Downtown Players to Watch

Posted On: 05/12/20 2:15 PM

Tobias Roland JrTobiasRoland Jr6'3" | SGPutnam City North | 2021StateOK. / Putnam City North
6’3″ SG St. No. 8 / Pos. No. 3 Oklahoma Run PWP

Tobias Roland (Matt Reynolds, Prep Hoops)

Alas, I made the mistake earlier in Roland’s career of labeling him as a small-forward with guard-skills. I fear that I may have contributed to the lack of Roland-respect in local circles, but I’m here it set the record straight: it’s the converse that’s true, that Roland is a strong, physical guard with equal power, frame and game — which bodes well for his recruitment. Because of his size and power, Roland maximizes his potential with almost all of his skills translating to the college level. Netting 15 points-a-game as a junior, Roland was somewhat of a bully on both ends of the floor, but categorizing him a brute only paints half of the picture; Roland’s physicality and aggressive play are only matched by his skill and awareness of the court. He can shoot the ball quickly from the catch, pull up for mid-range shots in transition and, though he isn’t a pure post-up guy, he can get the job done inside out of the catch, as well. His most underrated ability is positioning himself without the ball as to best defenders once he has it. He is also an exceptional rebounder and clean-up guy whose adhesive defensive skills translate so that he won’t struggle on screens or switches. A high-motor contributor who can excel in almost every facet of the game, the bottom line is that Roland is an explosive prospect with the skill to match it. Here is a link to a few of his highlights, courtesy of Johnny Dash (see more of Dash’s work on his personal Twitter).

Jaylon WhiteJaylonWhite5'11" | PGNorman North | 2021StateOK / Norman North
5’11″ PG St. No. 11 / Pos. No. 4 Team Griffin

JJ White (Matt Reynolds / Prep Hoops)

White has been on the receiving end of much-deserved attention recently, but he still doesn’t always get the respect his game warrants. He’s exceptionally speedy, quick, has a first step straight out of an Iverson-mixtape and impressive explosive energy. His athleticism has been mid-major-ready for a while, but he really applied it to his game in his junior season, clearly benefitting from the experience of playing in the EYBL last summer. He led the way for the Timberwolves with 17 points-a-night in 2020, mostly produced by his handles. Primarily, he can create shots from deep or mid-range and sink them with college-level efficiency while also relying heavily on his diverse hand-work at the rim. Defensively, he can handle the task of opposing ball-handlers while showcasing ball-hawking skills when guarding off-ball scorers. Though he hasn’t often been asked to play a subservient role for the T-Wolves, he has showcased eyes-in-the-back-of-his-head vision in his floor-time for Team Griffin, while proving definitively that he can distribute the ball with accuracy at-pace in the highest level of grassroots basketball. Here is a link to his highlight reel courtesy of Hoop Addicts (see more of their work on YouTube).