The Lone Star state is host this weekend to the Lone Star Invitational; the second session of the NY2LA Basketball Association. Friday night was the beginning of a big weekend in the state where everything is bigger. Here are some of the players who stood out in the 16U division.

(Note: this is not an exclusive list and is in no particular order.)

Cortez Bailey – 2018 5’9” PG All-In Athletics Y&R – Bailey turned in a solid performance as the lead guard for All-In on Friday night. He attacked well off the bounce and either got to the rim to draw contact or he did a solid job of finding teammates to drop off a pass to around the rim. He played with excellent energy on both ends. Defensively Bailey pressured the ball, tipped passes and even blocked a shot on a strong close out. 

Chinedu Okanu – 2018 6’7” F All-In Athletics Y&R – Okanu continues his solid rim protection, making it difficult to score around the rim. While he’s not yet a prospect that you wouldn’t dare try to meet at the rim, he tries to contest every shot near him.

Devonte Thedford – 2018 6’ G Iowa Elite – Thedford stands out for his ability to get in the open floor and finish. Whether it’s creating a steal that leads to a transition opportunity or simply running the floor, filling a lane and finishing, Thedford was consistent at putting the ball through the net. Whenever he took contact, Thedford showed he could not only complete the play but also convert the free throw attempts.

Carter Frey – 2018 5’11” G Iowa Elite – What you can appreciate about a player like Frey is that the second you see him catch a pass, he’s looking to attack the rim with no apologies. Being a player who likes to get to the rim, you have to be willing to accept contact and Frey does just that. The combination of Thedord and Frey makes Iowa Elite a formidable opponent in the Association.

Quinlan Bennett – 2018 6’2” G Kessel Heat Black – Bennett projects to be a solid two way player once he develops his jump shot. His length makes him a very capable defender and his willingness to pressure the ball is promising that he should only get better as a defender. Bennett plays primarily on the ball, but once his game and physical frame matures, he could very well play on or off the ball.

Mark Watts – 2019 6’1” PG R.E.A.C.H Legends – Watts was pretty impressive on Friday night. He showed confidence and poise as a lead guard, but also put together a strong scoring performance. He likes to attack and shoot from beyond the arc. He was pretty successful in knocking down perimeter jumpers. When it came to initiating the offense, he was solid. It’s clear that he has a ways to go, but if Friday was a glimpse of things to come, Watts could develop into a solid lead guard.

Matthew Richmond – 2018 6’1” PG R.E.A.C.H. Legends – Legends as a team maintained relentless on ball pressure against the Martin Brothers squad in the late session Friday night. Their half court traps sped up M.B. and consistently kept them out of an offensive rhythm. Matthew Richmond was a big part of that pressure. He got into passing lanes and was consistent in his help side defense. He was pretty solid in his on ball duties as the lead guard overall as well.

Monty Johal – 2018 6’3” G Yanders Law – Johal finished with a game-high 24 points in Yanders’ game against MBA Select. Monty likes to break his defender down off the dribble and get into the lane. He’s also a player who looks to pull up off the bounce or shoot it off the catch. While his shot wasn’t falling consistently from deep, that didn’t keep Johal from finding ways to score buckets while also looking to pass to open teammates.

Carondis Harris-Anderson – 2018 6’3” SG Martin Brothers – Carondis is an intriguing player. He has the build and look that gets your attention. He has solid range on his perimeter jumper and he’s a willing defender. The rising junior also displayed the ability to be able to score with a short floater in the lane on the move. While not all of his shots demonstrated good shot selection, he did enough to peak our interest on Friday night.

Luke Vaske – 2018 6’ G Martin Brothers – Vaske was the scoring spark for the Brothers’ squad in a tough loss against REACH Legends. Luke spaced the floor well by shooting a consistent perimeter jumper. He possesses a solid scoring knack that opposing defenses have to respect.

Jordan Morris – 2018 6’5” F Kessel Heat Black – Morris won’t wow you with his offensive prowess, not is he a guy who will stuff the stat sheet. However, there’s something to be said for guys who give max effort and it positive impacts the team. While Morris most likely won’t have a play called for him, it’s players like him that keep the ball moving and keep the offense rolling. He showed he could pass from multiple areas on the floor. His willingness to set picks and communicate to teammates ensures teammates get open. On the defensive end, Morris relentless pressures the ball and makes opposing ball handlers uncomfortable. You have to be interested in guys who will do what doesn’t show up on the stat sheet.

Quin Blair – 2018 6’6” SF R.E.A.C.H. Legends – Blair is a player that the Legends can use in a variety pf ways offensively. His primary duty is to spread the floor as a three point shooter, which he proved to be pretty accurate at on Friday night. Not only could score the long ball, but he scored well around the rim; through contact at times.