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Posted On: 05/28/18 6:26 PM
As writers and contributors, there are times when we can not make it to some of the bigger events due our budgets. In those instances, we pick tournaments or events close by because players in our market are playing. Such was the case this past weekend in Longview, Texas at the Primetime basketball qualifier. Players from north Louisiana and southeast Texas combined to put on a good show for the people in attendance. There were definitely some diamonds in the rough during this weekend’s play.
Med Kapasi / 6’3″ / 2018 / Tune Squad / Wing
Kapasi might have flown under the radar due to where he lives and went to high school; however, he can definitely put the ball in the basket. From the wings and the corners he can shoot the three ball with some of the best of them. He plays off of his point guard well and moves to his spots on the floor. Med is a good catch and shoot player. Because of his long reach, he can rebound the ball as well. Kapasi is also good at moving the ball to the open player when someone closes out well with the pass or the dribble. With his catch and shoot abilities, a small school team (a DIII specifically) will find a diamond that they do not need to do much to polish. Med Kapasi can help a college team at that level.
Gianni Nelson / 6’1″ / 2019 / Alpha & Omega Elite / Guard or Wing
During Saturday’s play, Nelson was a player who kept making plays when he touched the floor. I consider him one of the diamonds in the rough because he is a 6’1″ player who does not have a position. Nelson basically whatever needs to be done offensively and defensively for his team to win. His best asset is driving the ball to the basket and drawing fouls. He uses the dribble well enough to get his defender off balance. This gives him the advantage of either scoring the ball or getting to the charity strip. On defense, he is a menace. He reads passing lanes well to create steals or deflections. Nelson is also smart and knows when to help by trapping. Because he can do so many things, he is an asset to his team. Gianni is a player who makes winning plays for his team continuously.
Caleb Liebengood / 6’5″ / 2019 / Longview Pack Elite / Wing & Post
Liebengood was one of the most impressive diamonds over the weekend. He showed talents that would make him an asset to any team. Liebengood displayed good athleticism allowing him to stay in front of smaller defenders. His body frame in stout which allows him to take contact in the paint. In turn, Caleb rebounds the ball well in traffic and takes. This trait helps on the offensive end on the offensive boards. Liebengood can take contact and still finish with a put back or layup. Caleb couples his rebounding ability with being super active in the paint. He is hard to block out and equally hard to move around on the defensive end. Liebengood also has a great touch from the three point arc. His ability to make long range jumpers and his inside prowess will make him a great find for someone looking for a player with his tools.
Jaylon Teal / 6’3″ / 2019 / Minden Elite / Guard & Wing
Teal was by far the best player during the weekend. There are so many intangibles to his game. On defense he has active hands. He tipped several passes and disrupted other plays as well. On offesne, when teams played a zone, he played in the middle of the zone and hurt the defense with his passing or shooting ability. If Teal plays the wing in the zone, he has legitimate three point range and will make the other team pay from that aspect. He has a quick burst that allows him to get out on the wing and finish on the fast break. His ball handling skills are refined enough to allow him to rebound the ball and push it up the floor. Teal’s greatest asset is his leaping ability. He had several tip backs over players his size or taller. The one play that demonstrated his leaping ability the most was the out of bounds alley-oop play that he flushed home for two. Teal’s all around game is undeniable. With the right opportunity, he can play at any level and make an impact.
Diamonds in the rough are hard to come by. These four players are definitely hidden gems due to their location. However, they can definitely be assets to a team on the next level that gives them a chance.