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Session 1 Superlatives: 3SSB and UAA

By Max Feldman, 04/11/22, 12:15PM CDT

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Most Significant Impression

Koa Peat and Efeosa Oliogu

Others had more productive weekends in the box score, but none left an impression to the degree of Koa Peat and Efe Oliogu, two 2025 prospects playing up at the 17U level. To a foreign eye, it would have been a mystery as to who the rising Sophomore's were.

Peat showed a bit of everything with the Compton Magic — initiating offense, making decisions as the PnR handler, switching the 1-5 defensively, playing downhill to create space in the paint and controlling tempo as a grab and go threat. High level vision operating out of atop the key or at the nail, Peat picked apart zones and excelled as an interior playmaker kicking out to shooters and cutters. The 6-8 and 215 pound 2025 forward has no glaring holes in his skillset to this point and was more often than not, the most impactful player on the floor while at a 2-3 year age deficit. 

Oliogu showed intriguing flashes previously with the Canadian U16 this past summer and looks bound for a highly contested recruitment. At 6-6 with premier burst, Oliogu made his way downhill and put pressure on the rim with consistency. While playing up with Canada Elite, the alpha demeanor was evident as the motor stayed hot throughout the flow of games. Hard jabs and go, running in transition, timely cuts and fluid footwork, Oliogu lived above the rim and at the free throw line. The young Canadian aligns as a potential reclass candidate down the line.

Most Likely To Explode on The Recruiting Trail

Kaden Cooper and Carey Booth

Since Friday, Cooper has received offers from Texas, Creighton and Oklahoma among a few others while Booth has received offers from Cal, Oklahoma State, Iowa, Marquette and UCSB. The blow up has already begun and unlikely to slow down as both stamped themselves as true high major prospects in the first live period. In addition, both Cooper and Booth are atop my list of most impactful defenders between the two events.

An extremely long and strong 6-6, Kaden Cooper's competitiveness, motor, versatility, toughness and fiery athleticism jumped out. The Ada, Oklahoma native and Team Trae Young guard displayed Cason Wallace-esque movement patterns on the defensive end — rugged defensively switching out in space, disruptive with quick hands, long arms and lateral quickness to wall up quick guards or big wings. A high level positional rebounder, flexible slasher with no shortage of above the rim finishes as a cutter from the slot and a mechanically sound spot up shooter, specifically comfortable from the corners. In short order, Cooper should have the Big 12 and SEC's finest hot on his tail.

Carey Booth's impact was difficult to ignore from the jump, chasing down two transition drivers to meet at the rim early in KC Run's first game. A hard-nosed, energetic and wiry 6-11 forward with ample mobility and ground coverage. The Colorado native was very comfortable catching and firing from beyond the arc with fluid mechanics and notable touch. Booth is a mere ball of clay on the defensive end with palpable tools and a versatile impact — stifling slashers in drop coverage and comfort switching across the board. The son of Denver Nuggets' GM Calvin Booth, Carey quickly grabbed the attention of high major staffers and should absolutely be in contention in the top 50 range of 2023 national rankings.

Most Impressive Athlete

Baye Fall

Fall's big early test came against a fellow highly touted 2023 big in Somto Cyril, the more burly and big of the two. Fall was nothing short of dominant against Cyril — opening the game by meeting one of Cyril's paint attempts above the square to spark the transition which was finished off with a hammer from a streaking Baye Fall. The five-star 2023 big is an uber explosive athlete at 6-10 with a relentless motor while consistently being the loudest figure in the entire facility. While Cyril among others bigs in attendance carried more weight and brute strength than Fall, he excelled absorbing contact deep in the paint and compensates with explosive vertical pop and long arms to deter rim attempts. Looking forward, Fall lent extremely positive indicators with his touch — consistently getting to his Bam Adebayo-esque mid-post fadeaway over the left shoulder which fell with efficiency. All the makings of a top five prospect in 2023 who brought a wealth of high major staffers courtside for his action this weekend.

Most Slept On

Eddie Ricks III

Eddie Ricks III entered with offers from Tennessee Tech and Southeast Missouri, but it shouldn't be long before more come calling. At a wiry 6-8 with functional athleticism, switchability and what look's to be a high level shooting prowess, Ricks III is a prototypical two-way swingman at the next level. The EAB 2023 wing was comfortable shooting over the top of hard closeouts off catch and as he caught fire, showed confidence and assertiveness getting to his three to four dribble pull up in the intermediate. A high feel off-ball mover with a knack for cutting to open space against a rotating defense and a strong feel for relocating off slashers. Defensively, Ricks III slides well with guards and is disruptive contesting non rim attempts in rotation. Certainly one I'd expect to gain more traction on the recruiting trail as a well built two-way wing and efficient floor spacer at 6-8.

Burgeoning Alpha

Jacob Theodosiou

Came away highly impressed by the development of Jacob Theodosiou's approach from FIBA U16 action to now. At 6-4 hailing from Canada, the 2024 guard showed assertiveness and polish initiating offense in the PnR. High level decision making and refined live dribble playmaking with strong instincts and the ability to fire the pass in small windows to his bigs and cutters. The lead guard has a mature feel for attacking angles and creating advantages in non traditional manners. Theodosiou is a high level processor handling the ball while the shooting prowess remains a cornerstone of his skillset. The Canadian guard is a strong communicator, a palpable leader on the floor and the table-setter for Wildcat Select. Theodosiou has rare traits given his age and Villanova among others have taken early notice.

Pure Bucket-Getters

Paul McNeil and AJ Johnson

I was eager to get eyes on the highly touted 2024 wing, Paul McNeil, and he didn't disappoint. The North Carolina native took time to settle in, but it didn't take too long to notice the full-fledged firepower scoring at each level. A smooth, fluid shot creator with juice off the dribble and a quick riser to find his pull-up. A wiry, slinky mover at 6-6 with rapid decision-making, a quick trigger, spatial awareness and extraordinary flexibility as an athlete. McNeil got to his stutter rip consistently off the catch and never struggled to get to his spots or get his shot off. Willing to project the Garner Road guard as a high level shooter long-term given his mechanics, versatile shot profile and feathery touch at surrounding levels. Outside of the natural shot creating reputation I came in expecting, I left more bullish on McNeil than expected due to his playmaking and low usage offensive impact. I expect the potent shot creator to continue to rise up rankings based on the indicators from this past weekend.

After diving into the film from AJ Johnson's breakout weekend last week, I was looking forward to getting to a live look in Indy. Paint touches are the name of the game for the California native, as the 6-6 guard relentlessly strings together unique, off-kilter movement patterns and a refined handle to snake his way to the rim. Hang dribbles, space creation, ball skills and his measurables lend optimism to high volume advantage creation at the next level. Explosive start to stop speed and intriguing deceleration to avoid or manipulate shot blockers at the rim to find dump offs or uncontested finishes. More high majors continue to get involved and I feel confident projecting Johnson as closer to a top 30 prospect in 2023 than where he's currently touted.

Screaming with Upside

Assane Diop and Bryson Tiller

Assane Diop's skillset is incredibly intriguing and the live evaluation matched what the tape showed. The teammate of five-star Baye Fall, Diop at 6-10 is very comfortable handling the ball, initiating offense, pulling up off the dribble and making reads off zoom actions. Playmaking jumps out as Diop pinpoints accurate entry passes to Fall and surrounding cutters over the top of his on-ball defender. On the defensive end, Diop is positionally sound and switchable given his measurables. Owns a rare collection of tools given the early stage of development while being light on his feet at a wiry 6-10 and 190 pounds. Fielding interest from a variety of high major conferences currently.

Similar to Peat and Oliogu leading in, the foreign eye would have no clue that Bryson Tiller was the youngest prospect on the floor in each outing. The 6-8, 2025 forward played up with the 16U Atlanta Xpress group and was impactful on both ends. A fluid, well-built and at times, violent athlete who cleaned the glass and put pressure on the rim as a dive man and slasher. In terms of the upside discussion, Tiller flashed intriguing indicators controlling and handling in the pick and roll. The Pace Academy standout is a name to monitor atop the 2025 cycle that's already garnering buzz. Auburn, Xavier and Indiana have already offered.

Most Notable Developments

Rayvon Griffith and Isaiah Manning

After making the transition to Midwest Basketball Club, Rayvon Griffith took time to settle in last weekend at Midwest Mania primarily in a low usage spot up role. One week later, Griffith came flying out of the gates at the first live period. The 6-7 wing took on more of a primary scoring role, getting to his spots around screens and quickly rising up into his two dribble mid-range pull-up. Strong projection on the defensive end as an agile mover with length guarding the 2-4. There's room to grow in terms of assertiveness getting to the cup but Griffith undoubtedly is settling into a more optimized role on the offensive end. Now down to just Cincinnati, Alabama, Kansas, Ohio State and UCLA.

I came away intrigued by Isaiah Manning in South Carolina last year and I left 3SSB session one with similar remarks, now with Southern Assault. It appears that the 6-7 and 200 pound wing has taken a step forward as a spot up shooter and remains impactful as a team defender. Clear player identity and notable toughness on the glass. A physical athlete, plays above the rim as a heady cutter and flashed more mid-post shot making. Selfless and a notable on-court leader, Manning is a clean and easy ancillary fit at the next level.

Ready-Made Guards

Taison Chatman and Blue Cain

Both Taison Chatman and Blue Cain stood out as two of the most college-ready prospects in Indianapolis.

Chatman, a Minnesota native, played with mature pace and displayed the most advanced grip as a PnR decision maker. Pronounced floor mapping skills, live dribble playmaking, proactive and opportunistic reads as well as an ease for getting two feet in the paint. Used his frame well to bump and go along with nuance attacking the dropping big with a crafty float game, unique footwork and toughness at the cup. Someone is going to get a guard ready to contribute day one in Taison Chatman.

Blue Cain, 6-4 2023 guard, showcased polish as an offensive engine with high level pace, body control and vision. The Knoxville native created easy looks in unsettled situations often as a grab and go, opportunistic slasher. Cain has an easy perimeter stroke with comfort getting it off in traffic.  Handles pressure very well and repeatedly used escape dribbles against blitzes to find open shooters on skip passes. Tough finisher, thinks the game at a mature level and uber confident. Cain will make one program very happy with his commitment and projects as a multi-year impact player.

Budding Star

Caleb Holt

First live look at Caleb Holt came last week in Fort Wayne while the Alabama native led the way against fellow 2026 prospects. One week later, Holt was the catalyst for Game Elite out of Atlanta at Adidas' 3SSB first live period. Holt was not relatively out of place playing up and his presence as a slasher was unshaken. The 6-5 2026 guard retained assertiveness attacking off the dribble to finish with burst and flexibility through contact at the rim. High major staffers certainly left with a name to remember looking ahead in Caleb Holt.

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