Posted On: 03/17/19 5:32 PM

MURFREESBORO-

Blackman Middle School was the site of the first annual PrepHoopsTN / AboveTheRimGym Spring Combine.  Guards again filled the gymnasium.

Late September’s @PrepHoopsTN / AboveTheRim Gym Fall Combine featured many strong guards, among them Zion Swader (PrepHoopsTN #22), Jaylan Wetzel (PrepHoopsTN #41), Jaylen Pegues (PrepHoopsTN #27).  The Spring Combine again featured a wide assortment of talented guards.  Jamie Abernathy (Stewarts Creek) and Landon Millsap represented the oldest and youngest point guard participants in the building.

 

Jamie Abernathy, 6’0″ PG (Stewarts Creek) — 2021

  • Standing Reach — 92″ or 7’6″
  • 6’0″ 163 pounds
  • Wingspan — 6’0″
  • Vertical — 26.5″
  • Hand Length — 7″
  • Lane Agility — 10.50, 10.71

 

 

Abernathy was one of the PrepHoopsTN repeat campers, for which I am personally thankful.  Importantly, Abernathy’s return enabled the longitudinal method of study.  Psychology 101 classes aside, Abernathy did grow a little physically since September 2018.  

Five months ago Jamie Abernathy weighed 154.8 pounds, so his natural physical maturation added 8.2 pounds.  He grew from 5’11” in shoes to 6’0″ in shoes.  Currently, Jamie Abernathy’s hand measures the same 7 inches it did in September.

Abernathy’s standing reach is the same (92″), while his wingspan grew 0.5″ in the interim.  

Abernathy, as a veteran of the PrepHoopsTN Combine experience adopted a larger role this event.  He served as point guard and primary ball-handler in the 5-on-5 portion.  Abernathy’s handles are slightly better than they were.  He did not attempt many outside shots, but his release still lacks the optimal elevation.  Abernathy will always be a shorter than average lead guard, so he will be better served utilizing his hops to release the basketball at a higher point.  When you are a shorter guard it is necessary to expand and add shooting release points and locations rather than limit your options.  Taller players will limit the access to high quality shots to a frustrating degree anyway.  

Perhaps because most Murfreesboro high schools continued their seasons through the combine weekend the age skewed younger this spring.  Abernathy embraced his new heft and owned the paint against smaller guards.  In a drill emphasizing post feeds, Abernathy backed down aggressively and overpowered his peers.  During the drill he showed impressive toughness, but also importantly an awareness of his slight advantage in strength.  

The quickness of Jamie stood apart from the pack Sunday as he posted two of the very best shuttle run times.  A respectable average time of 10.60 would have earned Jamie Abernathy a top 10 spot in the most recent NBA Draft Combine.  Do not assume a top 10 lane agility time is akin to being NBA-ready, but it does convey the quickness of Jamie.

 

Landon Millsap, 5’5″ PG (Siegel Middle)  — 2024

  • Standing Reach — 83″ or 7’1″
  • 5’5″ 102.5 pounds
  • Wingspan — 5’3″
  • Vertical — 19.5″
  • Hand Length — 7″
  • Lane Agility — 16.59, 14.86

 

 

Landon entered the event as a Class of 2024 prospect.  Years still stand between Landon’s basketball ceiling and complete physical maturation.  Consider his evaluation in this context.  Now 5-foot-5, Millsap weighed in just over 102 pounds.  Right now Millsap’s wingspan lags behind his height.  The elite basketball players, when full grown, have +5ish differential, meaning their wingspan is wider than their height is tall.  This has obvious benefits in the sport of basketball. 

On the court, Millsap showed strengths and weaknesses.  Millsap is light on his feet.  He moves well and changes directions quickly for his age.  Rebounding was difficult against the sophomores and juniors.  That Millsap was willing to mix it up is an important indicator.  Bigger bodies didn’t frighten him.  He projects as an average to perhaps slightly above average free throw shooter.  Landon’s form is fine from the waist up.  Guards always benefit from incorporating the legs more in their shot.  The higher release point significantly impacts the shooting success of smaller guards at the higher levels.

In order to compete favorably as a varsity high school player Landon must improve his court awareness.  Landon needs to find his spots for success and then show for ball with purpose. 

As with many younger players, Millsap kept searching his rightful place on the offensive half.

In the next year, Millsap should focus hardest on making his attractive shot repeatable and involving his legs more in jumpers.

At this stage of his development, Landon is primarily a catch-and-shoot guy.  Expanding his offensive arsenal, specifically his handle, will broaden his game and enable him to utilize that nice shooting touch and form.