Summer Finale Notables: Part II
Endless Motor was on site in Tennessee for the Summer Finale event put together by BMaze Elite and On The Radar Hoops.
Let’s get you caught up with all the noteworthy performances in Knoxville from a high level event featuring several Under Armour sponsored teams.
2023 Matt Bewley was nothing short of dominant for Team Breakdown on Saturday evening against Team Thrill when he dropped 30 points while playing 2 years up in the 17u division.
Bewley impacted the game in nearly every way imaginable. The 6’9 forward was impeccable running the floor in transition, changing ends in a way that few prospects that size can on his way to multiple dunks by simply outworking the opposition. In the half-court, Matt was potent as a face-up option that used superior first-step acceleration and his handle to blow by defenders and finish at the rim. He did his normal work on the offensive glass with multiple efforts that lead to putbacks.
As good as the South-Florida native is on offense, there simply isn’t enough talk about his ability on the other end of the court. Bewley displayed very good rim protection with multiple blocks while altering several more. Beyond that, Matt proved to be a switchable defender, as he stepped out on the perimeter and slid his feet against guards. Matt has a combination of size/length/athleticism that allows him to defend 3 positions during most games while providing double digit rebounds.
More Than a Marksman
2022 Noah Batchelor has a reputation as one of the better shooting juniors in America. Make no mistake, he lived up to that billing, but also proved to be more than a stationary shooter over the weekend.
Noah was able to connect on three catch and shoot threes against BMaze Elite on Saturday, which was particularly impressive given that two of those makes came in critical moments with the game on the line. At 6’6, a shooter of that caliber holds tremendous value exclusive of anything more.
On Sunday the Team Thrill standout was able to display the full repertoire versus Team Breakdown. Batchelor knocked down midrange pull-ups in ballscreen action and connected on a triple coming off a screen. More than that though, we were impressed with Noah’s athletic ability on both ends of the court.
Batchelor displayed some range as a defender by jumping passing lanes for steals that resulted in easy transition buckets. He also showed nice verticality as a leaper when he finished emphatically at the rim and had a come-from-behind block after an unsuspecting guard thought he had a clear path for a layup.
Athletic shooters with size that project as 3&D types at the next level are a hot commodity in modern basketball. We fully expect Noah to be one of the most heavily pursued prospects in America for 2022.
Minister of Defense
Team Breakdown has one of the better 2023s in America that nobody talks about in Jayden Hastings. The sophomore has made a huge impact on every game we’ve taken in this Summer and he did that again last weekend.
Standing approximately 6’10 with a wingspan that likely exceeds 7′ and a frame that can easily carry an additional 25 pounds of muscle mass, Jayden passes the eye test in terms of what coaches are looking for in a modern big. But Hastings isn’t just some raw prospect with a high ceiling, his defensive impact on the court can’t really be captured by a stat sheet.
Jayden was flat-out special against Team Thrill on Saturday. During one notable possession he switched to defend a guard in pick-and-roll coverage, stayed in front for 4 dribbles before blocking an attempt at a stepback jumper. Later on in the half, Hastings blocked 2 shots on a single possession when he rotated over to cut off a driving lane, blocked the initial layup attempt and came up with another block after the opposition came up with the loose ball from the first block. Jayden capped off his defensive domination with a chasedown block that saw him begin 3 steps behind the would-be finisher in transition, make-up that ground before blocking the shot without fouling.
Simply put, Hastings has a great physical profile with matching agility, a quick second jump and he runs the floor like a deer. He appears to be one of the very best defensive players in the country for the class of 2023.
If you’re looking for a quintessential point guard that runs an offense and creates shots for teammates than 2022 B.J. Edwards of BMaze Elite is your guy.
Edwards has good positional size at around 6’3 with a solid frame that allows him to survey the floor. He’s an exceptional playmaker that really thrives in ballscreen action. B.J. consistently hits his roll-man in stride for easy buckets at the rim and also finds shooters after dragging the help defender at the point of attack.
While he’s a pass-first guard, Edwards uses his superior size to bully smaller guards to the rim and finish. This was most evident in the closing moments of a tight game against Team Thrill when the rising junior was able to get all the way to the rim on a straight line drive before finishing through contact to win the game with less than 2 second remaining.
A bigger PG with vision that dictates tempo while providing consistent production is what B.J. brings to the table. As he continues to improve his ability to hit jumpers he’s going to be one of the better floor generals in the country.
Blue Collar Approach
2022 Antonio Hamlin isn’t going to blow you away with his physical profile during pre-game warmups, but he does produce at a high level for Team Thrill.
Antonio is a sturdy 6’1 lead guard that caught our attention on Saturday versus BMaze Elite. He connected on multiple triples off the catch and hit a midrange pull-up off the bounce. Hamlin is a physical driver that punishes the opposition with purposeful downhill attacks off the bounce. He bullied his way to the paint, plowing through defenders while maintaining balance through contact and drawing fouls. Antonio has a crisp handle and makes good decisions with the basketball.
Hamlin doesn’t play with a ton of flash, but he does have a low-risk game while giving quality production. Not a ton of wasted dribbles with Antonio, he gets to his spots on the court with efficiency and puts his strength advantage to good use. In an era that may be too fascinated with measurements and potential, Hamlin is all about winning on the court right now.