Written By Benji Oxman
This past summer I coached with the 17U Atlanta Timberwolves. As a travel ball coach you’re mostly focusing on your own players and helping their recruitment, but I wanted to share some guys who caught my eye this summer who I feel don’t have the offers they deserve yet.
6’4 W Will Biven (Knoxville West HS (TN)/B-Maze Biven)
Will is an athletic wing who truly understands the game; he’s a coach’s kid and it shows in his game. He doesn’t need to score 20+ points to impact the game even though he’s always capable of that. Will wants to get to the rim first, but his shooting mechanics are smooth and he consistently knocks down open shots. Not to mention he passes, rebounds and defends as well as any guard I’ve seen this summer. Biven is a true winner, and it showed this summer by his AAU team finishing with a 48-7 record. There are a variety of schools that will love everything that Will Biven brings to the table. He currently holds one D2 offer to Alabama-Huntsville.
6’2 CG Jed Miller (Southern California Academy/California Stars Black)
In our game against the California Stars, Jed Miller put on a clinic of how to shoot the ball. Was 7/10 from 3 including 5 of those 7 makes being heavily contested whether it was off the catch or dribble. Jed was pulling up from the volleyball line in transition, coming off stagger screens and running the pick and roll to perfection. I had to do more research and see who this kid was. Last year during his HS season, he had games of 62 points (22/35 from the field, 10/15 from 3), 6 rebounds, 3 assists & 0 turnovers. Another 44-point game (13/20 from the field, 6/10 from 3), 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. Led his HS to their first state title game since 1974 and won county player of the year. Somehow Jed has 0 offers from any D1 school and decided to reclass from 2021 to 2022. Currently has interest from: Pepperdine, Cornell, Navy, Army, Montana State, Winthrop, Idaho, Vanderbilt, San Jose State, and San Francisco. I’m not sure if coaches think he’s too small, takes “bad shots” or don’t like that he isn’t a true PG but I think some programs will take a serious liking to him soon. Jed has beautiful shooting mechanics and a great feel for the game. It may sound dramatic but his play style is very similar to Steph Curry and at this point in the recruiting process sounds like he’s receiving similar feedback that Steph did. Not saying Jed Miller is the next Steph Curry but I’d bet Jed will have a successful college career and potentially will be busting some March Madness brackets sooner rather than later.
6’8 PF Tony Carpio (Providence Christian/Atlanta Allstars)
Tony is an old school physical big man who loves to post on the block. He’s got a variety of moves and counters in the post and that combo with his strength and athleticism makes him a tough cover for most bigs. He crashes the offensive glass constantly and also has the ability to step out and hit open 3s. His shot is smooth and continues to improve. Defensively he’s solid in drop coverage in the pick and roll to go along with some rim protection as well. Tony currently holds offers to Citadel, Army, Navy, Georgia Southwestern and Montevallo; it seems like some other may be close to pulling the trigger soon.
6’6 F Jaylon Taylor (Buford/Atlanta Celtics 3SSB)
Jaylon is a long, athletic wing who is wired as a scorer. He has a reliable 3 point shot to go along with his elite athletic ability. Although Jaylon is a good shooter, he’s at his best when he’s attacking downhill. He has the ability to play above the rim along with creatively finishing around the rim with both hands. He also loves to get to his spots in the mid-range and consistently knocks it down too. His motor has been much improved this summer and that’s helped him on the defensive side of the ball. Jaylon currently only holds one offer to Jacksonville State but I expect his recruitment to increase during the HS season.
6’4 G Chance Thacker (Providence Christian/Atlanta Allstars)
Chance is another coach’s kid on this list who truly has a high basketball IQ. At 6’4 200 lbs. Chance already has a college ready build. Chance is a really talented shooter who’s athletic enough to slash and play above the rim as well. Similar to Will Biven, Chance does a lot of things really well and never forces his shots. Chance can defend 1-3 to go along with a really good ability to rebound. Chance picked up two D1 offers last summer to Robert Morris and Stetson and his offer list hasn’t grown. Maybe coaches are seeing other things when they go watch the Atlanta Allstars play, but every time I see them Chance is always an impact player on their talented roster who wins, as evident by the Allstars’ 40-9 record on the summer.
6’7 PF Mason Lockhart (Columbia/D-Favors Celtics)
Mason is one of my favorite bigs in the class. He’s strong and has a wide variety of moves in the post. He’s got great hands and feel in the post. Mason started the summer playing for Game Elite 3SSB but never really found a rhythm with that group so for July he switched back to his old team, D-Favors Celtics, where I saw him play to his strengths. Setting hard screens and rolling to the rim, playing through the post, and knocking down his mid-range jumper. Last HS season, Mason averaged 18 PPG & 12 RPG proving he’s always a double-double threat every time he touches the floor. I expect a big HS season from Mason this year to help grow his offer list which stands currently at only Mercer.