Upward Stars Combine – Standouts Part 2

SPARTANBURG, SC – The now annual trip up I-85 to the Upward Star Center is sure to produce some very good talent coming from North GA and the Carolinas.

The tremendous staff of the Upward Stars organization put on their Combine once again, and some faces from the OTR appearances during the spring and summer as well as last year’s Combine showed out.

Here’s Part 2 of Standouts, as we saw some sure-to-track underclass names to know:

By: Keith Agran

Trent Steinour | 6-9 | SF | Lake Norman (NC) | 2025 (pictured at top)

More from a stacked 2025 class on hand as Steinour stood out early in the day with some precise drill work and top fundamentals, a sleek mover he was showing off a wide-ranging skillset from virtually any spot on the floor whether it was a sweet stroke from distance or playing with his back to the basket or getting aggressive on the offensive boards, all kinds of possibilities as he adds beef to the frame but the game fascinates already.

Jamari Briggs | 6-5 | SG | Christ School (NC) | 2024

Jamari Briggs

Another returning standout from last year’s combine only bigger and stronger a year later, the game is still high level with D1 components spread across the floor, very composed in his choices despite being a physical mismatch for most of the guards on hand, can take his game inside and play a hybrid forward role or use a good jump shot and a serious first step to power by people, a top 5 guy on hand for sure.

Elton James | 6-6 | SG | Legion Collegiate (SC) | 2026

Elton James

Just a freshman but so much to like as the measurables and frame are already upper-class level and the fascinating inklings shown in a Combine setting were super interesting, like so many young players these days shows off a higher IQ brand of ball than his age would suggest and even against older guards was able to impose his physical will inside and out as a scorer and rebounding guard, sure to be hearing a lot more about this name to know.

Joshua Leonard | 6-6 | CG | Wilson (SC) | 2027

Joshua Leonard

Among the younger set no name drew more pre-event buzz than Leonard and after watching him it’s easy to see why, looking nothing at all like an 8th-grader either physically or mentally he was particularly interesting as a lead guard showing off good court awareness and precise passing acumen, almost too unselfish at times when he went at the basket he was assertive and didn’t shy away from going right at some of the good size on hand, with so much time still to marinate this big-time name to know with massive upside is must-know stuff in the Carolinas.

Kaleb Evans | 6-4 | SG | Lexington (SC) | 2025

Kaleb Evans

For pure pace and speed up the floor few if any rivaled Evans on the attack, every time I turned toward a court he was on he was busting it up the floor and slicing his way to an aggressive finish, a terrific athlete able to guard both backcourt spots with well-drilled technique he handled the ball well as a lead man and was brutal to stay in front of coming off the wing, where his game can go in an all-around offensive sense should be fun to watch.

Keith Agran has lived in Georgia since 2011 and joined OTR as a National Evaluator in 2021. He previously scouted for Prep Hoops dating back to 2019 and has both a championship-coaching background on the HS-level and daily newspaper writing experience, both from New Jersey. You can reach him at keithagran1@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @BracketSage.