This past weekend’s session opened with an advanced full-court drill regimen that pushed each player in attendance. Any misconception of an easy Sunday morning was removed less than ten minutes into the session. Players doubled over, pulled on their shorts, and they still wanted more – as elite players, they appreciated the work.
An event that has already been graced with the appearance of top national players such as Justin Moore, Marvin Price, the Mitchell twins, and Christian DePollar; each likely to claim a top 25 in the next few weeks with multiple vying for a position in the top 10 - were now joined by the DMV’s #1 rated 2019 prospect Sherif Kenney and 2021 standout Zion Harmon. Along with this talented bunch, the newly-reclassed James Bishop and Cameron Byers of Baltimore came to lay their claim as one of the area’s best by proving it on the court. Anthony Harris out of Virginia came in having gained a few inches of height since the end of the AAU season and he looked strong and extra quick – the element of strength on an already great finisher is clearly going to take him to another level as scorer.
This will go down as the official first time Byers faced Terrance Williams in their new 2020 class. Without question there was a battle for supremacy taking place with neither conceding anything to the other. Kenny showed why he is the best as he was impactful and dominating even when he wasn’t scoring with his passing and unselfish play as well as his rebounding and defense.
This week’s head to head highlights which is the highlight of each weekend for all in attendance included some of the following:
Zion Harmon vs. Justice Ellison – The quickness is back and Justice looked explosive, he worked well in the mid-range knocking down some pull-ups and setting up teammates. Harmon proved without question that he can play at this level despite being the youngest player in the gym he scored from all levels and took a pounding anytime he entered the lane – the older players were going to end up on his highlight film!
Anthony Harris vs James Bishop – Quick on quick; mirror images to an extent – each great scorers who do the job in very different ways. Harris was tough in transition and pressed the paint any chance he got; the lift on his pull-up made it difficult for opponents to challenge his shot – when he is squared up and locked in the jumper goes down and open’s up more opportunities. A willing passer Harris showed why he is who they say he is. Bishop may be one of the best pure scorers in the class; the eye test tells you that you can stop him – but with the ball in his hands he does it from everywhere and at all angles. He will take what the defense gives him on one plays and take what he wants the next. One of the toughest covers in the area as he can handle with the best of them as well!
Terrance Williams vs Sherif Kenny - A very interesting match-up this turned out to be; Kenny let the game come to him and didn’t press, but when he was in mode there wasn’t much of an answer. Williams battled and never back down and earned his respect. Kenny can give it to anyone in the country and on his drives he showed power as well as fitness in his finishes, which were silk smooth with either hand. Touch on his jumper and vision on his passes - many of which were of the no look variety; were right on the button and showed a versatile skill set that defines him. Williams continues to make big time progress in his move to the perimeter; this environment proved he is right on target – there is no one better for Williams to be tested against and he gave as much as he took. He knocked down the three, created space and hit the stop and pop’s on the baseline and elbow with effectiveness. The post play we all know about and he got buckets there as usual.
The battle between Jordan Hairson and Anwar Gill was also enjoyable – each has a scorers mentality and the ability to score the ball in a lot of ways. I got the impression that these two have met somewhere before as another common theme was that each worked hard on the defensive side too. Hairson who has a great motor is benefiting greatly from his consistent exposure to the top national talent in the past few months; the change in his game is very visible and apparent. This was the first time we saw Gill outside of his club – the kid as some tools; when attacking and aggressive he was at his best. He can put the ball on the floor and is a player that I absolutely want to see more of. As his future position becomes more clearly defined he will be able to really focus on that area. He has the “curse” of doing many things well, but the development of a “go to skill” will take Gill to another level for sure.
There is no place where this level of competition can be simulated and the bottom line is that the best players are coming out and getting better and making each other better.
Below is a little sample of what went on in the gym with this talented bunch and what those who receive an invite for this weekend can expect: