With the limited number of teams in each age group, I was able to spend more time watching 15U games than normal, and I’m glad I did so. There were countless talented young prospects competing in the event who have bright futures and performed well for their teams. Let’s take a look at some of the 2023 players who stepped up at the LakePoint Live Showcase.
6’3″ G Caleb Foster (Team Curry)
After playing up with the Curry’s 17U team at The Opening, Foster picked up his first 2 offers from Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. Foster was back in the 16U division and more than backed up those offers. At the 16U level, he is a 20-5-5 threat pretty much every game, something that most 2022 prospects can’t even claim. Foster possesses a blend of poise and decision-making that you will rarely see from a guy who still has 3 years left of high school. He doesn’t get sped up often, lets his scoring opportunities come as they will, and has good IQ as a defender. He’s already close to 6’3” with a solid frame and a well-rounded skillset on offense also. You’ll continue to hear his name a lot the next few years.
6’2″ G London Johnson (Game Elite)
The newest guard in Georgia’s impressive 2023 class, Johnson is sure to find himself towards the top when we form our 1st rankings for this group. He left his imprint on the LakePoint Showcase with consistent 25+ point outings while also distributing and defending at a high level. At the 15U level, there isn’t much stopping him from getting where he wants to go; Johnson is quick with the ball and lulls defenders to sleep with his patience before capitalizing once a small opening is there. His ability to penetrate the defense and force guys to move and help creates open looks for his team constantly. Once defenders try to adjust, Johnson has a nice shot from the outside that you have to respect. His quickness is an asset defensively also as he collects steals with active hands and feet in addition to good anticipation. I’d love to see him match up with some of Georgia’s other top 2023 guards.
The Celtics won the 15U Championship and brought a lot of entertainment value with 81 points scored in the final. They feature a lot of guys who are on the rise, but Austen Colton, Mari Jordan, and Marquavious Brown stood out the most in the championship game.
Colton erupted for 32 points and 5 3’s to lead the team to victory, starting the game hot from the outside and continuing to attack thereafter. He stayed aggressive while still being efficient and limiting his mistakes. Colton has good IQ that aids him as a smaller guard and already has a pretty sturdy body. You can tell he has a quiet killer in him and he just finds way to get things done.
Jordan showed his advanced scoring ability at Dacula this winter and it’s even more evident when going against guys his own age. He looks to have gotten quicker and more explosive athletically, making him even more of a threat. Jordan’s size, skill, and length on the wing for a 2023 prospect are impressive; he is effective from a variety of spots and balances each of his scoring tools well.
Brown was one of the better athletes in the entire event throughout all age groups. He’s really explosive off of two feet even in traffic, and has a wiry frame with long arms that allows him to be successful among bodies. Brown played with a good motor and filled a variety of roles both inside and on the perimeter for the Celtics on his way to a near double-double in the championship.
The Xpress fell to the Celtics in the aforementioned 15U Final, but that shouldn’t take away from how they performed throughout the weekend. This team has some good local prospects but has also plucked from neighboring states to create an impressive roster. I think Stephon Castle is the best long-term prospect of the bunch. He already possesses great size for a guy who can be your primary ball-handler, has a solid build, and plays with good pace. Castle did a good job of rebounding and making things happen in transition but also showed some nice skill and feel when things were slowed down. Staying in front of him during the weekend was a tall task.
The Xpress had the best shooting performance I saw during the weekend against Pro One thanks to Ja’Mari Arnold and Kendall Evans, who both hit 4+ 3’s in the game. Arnold is small but quick with loads of confidence and deep range on his shot. He had a good outing in the championship also. Evans is a bigger wing with a solid body and value on both sides of the ball.
Johntarius Green also stepped up in the championship as another guard who can do damage in the open court offensively or create turnovers on defense. Top football prospect Keldric Faulk was a force inside in the paint all weekend and Jaxon Burnette gave them another versatile piece with some size.
In their 1st action of the summer, the youngest Allstars bunch looked like they have already built some good chemistry. They moved the ball as well as any of the 15U teams I watched and have a multitude of capable scorers that they can rely on. From the game I watched, Mason Etter, Tayden Owens, and Brigham Rogers looked like the team’s best prospects while Carson Cole gave them reliable shooting and smarts.
Etter showed a tremendous IQ during the high school season and that was a big help for him last weekend as well. Against NME, he worked against their zone effectively, finding small creases and coming through with the correct play out of the high post often. Etter looks like he may have grown another inch and has gotten stronger. His shot was accurate both from 3 and mid-range and he got a lot of 50-50 balls because of his instincts. I’m excited to watch what he adds to his game next.
The younger brother of Taihland Owens, Tayden took the first step in making a name for himself at LakePoint. He’s much smaller than his older brother but has good shooting ability like him and is equipped with speed and quickness that allows him to make things happen on both ends. Owens had a solid game against NME before putting up 31 of the team’s 65 points in their matchup with Team Forrest. He’ll hit contested shots, can get by defenders often, and flies around on defense.
Rogers showed some good traits for a young post that I feel like will make for a promising future. The Allstars’ game against NME wasn’t his best display of scoring, but Rogers continued to run the floor well both ways and played with a good motor in the paint. He has solid mobility, showed some touch, and rebounded well in both halves. It seems like he has a good feel for passing as well, which I always like to see. He’s one I want to watch again soon.
Pro One Select
Pro One’s 15U group made the trip from Alabama and did not disappoint. They brought a collection of smart, skilled guards that had people talking and almost defeated the Celtics team that won the championship. With an early offer from Samford in hand, Win Miller headlines this team. A physically mature 6’3” guard, Miller is a difficult match for most 15U players. He creates a lot with the ball in his hands and makes sure to find teammates while also scoring frequently. Miller didn’t have his best shooting weekend, but he got in the paint almost whenever he wanted, fought through contact, and had some impressive finishes. He also did a great job rebounding for a Pro One team that lacked a post presence. Miller has some similarities to 2021 Pro One player and Liberty commit Brody Peebles; it will be fun to track his development.
One of my favorite guys to watch regardless of age last weekend was Kiah Key. He’s a coach’s son and that background is evident quickly once you start watching him play. Key brings a competitive fire to him, always looks to make the extra pass, and knocks down shots with confidence. He put up a near triple-double against the Georgia Canes and made a handful of pesky, winning plays that you love to see. A guy like him is needed and very valuable to every team.
Last but not least, Brandon Fussell was an important piece in Pro One’s success during the weekend as well. He’s a ball of energy who never stops coming at you and brings some grit and toughness to the table. Fussell is another strong young prospect and uses that to his advantage in the 15U Division. He went for over 20 points in Pro One’s win against the Canes, stepping up in the 2nd half especially with some difficult finishes at the basket and defensive contributions.