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Posted On: 07/3/18 1:33 PM
This week, Benton closed out team camp activity in northwest Louisiana by hosting a three day camp. Tuesday (June 26th) through Thursday (June 28th), local players were able to get their last reps with their high school team before heading back to finish the grassroots season. Even though this was the end of team camp action, there were some new faces that impressed on day two of the camp.
Martin McDowell / Calvary Baptist / 5’9″ / CG
There is a lot to like about this 2022 guard. He is one of those fundamentally sound players and plays with a little flare to his game. During the couple of games that I viewed of him at the team camp, he was able to do two things very well. McDowell can shoot and he can pass. Martin displayed these talents in a series of plays during Calvary’s game against Benton. He was able to spot up for the corner three on a couple of occasions. Then, during two great defensive possessions by his teammates, he gathered the loose ball and headed down the floor. McDowell hit one teammate sprinting the lane with a no-look pass, in stride, for a layup. During another possession he found a cutter with a seamless pass that caught the player headed to the rim. Playing with an upperclassmen’s savvy, Martin McDowell will be a great help to Calvary when the season commences.
Ezekiel King / Tioga / 5’11” / CG
Even though they were missing all district player Jerry Moore, Tioga played a disciplined style that took advantage of mismatches and open opportunities. One of the players on the floor that helped them achieve that goal was Ezekiel King. King played both ends of the floor with mid-season intensity. He played hard-nosed on ball defense when needed. King also scored the ball in a variety of ways. Whether it was shooting the three, running the lane on the break, or connecting on short jumpers in the lane, King was all over the floor. Ezekiel also chased down a couple of players who had layups and fouled them to prevent the easy score. He showed true hustle all over the floor. His play helped Tioga stay perfect during the day.
Ethan Shiflett / Benton / 6’2″ / W
In this day and age of positionless basketball, it helps to have a player who can do multiple things. Ethan Shiflett is one of those players. This 2021 fresh face is a player who plays the post and wing mostly for the Benton Tigers. Shiflett is quick off the floor with his first and second jump. His long arms help him rebound well for his slight frame. Those same arms allow him to elevate and shoot in the paint with ease. During the team camp he was also allowed to handle the ball more. While this is an area that needs improvement, it also shows that Shiflett has limitless talent. Whatever Coach Martinez needs Ethan to do, he puts forth his best effort to get it done. Once Shiflett rounds his game into form, Benton will definitely benefit from his skills.
De’Quan Randle / Airline / 6’3″ / CG
Airline has a recent tradition of long, rangy guards who can do multiple things on the floor. Josh Hagins and Trenton Ivy come to mind as play makers and scorers who were also long, rangy defenders. Add De’Quan Randle to this list. At the Benton team camp, he showed off an impressive skill set While he can shoot the ball from outside and has great form on his shot, Randle is more of a slasher and defender. He is able to defend guards and wings easily. His long arms and quick hands give offensive players fits. His arms also allow him to block shots without creating contact with the shooter. While consistency might be an issue with his perimeter shooting, there is no doubt he is an asset on both ends. If his game translates well into the high school season from what he displayed at Benton, he will help Airline to another district title.
Malik Henry / Longview (TX) / 6’7″ / P
Probably the biggest surprise of the day was the play of this junior. The 6’7″ Henry has a thin frame. One would think he would get pushed around easily by some of the bulkier players. To my surprise, Henry was up to the task. Malik was able to rebound the ball in traffic and in space. His long and lanky arms allowed him to secure the rebound before others left the floor. Henry also completed put backs and lobs with ease because of his quickness off the floor and to the rim. While his offense was somewhat limited, his defense was outstanding. Players driving in had to change their shot on numerous occasions to avoid his attempted blocks. When Henry did block a shot, he block it with force. Malik was agile enough to leave the paint and block a corner three out of bounds. His athleticism is eye catching to say the least. Once his offensive game catches up with what I saw at Benton, the sky is the limit for this kid.
While these players are not the main players on their team, they are fresh faces that prep fans will need to know. Players like Henry and Shiflett have the potential to be big time players on this level and the next. At Prep Hoops Louisiana, we will continue to follow their growth and document how these fresh faces morph into the next prep stars.