might not need him to defeat teams because of their talent. However, he breaks wills of other players with his hard-nosed, tough defense and in your face style. For a college looking for a born leader on the floor who is a pretty good basketball player, Rashard Naylor is the player they would want.