AJ Smith

Posted On: 11/21/18 2:03 PM

Last weekend was the annual Phenom Hoops Report National Showcase at Greensboro Day in Greensboro, NC, bringing teams from all over the east coast together. It was an interesting tournament, which featured a shot clock (not yet in North Carolina high school play), and it featured prospects ranging from nationally ranked to available small school seniors. I spent the day in the back gym while Houston was in the main gym, and while it was the back gym the talent was big time! Here’s a look at some of the underclassmen standouts from the four games I watched.

Jaden Seymour | 6’7” WF | Northside Christian (NC) 2020

Jayden Seymour

The Northside Christian wing was one I watched with Team Wall this summer and was excited to see him at this event. As far as next level wise goes, he was one of the more impressive guys of any class. He already has a college ready frame and athleticism, and when he plays in transition he’s a big time highlight finisher. He can put it on the deck and get to the rim, rebounds well and can guard multiple positions, and with two more years to improve before college he’s a guy coaches should be all over.

Josh Massey | 6’6” WF | United Faith (NC) 2020

Josh Massey

Massey impressed and showed flashes that would make him a solid mid major recruit in a couple of years. The long and lanky wing has the ability to play and guard multiple positions, including playing the small ball four as a mismatch. He has a solid skill set that should continue to grow, and he’s a smooth and solid athlete who should put on weight with a college weight room. He finished with 13 points, six rebounds and four assists in their win over Hickory Grove.

Robertus Jonaitis | 6’4” WG/WF | Heritage IJN (WV) 2020

Heritage is a new school in West Virginia run by the former coach of Mount Mission in Grundy with the same concept, bring in foreign players in tough situations and let them use basketball to get an education. Most of their players are relatively new to the game, but Jonaitis stood out with his high motor and athleticism. He made several incredible plays above the rim, and with some work he has the natural athleticism to play the game at the next level.

Kimiri Smith | 6’1” G | Word of God (NC) 2020

From what I was told, Smith is a transfer from Oakland who came to Carolina not too long ago. He has a little bit of a west coast feel to his game, with good isolation ability, the ability to make shots and a high energy that feeds through the team. His game is a little awkward, but he has combo like abilities where he can make plays with the ball in his hands and score in a number of ways.

Moussa Diabate | 6’8” F | DME Academy (FL) 2021

Moussa Diabate

Probably the most impressive all-around prospects, Diabate is still young but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him on draft boards by the time he’s a senior. He’s a super long and fluid forward who can dribble, shoot and pass offensively, making him a deadly mismatch of a prospect on the offensive end. In the mold of many new age euro players, he has the ability to create his own shot on the perimeter or in transition, but can also play off the ball and catch and finish on cuts and pick-and-rolls. He finished with 26 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals in a close loss to Tennessee Prep.

AJ Smith | 6’3” G | Hickory Grove (NC) 2021

AJ Smith

One of the best young guards in the Charlotte area, Smith has the chance to be a high major prospect if he continues to develop as a true point guard. He has a great frame and good athleticism that allows him to get downhill in transition and makes him able to finish through contact or get to the line. He was streaky and high volume, but he was the only guy who was able to create his own shot against a stingy United Faith team. He needs to continue to improve his outside shot, but he made some tough shots including a fadeaway out of a post up and a couple pull-ups off the bounce. High energy and a good rebounder as well, he finished with a double-double of 22 points and 11 rebounds in their loss.

Jacori Owens | 6’8” PF | Hickory Grove (NC) 2021

Owens didn’t have the best night when it comes to scoring the ball, but he showed a lot of promise for a young big with his overall play. He’s still growing, but he has a solid face-up game where he can put it on the deck and hit the runner or follow his own shot. He has a decent looking shot, but was just okay from the free throw line, and while he had a solid 7 rebounds he still could stand to pursue the basketball with a little more energy. The best part however, was his impact on the defensive end. Smith moves his feet well in the post and has great timing as a shot blocker, and does a good job contesting vertically without fouling. He had four blocks in the game along with 9 points.

Jalen Hood-Schifino | 6’5” G | Northside Christian (NC) 2022

There were several 2022 prospects in the event that were intriguing already as college prospects, and Hood-Schifino may have been one of the best. At 6’5”, he can handle the ball and does so with poise, handling the pressure and getting into the paint to break down defenses. Defensively he has good length and athleticism to cause deflections and he has good instincts on and off the ball. He looked comfortable in different sets, showed he could score from all three levels and has a solid understanding of the game. He’ll be one to keep an eye on moving forward for bigger schools.