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Posted On: 10/9/18 3:13 PM
I took a trip to Roanoke, VA (my third home) on Sunday for the fourth annual Timesland Invitational at North Cross School. Event host David Williams ran it this year under his new company ESD (Exercise Skill Development LLC), and while the name was different the event still was a great opportunity for kids to go through developmental drills, specific game situations and live games in front of myself and double digit college coaches in attendance. It was a great way to see a lot of talent from the Roanoke, Lynchburg, New River Valley and SWVA parts of the state.
With that being said, here’s a look at eight underclassmen who stood out on Sunday.
Tee Bryan | 6’4” WG/WF | Patrick Henry 2020
Bryan was one of our standouts at the Prep Hoops Top 250 a few weeks ago, and he continues to show that he’ll be one of the top guys in the Roanoke area this year most likely. With a chiseled 6’4” frame and great athleticism, Bryan showed that he’s able to be an effective two way player now, but he also has a tremendous ceiling with a good work ethic. He worked hard throughout the skill development, took pride in 3-on-3 and played hard in the live games despite being tired toward the end. With continued development Bryan could be the steal out of the Roanoke area in the 2020 class.
Jared LaTreil | 6’4” WG/WF | North Cross 2020
LaTreil has started on a talented North Cross team the last few seasons, and he’s looking like he’s ready to turn the corner and become a much bigger asset on the offensive end. He’s grown into his body, dropping the baby fat and has become an explosive leaper that’s capable of playing at and above the rim. He has a strong frame that allows him to bang in the post, and he can step out and shoot the basketball. Whether you play uptempo or in the half court, LaTreil can give you something in both systems.
LA Gates | 6’1” G | Northside 2020
A big, strong combo guard, Gates should compete for a starting position at Northside who is going to need help in the backcourt with the departure of four year starter Nick Price. Defensively I liked Gates, who is strong enough to body up in the post and he moves his feet well enough to stay in front of ball handlers. He made a few open shots offensively and was a solid secondary ballhandler, but he’ll need to sure up that part of his game if he wants to be a point guard moving forward.
Matt Cagle | 6’6” PF | Cave Spring 2020
I didn’t get the opportunity to watch Cave Spring last season after seeing Cagle play sparingly as a freshman, but he seems to be coming along nicely in the post. He’s still working on his offensive game, but he showed the ability to run the floor well and finish with both hands. He’s big and mobile on the paint, he can protect the rim and he rebounds on both ends of the floor.
Mitch Burns | 6’6” PF | Patrick Henry 2020
Another PH guy who has had a good fall heading into his junior year, Burns was great at the Top 250 Expo a few weeks ago and showed it wasn’t a fluke here at the Timesland Invitational. The 6’6” forward is a throwback kind of post player with a little new school sprinkled in there with it. He’s a big and burly guy who is physical in the post, fights for extra possessions, takes advantage of his opportunities and will bang on the boards. He can score with both hands in traffic and he can step out and shoot the jumper as well.
Parker Huffman | 6’7” PF | Cave Spring 2020
Teammate of fellow big man Matt Cagle, Cave Spring should be able to dominate the paint this year and kill other teams on the glass. Huffman is a project still, but he has good hands and feet and really good length. He can rebound over everyone else, he can guard in the post one-on-one and he can protect the rim on the help side. He still needs some work but colleges will be interested in him if he continues to develop.
Jamonte Smith | 5’10” G | Roanoke Catholic 2021
One of the more offensively gifted guys at the event regardless of class, Smith showed that he can be a go-to guy that can create his own shot or play off the ball as well. He has three level scoring ability with the ball in his hands, he’s an above average athlete with good quickness and he has great body control in the paint. He has good range off the catch or off the bounce, and he’s able to create space to get shots off even though he doesn’t need much space at all. He’ll fill it up at Catholic this year, and if he can find a way to make his teammates better as well moving forward he’ll be a guard a lot of college coaches like.
Donovan St. Juste | 6’2” WG/WF | William Fleming 2021
One of the new names I came away with was Donovan St. Jueste, a sophomore wing out of Fleming with a ton of upside moving forward. At 6’2” he has very long arms and looks like he’s still growing, and he’s bouncy as he showed with a couple of impressive blocks and throw downs in drills and 3-on-3. When the live games started, he opened the first one by hitting three three-pointers in about two and a half minutes, and while I’m not sold that he’s a shooter he showed that with some work he can make some shots as well.