The Elite60 Camp took place in Atlanta this last weekend, bringing together nearly 100 of the top middle school prospects in the Southeast. These are a handful of the most impressive players on the day. Disclaimer: Some of the guys…
The Elite60 Camp took place in Atlanta this last weekend, bringing together nearly 100 of the top middle school prospects in the Southeast. These are a handful of the most impressive players on the day.
Disclaimer: Some of the guys did not complete the player profile so we did not have access to update information, so we utilized what we currently have in our database.
Erick Dampier, Jr. (6’8/PF/’28/Madison Ridgeland Academy)
Erick Dampier Jr. came into the event as the consensus number-one recruit in the class of ’28 and certainly lived up to the billing. Erick approached the camp with a business-like mindset. The physical tools are mind-blowing, but that is not the extent of his game. What separates Erick from other early developers is the skill level to pair with his pro-ready frame. Already standing 6’8 with a strong frame, he can pretty much score at will due to his sheer size and athleticism. However, he showed intriguing ball skills on the day. One of the most impressive aspects of his game is the ability to pull down a defensive board and lead the break himself. Long strides allow him to pick up steam quickly, and not many players have the ability to slow him down. Erick made several passing reads that put a light on the feel of the game that he possesses at such a young age. Erick has a bright future as a creative hybrid who can create for himself and others at an efficient rate. This kid is the real deal.
Kaden Irwin (6’3/Wing/’28/Belfair)
Kaden, a grassroots teammate of Erick Dampier Jr., is an impressive prospect in his own right. The first thing that stands out with Kaden is the immense physical tools. I would be interested to see an official wingspan measurement as his arms appear to never end. Already rocking a chiseled frame in the 8th grade, there may not have been a more physical specimen in attendance. Kaden does a good job translating these physical tools to the court. He flies around the court with reckless abandon, causing havoc on the defensive end. He does a great job converting defensive stops into transition buckets. He is already showing the ability to finish above the rim in a game setting. He is currently considered the top ’28 prospect in Louisiana, and his recruitment will take a national turn if he continues to develop at the rate he is showing.
Tenaje Freeman (6’8/C/’28/M.D. Roberts MS)
Tenaje was hands-down the most gifted rim protector in attendance. The 6’8 13-year-old has a plus wingspan and impeccable timing from the weak side. Tenaje is a true difference-maker without even discussing his offensive game. The impact that a paint presence like Tenaje has on a game can’t be understated. The ability to alter anything in the paint will open many doors for this young man. He also has the rare ability to consistently block jump shots. This is most likely due to players not being used to shooting over someone quite as long as Tenaje. His defensive versatility and sheer dominance point to a potential high major recruitment in the near future. Tenaje is one of the most impressive middle school defenders I have ever seen.
Laron Mack, Jr. (6’5/SF/’28/Jorge Mae Conosa)
Laron might be a top 10 athlete in his class nationwide. The Elite60 dunk contest winner is a functional athlete who overwhelms opposing defenses with his combination of vertical pop and craftiness at the rim. It’s a dominant downhill threat with a solid handle. Laron does a good job keeping his defender on his hip until he receives an opportunity to simply rise up and finish over the top. He has a solid amount of ball skills for someone as athletic as he already is. He displayed a creative handle on the perimeter but will need to tighten it up as he progresses to high school ball. Laron possesses all the talent in the world and could break onto the national scene over the next couple of years.
Landyn Smith (6’/CG/’28/Thompson HS)
This was my first time watching Landyn play against similarly aged players, and he performed as expected. I’ve seen Landyn dominate much older players, so watching him work against other middle schoolers was a treat. The first thing that stands out to me is how he moves. You can tell in elite players that they see the game a few steps faster than others and don’t allow external factors to impact their game. Landyn has a deep bag and knows how to get to his spots on the court. He is more of a scoring guard than a facilitator at this point in his development, but not a black hole with the ball in his hands. Landyn is a phenomenal penetrator, which should eventually translate to a primary ballhandler role for the always-talented Thompson HS program. After seeing Landyn control the flow of the game, I understand why he is one of the highest touted ’28 prospects in Alabama.
Jaleel Smith (6’1/SG/’28/Atlanta, Ga)
What stood out most to me about Jaleel is his fiery competitiveness. Guys like Jaleel simply refuse to be outworked. Playing more of a power guard role, he lived in the paint all day. Solid physical strength and a good understanding of angles allow him to get shots off over much taller defenders. Good positional size also allows him to bury smaller defenders under the basket for easy buckets. Where he’s most fun to watch is on the defensive end. The competitive drive naturally translates to this end, where he can single-handedly take his matchup out of the game offensively. Jaleel is a bright young player with all the talent and work ethic to develop into a high-level player over the next few years.