As America starts to move back toward normalcy it was fun to get out and have a chance to head to a basketball event here in Las Vegas the weekend of May 22-23, as Dinos Trigonis brought the 2021 Nothing But Net  Spring Showcase to the Tarkanian Basketball Academy. The event featured 120 players from 18 states across the country and definitely showed that players are ready to get out and play this game they love.

The quality of play was solid all weekend as more than seventy players impressed us with the potential to play college basketball and didn’t make it easy for the event director and the scouts in attendance to pick the two “Cream of the Crop” All-Star line-ups that totaled fifty players!  The two games were competitive and served as a fitting ending to the weekend in Vegas. All games were live-streamed (and available for replay) by BallerTV.com

In the Top 50 game it was close early with the White squad holding a slim one-point lead at the half. But the dynamic backcourt duo of 6’2” 2022 Nate Pickens and 6’1” 2022 Mekhi Bentley flat out lit it up from the 3-point arc to blow it open in the second half and lead the White to an 89-74 victory over the Blue. Bentley led the White with 18 points on six long-range jumpers while the super quick Pickens scored 17 points including three of his ow shots that fell from beyond the arc. They received solid support from 5’10” 2022 Amir Ndayisaba, a defensive specialist, who added 10 points while 6’6” 2022 Jeffery Sargent added 9 points and grabbed 6 boards. The Blue squad was led by 6’6” 2021 Cameron Smalls who finished with a game high 20 points. He was joined in double figures by 6’4” 2022 Dontrell Johnson who scored 13 points and pulled down 6 rebounds in the tough loss.

The Top 25 game wrapped up the weekend and was a competitive game from start to finish as the White squad held on for a 84-77 victory over the Blue squad. The White squad featured great balance with six players with eight points or more. They were led by 6’7” 2022 Aaron Price with 12 points and 4 boards.  Joining him in double figures was 6’3” 2022 Seth Hubbard with 10 points while 6’3” 2022 Jermaine Rogers added 9 points. The trio of 6’4 2023 Varick Lewis, 6’9 2021 Kiree Huie and 6’9 2022 Ring Malith chipped in with 8 points each. Malith added 13 boards to lead everyone on the glass. The Blue squad’s top gun and the game’s leading scorer was 6’3” 2023 Sebastian Mack with 17 points and 7 boards. He was joined in double figures by 7’0” 2022 Adrame Diongue with 10 points and 4 blocks while 6’2” 2024 Style Phipps and 6’4” 2023 A.J Johnson chipped in with 9 points each in a losing effort.

The 2021 Nothing But Net Magazine Spring Showcase featured a solid group of division one talent from across the country. Ronnie Flores of the HoopScooponline.com & Ball is Life and I put our heads together to formulate the Top 25 players after the “Cream of the Crop” All-Star games. We will look at those stellar performers in depth and note some of the others of note, as we take a look at the top talent at the 2021 Nothing But Net Magazine Spring Showcase.

2021 “Nothing But Net” Spring Showcase Top 25 Prospects           

1.     Ring Malith                       2022   6’9”   PF          AOSS Prep (Corona CA)
Thin and long forward can pop and hit elbow jumper or attack the rim and create highlight dunks off the drive. He needs to add strength in the upper body to hold his own on the block but he can create space with quick feet and stick the jump hook or step back. He is on the rise and will push for a top fifty spot nationally with his play here! A talent that will get lots of high major looks this summer. He was a force in the Top 25 game with 8 points and dominated the glass with 13 rebounds in Top 30 game.

2.     Adrame Diongue              2022   7’0”   C            AZ Compass Prep (Chandler AZ)
This athletic shot blocker can dominate on the defensive end and is starting to develop as an offensive threat on the blocks or pop out to 12-feet. He has lots of upside and will play his way into a top one hundred talent this summer. He’s extremely fast end to end and should be a high major priority for schools looking for a mobile big! He was a force in the paint defensively in the Top 25 Game swatting 4 shots, grabbing 4 caroms while adding 10 points.

3.     Seth Hubbard                   2022   6’3”   SG          St. Francis (Alpharetta GA)
This physical power guard can slash and finished in traffic versus contact with the best here. He can finish with either hand and showed range to the arc to keep defenses honest. Speaking of defense, he flat out comes to play and looks to match-up with the best opponents has to offer! His two-way tools will draw mid to high major interest. He scored 10 points and grabbed 4 rebounds in a solid effort in the Top 25 game.

4.     Latwan Brown                  2022   6’5”   WF         R.O.N. Institute (Inglewood CA)
Athletic wing who can make highlights off the drive or alley-oop pass. He has ability to snap rebounds out of his zone and start the break. He has tools to be lock down defender and will see lots of mid-up looks this summer. Shot consistency will determine the final levels of interest. He had a workman like effort with 6 points in Top 25 game.

5.     Nate Pickens                     2022   6’3”   CG         AZ Compass Prep (Chandler AZ)
This explosive and quick combo guard proved he belonged in Top 25 game (we agree) as he dominated top fifty game scoring 17 points including 3 “threes” and grabbed 3 boards. It was the consistency of his perimeter jumper that improved in every game that took him to another level in our eyes, He used it to blow by people in all-star matchups! He will see lots of mid to high major interest this summer and has the potential to crack the Top 100 by summer’s end!

6.     Aaron Price                       2022   6’7”   CF        Liberty (Henderson NV)
This bouncy combo forward impressed us with his effort on both ends of the court, hitting the glass and getting after opponents on “D”! He showed range to 17-feet that can extend in time and a will to just flat out play hard. He scored 12 points and pulled down 4 boards in the Top 25 game making it evident that he should have been in top game. Outstanding student should see Mountain West interest in future!

7.     A.J Johnson                     2023   6’4”   SG/WF   Taft (Woodland Hills CA)
Johnson has a quick first step off isolation and can get to the rim and finish with either hand in traffic. He showed range to the three-point arc but needs to make it more of a weapon to set up his drive to cup and move to guard more consistently. He has time and we expect him to keep working! He scored 9 points and grabbed 4 caroms in a solid Top 25 game performance. Rising junior should see lots of mid to high majors taking looks this summer.

8.     Sebastian Mack                2023   6’3”   CG        Durango (Las Vegas NV)
This volume scorer has tools to play either guard spot! He has range to the three and is active on glass and starts the break with the best here. He was a force in the Top 25 game scoring 17 points, handing out 3 dimes, and pulling down 7 rebounds. Consistency will be a key to him solidifying high major interest this summer! He definitely showed the potential that earned him the #56 spot in our current 2023 Top 100!

9.     Christian Moore                2022   6’6”   CF        Northfield Mount Hermon (MA)
This prep school combo forward from Southern California has range to 17 feet on pop out off the elbow. He can create off drives, finishes in traffic and was solid on the glass all weekend long! To make the move to wing he needs to extend his perimeter range with consistency. He scored 7 points and added 5 rebounds in a solid Top 25 game effort. He will see mid majors taking a look for sure!

10    Mekhi Bentley                   2022   6’0”   CG         R.O.N. Institute (Inglewood CA)
He scored 18 points hitting 6-threes in Top 50 game and probably should have made top game. He has tools to play either guard spot, but tends at times to settle for being a scorer which at six foot may limit his opportunities to play above mid major level. But, face it he can stroke jumper and has some good quicks to work with that could attract right school!

11    Dontrell Johnson              2022   6’4”   WF        Bonanza (Las Vegas NV)
Another explosive athlete who slipped into second game as he didn’t turn it on until second day. He is a slasher and driver who can finish with the best in camp. He needs to extend his jumper and work on consistency but he’s athletic enough to draw D-1 interest. He showed his potential with a 13 point, 6 rebound and 2 block performance in Top 50 game.

12    J.C. Anthony                     2021   7’0”   C        Paraclete (Lancaster CA)
This thin and lanky Big has good feet and a sweet jump hook that was almost unstoppable all weekend. His body is going to add strength and weight, but when it does he’ll be a steal for right mid-major or higher. He only scored 4 points in the Top 25 game but dominated paint with blocked 4 shots to let people know he belonged in top game.

13    Jermaine Rogers              2022   6’3     SG          Ayala (Chino Hills CA)
Strong wing who hit jumpers off the move to 17-feet and finished with the kiss or dunk on the drive. He sees the open man when doubled on the move and is good passer on the move too! He scored 9 points and pulled down 4 boards in the Top 25 game and will see mid-up interest this summer.

14    Varick Lewis                     2023   6’4     SG        Southern Cal Academy (Los Angeles CA)
Our #99 rated rising junior had a solid weekend but didn’t show the aggressive game we’ve seen in the past. He finished drives and found his teammates on occasion off the drive and kick. He’s still on the radar at the mid to high major levels but has to step it up next time out!  He scored 8 points in the Top 25 game to make top 25 list featured here.

15    Cameron Smalls               2021   6’6”   CF          Aim High International (Wagener SC)
The last of the top fifty game players to move to top list in the camp. He led the top fifty game scoring with 20 points and showed he has 3-point range versus top talent in that game. He is quick enough to defend the perimeter and physical enough to finish in lane versus contact. Definitely a combo type who will get D-1 looks this summer.

16    Kevin Patton                     2023   6’7”   CF          AZ Compass Prep (Chandler AZ)
Another intriguing combo-forward with length, quickness and range to 18-feet off the dribble. He displayed his athleticism in Top 25 game scoring 5 points, grabbing 6 boards and swatting 2 shots. His size and length will draw coaches to watch him this summer!

17    Ashton Hardaway             2023   6’7”   PF        Bishop Montgomery (Torrance CA)
This physical and active power forward didn’t show in Top 25 game what he did throughout the weekend only scoring 3 points, but make no mistake he has good hands, catches and finishes in traffic and can snap boards off glass. He stuck 15-footers and is definitely a D-1 prospect for the future!

18    Will Smith                         2023   6’3”   CG        Bishop Montgomery (Torrance CA)
This young combo-guard has the tools to play either guard spot. He has good quicks and the length to attack and finish or stick open jumpers off the dribble. He has the size and athleticism to draw D-1 interest as he continues to mature. He got injured in first couple minutes of Top 25 game and only scored 2 points. Excellent student.

19    Kiree Huie                         2021   6’9”   C        Liberty (Henderson NV)
This unsigned senior was one of the big surprises of the event. He’s raw, but athletic and block shots and controlled the back boards in games on Saturday. He can knock down baseline jumpers from 12-feet on the “pop and face.” He received an offer from Arizona Western at the event and will see lots of interest in the next couple weeks. He scored 8 points and grabbed 6 rebounds in Top 25 game to cap his weekend.

20    Jason Hart III                    2022   6’2”   PG        Providence (Burbank CA)
He played really well on Saturday showing an excellent handle with the ability to drive and kick it to open man or finish at the rim with the kiss. He has good range, but needs to improve consistence from the arc, but potential is there to develop into high major point in time. He would have rated higher if he would have played in Top 25 game and showed his game versus camp’s best.

21    Mister Burnside                2024   6’2”   SG/WF        Cathedral (Los Angeles CA)
Young wing showed his immense potential with ability to drive and finish with either hand. He can board and take it end to end and as his range increases on jumper look out! He is a solid rebounder for a young wing and more than held his own as he scored 5 points and pulled down 6 rebounds in Top 25 game. High Majors should be monitoring his progress!

22    Jevin Sullivan                   2022   6’5”   SG/WF   North Polk (Alleman IA)
This solid bodied wing man surprised us on opening night hitting threes off dribble and catch and shooting the rock with regularity.  He has solid ball skills and might have rated higher with a little work on first step explosion to create driving space versus top athletic defenders. But he got his shot off with regularity and should see mid majors taking a look this summer. For good measure he scored 7 points and pulled down 3 boards to prove he belonged in Top 25 game.

23    Justin Daniels                   2023   6’4”   SG          Taft (Woodland Hills CA)
Daniels started the showcase out on fire knocking down threes and attacking the rim to finish with authority. Our #62-rated rising junior faded a little bit on day two as he seemed to run out of gas to those in attendance as he only scored 2 points and grabbed 3 boards in a less than productive Top 25 game. Based on his weekend’s overall performance the Pac-12 and Mountain West need to be in attendance at his games this summer.

24    Styles Phipps                   2024   6’2”   PG          St. Mary’s (Phoenix AZ)
He really grew on me as the weekend went on. Phipps has range to the three, can pass and handle well enough to run the point coupled with quicks to get by defenders to the rim. He has good court vision and with game maturity will be on the mid to high major radar! He finished off a solid weekend with 9 points in the Top 25 game.

25    Sean Johnson                  2022   6’6     WF        Sandia (Albuquerque NM)
This solid wing forward showed range to the arc and a deadly 15-foot pull-up of the dribble. He has solid ball skills and can create off the drive or start break off the glass. Good wing passer who would have rated higher if he could have played in Top 25 game. D-1 schools should be following his game this summer!

Other “Cream of the Crop All-Stars” who impressed: (Listed by Height)

Majok Chuol                             2024   7’0”   C            AOSS Prep (Corona CA)
This lean and long lefty Big can pop 15-footer at the elbow or roll and finish with the flush at the rim. His ability to add bulk and strength will determine his final college level, but mid to high majors up should be monitoring his development! He scored 4 points and pulled down 4 boards in Top 50 game.

Cole Webster                            2022   6’8     PF          Lake Christian Smith Mountain (VA)
This solid big is active on the glass, and did a solid job finishing in traffic. He’ll get some D-1 looks this summer.  Northern Cal native scored 4 points and grabbed 3 boards in Top 50 game.

Kot Malou                                 2023   6’8”   PF          AOSS Prep (Corona CA)
Long, thin and bouncy insider scored 5 points in the Top 25 game. He has to add strength and look to be more physical on the glass. He has time and should draw D-1 interest as he acclimates to game in the US over the summer!

Jeffery Sargent                         2022   6’6”   CF        Coronado (Henderson NV)
Athletic combo forward can score with his jumper facing from 17-feet or drive and finish in lane over Bigs. One for D-1 schools to monitor this summer. He scored 9 points and added 6 rebounds in Top 50 game.

Nelson Fotso                            2022   6’6”   CF          Aim High International (Wagener SC)
Athletic combo forward with an excellent body that attacked the glass and finished through contact. He is an excellent passer out of the post and hit elbow jumper but needs to extend game to determine final level. He scored 4 points and grabbed 3 rebounds in Top 50 game.

Shamar Jones                          2025   6’5”   WF        Mountain House (CA)
Young and talented wing who has range to 17-feet and has the handles to create drive to cup. He tends to try to do to much at times, but that will correct with maturity. As he enters high school, high majors should be monitoring his progress. He scored 4 points in the Top 25 game.

Kallai Patton                             2024   6’4”   WF         AZ Compass Prep (Chandler AZ)
Bouncy young wing can knock down perimeter jumper to the arc and showed he can finish off the dribble drive. He will see lots of D-1 looks this summer as he heads into his sophomore year. He scored 8 points in the Top 50 game.

Ryder Elisadez                         2024   6’3”   CG        Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas NV)
This lanky combo-guard showed he can knock down the three off the dribble or drive and kick it to the open man in half-court. He is a young lead guard that will see mids-up checking him out this summer! He had a couple assists in the Top 25 game but wasn’t as aggressive as we saw earlier in the weekend.

Semaj Barwell                           2022   6’3”   SG          Grady (Atlanta GA)
Athletic wing who likes to attack the rim off the dribble and finishes with the kiss or flush. He showed mid-range J off the dribble but needs to extend it and use it to set up his drive more. He scored 6 points and pulled down 4 boards in the Top 50 game.

Samari Barnwell                       2022   6’3”   SG          Grady (Atlanta GA)
Samari has good quicks and bounce like his brother but showed a more consistent jumper from around the arc. Look for the twins to draw D-1 looks this summer. He knocked down two threes in route to 6 points in Top 50 game.

Maurice Wright                         2023   6’3”   CG         Santa Clarita Christian (CA)
This lean and long combo-guard has good quicks and can accelerate off the dribble to the hoop. He uses his speed to stay in front of his man on “D” and has potential to develop into solid floor leader. He showed his range sticking a deep three in Top 50 game.

Yaqub Mir                                 2023   6’2”   CG        Granite Bay (CA)
Smart combo guard who really gets after you on “D”! He sees open man off the drive and kick and finishes in lane with floater or kiss. He has range to 3-point arc and uses it when he’s left open. Off the charts student will start to see D-1’s at games this summer. He didn’t score in Top 25 game which didn’t equate to play throughout the weekend.

Myles Phillips                           2022   6’0”   PG        Bothell (WA)
Quick point who has great first step and can accelerate and finish. He tends to try to do too much at times. As he matures and lets the game come to him, he has tools to draw mid major interest. He scored 5 points in the Top 25 game.

Jaycob McBath                         2022   6’0”   PG          Desert Valley (Las Vegas NV)
Solid lead guard who just missed my top 25. He sees the court and delivers rock to open man. He can drive and finish with either hand. He should see D-1’s in gym this summer! He scored 6 points and handed out 3 assists in Top 25 game.

Amir Ndayisaba                        2022   5’10” PG          AOSS Prep (Corona CA)
Quick lead guard loves to make the alley-oop pass and pushes it in transition. He has good court vision, can knock down open jumpers or finish in lane. He scored 10 points in the Top 50 game.

Tye Curry                                  2023   5’10” PG          Aim High International (Wagener SC)
Tough hard-nosed lead guard is an excellent passer who can create off drive and kick. He gets after you on defense. Coaches that like lead guards with an attitude should take a look. He scored 5 points and handed out 3 assists in Top 50 game.

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