Posted On: 08/23/18 4:52 PM

The spring and summer grassroots season came and went and now it’s time to focus on the Prep Hoops 250 event as well as get ready for the high school season. The 2021 class is an interesting one because it’s so deep, but also so many unknowns because we didn’t get to get a long look at these players during the season. This year however, things should be different. So, taking a look at grassroots season with a larger sample size I was able to come out with a few awards, here’s who stood out to me as the best shooter, point guard, big man, MVP of the summer and most improved.  

Player that proved the most over the summer?

Ty Robinson is the best player in the class and was the MVP for 2021 of the summer. He completely dominated and looked mature beyond his years. He has a great feel for the game and scores at will. He has the size and length to do anything he wants on the court and showed off his ability to get to his spots as he consistently attacked the rim all summer. He uses his body well and sees the floor to make the move that he wants and it was on display all summer which got him a bit of national exposure as I’m sure he appeared on a few schools list for the future. He remains at No. 1 for the 2021 class with a great grassroots season.

Most improved player?

Garrett Arnold stepped up as the most improved player going into the summer which is a bit difficult to say for a player so young as he was on such a talented high school team that the minutes just weren’t there for him. This year however, he should be getting some good minutes and be an important part of the squad that loses some key pieces. For the Colorado Hawks he showed that he could be a facilitator as he sets up his teammates as well as get to the rim and drop it off to the open man. He’s a capable shooter that if you allow him time is going to knock down the open shot. Where I think he’s improving is as a leader. He’s a player that leads by example and is willing to set up for the charge, dive for the loose ball and is a scrappy player that puts the team first. Will be an interesting upcoming season for him at Thunder ridge.

Best point guard?

Tyce Baldwin impressed me with his ability to consistently put his team in a position to excel. He’s a pass first point guard with his Colorado Hawks team but taking a look at the way he plays and his ability to finish at the rim, he will be a big-time scorer come senior year. He can finish with either hand over bigger defenders and is dangerous once he gets in the paint as he finds angles to score on a floater or in the lane at the rim. What really stood out to me was his IQ as I seen him set teammates up with his body as he screens the defender off for the open shot and also with no look passes. In the open court it’s tough to stay in front of him as he has enough speed and ball handling skills to open things up for himself to find a teammate. He’s a player I will keep on my radar as he will only get better and that’s a scary thing for the state.

Best shooter?

Cade Palmer is the clear-cut answer for top shooter in the class. If you watched his Colorado Miners team compete you seen a guard out there lighting it up from beyond the arc. If he’s open, its dropping. One thing that goes unnoticed is his ability to move without the ball to find the open spot and with another guard in the lineup the Miners were most dangerous as they found him for open three’s. Cade also improved as a ball handler over the summer as he looks a lot more comfortable putting it on the ground to find some open space and starting to shoot off the dribble. With a player like Cade, things start to open up for the big man down low to have room and you must account for him at all times.

Best big man?

Kendale Johnson was arguably the best player in the class for the summer as he completely dominated each and every game. From the games I seen, there was not a player as talented as him as he takes over the game with size, strength, IQ and heart. He has the ability to bring the ball up the court, can knock down a shot and finds the open man as well, but what really stood out was his great motor that will only get better with time. He scores inside the lane when he wants to, with an improving jump shop and has go-to moves in the paint. He truly feels as if nobody on the court can guard him and if you watched a few games this summer, it’s hard to disagree. His Billups Elite team was loaded with talent and they surprised a few teams on the national scale and they made sure to ride their big man.