#NEXTSouthwestRegionFinals: 13U Top Playmakers
Dallas, Texas — The Prep Hoops Next Southwest Region Finals brought out some of the toughest, most talented teams and players across the country. The fans, players, and coaches all brought intense, electric energy throughout the weekend. The competition on…
Dallas, Texas — The Prep Hoops Next Southwest Region Finals brought out some of the toughest, most talented teams and players across the country. The fans, players, and coaches all brought intense, electric energy throughout the weekend. The competition on the court was stiff for all ages, from 11U up to 14U and teams fought tough and nail to leave this tournament on top. Here we’ll take a look at the most outstanding playmakers from the 13U bracket.
| Maleek Simeus | Point Guard | Houston Blue Chips 2026 |
Nationally ranked point guard, Maleek Simeus is morphing into a true floor general, he already has a game and instincts well beyond his years. The Blue Chips star has grown tremendously in size as well as skill and IQ, he used to be more of a downhill style of player but now he really excels and operates well on and off the ball in a halfcourt setting, scoring and facilitating within the flow of the offense. Simeus touched the paint at will, creating offense for himself and everyone else on the court. When attempting to score off the dribble-drive, this guard was an efficient bucket getter, it seemed like he never missed a shot. Very strong finisher, a big, physically imposing guard that can beat you with his strength or his footwork, Simeus displayed smooth euro and step-through moves that ended with points on the boards. On the defensive side of the ball, Maleek Simeus proved to be a true ballhawk, all over the floor making plays, somehow always finding the ball by jumping passes, getting on-ball steals, and crashing the boards. A very underrated defender that doesn’t get enough credit for his motor, effort, and competitiveness on the defensive end of the floor. Maleek’s defensive presence was amazing, particularly against JB White Elite, who he put on an outstanding performance up against where he rallied the team on his back by defending everything and guarding everyone resulting in multiple sequences of turnovers leading to fast break layups that stole the lead halfway through the second half. Maleek Simeus doesn’t show many limitations to his game, this young man can do everything at an elite level.
| Kai Ellis | Shooting Guard | Team Trae Young 2026 |
Not many, if any, players were as active and productive on both ends of the floor as Kai Ellis was. He proved to be the ultimate hustler, with a high motor, and limitless energy. On the defensive side of the ball, Ellis was relentless and incredibly focused when shutting down his opponent. This defender stuck to his man like glue and gave absolutely no space or room to operate. Kai’s knack for smothering his assignment hindered their ability to score or set up an offense, he constantly knocked the ball loose, caused several turnovers, and even five-second rule violations. Offenses eventually attempted to set multiple screens on Ellis to free their guys up but he fought through and continued to stifle his man. Ellis was also highly aggressive when trying to steal the ball or deflect a pass. Offensively, he made huge contributions in more ways than one. This kid was an automatic bucket underneath the rim, he attacked the basket with ferocity, putting his body into his defender, and scoring right through their chest over and over again. If he didn’t have the ball, Ellis was following his teammates’ shots all the way to the basket looking for tip-ins and second-chance scoring opportunities. Kai is a special young player that might make a lot of noise in the near future.
| Trent Perry | Small Forward | Lightning Elite 2026 |
Trent Perry was the most valuable player of the weekend for Lightning Elite. He played each and every possession with great energy and a high motor. The offense often ran through him and he stood out as a point forward that controlled the pace and consistently orchestrated his teammates before creating a play off the dribble. Perry’s unpredictable nature with the ball seemed tough for his defenders to figure out, no one was able to get a true gauge on when he was planning to penetrate, dish the ball out, or pull-up for a jump shot. This forward was uncontainable off the bounce, he had a knack for beating his man with a simple crossover or a shifty in-and-out blow-by move before quickly get to his spots. Once Perry was in the lane he finished strong under the basket, absorbed contact, and scored right through it. As great as Trent Perry was on the ball, he was just as great off of it, showing phenomenal chemistry with his teammates by always knowing exactly where to be, he was fantastic at getting open in the halfcourt without screens and also leaking out in the open court for fastbreak opportunities. His natural basketball instincts set him apart from everyone else at this event.
| Kyndrick Williams | Point Guard | Arkansas Athletes Outreach 2026 |
Arkansas Athletes Outreach has a true playmaker in Kyndrick Williams, his production anytime he stepped on the floor put his team over the top in most games. Williams was on fire from the perimeter as well as in the mid-range, he has a great-looking jumpshot with a fluid release and the elevation to shoot over the defense. His offensive game was versatile, the guard was effective on and off the ball, but at his best with the rock in his hands where he’s proven to be a good decision-maker with the ability to score and facilitate; his dime dropper potential was on full display. Kyndrick Williams showed a good upside, he’s a team player, competes on the defensive end, and can score in bunches when he gets it going.
| Braden Buckingham | Point Guard | Buddy Buckets 2026 |
Braden Buckingham displayed a fantastic feel for the game on both sides of the ball. Defensively, he has a thing of knowing exactly where the offense wanted to go with the ball and he proceeded to jump the passing lanes at every chance he got. Offensively, Buckingham was patient, picking his spots well, and not forcing his shots or passes. He always played to his strengths by staying on the move, getting open from beyond the arc, and even knocking down three-pointers off the catch and off the dribble.