High on the Hill...
Hill College were one out of three teams to be represented from Region V in the Junior College National Tournament in Hutchinson, KS, after winning the Region V tournament. As TexasHoops.com got a closer look at the Wranglers this past weekend, head coach Swede Trenkle will have the pleasure of relying on two returning sophomores.
Tyrell Bellot-Green looks to be slimmer and ready to help the Wranglers with his on-point shooting abilities. The 6-foot-7 Canadian is a threat from deep when his feet are set and he moved well around the perimeter and found open space to knock in his mid-range shot. According to Trenkle, Bellot-Green will sign during the late period, so expect the sharp-shooter to have plenty of offers to choose from.
On the other hand, teammate Coris Williams has his list down to three and will have his visits wrapped up in the next few weeks. The 6-foot-6 forward will sign in the early period with either UTSA, Sam Houston, or SFA. This past weekend, Williams showed his versatility as a forward that has a lot of body to him, and has a lot of flash to his game. He is an outstanding passer, rebounder and scorer. He really knows how to use his body to set up scoring opportunities.
James Miller, head coach of New Mexico Junior College has to be excited about his team's chances of returning to the National Tournament, especially with Cullen Russo as one of the Thunderbirds' main players. Russo, a Minnesota native is a long and rangy power forward that is a solid all around player. There isn't much you can't say about Russo, as he is eye catching when you see him on the floor. He has an athletic build and is very active on the court, rebounding and altering shots. He is a high skilled forward that can take his game inside and out.
Russo's recruitment is coming from multiple levels. TCU, SMU, Pacific, Minnesota, Old Dominion, Oklahoma State and Houston have all been in contact.
TexasHoops also saw guard Nick Billingsley, a 6-foot-4 scorer out of Omaha. Any time Billingsley got the ball on the perimeter he looked to shoot or attack the rim, and he can do both. He has a smooth stroke with range, and can also put the ball on the floor and get to rim. He was great beating his defender to the hole and finishing at the rim, but he also was good at dishing the ball out to his open teammates.
Representing Bosnia in West Texas...
One of the weekends more impressive players was Midland's 6-foot-8 Kenan Guzonjic of Bosnia. Let it be known that head coach Jordan Dreiling has a really good prospect in inside/out forward/post Guzonjic. The lefty was using power moves around the basket, stepping out and draining the three, was able to get the ball at the top of the perimeter and get his passes inside to teammates. There wasn't much that Guzonjic didn't showcase as he operated at the goal using up and under moves, and was crafty against more athletic players. Offers have come in from Southern Mississippi, SFA, Louisiana Monroe, Louisiana Lafayette, and UT-Arlington.
Quick as Jaguar...
Giving off the WOW! factor over the weekend was Jacksonville College's Johnny Hamilton. Head coach Jody Bailey has been raving about Hamilton and saying how special his big man is. The 6-foot-11 Trinidad native seems to play about 18 inches above the rim. On the defensive end of the ball, Hamilton is a rim protector, blocking shots and rebounding. Offensively, Hamilton is a little raw but tries to put his entire arm through the basket when he is around the basket to score. He does play with his back to the rim and makes moves after a quick dribble.
On the subject of long post players, head coach Brian Hoberecht and the Kilgore Rangers have 6-foot-11 Michael Thomas. Out of Louisiana, Thomas is is an athlete that can run the floor and dives to the post. He is quick off the block using his athleticism and banging it in over the defense. He is really good at rebounding in and around his area. Hamilton is also willing to put the ball on the floor and come off the bounce.
Offers are coming from all over country for Thomas. Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Houston plus twenty other college programs have offered.
Shoshi is skilled...
When it came to skilled players, Howard's Lis Shoshi has to be placed near the top of the list. At nearly 6-foot-11, Howard's head coach Scott Raines has the luxury of utilizing Shoshi away from the basket. The skilled Kosovo native has a soft jumper from mid-range and hits the three. He can see over defenders and skip the ball inside.
Travis Charles is back for his sophomore season for coach Raines, and is the team's work horse. Charles looked bigger and stronger and more skilled. He was able to get position on the interior to back down smaller forwards, and will take them off the dribble. He is a physical player that uses his body well and is a tough blue collar player.
Other players of note...
- New Mexico JC's Kimani Jackson (Red Shirt Freshman) plays with bounce around the rim and gets up for dunks and put-backs with ease. A great looking athlete that has some developing to do, but has the athleticism to compete at a high level.
- Two freshman bigs to keep an eye on at Blinn College, playing for Scott Shumacher are 6-foot-10 Trey Edwards (Mansfield Legacy) and 6-foot-9 Rick Curry (South Grand Prairie). Watching Edwards, you can see that coach Shumacher has his taught him some of the tools he had been lacking. Edwards is polishing up his game and did a nice job playing with his back to the basket.
First thing that is noticeable about Curry is that he is trimming down. He looked good taking the floor and set himself up for scores off the high ball screen and diving to the basket. He also did a nice job on the boards.
- Torren Jones, a former Missouri Tiger finished his senior year ranked by Eric Bossi of Rivals.com at No.123 (2013) as a three star prospect. There is a good reason why he did, and with his appearance alone he has the look of a high major player. He created room on the block and grabbed the ball off the glass and stayed above the rim.
-Last year was a big year for Hill and guard play, and it looks like it will continue with the play of 6-foot point guard Marcus Johnson. Johnson is an energetic floor leader that can score from behind the arc or by taking the ball to the hole and finishing in traffic. He is a nice passer and can see the floor.
-Head coach Jim Sigona of Collin County has returned 6-foot-8 Josh Wilchombe from New York. Wilchombe is a long lean post player that will get on the block and use he length to create space. He uses he long reach to finish at the basket and explode over defenders. He is a tough inside player. Teammate, pick and pop forward, Stefan Andelkovic of Serbia likes to find himself behind the arc. He drains the three, but will move inside and score.
- Once a Lumberjack from SFA, 6-foot-6 Ben Brown-White is now with Kevin Gill's McLennan Highlanders squad. Brown-White gets out in transition and runs the court. He is slippery from the wing and scores around his opponents with nice body control.
- Kilgore has two forwards that will help with the scoring in D1 transfer Bakari Copeland (Charleston Southern) and Larry Beckett. Both are big and strong athletic players who can get to the rim from the wing. Both will rebound and defend. Copeland is 6-foot-6 with nice size and Beckett is a 6-foot-8 combo forward that will face up to get his shot off.