Our Military Circuit with Hargrave last weekend, January 30th & 31st, brought together 14 teams that featured a wide range of talent. There was some great action on both days with close matchups and guys rising to the occasion to help their teams. With so many quality prospects competing, it was hard to pick this group, but here’s our Top 5 Available 2021 prospects from the event. Next we will be highlighting some overlooked 2021 prospects, underclassmen, high-motor players, and more.
7’1” C Efton Reid (IMG Academy)
Considered as the top available center in all of 2021 after Chet Holmgren, Reid played like it at the Military Circuit with averages of 16.5 PPG, 9.5 RPG, & 4.5 BPG. His work on the block in IMG’s 2nd game of the weekend was a sight to see. Seemingly every time he got a deep catch, he scored. Reid makes it easy for his teammates to find him by posting aggressively, getting a low, wide base to seal, and giving a big target with both hands. He showed some good footwork on his moves and has good extension & touch on his hooks in the lane. At 7’1” there wasn’t much that opposing guys could do to stop him. His defensive presence is just as impressive as not much can get past him on the interior; he does a good job of staying straight up with both hands and has good anticipation & reaction time as a shot-blocker. What probably impressed me more than anything with Reid was how vocal he was. He was constantly talking to, directing, and encouraging his teammates in both of IMG’s games. You could tell that his vocal presence and energy were infectious for their team and I appreciated it because you just don’t see many guys do that. There hasn’t been a ton of info out on his recruitment lately, I’m very interested to see what path he takes from IMG.
6’11” C Charles Bediako (IMG Academy)
As if having Efton Reid wasn’t enough, IMG sports another 7-footer in their frontcourt with Bediako. A quick leaper with length and a great motor at 6’11”, it doesn’t take long to see why Bediako is considered as a Top 30 prospect nationally in 2021. He isn’t a big that you’re going to feed in the post possession after possession, instead Bediako gets his points by staying active & ready off the ball, crashing the offensive glass, and running the floor. His aforementioned physical traits are put to full use on both ends of the floor. He’s alert and gives lots of effort as a shot-blocker, getting up in the blink of an eye to send shots away aggressively and blocking/altering other attempts that you don’t expect him to. He’s agile too and has the ability to move his feet pretty well when guarding away from the interior. Offensively, he’s a great lob & drop-off target and looks to finish with authority whenever there’s a chance. He’s not timid in traffic and can go up, over, and through defenders to convert. It is rare to find a big man with his combination of athletic tools, resulting in a heavy recruitment that is now coming down to the wire.
6’0” PG Jackie Johnson (Hargrave)
An electric scorer who has been putting up huge numbers for Hargrave throughout the season, Johnson showed the other parts to his game as well at the Military Circuit and averaged a well-rounded 20 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and 6 APG on the weekend. He’s all types of quick with the ball and when the defense allows him to get momentum going to his left, you might as well say good night. With his stocky frame and ability to hang in the air, Johnson is better around the basket than you might expect for a guy his height. He can score from anywhere so when you try to adjust to his ability to penetrate, he’ll make you pay from deep, which he did to Massanutten with 7 made 3’s in their matchup. His vision is underrated too as he is a creative passer who can fit the ball through tight spaces often. There will always be those who have questions about smaller guards, but with Johnson’s skill level and resume against quality competition, the inquiries he’s getting are understandable. I’m interested to see the turn his recruitment takes over the next couple of months.
6’3” PG Christian Wright (TSF)
Similar to Johnson, Wright’s production throughout the year for TSF has been undeniable. Although TSF only played 1 game at the event, he made the most of it by helping them take IMG down to the wire with 27 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists. He won’t do a ton that jumps off the page and creates excitement, but Wright is really skilled and can score in a multitude of ways. He is savvy operating in the halfcourt, showing patience when getting into the teeth of the defense and rarely getting sped up. He’s a scorer by nature but also has the IQ and willingness to get teammates open looks. His size at 6’3” and scoring package from 10 feet & in allows him to produce points even against size & athleticism. He creates angles, has good dexterity, and gets into the bodies of guys to force fouls. What has made him even more lethal is the development of his 3-point shot; he’s made some nice tweaks to it over the past year or so and has to be accounted for from well beyond the arc. Wright has a mature game that should transition nicely to the college level and he’s used to facing top guys & getting the job done. He’s going to be a nice late pick-up for someone.
6’8” PF IJ Ezuma (Hargrave)
I understand the times we’re in and how schools are going about their offers/recruitment of 2021 prospects currently, but after watching Ezuma at the Military Circuit, I was expecting him to have considerably more going on in his recruitment. He’s built like a tank, is pretty athletic, and plays hard. Physical play is a constant from him and he can just overpower guys when he’s trying to score inside or working for rebounds. Ezuma gets off his feet well which helps him as a finisher and makes him effective when crashing the offensive glass or protecting the basket. He won’t take many plays off on either end. What opened my eyes most was his shooting potential; he hit 2 3’s in the 2nd half against Combine and they didn’t look like flukes. I’m not sure how often he takes 3’s but after seeing his form on those 2 makes and watching his release on FT’s, I think he could be a competent shooting threat in time. Tulsa offered him quickly after his 1st game at the event, adding to his current offers from EKU and UNCW. There are others who have entered the mix recently and I’m sure that group will continue to expand.