Posted On: 10/28/19 6:03 AM
Elevate Next hosted its first “Introducing the Unguardables” event Saturday afternoon at Langston Hughes Academy in New Orleans. The showcase was created to give a platform to some of Southeast Louisiana’s top middle schoolers, and the mission was accomplished with a group of just under 40 kids in attendance.
The day began with drill work focusing primarily on ball handling and finishing after a few words of wisdom from Port Allen head coach Derrick Jones. The group was then split up into four teams playing seven games and here were the top 2024-2027 prospects that stood out from the event.
Highlights of the event are also included at the end of the post.
Devin Johnson — 2024 G
Johnson has a strong argument for the event’s top player. His skill and physicality stood out amongst the group as he nailed multiple 3-pointers off the dribble while also mixing it up in the paint for a ton of boards. He had the strength to finish through other defenders and carried himself with confidence throughout the day. Johnson also dominated during the drills portion of the camp showing off his athleticism and defensive prowess in 1-on-1 opportunities.
Cace Reed — 2024 PG
Reed may have been my favorite player from the day with his unselfishness and feel for the game. He clearly has the tools to be a scorer when needed, but opted to get his teammates involved with smart, simple passes that got other in good positions, even if they didn’t finish the play. He was also the best on-ball defender at the event, had a big chase-down block after missing a layup off of one of his steals, and knocked down a couple of long 3-pointers.
Isiah Stevens Jr. — 2024 G/W
Stevens Jr. was very impressive with his patience with the ball in his hands. He carefully picked his spots before using his sleek ball handling to get by his man and slither his way through the paint with impressive footwork. Stevens Jr. already has the euro step down pat, and was extremely disruptive on defense as well.
Armand Woods — 2024 G
Woods was the best transition finisher at the camp bar none. He gets from one end of the court to the other in a hurry, and consistently finished around the rim for much of the event. Woods has a scorer’s mentality and was looking to get into the paint to put points on the board every chance he got.
Phillip Antis — 2024 F
Despite sporting a blue mohawk, Antis blended in well with the action making a few plays that showed his potential. He stayed within himself not looking to do too much, and made an impact on both ends of the floor. He has good mobility and was likely the best interior paint defender, and also displayed a bit of his offensive game going coast-to-coast for a layup while knocking down a couple of midrange jumpers.
Derrick Johnson — 2025 F
Johnson was one of the top players at the camp regardless of class. It was difficult to stay in the flow as a big man in a guard-heavy setting, but he still affected the game in multiple ways, particularly on the offensive end.
His decision-making for a young player stood out the most as he understood how to get his shot and how to find others in good positions to score. He was almost too unselfish at times as a sweet pump fake and finish showed he has plenty of scoring potential in the post, but he mainly deferred to his teammates. Johnson was also a willing screener and defender, and showed a bit of ball handling as well taking a rebound coast-to-coast for a bucket.
Javian Neco — 2025 G
Neco was one of the top shooters at the event showing off his range from well beyond the 3-point line on multiple occasions. He was also one of the faster players from end to end, and was a smooth finisher whenever he got into the paint. Like Woods, Neco was one of the more aggressive players at the camp offensively as he should have been with his shooting and slashing ability.
Christopher Birden — 2025 W
Birden is an extremely long kid that has a solid skill set to build from. He was confident around the rim making a bunch of buckets in the paint and also showed off his jumper a bit knocking down some midrange shots. His length also came into play on defense as he swatted a handful of shots throughout the day.
Gabriel Ebilane — 2025 G
Ebilane was one of the more smooth, skilled players at the camp. He already has a good handle with some craftiness to keep defenders off balance, and has a ton of room to grow as an offensive threat. An off-hand floater during the final game put his soft touch on display and he also showed range knowing down a couple of 3-pointers.
Nico Jones — 2025 G
Jones already has good size and feel for the position at a young age, and being the son of the aforementioned Derrick Jones will only accelerate his development. He had to leave the event a bit early, but his potential as a two-way player warranted a mention on this list.
Caleb McDougald — 2025 G
McDougald made a few plays that really stood out including a big chase-down block and a nice reverse layup off a feed from Levon Gipson. He didn’t get a ton of opportunities to showcase his offensive game, but he looks to be a player who could be a bucket-getter in the future.
Levon Gipson — 2026 G
Gipson standing out as a sixth-grader in this mix says a ton about his potential. He was one of the top two shooters at the camp with Neco, made a few nice passes to teammates, and has a good handle that will only improve as he works on his game.
2027 Players of Note
It was difficult for this group to make much of an impact playing alongside so many older players, but there were a few that made plays that during the showcase.
Emmanuel Young was one of them with a controlled game and handle that allowed him to get to his spots for a few midrange jumpers. Elijah Carter was aggressive defensively while also making a nice floater for an and-one, and Harlan Davis II was in the same mold making an impact defensively while finishing a couple of times amongst the trees in the paint.