Stockriser Series: Under Armour Memorial Day Kickoff
Indianapolis was the weekend destination for the UA Memorial Day Kickoff. This was a loaded event with with some of the best programs in the country all facing-off under one roof at the Pacers Athletic Center.
With plenty of nationally recognized prospects taking the court, there was no shortage of star power in the building. But the platform also provided opportunity for the following under-the-radar gems to take advantage of the spotlight.
Mozae Downing (2022/6’3/KC Run GMC)
We had no familiarity with Downing prior to the weekend, but he certainly made a solid impression. Physically, he has good positional size for a point guard at 6’3 with a college ready frame. In terms of skill facets, Mozae was the best passer we viewed in Indianapolis. The standout junior has superb spatial awareness, as he consistently manipulated the defense with his eyes to create passing lanes before dropping no-look dimes for easy buckets. As a downhill attacker off the bounce, Downing collapsed the defense on multiple possessions and found teammates with precision passes on kickouts and dumpoffs once help defense arrived. We were also enamored with his ability to whip around one-hand passes with a live dribble with both hands. And while we only saw Mozae attempt a few jumpers, his mechanics are good and he knocked down a midrange pull-up that appeared comfortable. We’re not aware of any offers, but Downing is a Division I prospect as a 6’3 lead guard with outstanding playmaking ability. You simply cannot teach that combination of positional size and vision.
Cavan Reilly (2022/6’4/DC Premier)
Reilly put on a shooting exhibition in the two games we viewed. The 6’4 shooting guard displayed comfortable range out to 28 feet and connected on at least three triples in both of those games. What makes Cavan such a lethal shotmaker is the ability to make jumpers off of movement. The sharpshooter hit catch + shoot jumpers coming off downscreens and relocations and in transition. He’s very comfortable transitioning from a cut/sprint and getting his body squared to take on-balance shots. Reilly also flashed the ability to hit shots off the bounce, burying a few stepbacks that may be a sign of some on-ball ability down the road. Radford recently extended an offer, and we fully expect mid-major programs to be in heavy pursuit this Summer.
Christ Essandoko (2022/6’11/Team Curry)
Essandoko is a name that everyone in the country should get familiar with heading into July. He’s one of the best bigs in America, period. Standing a legit 6’11 with a college ready frame, he has NBA size with a ton of skill to compliment. Christ displayed some outstanding playmaking ability for a big, whipping around no-look passes in transition with zip and accuracy. In the half-court, he excelled as an entry passer in high-low action and made it look effortless. Defensively, he thrived in drop coverage versus ballscreens where he used his size + length to block shots and alter several more. As a back-to-the-basket scorer, Essandoko has good footwork/pivoting and puts his superior size/strength to use. Christ is a no-brainer high major prospect that will be one of the most sought after bigs in the country come July.
Xavier Owens (2022/6’5/Houston Defenders)
There was lots to like about Owens when we saw him on Saturday. He immediately popped-out to us as a 6’5 prospect that can create shots off the bounce for himself and teammates. Xavier is an above average ballhandler that easily changes direction/speed with a live dribble and has solid vision as a playmaker for others once help defense arrives to cut off his driving lane. His versatility as an off-ball shooter raised his value for us, as he knocked down multiple catch-and-shoot threes from the corners. Owens is a solid athlete with a developed frame that can be matchup problem at the next level as a 2/3 with some on-ball abilities. He’s a bit under-the-radar right now, but he is absolutely a prospect that MM+ coaches should have eyes on in July.
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