Seven of the prospects who impressed in the two games I saw on Friday and Saturday! I saw Columbia Heights face off with Brooklyn Center on Friday, while Chaska defeated Tartan in double overtime on Saturday. Jaeden Udean 6'1" | …
Seven of the prospects who impressed in the two games I saw on Friday and Saturday! I saw Columbia Heights face off with Brooklyn Center on Friday, while Chaska defeated Tartan in double overtime on Saturday.
Jaeden Udean has been a consistent starter for Columbia Heights over the past few weeks, but came off the bench for senior night. Once he stepped on the floor he provided an immediate spark of offense with his deep range and high level of confidence. Even as an 8th grader playing at the varsity level he has such a high level of confidence that makes you believe every shot he takes is going in. The lefty came in with two quick 3’s, and ended up making five on the night as he scored 17 points. He also happened to hit the biggest shot of the game as he caught the ball in a corner and drained a three with a hand right in his face to give his team the lead with 1.3 seconds to play.
It’s rare enough to see an 8th grader playing AAAA basketball, and even more rare to see one with the type of production that Tyler put up against Tartan. I’ve never seen a team have to defend an 8th grade player the way Tartan did, as after he torched them in the first half they put on a quick and physical guard to shadow him all over the floor just to limit his touches. In the second half there were times where the physical defense forced him to make mistakes, but he responded with some key plays in the overtime periods. Twice he was able to sprint and get on the floor for loose balls to force a tie up and give his team possession, and he also used his quickness to get to the rim and draw fouls where he gave his team some key points from free throws. Throughout the game he showed excellent pace with the ball in his hands, and did a great job of pinning his man on his hip when he looked to attack and finish. Plays with a change of speed you rarely see from a young point guard, let alone one in 8th grade. I haven’t seen any official stats but Forrest likely finished with around 20 points in the win for Chaska.
At the time I’m writing this Quyavant is second in Minnesota in scoring at 31 ppg, a number that is 1st in the metro area. Coming into each game opposing teams know that he’s going to look to score big numbers, and rarely can they stop him. Columbia Heights switched between zone and man defense and still couldn’t contain Douglas. He was pulling up for threes at the top of the key, getting into his mid-range pull-up, and had a handful of very tough finishes at the rim. Quyavant is such an explosive athlete who can just hang in the air around the basket and contort his body in a number of ways allowing him to finish over or around defenders. The lift he gets on his jumper makes it extremely difficult to defend as well if you give him the space to elevate. Despite scoring 37 points it never really looked like Douglas was forcing his offense, instead keeping the ball moving and taking his chances as the presented themselves. Had a couple of really nice passes zipped in from the top of the key as well.
Elijah is listed at 6’6, but with how strong and physical he plays you’d think he was 6’8-6’9. Against Chaska if he caught the ball anywhere near the paint, you could pretty much put two points on the board as he was going to power up and score just about every time. Elijah was setting some great screens to free up space for his guard, and showcased soft hands to catch the ball in traffic and go up to finish. When he catches inside he has the patience to make sure he’s balanced when he goes up to score, and also does a nice job of not bringing the ball down low where guards can come and swipe at it. Defensively he’s tough to score over because of his ability to wall up, stand his ground through contact, and utilize his long arms to disrupt lay-up attempts. Consistently came up with big plays to keep his team in the game.
CJ is a player I was unfamiliar with coming into Saturday’s game, but I came away impressed with his play on both ends. When Tyler Forrest got off to a strong start against them, it was CJ that was tasked with shadowing him all over the court and ultimately limiting his production in the second half. He has that type of quickness mixed with a strong frame that allows him to play scrappy defense all over the floor and force mistakes from opposing ball handlers. On the offensive end I liked the pace he displayed, as well as his patience out of the pick & roll. He wasn’t rushing/giving up on the play too early, and his patience allowed his big man to roll to the hoop where CJ was able to spot openings to get the ball to him. Also showed the ability to tuhe corner and attack downhill on his own when the chance was there. Banks added in a couple of outside shots on his way to a productive game.
Jency put together another strong game to help lead Columbia Heights past Brooklyn Center. As a scorer he drained a handful of threes as he has the range to step out and hit shots from well beyond the arc. Despite scoring 22 points, he’s perhaps even better as a facilitator. If one of his teammates is open, Jency is likely going to find him. Against BC he was creating open looks by passing the ball ahead in transition, staying patient dribbling off screens, and also zipping in passes from the top of the key where he could see the whole floor.
CJ is a very intriguing prospect who is still raw but has a nice ceiling moving forward. There wasn’t a height listed for him, but he was the tallest player on the floor and has a very long and lanky frame. Taylor is an explosive athlete who runs the floor like a gazelle in transition. Right now he’s at his best on the defensive end where he proved to be a shot blocking threat who also utilized his length to get up in passing lanes. At 6’6 he’s agile at his size allowing him to guard on the wings as well. Offensively he had a few strong finishes at the rim, and also knocked down a corner three.