With the calendar almost to April, grassroots basketball has quickly taken off in Oklahoma. Teams have battled in state and to started to head out of state. While nothing beats the energy of in person evaluating, there is the advantage…
With the calendar almost to April, grassroots basketball has quickly taken off in Oklahoma. Teams have battled in state and to started to head out of state. While nothing beats the energy of in person evaluating, there is the advantage of nearly every game being available to watch back online. Allowing a chance to see how Oklahoma prospects perform even when not posted up in the gym.
This last weekend saw quite a few prospects start their spring in the DFW area at a loaded event. Today’s look at the tape puts the Tulsa Hawk’s lead 2024 program under the microscope. The team is a blend talent from OKC, Tulsa and northeastern Oklahoma smaller towns. The two games available online were match ups against TJ Ford Elite and Tarrant Elite. The Hawks split the two battles against two Texas with quality size and athleticism.
One of the poster boys for the “junior year leap” Hopkins had a breakout junior season for Class 5A runner ups Carl Albert. The breakout looks to continue for his pivotal spring and summer on the 17U circuit. His activity level has steadily been increasing over the last year and it continued in both contests. Hopkins has a good second jump which allows him to be very active on the glass, especially on the offensive end.
While he can hit some from distance, the powerful wing excelled as a 15 feet and in player. The Hawks would often design touches for him around the free throw line and let him go to work. Especially on out of bounds plays. It was great to see him put in a position to succeed with an emphasis on attacking downhill with power and quickness. At the rim his finishing was a little up and down amongst some of the taller defenders. Continuing to refine his finishing against next level size is the next big step in his college development. Mixing in with the his drives is an improving pull up jumper, which brings balance to his scoring repertoire.
The small town point guard jumped off the screen with good quickness and overall explosiveness. Lechlider has good burst to get downhill which allows him to open up scoring opportunities for himself or his teammates. He also showed some of that athletic upside with an impressive block against Tarrant, along with generally contesting shots and willingness to get his nose dirty on the defensive end,
While he has the athletic ability to attack off the bounce, the results were a bit up and down. There were a couple impressive finishes and acrobatic finds of teammates. Then there were also some questionable decisions by getting too deep into traffic and taking a poor shot or turning it over. What was promising were some good moments where he played with more patience when driving. Either taking a midrange jumping or waiting and assisting a teammate. With some impressive tools as a primary ball handler, Lechlider could be the player among this group with the chance for most growth this summer.
Brown excelled in his role as a lunch pail carrying, hard hat wearing post player. He was all over the glass, especially on the offensive end. He racked up points in both games via put-backs. He’s a text book example of knowing his role and staring in that role. He hustles to challenge as many shots as possible, showing some deceptive speed when recovering along with good timing and feel when contesting shots.
Because Brown is not the most athletic or powerful prospect, he’ll need to add more layers of skills to go with his high motor game to continue to win. His footwork on post ups will need to continue to improve. And at least in the two games watched, his jumper was off. If he can hit a consistent 10-15 jumper, that will open up new ways to contribute in the offense in the half court.
Benton was an active defender who makes the most out of his abilities with a combination of aggressive and smart defending. The scrappy guard was seemingly always racking up deflections and causing general havoc. The way he competes on defense will likely help him standout to college coaches. On the offensive end, he had his best moments in the win against Tarrant, where the sharpshooter played his role as a floor spacer and hit a couple threes.
A sniper with interesting upside thanks to size and some leaping ability. He knocked down threes in both contests, showing why he’s a good catch and shoot threat. But these two games also showed where his biggest step needs to be taken. The defensive side of the ball. With his size, he should be more effective when switching onto bigs and a better rebounder than he was in the two contests that were watched. Against TJ Ford he had moments battling inside and rebounding. But against Tarrant he wasn’t as effective on that end of the court. 6 foot 6 shooters don’t grow on trees, giving upside to Miller’s profile.