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Posted On: 10/3/18 7:35 PM
Yes, the Above The Rim Gym/PrepHoopsTN Fall Combine was flooded with guards. These three guards demonstrated some potential, the oldest completely dominating through long stretches of play.
Grant Slatten ran with EAB 15u all summer and helped them win multiple Hoopseen tournament titles between Alabama and Georgia. Slatten’s ferocious slashing stood out both all AAU season and Sunday in Blackman High. His bright red hair makes him stand out on the court, but the game is what makes him unavoidable. Slatten will be a coveted prospect in the 2021 class.
Nasir Scaife took on the challenge of competing against many of the best 2020’s and 2021’s in the middle of Tennessee. Scaife was capable, but not dominant “playing up.” Scaife footspeed and wingspan are encouraging. Look for him to make a varsity team this winter as a freshman.
As the youngest player in the building, Josh Bartolotto deferred to his elder peers most of the day. When assigned the task of picking his starting lineup, Bartolotto welcomed the leadership opportunity. He plays like a two-pronged guard capable of dishing or shooting.
The craving for greatness is difficult for a coach to infuse into a player. The young men either devote themselves to improvement or they don’t. No amount of prodding will bring out that hunger or yearning for greatness.
Grant Slatten (pictured above) clearly possesses that drive needed to be special. Not one time that he has stepped onto the court in the last two years has Grant Slatten been outworked. He is a “dog” in the modern basketball nomenclature. Slatten is always moving, running around searching for a point to attack.
During the combine Grant continued to run circles around peers. Because Grant had few guards his size he played bigger and more powerfully than usual.
Standing just under 6-foot-5 with shoes on Grant dominated off the bounce. He has the speed and elusiveness of much smaller guards. With a sizable first step Slatten routinely burst into the lane with few help defenders sliding confidently into his pathway.
For the grand finale Grant Slatten hopped higher than anybody expected. Slatten recorded a startling 33″ one-step vertical leap. Imagine a 6’4″+ guard bounding into the lane and then finishing above the rim! Grant Slatten has all the physical tools to dominate for White County and if EAB keeps him in the program they will have a fantastic scorer for two more years.
Only a freshman, Nasir competed right in line with the many other young guards. Nasir was not overwhelmed with speed or bullied off his spots. He certainly wasn’t one of the strongest players physically, but remember he is a year younger than the youngest.
Scaife’s mark in the 3/4 court sprint bested all of the upperclassmen bigs and wings and finished closely behind the 2021 point guards, of which our combine hosted many.
His speed should not have been surprising as this most recent May former middle school sprinter Nasir Scaife finished 8th in 4×100 and 20th in 200 during a Riverdale Sectional Meet.
Nasir Scaife traveled up I-24 from Decherd, Tennessee. Think 12 miles due west of Monteagle, Tennessee.
Scaife’s game is raw and undeveloped, just as you might imagine a freshman high school hooper’s game to be. Nasir Scaife moves well with the basketball and changes direction well. Again, Scaife competed against much older, more physically developed players and held his own. Scaife’s feet are light, but he needs to work on specific breakdown moves to excel. So many quickly moving players dance around aimlessly and Scaife needs to avoid that fate later in his career by training hard on evasive dribbling moves now.
Currently Nasir stands 6-foot-0 without shoes, almost 6-foot-2 with shoes. If it matters at all he showed the biggest height difference with and without shoes in the gym. His shoe selection was not available at time of print, haha. One statistic that is interesting is Scaife’s wingspan. Though Scaife stands just over 6-feet-0 tall his wingspan is 6-foot-6, making the difference between height and wingspan a promising +6.
The average NBA player’s wingspan differs by 4.8 inches from their height, while the average male notices a 2.1″ difference.
The entire evaluation of Josh Bartolotto needs to be read with the understanding that Josh is an eighth grader who shared a gym with seniors, juniors, and sophomores. Some of his teammates and opponents were four growing years older than him.
Noticeable strengths of the local guard Josh include shooting touch and confidence in traffic. He currently lacks the size or power to finish over varsity big men, but he was unabashedly entering the forest off the dribble.
Bartolotto weighs 100 pounds and stands 5-foot-2 with shoes. His wingspan measures 5-foot-1 almost identical to his height vertically.
Josh Bartolotto owns a comfortable shooting form inside 12′, but when he extends to the arc the form unravels a bit. As he gains upper body strength with physical maturity he will need to repeat the same motion out to 20′ that he perfected close to the tin.
Josh’s countenance was assured yet shy. He didn’t mind injecting his game into the flow. Honestly though, there were a couple teammates that didn’t trust him with touches. As the youngest player on the floor he did face an uphill battle to earn respect from the older players. Some came around. Some didn’t.
Josh projects as a complimentary scorer at the varsity level, probably as a shooting guard more than a point guard. Time will tell and his devotion to his craft will dictate a lot. Credit to Josh for mixing it up with the big boys in Murfreesboro though.