The Prep Hoops Circuit wrapped up over the weekend with the Grind Region Finals taking place in Wichita, Kansas. We were able to catch the action of several teams from the Show-Me-State. Here are some player evaluations for several forwards from Missouri:
Length and Strength: These forwards had the size and intangibles to patrol the paint and were factors for their teams on both ends of the floor
6’8 Tanner Thouvenot – Missouri Flight Blue 17U
Tanner is a big-bodied, strong forward that did some nice things for Missouri Flight Blue. He uses his strength well as a back to the basket forward to seal for deep positioning and is a tough box-out that can force his way underneath on the offensive glass. This makes him efficient as a scorer operating block to block. He walls-up well defending the block and clears out the lane with box-outs on the defensive end.
6’8 Garrett Simmerman – Missouri Flight Blue 17U
Garrett is a long, intriguing forward that does a lot of good things for his team. Offensively, he is developing soft hands around the bucket where he is able to receive lobs or dump-offs and can finish above the rim with good leaping ability. He did step out to the three-point line in one game and has a nice looking set shot that could be huge for him if he continues to develop it. Defensively, he is a strong rim protector that will challenge on the block or slide over to swat away attempts off the drive.
6’6 Aaron Hendricks – St. Louis Blazers 16U
Aaron is one of two raw, but developing big men for the St. Louis Blazers. He showed flashes of his potential over the weekend. On a team that gambles a lot defensively, he is a nice back line of defense that can alter or deter shots off the drive. He is active on both the offensive and defensive boards. He makes his money right now off of put backs and finishing dump-offs with authority. His back to the basket game is developing and he has the intangibles to become a force inside. This was evidenced by a huge post-up attempt that he finished with a drop step “and-1” to seal an opening round win over the Tennessee Edge
6’8 Joe Ware – St. Louis Blazers 16U
Ware is a tall, lanky forward that is starting to grow into his frame. He serves as a very capable rim protector and rebounder. Offensively, at this point, he is more of a trash man that cleans up the glass and finishes his drive and dish opportunities. As he continues to add strength to go along with raw athleticism and an impressive wingspan, his back to the basket game should develop quite nicely.
Undersized but Effective: These prospects may not look the part of a traditional forward, but they get the job done in that role for their teams
6’2 Cleveland Washington – St. Louis Blazers 16U
Cleveland is the de facto starting center for an athletic Blazers team who essentially plays a 5-guard lineup. Despite being only 6’2, he does everything the team needs out of that position. He is strong and athletic, challenges shots, rebounds on both ends, and can be a match-up problem for larger defenders due to his ability to put the ball on the floor and attack the basket from the perimeter.
6’4 Isaac Meeks – Victory Ministry Blue 17U
Isaac provided a nice boost for Victory Ministry Blue in their opening round game that caught my eye. He is really a wing-forward that could play the 3-5, but I like his projectability most as a stretch-4 type player. He has range beyond the arc, can be effective in pick-and-roll or pick-and-pop situations, and has the frame and mobility to defend the paint or switch occasionally in the pick and roll.
6’1 Brady Ward – All Missouri Attack 16U
Every time I saw Brady in action, he was giving up 5-6 inches of height. That being said, his heart and motor more than make up for that. He is a very scrappy, quick twitch leaper with good second leap ability that will either snag or tip out rebound opportunities on both ends. He is fearless offensively and will challenge larger defenders in the paint and runs the floor hard for transition buckets.