Prep Hoops Next Team Profile: Panther 2028
Panthers 2028 is a powerhouse program that has recently taken home gold at Prep Hoops Next Nationals. Winning 61 out of their past 67 games and 9 out of their last 14 tournaments in summer ball, this team is all…
Panthers 2028 is a powerhouse program that has recently taken home gold at Prep Hoops Next Nationals. Winning 61 out of their past 67 games and 9 out of their last 14 tournaments in summer ball, this team is all about their business when attacking practice and games. The tightly knit unit has played together for the past four years and has made a huge splash in their first season on the circuit scene. Coached by Tim Heskett, a former college coach of nine years takes a player development approach to his time in practice with the kids. His experience stems from his stint as a player at the University of Oklahoma. I was fortunate enough to catch up with Coach Heskett to get a deeper understanding of the program and their experience on the circuit.
What were some things you focused on to best prepare to compete at Prep Hoops Next Nationals?
Our focus is always to defend and rebound, play unselfish basketball and out compete our opponents. It sounds cliché, but it is what I preach to my players and we work on those things every practice and every tournament we play in.
What was a constant in-game message that you broke down your huddles with?
Play harder than your opponent, play together and get a great shot every time down the court.
What game do you recall that your team was firing on all cylinders?
Every game, our average margin of victory was 27 PPG. The boys had an incredible weekend going 6-0.
What game would you say was the toughest matchup of the tournament?
We had a few teams that presented a tough match-up, but I would say CSA, who we played in the National Championship.
How long has your team been playing together?
We have had most of the kids for at least 3 years. A few joined us at the beginning of this year, but most of the boys have played over 300 games together.
Are there any new additions to the team that have helped you reach this level of play?
What is the best part about coaching this group?
The best part of coaching these boys is watching the lifelong friendships that they are developing off the court. These boys care about one another and one of the reasons we are so good. We do not add players from week to week. We have the same 8 every week and have for many years now.
What would you say your team’s strong suit is?
Defend and rebound and play unselfishly.
What is something you would want your team to improve on?
Continue to trust one another and get lost in the game. Continue to pass up good shots to get great shots. Do not take possessions off.
Are you looking forward to competing at Nationals next season?
Yes, we are looking forward to defending our National Title!
Roster Breakdown (Each player and a description of their game – This is coming in a separate email.
Panthers 2028 Player Breakdown
#32 CJ Heskett
CJ is a combo guard that is a prolific scorer. CJ is strong and has a quick first step. He is an unbelievable rebounder and a solid defender. Extremely athletic and can score the ball in a multitude of ways. CJ has a high-level mid-range game and can get the tin any time he wants. He sees the floor and is a very unselfish player. CJ has the ability to get you 20-30 points on any given night. He had 15 points in the National Championship game. CJ has a high-level basketball IQ.
#24 TJ Newton
TJ is a combo guard that has deep range. He can score the ball in all 3 phases of the game. He has a great handle and can get by any defender. TJ has become a strong leader and is a big physical guard that can guard all 5 positions. TJ has become a tremendous FT shooter, which is critical in late game situations. TJ has the ability to get you 20-30 points on any given night. He had 14 points in the National Championship game. TJ has a high-level basketball IQ.
#0 Beckett Buckingham
Beckett pure PG who is an elite passer and a high-level athlete. He is fearless and is a dynamic offensive player. He has an arsenal of weapons offensively. Beckett has the ability to get you 20 points on any given night. Beckett is a solid rebounder from the guard position and usually gets 2-3 blocks per game. He had 15 points in the National Championship game. Beckett has a high-level basketball IQ.
#3 Tyce Murchison
Tyce is a great 3-point shooter with a high level floater in the lane. Tyce has a high basketball IQ and is very shifty off the bounce. Tyce has improved his rebounding from the guard position and is a difficult matchup on the perimeter.
#2 DJ Rowe
DJ is an elite athlete that is a mismatch at any position. DJ affects the game with his energy, ability to block shots and his rebounding skills. DJ is also a track star, so he glides up and down the court effortlessly. DJ has a ridiculous wing-span and leads the team in steals. DJ has so much raw ability and he has not scratched the surface of his potential.
#12 Carter Akin
Carter is our glue guy! He is our Draymond Green! He fills the stat sheet and is our heart and soul of our team! He takes charges and plays like he is 6’10. Carter is an excellent 3 point shooter and has excellent footwork in the post. Carter is a coach’s dream and has a bright future!
#11 Zac Chandler
Zac is a stand-out 3 point shooter and has really improved with his ability to attack the basket. Zac has great court vision and sees the floor extremely well. Zac is a very unselfish player and always makes the extra pass. Zac has a relentless work ethic and an extremely high basketball IQ.
#30 Cash Jones
Cash is a big, physical player that’s biggest strength is his athleticism, ability to rebound and run the floor. Cash might be the fastest player baseline to baseline we have. Cash can shoot the ball to the 3-point line, but is best 8 feet and in.
Congrats to the 13U Prep Hoops Next National Champs. We are looking forward to your participation on the circuit for years to come!