Posted On: 10/1/18 12:28 AM
The Prime Time Prep Top 40 Showcase took place on Saturday and practically every top player in the state of Oregon (plus a few more from Washington) was in attendance. While there were many standout performers at the event, who were the absolute best? We made our own observations and consulted with both some of the coaches working at the event and ones watching on the sidelines. After going through our notes and thinking it over, we narrowed our top performers to these fabulous five.
Jaden Nielsen-Skinner, South Salem (2019) (MVP)
If there were any questions before about who is the best pure point guard in the state, the arguments for Nielsen-Skinner – “Skinny” – got even louder after the way he played at the Prime Time Top 40 Showcase. The 5-foot-10 senior was a true floor general in each of the games we saw, taking full control of the court with his flawless ball-handling, pinpoint passing, and clutch shooting/scoring when it was needed. Skinny effectively pushed the ball up-court either with the dribble or pass, but also knew when to pull things back and run the offense. The Portland State commit was considered our choice for camp MVP and was named the top player in the gym by most all of the coaches we talked to as well.
Ben Gregg, Columbia Christian (2021)
For Portland area hardcore prep basketball fans, Ben Gregg has been known about for a long time. But given how the 6-foot-8 sophomore played at the Prime Time Top 40 Showcase, his name will be well known outside of the Pacific Northwest in no time. Gregg showcased his sweet shooting touch from the perimeter, but also played aggressive by taking the ball to the basket and scoring in the paint. Defensively, he blocking shots left and right, at times rejecting several in a row, and he was dominant on the glass on both ends. A lot of the times we’ve seen Gregg play this summer it’s been about how comfortable he feels on the court and there was no shortage of that from him of that on Saturday – likely because he’s known many of his competitors for years. When Gregg is able to do the same things up against national competition, his college recruitment should expand beyond than the three early regional ones he’s already received.
Shane Nowell, Eastside Catholic (2022)
The Seattle-area guard immediately drew attention with his frame and athleticism for his age. But you can’t just look the part, you’ve got to play it too and Nowell certainly did that. Using his physical abilities, Nowell was able to get buckets by driving to the basket and finishing at the rim, or hitting perimeter jumpers but at the same time didn’t force the issue – he simply took what the defense gave him. The younger brother of Washington guard Jaylen Nowell, the 6-foot-5 wing is already earning Pac-12 offers and should be a nationally ranked player for his class by the time he’s all through.
Isaac Lange, Thurston (2019)
One of the in-state players from outside the Portland-Salem area was Lange, who more than lived up his reputation as an above-the-rim athlete at the showcase. He was a monster in transition and was among the showcase’s leaders in dunks, many of the two-handed variety. With his long hair and high-flying act, Lange certainly draws attention but his game wasn’t just about the flair for the dramatic. The 6-foot-1 guard scored on a number of one-handed runners in the lane and was active on defense. While he didn’t take many perimeter shots, Lange has been working hard on his outside shooting in preparation for a big senior year.
Oreon Courtney, West Linn (2019)
One of the least heralded invitees to the Showcase, Courtney more than caught the eye of people in attendance – and he held their attention with his play. The 6-foot-3 senior is flat out an athlete, but his motor and nose for the ball is what impressed observers the most. Courtney was extremely active around the basket, fighting for offensive rebounds and putbacks, and scrapping around on the defensive end. And of course, he was able to show off his athleticism with some power dunks in transition and off drives to the hoop. Courtney didn’t take many perimeter jumpers, but did sink some of the ones he did take. Opposing high school coaches we talked to all agreed that Courtney will definitely add a dimension to West Linn this upcoming season.