Discover more from Cerebro Sports
Top Row Takeaways: TB5’s The Opening
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 in 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.
PD Web, @abovethebreak3
Aneesh Namburi, @AneeshNamburi
Shu Negga, @NeggaMan
What Prospects or Teams Had Performances That Caught Your Eye?
AN: Houston Defenders 16U
Houston’s UAA representative on the 16U level wasn’t ducking anything, playing 2 competitive groups in ProSkills and Drive Nation before heading back to Houston for more games against high-level teams. Their program tenants of defensive pressure to speed up offenses with a ton of ball pressure worked like a charm, with their players doing a great job rotating on the backside and converting the opponent’s missed looks consistently on the offensive end. Almost more impressive was their half-court execution. Bryson Wheatfall’s multiple-level scoring will be mentioned later in the article, but Jeremiah Cooper’s ability to create separation for his guards as a screener and efficiency around the basketball as a roller and dump-off guy was invaluable and John Laboy’s rim pressure and playmaking in the half court really opened up the floor to give consistent opportunities for his teammates to play off secondary advantages.
PD: David Punch - 3SSB ASAK Elite, 6’7 PF
The last year of development has been rapid growth in multiple directions for the Harker Heights product: transforming his game from a small ball 5 to a legit stretch 4 who is comfortable in big space on both ends. Punch was a top 5 minutes qualified performer at The Opening (10.8 C-RAM), a highly efficient scorer from finishing around the rim, the short roll, and in isolation (18 ppg, 68.9 TS%, 92 PSP). When Punch pick and popped, defenders had to close out hard, opening up the chance for him to showcase his downhill athleticism or risk him putting up a good-looking 3. The ball comes out of his hand smoothly, with good spin & I believe that his 3-5 3PA showcase this weekend is the start of a blooming perimeter offensive threat.
SN: Trent Perry & Drive Nation 15U
Trent Perry | G | 2026 | Drive Nation 15U | 11.6 C-RAM
Standing about 6’3, with a wiry frame and long arms, Trent immediately makes his presence felt with his energy and athleticism. Defensively, he showed to be a disrupter using a great blend of aggression & patience; knowing when to press into his opponent or bait them into an ill-advised turnover. Although his discipline can improve, weakside he created plays jumping the passing lanes and flashed secondary rim protection. Trent hangs his hat right now on being a play finisher; excelling in the open court, playing above the rim, and getting downhill from all areas of the halfcourt. But this weekend he was able to display some layers to his game. Using his motor and physical tools to be a plus offensive rebounder as well as finding teammates for easy baskets with good touch passes, showing his upside as a connector. Although he did not shoot it in volume, he was able to knock down shots with range. After continued development and confidence in this area, Trent can grow into one of the better 2-way guards in his class.
Drive Nation 15U
Talented, tough, together. This group imposed their identity on their opponents all weekend long, going 3-0 and winning by a combined 75pts (vs. Houston Defenders UAA, 3D Empire & Houston Hoops EYBL). Led by some of Texas’s best in the 2026 class; Trent Perry, Dakari Spears, the Almuttar twins, & Co., they were relentless from the tip. Defensively they put so much pressure on ballhandlers with their length and activity, moving in unison to swarm the ball. Their best offense was their defense, quickly turning opponents’ miscues into two points. They can sustain this level of effort as they come off the bench in waves. The coaching staff has done a good job teaching this young group great pace and space offensively; whether it’s pushing the ball on makes & misses for easy/good looks, or creating driving lanes with bodies filled in proper locations in the halfcourt. As the AAU season begins, this will be a fun group to watch throughout this spring and summer.
What Prospect Broke Out At The Opening?
SN: Judson Loe | CG | 2025 | STAT Elite 17U | 11.4 C-RAM
This Dripping Springs / Central Texas product, fresh off winning the 26-6A Newcomer of the Year and First-Team honors (district includes Hudson Greer), continued his productivity into the #OpeningDay23. Top-5 in C-RAM & Top-5 in 3PE amongst 300+ players who participated this weekend, Judson shot 44.8% from three on 29 attempts through three games. He is a floor spacer, with depth to this range, and felt automatic when his feet were set. This type of player fills a role every team needs. But proving to be more than a shooter, he exhibited versatility in his game and made some high IQ reads, initiating the offense and helping closeout possessions out off the glass (adding 3.3reb, 4.7ast, with only 1.3to’s a game). He showed enough in his toolbox attacking closeouts & secondary help with stutter steps and hesitation moves putting himself in favorable positions. Judson impacts the defensive end with his effort, good feet and active hands, which helped him accumulate 2.3stl/game. Having this level of production on a consistent basis will certainly help his stock rise by the end of the summer sessions.
PD: 2025s 6’4 Bryson Wheatfall, Houston Defenders UAA & 6’7 Hudson Greer, Pro Skills
Bryson Wheatfall really impressed me as a scorer. Long arms, a strong frame, is very aggressive getting downhill & wants to initiate contact at the cup. Creates space by bumping defenders off spots & then using long strides to slink past them for a finish. Flashed an advanced scoring package in PNR & in isolation, with OTD 3 counters if defenders tried to go under screens or play the drive. Uses his frame to succeed as a multi-positional defender.
Hudson Greer is someone that I had really liked previously but had the platform to really take off at The Opening. Greer is a modern scalable wing - great feel as a cutter/offensive rebounder, a pogo stick who will finish high above the & who uses length to get deflections to get out in transition. Knocks down shots at a high level as a catch-and-shoot guy, making the progression as a movement shooter coming off wide pin downs (3-9 3PA, 73 3PE)
AN: 2025 John Clark, TJ Ford (12.1 C-RAM)
Clark has really grown into his body over the past year and the benefits to his game have been exponential. College programs are always looking for versatile and skilled bigs who don’t give up anything physically, and the 6-foot-8 forward shows real signs of being productive in multiple playstyles. In his game against Drive Nation’s 16U squad, it was a battle down low every time Jaden Toombs got the ball down low against Clark, who forced the ranked big into counters just about every time he got a touch. While still not a plus athlete, he was more than enough of a deterrent (averaged 2.7 BLK), using his size to control the glass and positioning to eat up space in drop coverage. Despite working mostly as a play finisher offensively, Clark’s versatility as a scorer, whether it be in the post, as a roller, or spacing to 3, would really open up the floor for his guards.
AN: Deion Ware, Houston Defenders (9.3 C-RAM)
An integral part of a very good Killeen Ellison team this season, Ware shined playing with Houston Defenders 17U. The most translatable part of Ware’s game is his ability to generate rim pressure on and off the ball. Playing off advantages, he has more than enough athleticism to get to the rim and finish with his first step and vertical explosiveness. As a secondary creator, Ware’s change of pace and twitchiness out of those situations created lanes and angles to finish. Having more weekends like his 4-for-7 from 3 over 2 games will give coaches more confidence as someone who can be trusted to score in second-side situations.
PD: Bukola Oboye, TJ Ford
The 7’ unsigned senior made a large impact on me from the very first time I saw him at The Opening - it’s rare to see a big coordinated rim protector (3.7 BPG, leader for the event) who flashes pick and pop ability (3-6 3PA, 46.1 3Pr) available this late in the process. Oboye gets off the ground very quickly for his finishes & keeps the ball high after rebounds (7.3 RPG, 2.7 ORPG), an important trait for any skinny big. His motor similarly impressed, continually putting himself in the mix on loose balls and long rebounds, drawing so much attention that others were able to be freed up to secure the ball.
SN: Noah Daniels | F | 2024 | Family Ties | 9.5 C-RAM
My first time laying eyes on Daniels, the 6’6 forward out of the Grand Prairie/Arlington, TX area. He intrigued me with his tools and positional size. The length and mobility are what I noticed, as his activity accentuates these features and impact on both sides of the ball. With good anticipation skills, he was able to jump on passes creating offense from defense, and presented some versatility defending 2-4. With no true, individual scoring threat for this Family Ties team, Daniels did a good job balancing being aggressive and picking his spots. He showed flashes of shot-making, creating space with crab dribbles, and being able to make jumpers off the dribble and catch. Averaging 13pts on 57%FG and 41.7% from deep on 4 attempts/game. His versatility, length, and ability to make shots, have him trending toward a 3&D type of player. As he continues to develop his handle and make strides toward putting those flashes together with consistency, Noah is someone to monitor as he can make his way onto your radar this spring/summer season.
PD: Corleone Dandridge, BMM
The 6’5 can score in flurries, stringing together possessions of high-leverage shot-making and trying to put defenders inside the rim. He shot the cover off the ball at The Opening, going 5-6 from deep, showcasing a pretty jumper with deep range. Unsurprisingly with those kinds of numbers, he was the 3PE leader for minutes-qualified players down in Dallas. His mixture of positional size & a valuable archetype (a shooter who can slash) will make him one to watch this spring and summer with BMM.
AN: 2024 Garrett Falls, Complete Game (12.0 C-RAM) & Robert Miller, TJ Ford (11.3 C-RAM)
Garrett Falls has been a standout at #ThePlatform’s last 3 events and spent this weekend as arguably the best rim pressure creator. At 6-foot-6 with really unique movement skills, he uses those tools in tandem with an elite understanding of pace to slither his way to the middle of the floor, where he almost floats through the air as a finisher (the son of volleyball players), finding no problems with contact. A new element to Falls’ game this spring is his playmaking, where he’s able to use that aforementioned driving ability which draws help and gives him easy reads to shooters or the short corner. Proving these playmaking flashes are real would make Falls one of the best developmental bets in the state of Texas’ 2024 class.
A now 6-foot-10 Robert Miller flashed all the skills that have P5 coaches considering him as a priority recruit. Miller looked the part as a big wing, shooting 3-for-8 from 3 but more importantly took shots with confidence and despite some understandable inconsistencies, flashed playmaking chops, especially in transition. Miller did a great job of utilizing his on the defensive end, collecting 14 stocks (steals and blocks). Those low man 4’s who can also space have become increasingly valuable with college PnR schemes trending higher by the year, and showing consistency on those spot-up looks and with his defensive motor could lead to a big rankings jump for the young 2024.
PD: Jaylen Fenner, Fam Elite
Fenner was not on my radar prior to The Opening, but most certainly is after this weekend’s performance - the Atascocita product is a 6’4 dribble/pass/shoot wing with good decision-making chops & a quick first step. Fenner’s movement skills really caught my eye first, as he maneuvered thru a sea of screens and actions while staying attached to his responsibilities vs 3D Empire 16s. Fenner’s keen defensive instincts also manifest on the stat sheet, where he averaged 2.3 SPG (99 DSI). Do-it-all wings often exist under the radar, but I think coaches will pick up on Fenner’s abilities very soon.
AN: Mekhai Bryant, ASAK Elite (9.0 C-RAM)
A 6-foot-6 wing, Bryant was all over the floor in his 3 games, averaging 11.0 PTS, 7.3 REB, 3.3 AST, and 3.0 STL per game. It doesn’t take long for you to notice his tools when watching Bryant, as his lateral agility and twitchiness propels him to cover a ton of ground as a helper and really disrupt actions at the point of attack. Despite going 3-for-7 from deep, the skill that popped the most was his driving, where his first step and stride length made it tough for anyone to stay in front, and he widened many eyes with some of his above-the-rim finish attempts.
SN: Jaden Toombs | C | 2025 | Drive Nation | 8.7 C-RAM
Jaden Toombs is a highly touted big in the 2025 class, although he seems to be a bit of a late bloomer. I say that in adulation, as there is a progression with him as a player every time I see him. And in this setting, it was post moves/counters and reads from this area of the floor. He demonstrated patience on the block, surveying the floor and making good reads; kicking out to open teammates on the perimeter or making nice pocket / dump-off passes to cutters. His feel for creating his own looks has improved, spinning off defenders trying to match his physicality and sprinkling in up & under counter moves to give him better looks. Although his touch around the basket has been better prior to this event, the offensive skillset is trending in the right direction. Once he reaches a stage physically, where he’s gained some explosiveness, matching that with his motor, edge and improving the offensive game, his impact will be felt that much more.
AN: 2026 Silas Rodriguez, Houston Hoops (8.8 C-RAM)
The 6-foot-3 guard showed his versatility as a shooter, and used that gravity, along with an advanced understanding of pace for his age, to score at levels inside the arc as a cutter and mid-range artist. While not a primary playmaker, his 1.6 assist-to-turnover ratio was representative of his ability to read the floor in secondary advantages, utilizing that aforementioned control of the tempo. That dribble-pass-shoot 3rd guard/small wing archetype would be a great foundation to build on, especially if he continues to develop on-ball juice.
MN: Luke Susko | F | 2026 | 3D Empire | 7.8 C-RAM
Luke is a plug-and-play type of player, a connector piece to this well-coached 3D Empire team. His effect on the game came in different ways this weekend, as the 6’4 freshman flashed versatility on both ends of the court. Primarily playing off the ball, Luke still showed an ability to facilitate offensive sets, with good decision-making and feel playing out of the elbow and top of key areas. He was able to put pressure on the defense constantly looking to push the ball after securing rebounds, and his ability to finish above the rim adds a different element to his game. With his body and frame continuing to grow, he’s still tough and capable of holding his own guarding bigger opposition allowing his team to play “small”. IQ and awareness are a plus for him on this end, as he seemed to be in the right spots to help his teammates defensively, impacting drives or finishes at the rim. Luke is a Swiss army knife. If he can continue to polish his handle and be a consistent shooter from the perimeter, he will continue to garner more attention and elevate his overall game.