LakePoint Live Showcase Forward Standouts – July 21, 2020

The LakePoint Live Showcase was completed last weekend at the Champions Center with high-level 15U-17U teams coming together to compete. As expected there were lots of impressive guards who helped their teams, but there were also a host of frontcourt players who made significant contributions at the event. Here are some forward prospects that left their mark at LakePoint.

By: Trent Markwith

2021 PF Omarion Smith

If you were looking for a tenacious paint enforcer at LakePoint, Omarion Smith more than satisfied that desire. He plays a vital role for an Aim High team that boasts some exceptional scorers on the perimeter. Smith doesn’t concern himself with how many points he scores, but instead focuses on being a physical presence with his shot-blocking and rebounding skills. Aim High utilizes mass substitutions quite often, but Smith still finds ways to being very productive in short periods of time because of his motor and  low-maintenance style. He brings energy that seems to be infectious and even when he’s smaller than opposing forwards, he makes up for it with long arms, powerful legs, and determination. There won’t be many possessions where you’ll find him not trying to send away a shot or snag a board. Ask anyone who was in attendance, and they’ll tell you that Smith’s stock went up from the event.

2022 PF Will Shaver

After shaking off some rust at The Opening, Shaver came through big for Pro One last weekend and impressed in an individual matchup with Ryan Mutombo when taking on Team Forrest. With a massive body, mobility, and good touch both inside & out, Shaver has tools that are rare for a young post. Against Team Forrest, he connected on 2 3’s in the 1st half of the game before giving Pro One some solid production in the paint after halftime. Considering the competition he was facing while playing up against 2021 prospects, there was no choice but to walk away with positive thoughts. Shaver has already accumulated some Power 5 offers early on, but if he continues to put together performances where his skill is displayed while playing with a high motor, more will continue to pour in.

Atlanta Celtics 2022

The Celtics took home the championship in the 16U division thanks to a big, deep team that features a frontline of Chauncey Wiggins, Kaleb Banks, and D’Ante Bass. All 3 have perimeter ability but can also be forces inside at the 16U level. With a Georgia Tech offer coming in after the weekend, Banks was steady with his production throughout the tournament. He’s close to 6’8” with an effective outside shot and physical attributes that coaches look for. Banks doesn’t mind mixing it up inside and will get his fair share of rebounds and 2nd chance points. There are a select few guys in the 2022 class that have a high release and soft touch from deep but will also not fall in love with it and make sure to bring some grit in the paint as well.

The game that stuck out the most to me for Wiggins individually was the Celtics’ matchup with Pro One. Everyone knows about his shooting ability, but I think this game was the best I’ve seen him play in other areas. He was much more active in looking to make an impact in the paint than usual, collecting a healthy number of rebounds and making sure to alter shots whenever possible. Wiggins also made some impressive passes, both from the high post and on outlets, that were beneficial for the Celtics while dealing with a zone defense.

In all 3 of the summer’s first events, Bass has shown bits and pieces to his game that leave you wanting to see more. At 6’8”+ he’s a fluid runner who is light on his feet and gets up off the ground quickly and explosively. I feel like he could legitimately guard 1-5 at the high school level with his athletic traits. Bass is pretty active on the glass and is able to initiate the break while making the correct decision on the move with the ball. Given what Bass has shown offensively, I think he could be even more aggressive as a scorer. This Celtics group is loaded with offensive talent so maybe I’m just being greedy and selfish, but Bass a clean outside shot and is hard to contain around the basket. It is nice to see a guy whose energy is put into other categories and Bass has figured that out.

2022 C Iffy Ufochukwu & 2022 SF Elijah Gray

Team Curry’s 2022 squad took LakePoint by storm to start the event before dropping a close one to the Atlanta Celtics in the championship. Curry has a good balance of post and perimeter players, Ufochukwu and Gray anchor down the paint for the team. Gray can handle and shoot as well, but I was most impressed with some of the moments he had rebounding the ball during the weekend. He’s close to 6’8”, gets up off of 2 feet well, and can go through other bodies for boards. I think he’ll be a really good finished product if he stays committed to doing such work. Ole Miss reached out to him after the event.

Ufochukwu has only been playing for a few years but still has some very encouraging aspect to his game. For a guy who is 6’11” and not thin, he moves really well and has pretty good hands. He is still a bit raw offensively, but finished with both hands during the tournament and also showed some nice footwork on the inside. He is active as a shot-blocker as well, constantly impacting offensive players as they try to convert inside. UGA, Auburn, Virginia Tech, and South Florida have contacted him as a result of his play.

2022 SF RJ Godfrey

Godfrey’s ability and potential have already been well-documented halfway through his HS career, but he showed more progression in his game last weekend that was worth talking about. He was more assertive as a scorer than I had seen from him with North Gwinnett, bullying guys inside while keeping it simple and going straight through defenders with what looks like an even stronger frame. Godfrey also seems much more comfortable and confident with the ball in his hands. There were multiple times at the tournament where he looked fluid going coast to coast in transition and made a productive play. Already known as a versatile prospect, Godfrey continues to add to his game and maintains his tremendous motor. He’s a joy to watch.

2022 SF Josh Reed

Reed was tremendous when I watched him with the 16U AC Georgia group two weekends ago. He played up with the 17U team at LakePoint and his production did not drop off at all when they faced Aim High. These last 2 weekends, Reed has displayed a confidence and energy to him that I had only seen in flashes from him at Pace. He’s proving to have some ball-handling ability in transition and is brining a greater sense of urgency and toughness when it comes to rebounding and pursuing loose balls. When you mix those attributes in with his ability to stretch the floor at 6’6”, you have a guy whose recruitment will continue to be an active one and is sure to e

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