Take Away: Basketball Elite Fab 4o
In it’s 2nd year the Fab 40, hosted by Charles Clark and Basketball Elite, brought 40 elite players predominately from the eastern side of North Carolina to Fayetteville, NC. With an audience of fans, media and college coaches, these players came out and put on a show. While this event was extremely well organized, what stood out the most was how well the players moved the ball around during the games. No one kid dribbled the air out of the ball or tried to do too much. Everyone played well within the confines of their game and showed why they were there.
As always in events such as this, there are tons of talented players. However, there were some players that stood out above the rest.
Dominic Williams (Kinston HS/PG/2016/5’9): Whenever you see players with Williams’ size, they can usually do one of two things: 1) shoot the lights out or 2) handle the rock. Williams is able to do a bit of both, but more the latter. He’s really crafty and while unassuming, he’s shifty and has the ball on the string. There were a series of plays where he put the defender to sleep then hit him with a nasty In&Out or a quick crossover. When he breaks his man down Williams does a good job taking advantage of the situation. If another defender steps up, he uses his momentum to go by him and get to the basket. If the help defense doesn’t come he pulls up for the free throw line jumper. While small he’s unassumingly tough on defense, so you can forget it if you think Williams is going to be a pushover. Overall, he’s a point guard that can take control of the game, run the team, and get you points when the team needs it.
Malik Johnson (Terry Sanford/2018/PG/6’0): Johnson is already made a name for himself as one of the best point guards in the state, regardless of class. So here’s what you already know – elite quickness, elite athleticism, handle, and can knock down the open 3. Here’s what doesn’t usually get mentioned, Johnson is a hard nosed defender. With his lateral quickness and fast hands he’s not only able to stay in front of his man, but get steals and disrupt offenses. If his man gets past him, he relies on his ability to reach around and strip the ball, catching the offender completely off guard. Another aspect that is rarely talked about is his competitiveness – which seems to be a common theme from the players out of Fayetteville, NC. It’s clear that he’s here to win and hates to lose, so you will hardly see him take plays off. What you will see is, him leave it all on the court, which is not as common as you would it expect it to be. Johnson is already at that “must see” level in the state and there’s not doubt he’ll be there nationally. As he continues to improve he’ll have an abundance of college coaches beating his door down to come to their school.
Melquan Ames (Weldon HS/2016/F/6’5): Athletic, lanky, hustler are all words that can describe Ames game. He has the ability to play above the rim, rebound and cause havoc on the defensive end. His long arms make it difficult for the offense to get to their spots. Ames shows flashes of being a triple threat, which can cause all types of havoc on any defense. With his size and length Ames is most effective when he’s driving to the basket or battling in the paint. Overall, he does a great job executing on both ends of the floor. As he goes on to the next level and adds a mid-range jumper to his game, Ames will be that much more formidable.
China Jones (Voyager Academy HS/2016/Wing/6’5): What stands out most about Jones is his demeanor. He has the face one would see on an assassin. Throughout the Fab 40 Jones was consistent from the 3 point line, knocking down shots from all over the court, and it didn’t matter if they were open and contested shots. He did well getting to the basket using his size and dribble to get past his defender. Jones also plays above the rim and any time the opportunity presents itself, he doesn’t hesitate to try to tear the basket down! Overall, he showed that he can score at all 3 levels. Whichever school is lucky enough to pick him up will be getting a gem that can be impactful to the program immediately!
Bobby Grubb (Jacksonville HS/2016/Wing/6’4 ): A “can do it all” type player that would be any coaches dream. Throughout the Fab 40 event, he literally did everything – rebounded, shot well, got to the basket, defended, communicated, and played with a ton of effort. He was also the only player to get a nickname from Fab 40 MC, Rod Bridgers – Bobby “Buckets” after going off in the event championship game. Throughout the event he played with what seemed to be an everlasting motor. Grubb was always moving on the offensive end, always getting back on defense, and didn’t take one play off. He’s not flashy but he gets the job done. Give him too much space and he’ll knock down the jumper. Play him too close and he’ll drive right past you. Off the ball, he’ll run his defender off screen after screen to wear him down, and once he gets the ball the defender is gassed from chasing him around, then he strikes! Overall, he’s extremely efficient and skilled in all the basics and uses an extra gear of effort to help him standout. His high energy along with knockdown shooting earned him MVP honors of the Fab 40, which was well deserved! This kid is a coach’s dream, because he’s the type of player you only have to instruct once, if at all!