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Posted On: 04/7/18 9:52 AM
Southwood High School was the site for on of north Louisiana’s first senior showcases. Some of the top preps from Northwest and Northeast Louisiana ventured into the home gym of the Cowboys for an open run style showcase hosted by Brookhaven CC (of Dallas, TX). During the showcase, seven five (or six) man teams showed off their passing, shooting, and rebounding skills for scouts and coaches from East Texas and Shreveport. Even though the level of play tailed off at the end of the night, these players got a chance to show off the skills that made them some of the best preps in the state.
Shooters on a Hot Streak
On Thursday night, there were a few players who showed off nice shooting strokes during game play. Senior Leon Chambers (6’2″) from BTW-Shreveport was on fire most of the night from three land. He was consistent from downtown most of the night. One particular game, he knocked down six in a row during a 6 min game play session. Truly impressive for the amount of time that he was on the court. Willie Gilbert (5’10”), who did not suit up this season for Woodlawn-Shreveport, had a similar streak in which he made five of his first six shots. Even though other shooters were in the gym, these two were the most impressive on Thursday night.
Great point guard play
Some of those shooters that were present had their full guard game on display during the showcase. Letraveon Jones (5’9″, BTW-Shreveport) and Yancey Kelley (5’10”, Southwood) began their high school careers as noted shooters but have come to develop into nice point guards. Kelley was true facilitator while his five man team was on the floor. He only shot when necessary while displaying an ability to find the right teammate at the right time for a layup or open shot. Yancey has also learned to attack the goal and finish despite contact which he displayed on a couple of drive. Jones used his cat-like quickness to lure defenders and make drop-offs in tight spaces for layups. He also showed an ability to elevate and hang in the air while his defender is going down to finish at the rim. For players who are known for shooting, their point guard abilities have definitely grown.
Combo guards doing their thing
Multi-dimensional guards were featured as well on Thursday night. Four guards that stood out were Chris Moore (6’1″, Red River), Maliq Smith (6’1″, Southwood), Xavien Haulcy (6’0″, Gibsland-Coleman), and Malik Cooper (Evangel). Moore exhibited an ability to push the ball on the fast break and finish through contact along with a nice touch from deep. He also demonstrated the ability to rise up and finish over contact. Haulcy, even at six feet, displayed a similar ability when he elevated to finish a missed fast break layup. He could have easily dunked the ball but laid it in instead. Haulcy also showcased his strength by dribbling through contact in a half court set and getting the ball up on the glass. No foul shots were attempted during the scrimmage is the only reason he did not go to the line. Maliq Smith showed off his corner three shot making ability. He also showed better one on one defensive skill by making a couple of steals. Smith turned those steals into points despite being hacked by a defender. Malik Cooper rolled all three of these players skills into on package. He attacked the rim from the corner three and dunked the ball on several occasions. He used great lift on his jumper to clear anybody contesting. Cooper also made the extra pass to get others on his team better shots than his. These four players exhibited many abilities that will make them an asset for a school looking to sign them.
Athleticism at its best
Two freakishly athletic ball players graced the showcase court also. Seniors Chris Thomas (6’5, North Caddo) and Chas White (6’4″, Woodlawn-S’port) were two who revealed out of this world vertical leaps that wowed the crowd, scouts, and coaches. White finished with a couple of dunks that made people watch in awe because of his vertical leap. Thomas made two plays that made others just shake their heads. Chris garnered the rebound on one end, avoided a defender at mid-court and finished with a hard left handed dunk. On another play, he sprinted back and blocked another players shot where his elbow was at rim level. Two of the reasons he was first team All state in Class 2A were displayed right then.
Combo big men on display
Woodlawn-Shreveport teammates Jalen Brooks (6’5″) and Courtney Moore (6’4″) demonstrated their athletic ability getting out on the break finishing above the rim with a dunk or an acrobatic layup. Brooks brandished his ability to challenge a layup attempt on one end and then come down and spot up for a three point shot. Both of these players attempted to block or alter shots in the lane. For wing players asked to defend the post most of the season, they were good at defending shots in the paint.
Tahji Davis (6’4″) of Huntington, Letreavin Black (6’4″) of Southwood, and KJ Bilbo (6’5″) of Airline were combo bigs who displayed games that had multiple dimensions. Bilbo and Black were able to rebound on both ends, shoot the three pointer, and defend the post with great intensity. Black also made several skip passes in the half court to find guys with wide open looks from three. Davis showed the knack for rebounding and finding spots on the offense where he could finish with layups at the rim. All three of these players were willing and capable passers in a half court set. They found cutters on point or made the extra pass that coaches were looking for all while exhibiting their own offensive skills. These combo big men will definitely garner more attention as we get closer to signing day.
The senior showcase at Southwood showed a lot of the talent in north Louisiana. The coaches in attendance were impressed with the talent on shown on the floor. They commented that there was better sharing of the ball and defending than in past years. With this showcase and others coming up, these players will get more and more notoriety. As we get closer to the signing period, these seniors will be widely looked at to fill a roster in the surrounding area or in other places in the country.