Posted On: 07/25/18 9:00 PM
Arguably the top team at the Premier Summer Championships in Salem this past weekend was Seattle Rotary. Coming off playing in the talent-heavy EYBL and the prestigious Peach Jam, fans in the Pacific Northwest finally got a good look at the team in action. We were on hand for all four games Rotary played in the tournament and here’s our analysis of how each player on the team performed.
Jaden McDaniels (2019 Federal Way) – To be honest, it probably wasn’t his best performance of the summer. McDaniels didn’t shoot it particularly well (he only shot over 50 percent in one game and he missed all five three-point attempts he took during the tournament) and there were times it looked like he was disinterested and coasting. But when he was playing hard, McDaniels certainly showed why he’s considered one of the top five players nationally in the Class of 2019. There’s no question he has length and athleticism and the ball-handling skills of a player much smaller than 6-foot-10 – he certainly has a Kevin Durant-like look to him. But what might have been most impressive is on defense he would often take on the team’s opposing point guard, and would effectively keep up with him and shut him down. College coaches galore were on the sidelines of Rotary games, mainly to keep tabs on McDaniels notably Washington (head coach Mike Hopkins and assistant Cameron Dollar), Texas, Oklahoma, Washington State, Oregon, San Diego State, and Gonzaga. UCLA assistant coach Tyus Edney even showed up at the gym on Sunday not knowing Rotary had exited the building. Key stats: 12.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.8 bpg, 43.6 fg%, 0-5 3pt, 77.8 ft%.
Paolo Banchero (2021 O’Dea) – Had Rotary not left the tournament early, Banchero was well on his way to becoming the MVP of the weekend. The 6-foot-9 rising sophomore was absolutely dominant on the basketball floor on both ends and there honestly was no way to contain him. On offense, he effectively posted up, showed off great moves that led to easy buckets, or stepped out and faced up with jumpers out to the three-point line (he missed his only three-point attempt). Defensively, he was a terror blocking shots and he routinely cleaned up on the boards on both ends. There appears to be no ceiling for Banchero and even while he was in Salem, he picked up a scholarship offer from Oklahoma. It was honestly disappointing not getting a chance to see him in action in two more games but we can be assured we will be seeing plenty more from Banchero the next few years in the Pacific Northwest. Key stats: 15.8 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 1.8 bpg, 69.7 fg%, 0-1 3pt, 85.0% ft%.
RaeQuan Battle (2019 Marysville-Pilchuck) – McDaniels and Banchero get most of the publicity on Rotary but for a third wheel, Battle is pretty darn good. While his main role is to fill it up from three-point range, he also showed tremendous athleticism and threw down a few impressive dunks both in transition and off the alley-oop in the half court. His shooting stroke from beyond the arc was as smooth as silk with a quick release, and in Rotary’s one bracket game on Sunday he really got hot, hitting 4-for-5 threes and 7-for-8 overall. Battle didn’t show much of an in-between game nor did he contribute much on the boards, but head coach Mike Hopkins certainly had to be impressed with his sizzling shooting. Key stats: 13.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 10-16 3pt, 62.5% 3pt%, 71.4 ft%.
Marcus Tsohonis (2019 Jefferson) – Tsohonis is the lone non-Washington representative currently on the team and like he’s done all season long with the team on the EYBL, he did a little bit of everything for Rotary in Salem. Offensively, he mainly focused on mid-range jumpers and floaters and also utilized his size to post up smaller guards. Tsohonis also helped out on the boards on both ends and shared ball-handling duties for a few assists. Other than a clunker of a game in the team’s last pool play contest, Tsohonis was productive. Key stats: 8.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.0 apg, 44.8 fg%, 2-5 3pt, 62.5 ft%.
Noah Williams (2019 O’Dea) – Williams handled most of the point guard duties at the point and really showed off his length, athleticism, and ability to get to the basket. It’s clear he either prefers not to shoot or simply doesn’t have a perimeter shot at this point, but give Williams credit in that he focuses in on his strengths. There’s also a bit of an edge to his game where he doesn’t back down from anyone, and that was clearly evident in the chippyness that occurred in the contest against Team Arsenal. Key stats: 8.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.3 apg, 59.1 fg%, 0-1 3pt, 53.8 ft%.
Stevie Smith (2019 Rainier Beach) – Other than starting the very first game due to Tsohonis arriving late due to traffic, Smith provided some great energy off the bench the entire tournament. The game he started ended up being his most productive offensively as he scored 13 points on 4-for-6 shooting, including 2-for-3 from beyond the arc. A good athlete and leaper, Smith crashed the boards and took the ball strong to the basket, often drawing fouls in the process. Of the college coaches watching, San Francisco in particular paid close attention. Key stats: 6.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 0.8 bpg, 42.9 fg%, 2-4 3pt, 84.6 ft%.
Kenny Curtis (2019 Rainier Beach) – Curtis came off the bench in all four games, providing ball-handling, three-point shooting, and quickness on defense. He started off the tournament particularly hot from three-point range, sinking four and three threes in the first two games. A small guy at 5-foot-8, Curtis knows how to find his spots and get his shot off against taller opponents. He also handled the ball against defensive pressure without turning the ball over. Key stats: 7.8 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 1.0 apg, 47.8 fg%, 7-17 3pt, 2-2 ft.
Nate Stokes (2019 Putnam Science) – Stokes will be attending Putnam Science in Connecticut for a prep year after graduating from Tacoma (WA) Wilson this past year. At 6-foot-8, his role all summer has been to give the big guys a break while also hitting perimeter shots when open. During the tournament the majority of his shots were three and while he didn’t shoot a high percentage, his shooting motion looked solid. A decent athlete, there was one fast break where he almost threw down a power dunk but the opponent made a good play to block it. Key stats: 1.3 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 2-7 ft, 1-5 3pt, 0-0 ft.
Jishai Miller (2019 Federal Way) – An undersized but athletic forward at 6-foot-3, Miller didn’t get a lot of playing time but worked hard whenever he got minutes. His top highlights were tying for second-high on the team with five rebounds in the tournament opener and converting a traditional three-point play in the third game. Key stats: 1.3 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 2-6 fg, 0-1 3pt, 1-1 ft.