Posted On: 04/16/19 10:22 AM
Although there were incredible guards at the event with high upside, the most talented and entertaining position to watch on the day were the battle of the bigs. They were rebounding, scoring down low and defending at a high level and their hard work is the reason plenty of teams were successful. Here are five talented big men that stood out on the day.
Baye Fall – Colorado Hawks
One of the tallest standouts in the entire gym happened to be one of the youngest players in the entire gym. Baye Fall is our top 8thgrader in the state and is on the national scene as a standout who impacts the game on both ends of the floor and that is while playing up a few grade levels. He played with the 16U Hawks team and what was seen from fall is exactly what you want to see from a 6’10 stand out – to dominate down low. In his game against the Colorado Miners he was the offensive standout and defensive anchor. He ran the floor well and has a high motor for a player his size, he demanded the ball in the paint early on was scoring the basketball at will. He got up for a few dunks, showed that he could shoot the over the shoulder dip shot and did not shy away from contact. He recorded 21 points in the game while showcasing that he is an offensive weapon that could be used in any system. In the second half he started playing solid defense and running guys out of the paint. He had multiple blocks, had quick hands which forced a couple of steals and soars and secures the rebound looking for a guard. While he is still a bit raw around the edges he has one of the highest ceilings of any of the players in the state and when he is playing with his age group I expect him to do whatever it is he wants, whenever he wants. Liked what I seen from Fall.
Traevon Davis – Buddy Buckets
Davis from the 17U Buddy Buckets team is hard worker that does all of the dirty work for Buddy Buckets. Plenty of his work goes unnoticed but he makes sure to put his stamp on the game. He is battling inside, he is diving for loose balls, he is defending at a high level and is a reliable source of points when the offense gets stagnant. He is able to balance this team and has solid size while not backing down from larger defenders. He finished with 19-points in the game against the Wyoming Power and was able to show his versatility with also being able to space the floor as he showed mid-range shot and even a 3-pointer. He was able to continue that in the championship loss as he is a player that takes what the defense gives him, is physical and is able to finish with contact. Davis is the equalizer on a very talented Buddy Buckets team and should be a player to watch moving forward.
Jermaine Yarbough – Team KC
If you are looking for a big man with size that can run the floor and finish it with a highlight dunk, throw oops to in the half-court set, play aggressive bully ball and put fear in opponents while also impacting the game on the defensive end—look no further, 6’7 standout Yarbough is your guy. Yarbough is a player. He affects the game in various ways and had some highlight dunks throughout the tourney as the big man to help lead his team as the Spring Kickoff Champs. He finished with 15 points in the championship games and did it in multiple ways while being a hound on defense. He is a glass cleaner with elite athleticism and the biggest mystery there was this weekend as there is no way that he is still unsigned this long.
Dominique Clifford – Colorado Miners
Clifford is not a traditional big man as he is a player that can play 2-5 but that is what makes him special. The best part about his game is that he can get it in different ways. He scored 13 points against Team Buddy Buckets and had their backs against the wall thanks to Clifford’s play. He can shoot it and shows range, has a mid-range pull-up, gets to the rim and finishes and has sneaky athleticism as he is liable to catch a body or two this summer. He is a quick leaper who skies for rebounds and then is able to start the break himself. He is a smooth player with a high IQ and lets the game come to him rather than force things. He does not shy away from contact but is smart enough to get to the free throw line when the offense breaks down. He plays within the offense and is able to pass from the block. It is interesting to see him on this Miners team and showcasing he is able to takeover no matter the classification as he is a 3A kid. All that he is proving is that no matter the competition he is a high caliber player that low major Division I schools should put on their radar.
Ike Graham – Colorado Hawks 17U
One of the most skilled big men in the entire tournament was Ike Graham and he is undoubtedly a division I player. He had 21 points and secured some boards against Team KC Grey in a win while showing that he is a nimble big man with soft touch and is able to dominate down low. He was one of the only bigs that you could throw it to on a seal pin-down and he was going to go get a bucket on his own. He runs well for a player his size and is able to pass off of the block. He feels the double-team coming and makes the defense pay by kicking it out and demanding the ball back or making the quick move and finishing over the smaller defenders. He is a hard worker on both ends of the floor with incredible footwork and is a perfect complement to any system. He goes after shots on defense and alters plenty of them, does not allow big men to get comfortable on the block and his big day was not done as he was able to score 30 big points and also record 14 rebounds in a loss against the eventual champs, Team KC. Get on Graham and fast.
Michael Phillips – Team Speights
Although Team Speights did not have the weekend they wanted to falling to a tough New Mexico D1 Ambassadors squad I did not want to leave out Phillips. What stood out to me this weekend about his game was how well he knocked down the mid-range jumper consistently. Defenders had to respect his ability to pull up from mid-range. He has a little bit of an old school game at the Power Forward spot. This 2020 Forward is going to be a fun one to keep track of throughout the circuit.