Monday, May 27, 2024

USA Basketball Junior National Team April Minicamp: Day 3 Top Performers

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Phoenix, Arizona – On Day three of the USA Basketball Junior National Team April Minicamp, the field of players was cut in half. The class of 2025 players had an off-site scrimmage. I stayed in the gym with the class of 2026 and 2027 participants, gathering a better feel for the younger classes.

This is the final day of the camp. Here are the top performers from Day three of the USA Basketball Junior National Team April Minicamp.

On3 MVP: 4-star PG DeRon Rippey (2026)

Even when sharing a court with top-tier athletes, DeRon Rippey’s explosion pops. What could be a reason for the noticeable burst is the pace at which he plays. Listed at 6-foot-1, he touches the paint at will. In this setting, he did a great job of making plays. If the defense collapsed he distributed. If the defense dropped, he had a floater. And if he got into the defense’s hip, he finished at, or above, the rim. Rippey looked like a pure point guard today, the USA Basketball Minicamp veteran consistently made positive plays.

2. 4-star SG Jason Crowe (2026)

The scoring ability of Jason Crowe Jr. is hard to deny. The lefty guard has a smooth floor game as he probes in the half-court, getting into his jump shot. His ability to shoot made him a constant threat today. The 6-foot- m3 guard seemed more comfortable off the bounce than he did off the catch, but the shooting form remained consistent. 

3. 4-star SF Elijah Williams (2026)

Elijah Williams made his mark today because he was confidently knocking down jump shots. When he is not doing that, he can get a little lost in the shuffle, but he becomes a real weapon as a 6-foot-6 floor spacer. Williams, the son of Detroit Pistons head coach Monty Williams, has a good frame with size and straight-line athleticism. The next step is continuing to develop off the bounce, creating opportunities for himself. Overall, he had a standout day with the shooting touch and range.

4. 4-star SG Jayden Hodge (2026) 

Jayden Hodge has good positional size with a frame that looks like he can put on some good weight without losing much athletically. His feel is what popped for him today. Through the previous two sessions, Hodge had flashes but played more comfortably as a connector. Today, in this setting, he was a bit more aggressive in looking for his own opportunity. His handle is efficient, getting to his spots from the wing. And he showed good athleticism when getting downhill toward the rim. Hodge is the younger brother of 2024 Villanova signee Matthew Hodge.

5. 4-star SF Jalen Montonati (2026)

Jalen Montonati is a noted shooter and a veteran of the USA Basketball program, having played for the Junior National Team in the u16 FIBA Americas Championships last summer. Today, what stood out for Montonati was his off-ball cutting. The 6-foot-6 wing still knocked down some tough, contested shots, but he moved well off the ball, putting pressure on the rim with his cutting. How he continues to develop off the bounce and athletically will continue to tell us his ultimate ceiling, but the shooting and confidence are there already as a sophomore in high school.

Other USA Basketball Top Performers

4-star SF Cam Holmes (2026) gave a clean performance today. Nothing too dynamic from him, but he moved the ball well, knocked down a spot jumper, and played good team defense.

4-star PF Davion Adkins (2026) has been a breakout performer from the week. The 6-foot-8 forward continues to pop, making explosive plays on both ends of the floor. He seemed to have a real grasp of his game this week. 

4-star SG Brandon Bass Jr. (2026) is a confident scoring guard. The 6-foot-3 Bass has a good frame, is lengthy with projectability, and he maintains a good balance of movement and relocations. 

4-star G Jacob Lanier (2026) has good size for a guard and was comfortable today playing on or off the ball. When on the ball, he took care of possessions and touched the paint. Off the ball, he knocked down a couple of shots. Another very solid showing for Lanier. 

C Darius Wabbington (2027) is listed at 6-foot-9 and he plays every bit of that size. He has a sturdy frame and is not afraid to mix it up on the block. Plays within himself and knows who he is.

SG Jordan Page (2027) had a nice showing today, getting into the mid-range and finishing a couple of creative opportunities around the basket. Page is a 6-foot-4 guard/wing and one of the youngest players in the event. Earmark the name to monitor.

4-star CG Junior County (2026) had a connecting feel today. A secondary ball handler who was comfortable playing off a lead guard. He moved the ball and knocked down a couple of shots. Very efficient day. 

SF Baba Oladotun (2027) showed his shooting touch and range. While a lot of his looks came off balance, when his feet were set, he knocked things down. An interesting one to track as he continues to get stronger and put more pressure on the rim.

4-star PG Marcus Johnson (2026) has a good feel.  As a 6-foot-1 lead guard, he plays with a good pace and gets to dangerous spots on the floor. He knocked down a couple of jump shots out of the pick-and-roll today.

4-star PG Kalek House (2026) showed a lot of intangibles on the court. He seemingly enjoyed the tough guy stuff, defending, rebounding, and diving on loose balls. He ran his team and took care of the ball.

4-star SG JJ Andrews (2026) is a strong and physical presence. The lefty rebounded the ball well and he defended the wing. He will need to shore up the jump shot, but he was comfortable on the ball and got to his spots in the mid-range.

4-star G Steven Reynolds (2026) has a good frame and he is comfortable on the ball. While the jump shot was streaky today, he did well getting his team into sets and moving the ball around.

4-star SF Chidi Nwigwe (2026) finished with a couple of big dunks in transition. He got out and filled the lane with a purpose. He knocked down a mid-range pull-up but was otherwise quiet in the half-court. Nwigwe has a length projectable frame.

SF Jaylan Mitchell (2027) played poised and comfortably. He has a good frame and was at his best on the ball and making decisions. I did not see a jump shot, but the processing led to scoring opportunities.

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