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Scouting Notes from SWAIC: Houston
By Regional Analyst: Meshu Negga
The National schedule for the SWAIC conference season tipped off this past weekend near Houston, TX on the campus of Legacy School of Sports Science. This is the first of four regular season sessions, that will also take place in Dallas, New Orleans, and Denver. A great platform and collective of talented teams and coaches put together by Marcus Sloan and company, giving great opportunities for players to showcase their skills to take to the next level. And from the jump, Session I was competitive, with several players standing out and performing well.
Here are a few that caught my eye.
Abdul Bashir | G | 2023 | Colorado Prep (Westminster, CO)
This wiry wing had his shooting prowess on display in this session. Bashir was relatively quiet in game 1, but his smooth stroke and feel for the game were evident early; capitalizing on reads with timely passes to teammates and knocking down opportune looks. In the next two games, he made his presence felt offensively, going 11/16 from three (12/19 3PT overall) and 53% from the field, getting it done in a myriad of ways. From catch to release and off the bounce, Bashir’s stroke has a natural fluidity to it with an ability to space the floor from the corners and deep wings. His handle and feel add another layer to his game; capable of creating off-the-bounce with dribble combo moves to get into a mid-pull-up or engaging an additional defender, quickly reading/reacting to move the ball. He accumulated 11 assists over the 3 games. Good mobility, IQ, and attitude allow him to hold his own defensively on the perimeter, and as his body matures he’ll have the ability to be more versatile and disruptive on this end as well.
Ty Cox | G | 2023 | TACA Storm (Dallas, TX)
One of the more offensively talented players in the conference, Ty plays with a mix of finesse and power. His ability to know how/when to use his offensive tools is what made him stand out this weekend. With several strong drives to the basket, he bully-balled his way to the rim absorbing contact and still finishing. But it’s the awareness to mix in spin moves rolling off his leaning defender or incorporating a slow-step euro, allowing the overplaying defender/opponent to fly by him. His ability to play through contact and avoid it makes him difficult to predict. Adding in stretching the floor to the three-point line, at a rate of 41% on 5.6 attempts/game, Ty is a tough cover. As teams may key in on trying to stop him as a scoring threat, I would love to watch him counter by creating easier looks for his teammates. Defensively, great anticipation and hands let him affect the game with deflections and steals off-ball. Hearing he is getting back to his old self (pre-knee injury), is promising for Ty, as additional athleticism and pop will only elevate his play on both ends.
Naz Mamhoud | G | 2023 | Spring Creek Academy (Plano, TX)
With positional size, and a clean shooting stroke to go along with a veteran-savvy game, Naz is one of the best scorers in this conference. With his ability to effectively play at his own pace, and create advantages with shot fakes and hesitation moves, Naz scored the ball in all sorts of ways. He is a threat from the perimeter with textbook form, shooting it at 34.8% 3FG this weekend. This opened up opportunities to get downhill, showing off a nice touch on his floater and good elevation on PU jumpers to get clean looks. With a good frame for his position, adding some muscle/weight will be key in his continued development. Leading his team in scoring, Naz was face guarded, trapped, and defended with physicality. His toughness and resilience came through, finding ways to adjust and still be impactful. He helped his team to a 2-1 record during this first session of games and looks to build off this going forward.
Baye Ndongo | F | 2023 | Colorado Prep (Colorado Springs, CO)
Baye’s size and vertical athleticism are one of the first things that jumped out to me. The recent Rutgers commit showed an ability to do a little bit of everything, even flashing some perimeter skills and initiating the offense. But he was most effective getting downhill, attacking the basket with quick decisive moves, and playing behind the defense finishing plays at or above the rim, where he had some loud finishes off lobs and put-backs. Baye was able to put pressure on the rim in the half-court with strong straight-line drives but excelled in the full-court, grabbing rebounds at their peak and pushing the ball with long powerful strides. As he gets to the next stage of his development, his ability to read defenses should improve and his playmaking will have a chance to take a leap. Defensively, Baye has the tools to be a high-level team defender using his length, athleticism, and anticipation to cover ground for weakside help, showing flashes as a rim protector this weekend. With continued development of his overall game coupled with his physical gifts, Baye has a chance to impact Rutgers sooner than later.
Trent Burns | C | 2024 | PSAT (Houston, TX)
Arguably one of the best shooters in the gym, the 7ft stretch big, commanded your attention. Trent Burns is one of the most intriguing prospects in the conference, possibly the state of Texas. His blend of length, mobility, shotmaking, and shot-altering makes him unique amongst his peers most every time he steps onto the court. Offensively his impact was felt with his smooth shooting stroke from deep as a pick & pop floor spacer. With his height and release above his head, shot contests had minimal impact on the outcome. The gravity to which he drew attention on the perimeter opened up driving lanes and better opportunities at the rim for his teammates. At his height, the fluidity in his movement allows him and his team to play with pace & space; being able to get in and out of screens quickly, rim run, and respacing as the ball and bodies are moved around. Defensively, Trent’s presence was felt as he tabulated 8 blocks over three games and altered many more. Mobility and knowing how to use his length allowed him to hold his own when guarding on the perimeter as well. As his body begins to fill out and his strength increases, it should improve his ability to be more physical and impactful on both ends of the court. As effective as Burns was shooting from behind the arc, he was just as effective at the rim and defensively.
Jovanni Perez |PG | 2024 | Shaun Dumas Academy (Metairie, LA)
The competitive, well-balanced attack from Shaun Dumas Academy helped them come out on- top this weekend with a 3-0 record. One of the leaders of this team was the 2024 (G) Jovanni Perez. The tough, high-motor guard seemed to be all over the floor, pushing the pace and being a nuisance defensively. He was able to use his low center of gravity and quickness to attack gaps, getting into the paint and flashing a soft touch over length. With multiple ballhandlers, Jovanni’s shooting capabilities helped space their opponents out, going 6/13 overall from the 3pt line. At the point of attack defensively, he was pesky on the ball, getting into ballhandlers, often speeding them up, and could take them out of their sets/rhythm. His toughness extended to the glass, despite his size, he was willing to stick his nose amongst the big bodies to secure possession for his team.
Other Notable Performers:
Yassin Abdelwahab | G | 2023 | Spring Creek Academy (Plano, TX) - Utility guard, able to do a little bit of everything. High IQ and feel. Capable of scoring and facilitating. Good decision-maker. Unselfish.
TJ Burch | PG | 2023 | TACA (Dallas, TX) - Tough point-of-attack PG that knows how to play. Decisive in actions/movement, often beating opponents to spots.
Ailou Diallo | PG | 2023 | Colorado Prep Black (Colorado Springs, CO) - Productive PG. Efficient scorer. Plays with a nice change of pace and shoots it well from the field. Exceptional rebounder for his size. Competitor.
Dale Griffin Jr. | G | 2023 | Inglewood Prep Academy (Inglewood, CA) - Versatile defender. Good size and strength for CG. Ability to score at each level using quickness to create space.
Jaylen Pazon | G | 2023 | Shaun Dumas Academy (New Orleans, LA) - Strongly built combo guard. Plus handle and athletic burst to get downhill. Good finisher in the paint. Tools to be a high-level perimeter defender.
Devon Pryor | W | 2024 | PSAT Academy (Houston, TX) - Long, slashing wing. Bouncy athlete. Potential high-end perimeter defender. Positional rebounder. Excels in space.
Chris Jones | PG | 2025 | PSAT Academy (Houston, TX) - Shifty guard adept at compromising defenses with handle and quickness. Gets paint touches and creates contact to get to the line.
Follow Meshu Negga on Twitter HERE.