Posted On: 08/23/18 2:37 PM
This past Saturday, I hosted the inaugural Super 80 Showcase, an event designed to showcase the top freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors in the Baltimore Metropolitan area. There was no shortage of talent in any of the four games that took place. In the 2019 game, the seniors put on a show that came down to the wire. There were plenty of prospects who helped rise stock around their name in the area heading into the high school season.
Here are some notes from this game:
Anthony Walker goes off with a bang
Walker will depart in a couple of weeks to head to Brewster Academy and pursue a national championship, so it was only right that he put on an MVP performance. That’s exactly what he did as he finished with 24 points and six rebounds, which also included the game-winning lay up to put his team over the top 128-127. If you came to see a mirage of dunks, Walker gave you that and more. He’s been known for his high-flying ability since he was a sophomore, but an aspect that really shined was his ball handling on the perimeter. The 6-foot-9 forward broke his man down on a few occasions and effectively attacking the basket, finishing with soft touch when he wasn’t throwing it down. His three-point shot has improved, but is still a work in progress. Once he makes that a consistent asset, Walker is going to be a handful at any level.
RJ Blakney is a unique talent
I’ve had the fortune to watch a number of great players who have gone on and become impact players at the Division I level. When I watch Blakney, there is no doubt in my mind that he could contribute to a mid-to-high level program right away. He has unique athleticism that makes him almost unguardable in the open floor. His jump shot off of one-to-two dribbles in the mid-range is proven to be a consistent threat to his opposition, and it was Saturday as well as he finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds to help lead Walker and his team to victory. Rebounding is a skill of Blakney’s that is underrated in my opinion. At 6-foot-5, he has the leaping ability and good judgement on timing to grab the ball at its peak.
Will Thomas is a jack of all trades
Thomas is known for his versatility at 6-foot-5 with his ability to handle and pass the ball like a point guard, but also score whenever he puts his mind to it. He improved his shot from deep, as seen after nailing four three’s in the game on his way to 22 points. The ambidextrous wing is getting better lift on his jumper and is cognizant of working on the rotation of the ball coming out of his hands. Nonetheless, when he isn’t scoring, Thomas is worried about setting his teammates up for buckets. Several times throughout the game, he was communicating with teammates to always be alert because he was making a full effort to set them up. Thomas finished the game with 22 points, five rebounds and three assists in the win.
Ben Carter proves himself
At 6-foot-1 and without mind-blowing athleticism, Carter has always been overlooked in the grand scheme of things, but the fact is the kid is a winner. He plays with 110 percent effort every second he is on the floor and makes winning plays. This isn’t to take away from his scoring ability, either. He led the white team in a loss with 24 points and four rebounds, while putting them in position multiple times to come away with the win.
Nigel Haughton puts together a solid outing
Haughton is a prospect I’ve always been high on. Because he was at John Carroll playing alongside Immanuel Quickley, the 6-foot-1 guard had to fill a role of hanging around the perimeter and knocking down three’s while also being a lock down defender. He can do much more than that, though. The southpaw guard can effectively break down his defender and finish in the paint with floaters. Saturday, he mixed it up well on his way to 21 points and seven rebounds. Haughton came out hot in the beginning of the game and it maintained throughout as he nailed five three’s.
Da’Shawn Phillip shows continued growth
Months after leading Dunbar to a 1A state title, Phillip announced that he will to a post-grad prep year at Mt. Zion. The one thing that the 6-foot-5 guard/wing lack is size in mass, but he doesn’t let it negatively impact his performance. He plays with a toughness and chip on his shoulder that offsets what he can’t in weight. It also doesn’t hurt that he can score it from all three levels offensively. Phillip finished with a stat line of 15 points, four rebounds, three steals and two assists in the loss.
Maurice Smith sets a tone
Considering that Smith is a two-time cancer survivor, going up against the best players in the area is a walk in the park for him when you talk about life challenges. As he did with cancer, he took the challenge head on and made his impact quickly, filling the stat sheet with 14 points, six rebounds, five steals and three assists. Smith looks to have a big season with New Town this year to cap off what has been an inspirational high school career from an outsider’s point of view. He truly does play every possession like it’s his last. Because at one time, there was thoughts that his possessions in life were limited. Keep an eye on Smith heading forward.