#NEXTSouthwestKickOff: Day 1 Standouts At The Hive
Edmond, Oklahoma — The Prep Hoops Next Southwest Kick Off, hosted at The Hive, brought out some of the best rising talents out of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. The competition was competitive for all ages, these prospects brought intensity and…
Edmond, Oklahoma — The Prep Hoops Next Southwest Kick Off, hosted at The Hive, brought out some of the best rising talents out of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. The competition was competitive for all ages, these prospects brought intensity and energy all day long. Here we’ll take a look at a few standout recruits that made major contributions and impacts throughout the day.
Eli Schwartzman | Guard | Fayetteville, AR | Arkansas Athletes Outreach 2026
Eli Schwartzman caught my attention with his shiftiness and his will to touch the paint, this guard never wasted a single dribble each bounce got him further and further to the basket. Not to mention the elite footwork Eli put on full display utilizing pro hops and hop steps that got him around defenders that attempted to step up to stop his penetration. Very unpredictable with the ball in hand, his ability to score at will and pass the ball kept the defense honest.
Preston Ransom | Post | Conway, AR | Hooplife Academy 2027
Hooplife’s seventh-grader, Preston Ransom, was by far one of, if not the, best defender on any court he stepped onto. Ransom was extremely effective under the basket on both ends of the floor showcasing impeccable timing. I admired how quick he was to grab a rebound out of the air before anyone else has a chance and his ability to block shots cleanly due to his anticipation of the player’s tendencies.
Damon Davis | Post | Oklahoma City, OK | Team Trae Young 2027-2
Damon Davis shut the paint down as a rim protector that didn’t give up anything without a fight. Very well-put-together physicality, a strong solid build with an unmoveable base that keeps him from giving up ground to his opponent in the post. Davis may not be the tallest on the floor but he has a way of using his strength to stop a dribbler penetrator dead in their tracks, it’s like running into a brick wall.
Avis Rhodes | Guard | Jacksonville, AR | Next Page Force 2027
Avis Rhodes blew me away with his pesky defensive talents. Rhodes defends like a mad man, locking opposing guards down with his body and feet and not his hands, crowding his man’s space, and baiting the offense into throwing a reckless pass which he often deflected or stole.
Jashon Morinia | Guard | South Valley, New Mexico | ABC Spotlight 2029
Jashon Morinia is gritty, tough, and brash, one of those guys you would love to have on your team but would hate to play against. This guy plays with a limitless motor, he never gets tired he just keeps coming at you. Morinia couldn’t help but make his presence felt, he filled the stat sheet up across the board by being super active and productive game to game, getting the day started with what seemed like a triple-double, and following that performance up with 21 points, 13 rebounds, 6 steals, and a couple of blocks.
Roman Dees | Guard | Siloam Springs, AR | Arkansas Athletes Outreach 2029
Score first guard with a knack for attacking angles and quickly getting to his spots inside the arc for a shot, where he always put a great touch on his jumpers and floaters, the mid-range was his bread and butter. And you’ve got to love the passion Roman Dees brings to the floor, the kid plays with pure joy for the game.
Zai’lee Thompson | Guard | Fort Smith, AR | Hoyas Elite 2029
Zai’lee Thompson was the primary ball-handler for his squad, setting up the offense and creating scoring opportunities, everything ran through Thompson on nearly every possession. This lead guard pushed the ball up the court anytime he had the chance, always looking to hit his big man in the middle or a cutting teammate.
Team of the Day: Arkansas Athletes Outreach 2026
Very well-coached squad that’s team-oriented, runs the offense like it was taught, they’re all unselfish and always looking for an open teammate particularly when they penetrate the lane they love the drive and kick. Everyone can shoot the cover off the ball, they all compete on the boards, and most of all they each do their best to get one another an open look by constantly screening and cutting until something arises. This AAO group is led with their elite guard play, Ayden Lester and Eli Schwartzman are names that will be ringing throughout Arkansas for years to come.