Posted On: 04/17/19 12:37 PM

At the end of the day, scoring the basketball and shot-creation is the most important skill in the game. After all, the whole point is to do it more times than your opponent — that’s how you win games. 

Therefore, these prospects were as valuable as it gets this weekend at the Spring Kickoff!

Keegan Phillips (2021) | 6-3 W | Boykins Basketball Academy 16U / Douglas County (CO)

Phillips knows how to move without the ball — coming off pin-downs and curling off other screens to get to his spots. Likes to catch it in the mid-post and score it against smaller guards. Length allows Phillips to hit quick turn-arounds but he’s also very capable of scoring with crafty ball fakes and step-throughs. Phillips can also catch-and-shoot from the outside. Along with scoring, Phillips made good reads to hit open teammates when he didn’t look to score. On the other end, he defended the dribble-drive very well. 

Darius Hornbuckle (2020) | 6-2 G | Colorado United 17U / Thomas Jefferson (CO)

Hornbuckle is a score-minded combo guard that thrives in isolation situations. Likes to get a high ball screen and attack a back-peddling forward with changes of speeds. Contorts his slender frame into tight spaces to get to his spots on the floor. Hornbuckle can really shoot it off the dribble and has a quick release. High-usage guard. 

Gavin Chowen (2020) | 6-3 G | Utah Premier 17U / Viewmont (UT)

Chowen’s ability to shoot it put a ton of pressure on defenses all weekend. He’s able to convert shots whenever he had space — off the catch, coming off a screen with or without the ball, or on mid-range pull-ups. Used his jab step and ball screens well to create space with few dribbles. Didn’t attack often when I watched Utah Premier but his jumper was responsible for nearly 20 points a contest. 

Jaden Stoffel (2020) | 6-1 G | Colorado Hardwood 17U / Manual (CO)

Stoffel’s Saturday afternoon scoring exposition was the most incredible moment I saw this weekend, and one of the most stupefying stretches I’ve ever seen. Trailing late against Gamepoint, Stoffel nearly brought Hardwood all the way back with deep pull-ups in transition. Whenever he shot the ball — even if it was a contested pull-up from the volleyball line — it was considered a good possession for Hardwood. He was that hot. Scored on a couple pump fake and step-through moves from the perimeter, and we’re not talking desperation heaves.

Stoffel was Carsen-Edwards-against-Virginia-hot and surely he’s not always pulling from 30-feet. But, his off-the-dribble shooting ability did translate to other games and he is a real threat to light up opponents in a hurry.

Ricky Lujan (2020) | 6-1 G | New Mexico D1 Ambassadors 17U / Onate (NM)

Lujan possesses the fundamentals and ball skills that allow him to simply take what the defense gives him.

Switching on a ball screen? Lujan is going to speed by the big or pull-up if he backs off. 

Playing Lujan to his off-hand? No worries. He can go right. 

Pressuring the ball as soon as he passes halfcourt? That’s a mistake. His handle and ability to change speeds allows him to create separation at will. 

Lujan also scores the ball with either hand at the rim. Plays with tremendous pace. 

Jackson Keil (2022) | 6-2 G | Colorado Hawks 15U / Sterling (CO)

Keil is a talented shooter who doesn’t need much space to shoot it from distance. Scored his baskets within the flow of the offense and played well without the ball. The most skilled 15U guard I saw this weekend, Keil can also get into the paint and score with craft. He was also impressive as an on-ball defender and made them uncomfortable by pressuring.