The 2017 NY2LA Sports Lone Star Invitational came to a close on Sunday. In 16U NY2LA Association play, the first stage session ended with the Illinois Irish continuing to flex their muscles. A title was handed out in the 17U open division as Texas Impact had a couple of players step up on championship Sunday…

17U Open Division Day 3 Top Performers
Aaris Bonds – 2017 – PF – Colorado Hawks Seniors

Bonds is an old school post player with some impressive footwork. A patient big that will juke, fake, and pivot until his defender leaves his feet, Bonds was very impressive down on the block in the semifinals. Bonds has mastered the up-fake, reverse pivot, which left defenders in the dust. He was even effective against double teams and wasn’t flustered when guards came to dig or there was help coming from the weak-side. His rebounding was also outstanding. Any miss belonged to Bonds and he was physical when guards tried to sneak a hand in and poke the ball loose. 

Marcus Hill – 2018 – G – Texas Impact
Hill hit the game-winning 3-pointer with under four seconds remaining to lift Texas Impact to the championship. A quick and strong guard, Hill often carried his team at times on Sunday. Including the game-winner, whenever Hill needed to make a big shot, he seemingly delivered. When the opposition made a run, it always seemed as if Hill was there to stop it. He can play on or off the ball. He’ll catch and shoot from the perimeter or break people down off the bounce. Hill was arguably the MVP of the 17U open division this weekend. 

Marek Nelson – 2017 – SF – Lone Star Elite
A late rising senior, Nelson is just a ball player. The 6-foot-6 small forward impacts the game in so many. Offensively, he’s a leaper and slasher that’s exceptionally good at finishing around the rim. When Nelson gets some space, he’s the type of player you get out of your seat to see what he’ll do in the air.  The exciting part is that he’s far from polished. Nelson can expand his game to the mid-range level somewhat consistently, but has much room for improvement with his jumper. The bouncy wing is a standout perimeter defender that uses his length to his advantage. 

David Simental – 2017 – G – Colorado Hawks Seniors
Putting together three solid performances to help the Hawks reach the title game, Simental was steady when the pressure mounted. A 6-foot-2 combo guard, Simental shot the ball very well from the outside. He ran off screens hard and doesn’t need much space to snap off his shot. He was quicker than defenders anticipated and a better athlete as well. Simental took advantage of over-aggressive defenses and finished at the rim, including some impressive reverse layups in traffic. It’s late, but mid-major programs and certainly Division 2’s should take a look here. 

Samuell Williamson – 2019 – G/F – Texas Impact
Playing up a level and two levels in the title game against unsinged seniors, Williamson was very poised and efficient. An intriguing 6-foot-6 sophomore that has so much growing left to do, Williamson could explode over the next two years. He’s a lanky wing that can create his own shot. In fact, he connected on some tough step-back jumpers with a hand in his face in the title game. When Williamson gets more comfortable in his body, he could be a real mismatch nightmare in the future. 

16U NY2LA Association Day 3 Top Performers
Deonte Billups – 2019 – G/F – Quad City Elite

A big stock booster this weekend, Billups had another terrific performance in a win over Kessel Heat Black. Billups is a slasher with some sneaky athleticism. He’ll get to the rim and maneuver around defenders in mid-air. He’s also proving to be deadly from 3-point range. Billups was consistent from downtown all weekend. The 6-foot-3 sophomore gets good elevation on his jumper and has a nice-looking stroke. After Sunday, Billips definitely had some Division 1 coaches talking. 

Collin Dietz – 2019 – G/F – Illinois Irish Elite
It’s hard to peg labels on Dietz. All we know is that he produces and wins. Dietz came up as more of a glue guy, but he seems to be finding himself offensively and looked really good un Sunday as a 3-pointer marksman and mid-range pull-up shooter. At 6-foot-6, Dietz could develop into a stretch swingman, but he’s also got some tools with the ball in his hands. The other parts of his game haven’t vanished either. He’s still a hustle player that gives his all on the glass and gets after it defensively. Dietz may just end up being a player you don’t know where you want to put him at the next level, you just know you want him. 

Justin Eagins – 2019 – SG – Kessel Heat Black
Eagins continues to boost his stock this spring. A terrific isolation scorer, Eagins will go 1-on-1 and just challenge defenders to stop him. Eagins was hitting some tough, off-balance shots in a loss to Quad City Elite on Sunday. He’s about 6-foot-1, but plays longer and bigger. Eagins ability to create his own shot and leave defenders in the dust has been noticeable this spring. He did it again on Sunday, not backing down from some quality defenders and making it rain from mid and 3-point range. 

Recruiting Notes
Marek Nelson said he’s still considering Kansas State, Sam Houston State, New Orleans, and New Hampshire among his offers. Texas, Wichita State, SMU, Memphis, and more are expressing interest.