NEO Youth Elite Camp Standouts: Part III
The annual NEO Youth Elite Showcase is traditionally a loaded event with high-level prospects from the all over the country. The 2020 version did not disappoint, as several players from various age groups took the floor at The Edge and made a huge impression. After evaluating hundreds of prospects carefully throughout the two day event, these prospects had the strongest performances.
Ramelle Arnold (2021/Warrensville Heights HS)
Arnold is the classic do-it-all point guard with a well-rounded skillset that doesn’t allow the defense to speed him up. Ramelle displayed a nice handle and good spatial awareness that allowed him to find creases that didn’t seem available initially. He’s about 5’10 – 5’11, but did a great job of putting defenders on his hip and using his strength to get space. As a shotmaker he’s definitely more than capable of punishing the opposition from the perimeter, as he connected on multiple jumpers off the bounce. The rising senior is also a good facilitator that found shooters on kickouts after collapsing the defense with dribble penetration. While Ramelle isn’t necessarily explosive, he understands how to attack angles and how to best utilize his skillset. Arnold is always in control on the court and plays the game at a comfortable pace and is generally efficient with his playstyle.
Vernon Smith (2021/Canton McKinley HS)
Smith was the best athlete in attendance and had a few of the more electrifying plays during the weekend. Vernon is about 6’6 – 6’7 and has some serious elevation off 1 or 2 legs when finishing. He threw down multiple windmills in transition where he had his forearm in the rim. Smith banged out multiple lobs where it looked rather effortless as well. While the highlight-reel finishes generated the most crowd buzz, we liked the fact that he put his athleticism to use on the defensive end too. The rising senior had several helpside blocks that prevented easy layups and added a few chasedown swats as well. In terms of skill, Vernon can handle the ball a bit in the open court and may have some untapped potential there. We’d like to see him increase his motor a bit and use his physical gifts to dominate the boards at a level equal to his size/athleticism advantage. That said, Smith has natural tools that simply cannot be taught. He’s going to be a high-level finisher on lobs, dumpoffs and putbacks at the next level with some serious upside.
Tae Perie (2021/Akron Buchtel HS)
Perie may have very well been the best shooter at The Edge over the weekend. The 6’2 combo-guard connected on catch-and-shoot 3s consistently throughout the event. Tae already has NBA range and hit multiple shots beyond 25 feet. While Perie came in with a reputation as a sharpshooter, he also showed off some ability to create offense off the bounce. He took on primary ballhandling duties throughout the weekend and navigated the offense well, scoring in ballscreen action and finding shooters on the wings. Tae also showed some nice body control as a finisher, contorting his body in the air to create clean angles at the rim. Perie is getting some interest at the mid-major Division I level, and we’d expect him to land an offer at some point soon. With a premium on knockdown shooters, Perie has a ton of value as a floor-spacing guard that can be a secondary playmaker.
Jalen Knott (2021/Lutheran East HS)
If there was anyone in attendance that could challenge the aforementioned Perie for best shooter, Jalen is the guy. Knott immediately caught our attention in his first game with his shooting mechanics. A smooth release, good arch, nice balance and a one-motion follow through make this such a repeatable shot. The form certainly looks good, but the 6’1 guard had the results to back it up. Jalen buried multiple shots from distance and flashed the ability to hit pull-up triples as well. We really loved his competitive spirit on the other end as well. Knott is built like a strong safety and isn’t afraid to impose his strength to bump ballhandlers off their spot. He takes his defensive assignment seriously at all times. NAIA/D2 coaches in need of a sharpshooting guard that is wired to compete on defense should add Jalen to their board.