2019 | Calvin Felder | PF | Sumter (SC) High School
The fact that 247Sports ran a feature a few weeks ago pegging Calvin Felder as a potential top defensive end recruit had he chose the gridiron speaks volumes of this kid’s physical traits. Good for hoop-heads, that won’t be the case and Felder will keep his talents on the hardwood rather than moving to the grass field. The forward from Sumter (SC) HS pledged his commitment to Boston College this past October and never looked back, admitting he was “110% committed” to the Eagles’ program over the offers from LSU or VTech among others. The Eagles of late have found it hard to get word from top-tier prospects and their average recruit usually ranks around the national Top 200 spot, give or take. That is the case of Felder too, who’s ranked No. 215 in the 2019 class but who was near the Top 100-best players in the country not that long ago. One of the reasons (as stupid as it is) might be his low-key surroundings as Sumter HS has never produced any kind of over-average basketball talent and Felder’s appearances on the summer AAU circuit have not been featured for much-respected squads. He was able to put a line of 5.6 points and 3.9 boards during the last adidas Gauntlet tournament playing for the Upward Stars and is currently scoring 12.7 points per, getting 8.8 rebounds and blocking 1.6 shots a night in his senior season at Sumter HS.
I already mentioned at this profile’s opening line. Felder is a terrific athlete and he’s yet to hit Boston College’s gym and facilities. He could become a walking tank. Currently, Calvin stands at 6-foot-7 and 185 pounds and finds his most suitable role on-court at the power forward position. He is an inside threat most of all, as he takes advantage of his physique to get to the paint and in mid-range locations to receive and make his way to the rim or shoot the easy two-pointer. That part of his game, though, should expand if he wants to become a present-day coveted player and gain value over his career. He would need to improve his outside shooter, which is not that is bad, but actually nonexistent at this point because of the way he plays. He completely avoids any kind of deep shot and he will need to adapt to the current basketball trends to complement his inside game. The fact that he’s already considered a good big man with such limited tendencies is interesting and if he can stretch his range a little he would become a complete-package guy, something that can only do him good. That is because he’s fast enough to blow by guys on his way to the basket, has enough ability to move the ball nicely and quite a nice vision and IQ to put himself in good positions while waiting for the rock on offense. His motor never runs short of oil and the slightest of overall improvements over a multi-year college career would put him in the conversation of becoming a future pro at the highest of levels.
2020 | Qwan Jackson | PG | Milwaukee (WI) Lifelong Learning
I’m going to be straight with Qwan. The first thing that comes to mind when you watch this kid play is his height. Jackson stands 5-foot-5. We consider Isaiah Thomas (currently of the NBA’s Denver Nuggets) a small guy playing ball, but in comparison, he’s 4 inches taller than Jackson. Only Muggsy Bogues (5-foot-3) and Earl Boykins (5-foot-5) were able to make it as pros in the Association being equal or shortest than Jackson. Not that it blocks having big dreams. If you think of it, it is obvious that the problems such a small body can give him on the court would most probably outweigh the benefits. But Jackson is kind of proving the exact opposite. A junior at Milwaukee (WI) Lifelong Learning, Jackson will graduate by 2020 but he’s already making waves around the nation and not only because of his diminutive size. While Lifelong Learning plays a game based on scoring as much and as fast as you can and that definitely has an impact on stats and bumps the numbers, Jackson is averaging a staggering 44.7 points per, even improving the 42.3 mark he achieved as a sophomore. He’s the second leading scorer in the nation, let alone Wisconsin (the next player comes at 23.6 ppg, falling more than 20 short of Qwan). Not that it needs to be said, but he’s got a career-high scoreline of 70 points (which he’s scored in two separated occasions) and he’s yet to finish this current season and play his senior one.
If you’re a kid this size and you don’t have a massive positive-aggressive mindset to overcome the difficulties it could give you on the court, you probably won’t amount for anything. Jackson just happens to be on the other side of the coin. Qwan plays like a beast, goes for it every single play and doesn’t give a damn about his physical features. He shoots and scores from three naturally, has a low center of gravity that allows him to evil-dribble past double- and triple-team defensive strategies and it is not hard to see him drive to the basket if given the tightest of lines. His impact on the defensive side is much smaller, though, as he doesn’t have enough size to do more than a tenacious coverage of the opposition’s ball handler and get a steal here and there. No matter how hard he tries, and although it’s a shame, he will probably not gather much real consideration from blue-bloods and top tier D-I colleges next season, that’s for sure. But being from Wisconsin, I would suggest some Big Ten conference colleges taking a serious look at Jackson given his potential and upside. His numbers will drop at the next level the same they would if he had more accomplished teammates at Lifelong Learning that got possessions off him and lowered his usage rate, but that doesn’t negate nor diminish what he’s capable of on the court.
2020 | Jalen “Bo” Montgomery | CG | Memphis (TN) Lausanne Collegiate
Most of the country is sleeping on Bo Montgomery. Good thing is, any of his slams can wake up the biggest of gyms in a hurry. And I’m not talking about your average dunk here or there. I’m talking about a kid that has flashed a 360 jam in game. Not a contest, not a practice, not a warm-up. An actual game. Talk about determination. Actually, saying that everybody is sleeping on him is a lie. Under Armour honchos have already put their hands on the Memphis (TN) Lausanne Collegiate junior and made him part of their AAU circuit by allocating them in Team Thad’s roster the past two summers. Playing for not-so-good TT squads, he logged 5 ppg, 4.4 rpg and 0.8 apg in his first AAU run and bumped his points per game this past summer to a nice 6.6 average while playing point. The best of all is that he put up buckets of all colors and varieties, and he should be awarded at least one more run with the team this upcoming summer.
While not overly impressive, Bo has everything you want in a combo guard. At 6-foot-4 and 165 pounds, he’s long enough to adapt to higher positions than the mere point guard one and can shoot over rivals with ease given both his length and shooting technique. The buckets he gets come both from the field and near the rim as he often attacks the basket without much hesitation. He’s a high flying player and most of the hype around him comes from this, although it shouldn’t deter recruiters from appreciating the rest of his game and abilities. His pro-career is a long shot if anything, yes, though if he keeps building on the foundation he already boasts he could end reaching a moderately good level of play. To become a pure leading ball handler he must change his attitude and become more of a sharing player, sure, but he’s already got the speed and acceleration to beat opponents off the dribble, can keep the defense honest with his three-level shooting ability and as mentioned early he would draw contact inside the paint by attacking the rim constantly, leading to easy free-throw points. If he improves the D-side of his game and puts on some weight, he can turn into a much more complete player worth everyone’s attention. He’s at a point where multiple paths are open for him to pursue in terms of what he wants to become as a baller. Only time will tell.