The Take Away: Millbrook Winter Showcase
Phenom Hoops hosted their 2nd annual Millbrook Winter Showcase. Much like last year, it was filled with a number of talented teams ready to compete! While there were a number of talented players it was no easy task pointing out the standouts. We managed to narrow it do to a few players that stood above the rest.
Thomas Allen (6’2/PG/2017/Garner High School – Garner, NC) – You’ll be hard pressed to find a smoother player in the state than Allen. He possesses a finesse to his game that makes everything he does look easy. On the offensive end, Allen can break his man down off the dribble, get to the basket and finish with ease. He also has a deadly jump shot that he can knock down inside the perimeter or beyond the arch. Allen can score in bunches and easily fill-up the stat sheet – finished with 25 points, 11 assist, and 9 rebounds against Neuse Christian. Defensively, while he has the aptitude to be an elite defender he has yet to cross that threshold. Overall, once Allen figures out how to maintain aggressiveness throughout the course of a game along with the things that he already does well he’ll not only be a top player in the state, but in the country!
Maurice Wilcox (5’10/PG/2018/Neuse Christian – Raleigh, NC) – If there was one player that left a big impression on everyone at the showcase, it was Maurice Wilcox! Some would say that he had a breakout moment, but if you’ve seen him play prior, his performance should come as no surprise.
See what was said about Wilcox in Grassroots Tip-Off
Wilcox finished with 20 points, the big deal was the manner in which he got those points. He got to the basket and finished at the rim, knocked down free throws, found open teammates for the assist, but mostly he drained NBA range 3 pointers. However, Garner did a fantastic job in making the adjustment in the 2nd half, as they came out in a “box & 1” to slow down Wilcox’s hot hand. As the scouting report gets out, Wilcox will have to learn to adjust and free himself up (come off of screens) to get open for his shot or taking his man off the dribble. On the defensive end he put pressure on the ball; whether it was in a full-court press or man-to-man he made sure to be pesky. Overall, the word is starting to spread and Wilcox will become the focal point of many defenses. Nonetheless, there’s no doubt that he’ll be able to handle it.
Tre Turner (6’4/SG/2018/Northwest Guilford – Greensboro, NC) – One of the best things you can do as a player is be consistent and Turner was exactly that. From the start of the game he was ready to go. Offensively, Turner caught fire early as he knocked down 3 pointer after 3 pointer, finishing with 15 points after the 1st quarter (and 28 points for the game) against Trinity Christian. He always seemed to be in the right place at the right time, ready to catch and shoot. When the defense crowded him, Turner was able to put the ball on the floor and get to the basket. On the defensive end he moved well laterally, keeping his man in front of him. Turner also did well playing the passing lanes, finishing with 5 steals.
Gerrard Simpkins (6’4/PG/2016/Bishop Sullivan – Virginia Beach,
VA) – Simpkins possesses all attributes a good Point Guard should have – size, long limbs, and a motor. Offensively, he does a good job controlling the tempo, surveying the floor and running the team. Smpkins is a reliable ball handler that can make sound decisions. In the open floor he gets up the court in a hurry and has the athleticism to finish above the rim. Defensively, Simpkins uses his length and speed to pester his man and disrupt passing lanes. He has the ability to be an elite level defender due to possessing the quickness and agility. He also showed that he’s not above getting in there to rebound, finishing with 11 rebounds. While Simpkins has a good upside, it was noticed that he doesn’t shoot the ball very much. There were a number of opportunities where his defender gave him too much room or the defense was late in rotation and he did not capitalize. Even with a limited number of jump-shots, Simpkins was still able to finish with 16 points in the victory against Freedom Christian (Fayetteville, NC).
Telligence Johnson (6’3/SG/2017/Terry Sanford – Fayetteville, NC) – Although Johnson is listed at 6’3 he plays like he’s 6’7. He uses his length and athleticism to his advantage on both ends of the court. On defense it’s easy to see that Johnson takes pride in being a lockdown defender. With his quick feet he’s able to stay in front of his man off the dribble and slide over to provide help defense. In the event that his man gets by him, Johnson does a great job meeting them at the rim, usually resulting in a blocked shot! Offensively, he has the capability to get the basket with ease with his quickness. Johnson also excels in getting “garbage” points because of his relentless work ethic around the basket. One thing that can benefit him is shooting more. The times he shot the ball he had very good form and elevation. Another opportunity for Johnson is to add 2 or 3 dribble moves to his repertoire. This will allow him to get the space he needs to get off his jumper. With the likes of Wake Forest on deck to watch Johnson, it’s a good sign that he’ll have some more big time schools coming after him in the near future.
Malik Johnson (6’0/PG/2018/Terry Sanford – Fayetteville, NC) – Johnson is arguably one of the toughest players to guard in a 1-on-1 situation. He possess a combination of skills that make it hard for anyone to stay in front of him. Johnson is quick, athletic, and ultra confident! He has the ball on the string and has a barrage of moves that he uses to leave defenders where they stand. Johnson also has good passing abilities – knowing where to deliver the ball and throwing pinpoint ally-oops. He does have a taste for the flare, as there were times that he opted for the fancy pass versus the simple one. Also, even though he can make shots, he’s got a some work to do on his form. Should Johnson implement that adjust he would transform himself into a triple-threat, which would mean trouble for any opponent. Defensively, he uses his attributes to hound his man and intimidate the offense. Johnson has no problem guarding his man the length of the court. Overall, it’s clear that Johnson is looked to as a leader even though he is one of the younger players on his team. He’s already getting looked at by top universities and as he makes subtle improvements to his overall game, he’ll have a lot more.
Jordan Ratliffe (6’0/PG/2017/Village Christian – Fayetteville, NC) – When you watch Ratliffe play you can’t help but enjoy his demeanor. Throughout the
entire course of the game he is cool, calm and collected. He never seems to get bothered or rattled which is a great quality in a player. Although a bit undersized, it is easy to tell that Ratliffe has been in the weight room putting on some muscle. In the game against Terry Sanford (Fayetteville, NC), he got 2 early offensive fouls that kept him out most of the 1st half. In the 2nd half, with his team down early in the 4th quarter Ratliffe mounted a comeback that gave his team the lead. Although his shot was off, Ratliffe has a smooth, high arching jumper that looks good every time he lets it go. He also has a knack for getting to the basket as he uses his “sneaky bounce” to finish at the rim. On the defensive end, Ratliffe did well utilizing his strength to contain what would be mismatches against bigger opponents. Overall, he has a short memory and always looks ahead to the next play. As he continues to work on his basketball IQ, Ratliffe will definitely be one to watch.
Matt Kalaf (6’7/SF/2016/Neuse Christian – Raleigh, NC) – One of the biggest surprises of the showcase came from Sr., Matt Kalaf. It was a refreshing to see him break out of his proverbial shell. While he’s always been known for his shooting ability, which is a huge advantage for his height, he’s also been known to depend heavily on it. However, against Garner he maintained the perfect balance. Kalaf was not only on from the 3 point line, but he also got into the paint for easy points and grabbed rebounds with aggression and ferocity – finishing with 25 points and 7 rebounds! Defensively, he lacks lateral quickness but makes up for it with effort and using his frame to crash the boards. As he continues to work on his defensive presence and not let his shooting dictate his level of energy, he’ll become a more complete player. Kalaf already has a few Division 1 offers under his belt and should he continue to play like he did at the Millbrook Showcase the number of offers will surely increase.