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Top Row Takeaways: 3SSB Rock Hill
The Top Row: 3SSB Rock Hill
Calling Tom Konchalski a pioneer in the grassroots scouting world would still be an understatement - Konchalski’s devotion to scouting every player on the floor was as firm as his handshake. No matter the game, no matter the competition level, Tom took pride in his ability to properly evaluate and find a level of basketball for each player that laced them up. Everyone who’s been around knew that once the ball tipped, you could find Tom in the top row, notepad in hand, attention fully invested on the game at hand. We hope that this small nod to the titan, as well as the work that follows, will honor his guiding principles - to invest fully in the game & to cover every angle of scouting, for every player, for every game. To rise to that lofty standard, we have brought together a group of the brightest minds in this space from all across the country, offering their own unique insights on the prospects, teams and data that you need to know.
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Prospect Across Any Age That Gave a Great First Impression?
Aneesh Namburi: Caleb Holt (Game Elite 16U)
Any 2026 that was not overwhelmed against the kind of competition that Game Elite 16U faced would have been an accomplishment in itself, but Caleb Holt was a genuinely positive player for the Georgia squad. A 6-foot-5 guard/wing, Holt is built like a 16U player but still looks like there is still room to grow, with a strong base, plus length, and a movement style with little wasted motion and is very balanced. Playing more of an off-ball role, Holt found success as a playmaker in the open court and all-around slasher with good touch. Obviously at this age there will be areas of improvement, but Holt being this good playing 2 levels up is a great starting point for his development.
PD Web: Flory Bidunga (Indiana Elite 16u)
Indiana Elite won the 16u 3SSB Championships in Rock Hill & Binduga, a 6’9 Congolese native Flory was an instrumental part of that success. Bidunga’s stint in Rock Hill was the most dominant weekend I’ve seen from a 16u player this year, regardless of circuit. Bidunga’s game is extremely productive - a mix of huge motor, ground coverage ability, advanced frame & uncanny defensive instincts for a big man who has been playing basketball for under two full years. It felt like no shot or rebound was out of Bidunga’s reach, given how long his wingspan is & how hard he plays on a possession by possession basis. For multiple minute stretches, Bidunga & Indiana Elite were able to put a lid on the rim - with forceful blocks that discouraged teams from even trying to put pressure on the rim and consistently showing high hands on the perimeter. Long term, there were interesting flashes of face up skill, it’s still far away from being a consistent component of his game, but startling for a player who is still so new to the game.
Jake Rosen: Dellquan Warren (Wildcat Select 2024)
I don't think I’m being hyperbolic by calling Warren one of the best passers in the entire country. Despite not possessing elite guard height to see over the top of defenses, he is masterful when it comes to manipulating coverages and moving the defense to create playmaking windows. His ambidexterity and general creativity are well beyond his years, as well. In the half court, Warren can apply rim pressure with his tricky handle and bursty first step. Becoming a consistent shooter from deep, in both volume and efficiency, will be his next step.
2023 Prospect To Shout-Out
AN: Reed Sheppard (Midwest BC 17U) & Kaden Cooper (Trae Young 17U)
As Kentucky continues to build up a 2023 recruiting class that is poised to turn heads, Sheppard is someone that should provide value from the jump as well as be a linchpin for future recruiting classes should he stay multiple years with the Wildcats. Despite being point guard size, Sheppard is already an excellent connector who can get even more dynamic with improvements to his jumper. The first thing that popped is his slashing and finishing off the catch, where Sheppard’s first step and strength allowed him to maintain advantages. When at the basket, he finished off a variety of situations, one feet or two feet, with strength or with craft due to his vertical pop, balance and touch. Defensively, his positioning and quick hands provided good help from the nail, in addition to him defending stronger guards on the ball. The final part of the connector puzzle is playmaking, where Sheppard’s vision and inclination to not play rushed allowed him to diagnose secondary help. Increasing his shooting volume (specifically off the catch) would take Sheppard’s connector ceiling to the next level, and he already showed flashes of shotmaking off the dribble in the mid-range.
Kaden Cooper continues to be one of the biggest 2022 AAU standouts. From being a pure transition slasher and athletic marvel with Trae Young and ProSkills last spring/summer to the impact off-ball wing with real secondary creation flashes every game, it is tough not to project another leap from Cooper as he enters his senior year. The all-around athleticism and fluidity as a mover will always stand out, allowing him to attack the rim from spot-ups, cover whatever ground he needs defensively, and make highlight plays on both ends of the floor. The real improvements have come as he moves towards a dribble-pass-shoot wing. Cooper can now piece together 1-2 combo moves to generate space, fires a variety of highly difficult passes from a live dribble with impressive accuracy, and has the confidence to shoot 3’s off the catch in a repeatable motion. Continuing the abundance of reps he received at TSF to whatever school he plays at next year should help them build on the aforementioned foundation.
PD: Pryce Sandfort (D1 Minnesota 17u)
Sandfort seems to me to be one of the most underrated players in the country, especially given how valuable his skillset will be at the next level. Sandfort can really really shoot, & shoot in every way that an offensive coordinator could dream up - off designed actions, off negative momentum, out of lifts, out of rhythm, off the dribble, and with deep range. In Rock Hill, Sandfort acted as a primary ballhandler with Taison Chatman out, showcasing his role versatility - consistently making good decisions and creating rotations when attacking off the bounce. Having the ball in his hands also allowed for more exploration of PU3s and OTD shot creation vs the multitude of long wing POA defenders that 3SSB has. In these conditions, the fast release and quick feet of Sandfort shone brightly, knocking down a jumper seemingly anytime a defender got caught in a screen or inexplicably went under in PNR. I believe that shooting is the most translatable skillset in basketball and a 6’7 wing with the ball skills to match will be a be a hot commodity in the weeks to come.
JR: Jamie Kaiser (New World 17s)
It’s been a whirlwind AAU season for Kaiser, who quickly became one of the biggest risers after strong performances with New World and his High School team during DMV Live. Kaiser is a complementary wing, with a football frame, who can absolutely stroke from anywhere. His mechanics are incredibly smooth and simple, and he has displayed a good bit of versatility to go along with his makes. Kaiser is also very comfortable operating in the post, using his strength to overpower smaller defenders. Continuing to add juice off the dribble will be a priority moving forward, but Kaiser’s skillset is ready to contribute at the next level.
2024 Prospect To Shout-Out
PD: Annor Boateng (Arkansas Hawks 16u)
Coaches walking over to an see the Arkansas Hawks were understandably confused that Boateng was a 2024, given that his frame looks like he’s already spent a few summers in college weight room. Boateng is an imposing figure at 6’6 with shoulders so wide that invite comparisons to Jarace Walker. Despite a very built out frame, Boateng isn’t a simple low block bruiser, but a versatile combo forward that shifted his role as needed depending on matchups. As a creator, Boateng has a deep bag of shifty change of pace moves that are followed by space-clearing physical eurosteps and pro-hops. Defenders who gave space to Annor experienced his comfort knocking down the 3 ball, with an easy, fluid jumper that comes out of his with little to no hesitation. His big time motor shows up with his continual sprinting for transition dunks and his knack for exploding out of nowhere for weakside blocks. When deployed as a 4 or small ball 5, Boateng is a good reader of the floor in the short roll and continually puts pressure on the rim with his finishing skill.
AN: Jaeden Mustaf (New World 17U) & DJ Thomas (Dream Vision 17U)
Mustaf was one of the better advantage creators at the early July 3SSB session, playing a year up with 17U bracket winner New World. At 6-foot-5 with a wiry strong frame, he is an extremely well-rounded driver/slasher, tools that should open the rest of his game up. Mustaf’s first step and burst was good enough to get by most defenders, but accentuated by a functional handle and ability to change speeds and direction to create separation if opponents initially stay attached. In the paint, he scored in a variety of situations, going up with both hands and initiating contact while maintaining hang time and balance. What impressed me the most about Mustaf was the poise and variability of pace he operated with, a tool that few prospects possessing his physical tools showcase consistently. This is a great foundation for a creator prospect, and gives Mustaf a baseline to utilize as he continues to develop his playmaking and shot-making over the next 18 months.
It’s hard not to come away from any single viewing of Dream Vision point guard Dedan “DJ” Thomas and feel anything but confident about his projection as a high-impact college point guard. While small for even college standards, his stocky frame, quick feet, and feel allowed him to provide pressure on opposing ball handlers. With the ball in his hands, Thomas’ ability to stay on balance while changing heights (to leverage angles) allowed him to maximize his physical attributes. This is all before getting to his best skills, his handle and court vision that manipulated defenses into creating open windows for himself. Thomas’ finishing around the hoop has improved significantly over the past few months as he continued to learn how to create different angles/openings for himself around bigs and score with craft, in addition to looking increasingly more confident as a shooter on and off the ball.
JR: Paul McNeil (Garner Road 16u)
McNeil is a lanky off-guard who can score it in bunches. I was impressed with his defensive intensity at times, which if consistent would potentially enable him to guard up and operate as a wing full time. McNeil was one of the most electrifying shooters I saw in Rock hill. He is extremely comfortable off the bounce and uses his size to shoot over the top of contests. As he continues to expand his offensive arsenal, tightening his handle would allow him to get to spots more cleanly – ideally generating more rim attempts as a result. McNeil’s foundation is among one of the most intriguing in 2024, and I’m fascinated to track his development.
2025 Prospect To Shout-Out
AN: Terrion Burgess (Arkansas Hawks 16U)
Hidden in the Annor Boateng show that exceeded the price of admission, I came away extremely impressed by 6-foot-9 forward Terrion Burgess, a fluid mover who changed directions quickly, has a good core, and lower body strength. While he didn’t bring any consistent ball skills offensively at Rock Hill, his range defensively, motor, and off-ball efficiency provided an excellent profile for a big that doesn’t require much maintenance. Defensively, Burgess utilized his aforementioned mobility, generally playing just below the level of the screen, primarily discouraging a paint touch before quickly rotating back to the big. If he got matched onto a perimeter player, his ground coverage allowed him to toggle between guarding the shooter and acting as a weak side rim protector. Often times, Burgess would bring the ball up after grabbing a defensive board, and he had a couple of interesting playmaking flashes throwing the ball into some tight windows. From there, his offensive game revolved on feel and motor. Burgess really understands spacing offensively and moves around the court to maximize himself as well as teammates, often putting himself in prime position for putback and cuts. Having this combination of fluidity and feel makes Burgess positioned to play the 4 and 5 down the line even if the ball skills do not develop, and a high priority for programs looking for versatility up front.
AN: Strength and Entertainment of Adidas 2024’s
My biggest takeaway from the tournament was how deep the 2024/16U group is for Adidas right now. They not only have top end talents like Flory and Boateng, but have an abundance of just about, if not every role a college program across any levels would need. In my opinion, the Game Elite vs. Indiana Elite and Loaded NC vs. Garner Road were my two favorite games of the tournament to watch live, and the second game forced me to miss another anticipated matchup between Arkansas Hawks and Utah Prospects.
JR: Indiana Elite 16s Are a Well-Oiled Machine
Flory Bidunga was the main attraction all week, but the squad as a whole left an extremely positive impression. They rightfully took home the 16u championship, and have been dominating the competition all summer long. Travis Perry ran the show, comfortably balancing a three-level scoring load with competent playmaking. Cooper Koch, an Iowa commit, reliably spaced the floor with volume and versatility. Raleigh Burgess complimented Bidunga, as Indiana Elite gave opponents trouble with their two-big lineups. Everyone that suited up played a role and they all seemed to fit together seamlessly.
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