PrepHoopsTN / Above the Rim Gym Fall Combine Recap: Part XVII

High School

Posted On: 10/12/18 4:49 PM


Speed kills.  In basketball speed kills defenses.  It kills structured traps.  The benefits of speed are many, if only the player’s in possession of this killer attribute utilize it efficiently.

Kingston Gardner, Todd Lark II, and Donovan Jackson drove their feet at rapid rates and ultimately earned some of the top sprint times of the day.

Kingston Gardner (2020) sparkled in the high pressure combine environment.  Though his fullcourt performance lagged his measurables leaped off the page.

Todd Lark II (2021) bounds off the floor like few humans can.  He is a fantastic leaper with nice slashing skills.  The handle is pretty good and his shooting range can improve greatly.

Donovan Jackson (2019) ran startlingly swiftly Sunday at the combine.  He projects as an off-guard.

Kingston Gardner 2020 Franklin Road Academy Wing

Perhaps the most overlooked player of the entire event was junior wing Kingston Gardner.  

Standing nearly 6-foot-5 (in shoes) Kingston sprinted around the combine floor with amazing quickness. 

A dual-sport athlete, Gardner projects as a safety or a wing instead of a old style big man. 

The elusive change of direction stands out spectacularly.  

Coach Tony Thompson cataloged the fastest 3/4 court sprint time of all players 6-foot-0 or taller.

Kingston Gardner out dashed most of the guards in the building, a stunning accomplishment.  

For a player with the long legs of Kingston typically their top end speed is good, but getting up to top speed takes a lot longer.  Gardner is an anomaly in this regard.

From standing still under the basket on defense to halfcourt there was no more speedy player at the combine.  Kingston’s explosion also showed up on the one-step vertical leap (31″).  

With his combination of speed and length Kingston has an strong shot at DII college basketball if he aligns with the perfect AAU program.


Donovan Jackson 2020 Franklin Road Academy Wing

Stewarts Creek brought almost their entire team and the one constant of each Stewart’s Creek player was and is speed.  

Donovan Jackson is extremely fast without the basketball.  His 3/4 court sprint time rivaled Javontay Rollings, Tray Swift, and Javonte Platt for fastest on the day.

Jackson’s hips clear smoothly.  Changing direction is relatively easy for the 5-foot-11 1/2 (w/o shoes) guard.

Donovan is more point guard than wing, but projects as a DIII/NAIA combo guard. 

Jackson disrupts dribblers very well making him an ideal on-ball defender.  

Todd Lark II 2021 Blackman Point Guard

Like Kingston Gardner, Todd Lark II is a dual-sport athlete.  Unlike Kingston, Todd Lark II did compete against the guards at the combine. 

Todd Lark II hopped to the second best vertical leap of the entire event.  Imagine a a 5-foot-10 (in shoes) sophomore bounding 40.5″ with one-step preparation and you have a mental picture of the phenomenal athleticism Lark II showcased.

Lark II will have a chance beyond high school if only because he is an extraordinary athlete and shorter guards, which he might ultimately be, need to do something extraordinary to keep up. 

Nate Robinson is an astronomically gifted athlete that made his way in the NBA with outrageous bounce and body control.  Maybe Todd Lark II can be that kind of player.

Lark II weighs 129.2 pounds.  The guard spots at Blackman High are open for new blood this year, but many, many skilled athletes are competing for those spots.  It is a proud program with much depth. 

Can Lark II keep funneling his athleticism into on-court tangible production?


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