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Posted On: 06/10/18 7:09 PM
It is getting to that frenetic point of the year. The craziness will ensue. Prep and postgraduate programs are steadily thumbing through a massive call list, hastily trying to fill roster spots and secure talent for 2018-19.
Those highly-touted recruits, many of whom may be on the fence about returning to their previous hardwood home, are being inundated with a barrage of calls and texts.
Coaches and program head honchos are aggressively trying to woo them with cost-free opportunities and a national schedule and maximized exposure.
It is fair to say the prep climate has turned cutthroat over the years.
There is also the threat of scam schools and laughingstock programs, those sullied by online classes which aren’t NCAA certified, misleading kids.
For every established program, with a physical school and a legitimate classroom curriculum, there is a fly by night operation popping up at the 11th hour.
The eccentric team of shysters and street agents and AAU coaches who fancy themselves hustlers are always going to find their way to a program.
It’s no secret, post graduate basketball has long been marred by instability and uncertainty.
Organization, accountability, and legitimacy might not be bedrock tenets of all of these academies.
Not all of them are like this though. Many of them help reinvigorate and propel the careers of overlooked prospects.
With the right guidance, day to day work rate, and production on big stages, the quintessential underrated recruit will benefit from an additional year of development.
Here’s a look at some unheralded guys from legit, established programs who could be poised for a breakout year on the prep circuit:
Mateo Ivis, Arlington Country Day School
The 6-foot-5, 195-pound Class of 2018 guard/forward is a tactical scorer who knows how to read a defense and score the ball at all three levels.
Having shed the identity of a set shooter, Ivis has improved in both his post-up game and attacking.
The skilled Croatian will likely pursue opportunities at the JUCO or NAIA level.
Shamir Ivey, The Conrad Academy
The 6-foot-2 guard has become a reliable defender who supplies instant energy while on the floor.
He’s capable of guarding the perimeter and also assimilating to fronting bigs or taller guys in the post. If Ivey can establish a reliable knockdown game, he will maximize his opportunities moving forward.
You certainly can’t question his work ethic or desire, two factors a coach never wants to worry about or question in a player.
Thomas Fortier, The Conrad Academy
The 6-foot-2 guard from France has become a steady scoring threat with his 3-point game and knack for knifing to the bucket. He’s got the build necessary for finishing through traffic and contact.
With his work rate and consistentcy, Fortier possesses the attributes to be a four year player somewhere.
Shemarri Allen, Believe Prep Academy
The spindly 6-foot-1 guard showed tremendous growth as a point guard capable of running a team.
The Class of 2019 prospect panned out as a heady distributor with the natural mindset of a coach out there. Allen’s 3-point shooting and quick, thorough slashes to the rim have enabled him to embrace more of a scoring role. This past year witnessed Allen polish up some of the raw potential he arrived at the doorstep with.
Trey Jones, BPA
A thorough, defensive ball hawk, the Kentucky native has the make up and instinctive style of a true point guard.
Tough minded, cerebral, and athletic, Jones is the innate on-ball pest head coach Randy Casey frequently sticks on the opposing team’s primary scoring threat.
Offensively, he’s got to improve on his shot creation and mid range game. Too ofen he settles for the drive.
A Class of 2018 graduate, Jones is considering a post grad season to bolster his exposure. With the aforementioned Casey building his own program with Athens Prep, all signs indicate Jones will take the same path.
TJ Trice, Lehman
Though he played in just a handful of games after transferring in from traditional NYC breeding house St. Ray’s, Trice averaged 17 points, five boards, and four assists at Lehman.
A score-first point guard, Trice has become synonymous with a killer mid-range game.
A prep/postgraduate season would pay dividends in allowing Trice to reach his full potential and subsequently garner a Division-I scholarship.
Harrison Eghan, Holcombe Rucker High School
At 6-foot-6 and plenty capable of playing multiple positions, Eghan has scoring confidence and a skill-set as a face-up forward.
He was a surefire double double this past season, averaging 18 points and 11 boards while assuming the role of a true big.
At a higher level of play and while competing against top-tier programs, Eghan has the chance to register his presence and really pile up scholarship offers. He is currently deciding between prep programs such as DME Academy, Athens Prep, and The Nation Prep.
In these skill-centric environments, Eghan will have the opportunity to expand his handle and grow as a perimeter defender.