2019 | Rocket Watts | SG | Geneva (OH) SPIRE Academy
What are you supposed to explain when talking about someone sought by the likes of UConn, FSU and Michigan State? Probably greatness. Ask Rocket Watts, arguably the No. 1 prospect coming out of Ohio in 2019 and future MSU Spartan. And yet, with all of this, we can consider him only the second-best player on a Spire team led by LaMelo Ball. What actually started as a middling career with a dubious future ahead (he was No. 100+ in the nation just one year ago) has turned into a sure-thing waiting to hit the NBA.
Just check this out. This summer playing for The Family on the Nike U17 tourney, Rocket hung 20 points per game. He can handle the ball, move it around and find his targets, spot on. Do you know the best thing about playing alongside LaMelo Ball? He can hook you up anytime. Tell Rocket about it and he’ll show you an endless string of killer dunks. So start getting some free time in your schedule cause it may take a while to cover all of them. Standing at 6-2 and carrying a 175-pound frame, he’s got a great wingspan but still needs to improve his vision and game managing, although it is hard to find a better scorer headed to the D-I next season.
2020 | Dalen Terry | SF | Phoenix (AZ) Hillcrest Prep
The worst part of watching Dalen Terry play ball for Hillcrest Prep is that he shares the court with the likes of Carl Lewis and Kyree Walker. Don’t get me wrong, what I meant is that those are three mouths to feed just one ball, so they get the ball out of Terry’s hands often and it’s a shame. Not that he cares much, though. The 6-foot-6 forward, a native of Temple (AZ), had a summer for the ages and is still growing (both literally and in terms of his abilities). He projects as one of the top prospects of the 2020 class of ballers. Now part of Hillcrest, he is averaging 14.8 points while catching five boards and dishing 11 assists per game.
Getting bigger as he is, Terry can turn into one of these nowadays coveted point-forwards once he develops at a higher level. He’s got the ability to find teammates at spots, to steal balls at a high rate (3.1 steals per game on the Prep Circuit this season) and can get in the zone and score with ease. Not to mention he also has the touch to score from distance and on the catch-and-shoot motion. Oh, and be sure the kid oozes attitude. There should be plenty of schools trying to snatch him up to play D-I ball in a couple years.
2019 | Tyreke Locure | PG | Des Moines (IA) North
If you follow the NBA a little you will surely recognize current-King Harrison Barnes or long-rage-flame Kirk Hinrich. While Barnes was the consensus No. 1 recruit in 2010 and Hinrich a near Top-50 prospect himself in 1999, you won’t find Tyreke Locure making the ranks at almost any place, let alone reaching those heights. A senior at North HS in Des Moines, Locure will be headed to a South Alabama program that ranks first among Sun Belt Conference foes and which is expected to run with him at the point next season given the lack of leading hoopers on the roster. Such was the love affair between player and college that the day Locure visited the campus for the first time was the one he chose the Jaguars as his next team. Match made in heaven.
Though not the flashiest or quickest of guards, Locure doesn’t need that to shine. He’s got a deadly step-back from mid- and long-range distance, which talks about his core strength to pull it off. He takes the calm approach on offense, builds plays with patience but if he’s got the littlest of space, he’s gonna jump and go for the bucket in front of any defender’s face, no hesitation. It is hard to watch him go from the top of the key to the rim and getting inside, probably because of his lack of physicality, but he’s flashed some bouncy dunks here and there and he’s definitely a hustler on defense going for the steal and putting pressure on opponents. The confidence and willingness are there. So far he’s played 19 games as a Polar Bear senior and he’s putting up 30.9 ppg, giving 6.4 apg and stealing a staggering 4.7 balls per. He’s got a mental usage rate and goes for the home run every single possession shooting his shoes off each games. But hey, you miss every shot you don’t take, right?