The 2017 NY2LA Sports Swish N’ Dish came to a close on Sunday in what was yet another eventful weekend of hoops action. Getting a look at some of the top talent in the Midwest, a number of players got their springs started on the right foot and built some big momentum going into the evaluation period. Part of a loaded group of prospects, here are 10 players who separated themselves from the pack over the weekend.
Nimari Burnett – 2020 – G – Mac Irvin Fire
One of the top up and coming prospects nationally, Burnett showcased big time scoring ability. He’s so dangerous from anywhere on the floor and has unlimited range already in his career. Burnett is very good at creating space off the dribble and has an advanced understanding of how to attack weak points. Even if the opposition manages to stick with Burnett, it’s often out of their hands as freshman can still knock down tough, contested shots. Burnett, who has early offers from Cal-State Fullerton and Pacific, has a chance to be a special scorer in the coming years.
A.J. Green – 2018 – PG – Iowa Barnstormers
There was a time when Green was a borderline mid-major/high major prospect and it could have gone either way. While he may choose to play for his father at Northern Iowa, Green has obviously hit that next level as a prospect. Playing against some of the top guards in the country, Green not only held his own, he thrived. Green has one of the best mid-range games in the country. A smooth guard with terrific handles, he can always create a clean, rhythm look. He adjusted long ago to being an undersized floor general and Green’s release goes well behind his head to avoid being blocked. He can be a little too offensive minded at times, but Green still showed value as a floor general, getting his teammates in the right spots and orchestrating the offense.
Trequan Carrington – 2019 – PG – Playground Elite
After a big junior season, we wanted to see if Carrington could replicate his stellar play at the next level. Not only did he accomplish that, Carrington raised the bar. If you’re making an All-Tournament there’s no way you can leave Carrington off it. A fearless competitor, Carrington was relentless on both ends of the floor all weekend. He was unstoppable with the ball in his hands, creating off the bounce constantly generating easy buckets. While his size is going to be the knock on Carrington throughout his career, he’s a tremendous finisher, even against contact. Carrington can hang and finish, even if he has to double clutch and adjust to defenders trying to block his shots. Defensively, Carrington was just as good. Nobody in the 16U Division created more steals than he did. Heading into the evaluation period, St. Louis and New Mexico State are showing interest in Carrington.
Darius Garland – 2018 – PG – Bradley Beal Elite
Arguably the MVP of the 17U Division, Garland proved why he’s perhaps the top point guard in America. If he’s running your team, you have as good of a shot come out with a victory as anybody. What makes Garland special most of all is his ability to sense when he team needs him and take over. Garland almost has a switch he can just turn on at any point in the game and when he does, there wasn’t a team or a defender that could match. An electrifying scorer and passer, Garland can take over the offensive end and had so many stretches of dominant basketball over the weekend. It’s easy to see why Duke, Kansas, Florida, UCLA, Indiana, and more have been chasing this kid.
Jalen Johnson – 2020 – G/F – Playground Warriors
When schools begin watching Johnson later this month, this is going to be a sure-fire offer for many programs. Although he only played in 1.5 games before rolling his ankle, Johnson showed why he’ll be considered among the best in the country in due time. A 6-foot-6 freshman with point guard, wing, and even post skills, Johnson is one of the most well-rounded players out there. Against the Mac Irvin Fire, he posted 19 points, seven assists, six rebounds, six blocks, and even drew a charge. The scary part is that Johnson is still growing into and getting accustomed to his body. Yet, he’s already athletic enough to throw down dunks in traffic. Johnson is a mismatch nightmare on both ends of the floor. He can play four, maybe five positions right now. Whoever gets him in college is going to be able to use Johnson in a variety of ways in different spots. Iowa, Marquette, and Wisconsin are already tracking Johnson with many more expected to jump in early.
Foster Loyer – 2018 – G – All-Ohio Red
Last year, Loyer maybe could have been labeled more of a defensive-minded/toughness player. While he is those things, we were pleasantly surprised at how dominate Loyer was at times on the offensive end. You don’t think of him as the main offensive weapon for All-Ohio Red, but there were a lot of games where he carried the load on that end. The Michigan State commit showed the ability to score off-balance and hit some really tough jumpers, including from 3-point range, with defenders draped all over him. He’s so quick in the open floor as well that defenders almost have to give him open perimeter looks in fear of being beaten towards the rim. The best part is still the same junkyard dog defensively. He’s a pest that consistently frustrates his opponents by playing physical, hard-nosed defense.
Mario McKinney – 2019 – G – Bradley Beal Elite
An exciting talent in the 2019 class, McKinney flashed some big time potential last weekend. His explosiveness at the rim turned a lot of heads. The only was he was being stopped around the basket is if someone was putting him on the ground. In the half court, McKinney has a very quick first step and leaves defenders helpless as he blows by them. A creative scorer off the dribble, McKinney can knock down shots from all over the floor and got to the rim at will. Making him even more valuable, McKinney can play on or off the ball. High majors Missouri, Kansas State, DePaul, and Auburn have offered early.
Donovan Moore – 2019 – G – Illinois Irish Elite
Perhaps the biggest breakout performer this weekend Moore. A player we didn’t see coming until he attended the NY2LA Futures camp this fall, Moore showed he’s worthy of some hype. A 6-foot-3 guard with good length and strength for the position, Moore was steady throughout the weekend and made some big plays to help the Irish to a successful weekend. Moore does a lot of things well offensively. He’s a threat to attack the rim and has some surprising explosiveness. Moore also rarely settles offensively, looking to get the best shot. But when he does need to take a jumper, Moore showed the defense has to respect him as a catch and shoot guard or an off the dribble scorer.
Drew Peterson – 2018 – F – Illinois Wolves
Peterson will have a good, deep offer list by end of the summer and has been attracting plenty of high major attention as well. A skilled, mismatch problem, Peterson is 6-foot-7 with plus-length. With his size and skillset, there’s only so much defenders can take away from him and Peterson was finding different ways to beat opponents. He’s a consistent shooter from beyond the arc and a reliable stretch wing/forward. Peterson has some surprisingly athleticism and quickness and was able to take guys off the bounce. Smaller defenders, he’ll shoot right over the top from mid-range. Bigger ones, Peterson can glide by to the rim. Loyola (IL), Tulane, William & Mary, Kent State, and IUPUI have offered. Peterson listed Stanford, Purdue, Northwestern, Michigan, and a host of mid-majors as expressing interest.
Courtney Ramey – 2018 – PG – Ramey-Jets United
A player who got better as the tournament wore on, Ramey finished with a bang on Sunday. A terrific decision maker and efficient scorer, Ramey ran the show as a true floor general. Ramey can kill defenses in the pick n’ roll and is very adept at taking what the defense gives him, but most of all, making them pay when they make a mistake. Always engaged every minute he’s on the floor – and even when he’s not – this is a high-level leader that elevates the play of those around him. There’s also a lot to like defensively. The Louisville commit is a lock down defender and perimeter stopper.