Seal Beach, CA – The 2nd July NCAA Live Period took place from last Wednesday, July 20th through Sunday, July 24th and featured numerous events throughout the Western Region of the United States. I attended the Adidas 3 Stripe Select Basketball Open tournament held at AIM Sports Complex in Seal Beach, which featured the top teams and prospects from top to bottom of any event in the West. The Adidas Open would serve as the only shoe circuit event to be held west of Texas, which is interesting considering how much talent comes out of California alone. The event started on Wednesday with a showcase format and schedule of games before play-in games and bracket play kicked-off on Thursday. The event featured boys and girls teams from the Adidas circuit placed in divisions by age group: 17u, 16u, and 15u (girls joined at the AIM Complex for the weekend). I was in attendance starting on Day 2 (Thursday) and stayed through Day 4 (Saturday). I tried to see as many of the boys 17u and 16u clubs as possible but given the number of teams and the schedule overlap of games per division, I was not able to see every team in attendance. This article takes a look at 20 of my personal Top Underclass Performers at the event, and is based on how well they played when I watched them live. Although this article is my Top 20 Underclassmen, the players are listed in alphabetical order, not a ranked order. For each player, I provide a brief evaluation of their skills, how they played at the event, the player’s name/height/graduation class, school they attend, and their club team name. I begin this article with Mikel Brown.
2025 5’11 Mikel Brown (Orlando Christian Prep/FL)-Southeast Elite 17u:
Brown is a true lead guard with good body control and court awareness to make play after play for his teammates with the ability to create his own. Brown had a good showing against Team Loaded NC in the quarterfinals, as he dished off some pretty dimes and showed his range from deep, finishing with 12 points. Brown has shifty body movement with the ball in hand, gets his defender off balance with multiple uses of the long crossover, attacks the teeth of the defense once he sees an opening off the wing, and has nice touch on floaters and layups around the basket. Brown has good court vision, consistently surveys the floor, and makes difficult passes when on the attack with limited turnovers. Brown has a smooth stroke from the 3-point line and can knock down shots either off the dribble or the catch and shoot. Tough player with the IQ and ball control to play up in the 17u Division.
2024 6’10 Raleigh Burgess (Sycamore/Cincinnati OH)-Indiana Elite 2024/16u:
Burgess is a power forward with a solid frame that is an imposing presence in the post on both ends and can space the floor from beyond the arc. Burgess played to his size advantage in a semifinal win over ETG Midwest, as he asserted himself on the glass and had numerous buckets in the paint. Burgess uses his size and positioning to control the boards on both ends, provides multiple possessions for teammates on the offense end and limits opponents to single possessions, protects the rim in the paint blocking or altering shots, and does a solid job of finding his guards with the outlet pass and runs the floor well. Burgess has a smooth stroke on his perimeter shot, is accurate from the 3-point line, has enough handle to get by defenders over pursuing on close-outs, and has nice touch on finishes around the basket.
2024 6’4 Casmir Chavis (Park Center/Brooklyn Park MN)-JSizzles 17u:
Chavis is a physical and skilled combination guard that scores in volumes from various places on the court. Chavis had a quality showing against Utah Prospects 17u, as he would lead the team in scoring and had a dazzling deep 3-point shot fall as the half ended. Chavis has good handles and moves, shifty body movement when attacking off the dribble with good control, and is able to finisher around the basket in a multitude of ways. Chavis is effective with the 3-ball off the dribble, has quick and strong hands to disrupt opposing guards’ handles, creates turnovers that lead to transition points, and showed solid court vision to find open teammates when attacking the basket.
2024 6’7 Isaac Davis (Hillcrest/Idaho Falls ID)-Utah Prospects 17u
Davis is a physical and athletic power forward that is an absolute force around the basket on both ends with the ability to stretch the floor from the perimeter to keep the defense honest. Davis, playing up in the 17u Division, was able to bully skinnier defenders to the basket and used his skill and athleticism to get by less mobile defenders at the Adidas Open. Davis is dominant on the boards, gives his team multiple possessions on offense and limits opponents to single possession opportunities, and uses his timing and bounce to serve as a quality rim protector, especially off the weak side. Davis has nice touch around the basket, the strength to muscle through contact at the rim, gets off the ground quickly to throw down some monster dunks, and puts himself in great position in the open court to be the recipient of lobs for crowd pleasing slams. Difficult player to defend and, as he continues to develop a perimeter shot, he will be a weapon in the post and off the wing.
2024 6’4 Valdez Edgecombe (Long Island Lutheran/NY)-Southeast Elite 17u:
Edgecombe is a dynamic two-way combination guard that causes havoc on defense and relentlessly attacks the basket on the offensive end. Edgecombe had a fantastic game in the quarterfinals of the Adidas Open 17u Division, as he put his squad on his back and put up 23 points in a tough loss to Team Loaded NC. Edgecombe is an elite athlete, has a great burst of speed when attacking downhill, has nice body control when going to the basket, and is a creative shot maker over and around the bigs. Edgecombe can stop on a dime, has a decent pull-up jumper, and is effective enough from the 3-point line to force defenders to extend on close-outs, which feeds into his strengths driving through open lanes. He is a solid rebounder and looks to push the pace of play in the open court off the glass, putting relentless pressure on the defense.
2024 6’4 Eric Freeny (Centennial/Corona CA)-Compton Magic 17u:
Freeny is a skilled and crafty combination guard that makes good decisions with the ball in hand and has the ability to score in volume. Freeny had a solid showing at the Adidas Open that was capped-off by a monster 33-point game on the final day of the event in a loss to Midwest Basketball Club, showing his ability to score the ball from 3-levels effectively. Freeny has a good handle on the ball, the moves to create separation from his initial defender, court vision to find teammates when attacking off the perimeter, and is a creative finisher with good touch on his floater over the bigs. Freeny can create and make tough perimeter shots off the dribble, moves nicely off the ball to get open looks, and has a quick release on catch and shoot opportunities to get shots off with limited space. Freeny does a solid job on the glass, pushes the pace of play when he comes down with the rebound, and advances the ball up quickly to catch the opponent off guard in the open court.
2025 6’3 Aaron Glass (Rancho Cucamonga/CA)-Jalen Green Elite 16u:
Glass is a shifty combination guard that has the ability to create and make tough shots from all 3-levels. Glass kicked-off bracket play with a 22-point game in a loss to Team Trae Young, scoring half of the team’s points. Glass has solid handles, shifty moves when attacking from the wing to get his defender off balance, makes great use of the hesitation and hard pound dribble to freeze his opponent with a good burst of speed to get to the rim, and is a creative shot maker around the basket. Glass has a smooth stroke from the perimeter, and is able to make tough shots off the dribble beyond fifteen feet, and is accurate with the 3-ball.
2024 6’3 Kyle Green Jr. (Pace Academy/Atlanta GA)-Upward Stars 17u:
Green is a lengthy and crafty lead guard that can create his own offense or be a playmaker when on the attack. Green was disruptive on the defensive end and scored in a variety of ways to help Upward Stars defeat Team Lillard in the opening round of the 17u Division, as he finished with 11 points in a balanced team scoring effort. Green has handles to create separation from his opponent, the moves to create off the dribble and long strides to get by his initial defender, and makes good use of his wingspan to finish around bigs in the paint. Green showed he can score the ball from all 3-levels, is efficient form the free-throw line when drawing contact, and gets good lift on his perimeter shots. Defensively, Green has the length and agility to be a lockdown on ball defender, creates turnovers with deflections and jumping passing lanes, and creates transition offense when he is fully engaged on defense.
2025 6’5 Isiah Harwell (Century/Pocatello ID)-Utah Prospects 17u: Featured in Picture
Harwell is an athletic and rangy guard/wing that has a smooth stroke from the perimeter and looks to take flight in the open court. Harwell had an impressive showing on Day 3 in a win against JSizzles, as he displayed the ability to score the ball off the dribble or on the catch and shoot, while playing up two age groups in the 17u Division as a rising sophomore. Harwell has good size and length to cause problems for smaller perimeter defenders, the handles to create separation from his opponent, shifty moves to cut through the defense when attacking the basket, and solid body control when finishing around the basket off the dribble. Harwell uses his handles and perimeter moves to get to his shot spots, is accurate from the 3-point line, is a quick leaper with bounce to corral rebounds, and is at his best when he can push the ball in transition and take advantage of his on court speed and length to go at the rim with authority. Harwell showed glimpses of his playmaking ability and court vision, as well as the ability to be an elite defender when locked in on his opponent. Impressive young prospect that will garner more attention as he enters his sophomore year.
2024 5’10 Kevin Haupt (Jesuit/Sacramento CA)-Dream Vision 16u:
Haupt is a true point guard that does a nice job of changing up the pace of play and can fill it up from beyond the arc. Haupt was key for Dream Vision in the first half of their game against JSizzles, as he knocked down a couple of threes and provided a needed scoring punch before other players got going in the second half, en route to a win. Haupt is crafty with the ball in hand, keeps the ball on a string while surveying the court, has good court vision to make plays to open teammates when attacking off the perimeter, and is a creative finisher over height around the basket. Haupt is an effective shooter from the perimeter, whether off the dribble or the catch and shoot, gets downhill and into the teeth of the defense, and makes good use of the pivot foot to keep from getting boxed in by double-teams or perimeter defender length. Haupt has nice touch on his perimeter shot and good use of the floater to evade the height in the paint.
2024 6’2 Aliaun Iscandari (Campbell Hall/Studio City CA)-BTI Select 16u:
Iscandari is a quick and athletic lead combination guard that can lock-up on the defensive end and can put up points in volume. Iscandari had a solid showing in his team’s win over Garner Road 16u, as he finished with 17 points and forced countless turnovers that led to tranations points for himself or teammates. Iscandari has quick hands and lateral movement to stay in front of his man, gets into the dribbling space of the opponent and generates steals on ball or jumps passing lanes to create turnovers, and has good on court speed while staying under control when attacking in the open court. Offensively, Iscandari has solid handles, a quick first step and acceleration when attacking downhill to get by his initial defender, a creative finisher around the basket, a fluid stop and pop jumpshot, and good court vision to make plays off the dribble drive.
2025 6’8 Nikolas Khamenia (Harvard-Westlake/Studio City CA)-BTI Select 16u:
Khamenia is a wing/forward that can score the ball from various spots on the court, as well as the vision to make plays for teammates. Khamenia had a good showing against Garner Road 16u on Day 3, where he was effective from the perimeter and knocked down four free-throws to clinch the game, finishing with 14 points. Khamenia has good handles to operate on the perimeter, nice moves to create off the dribble and attack the defense, has a smooth stroke on his perimeter shot that extends to the 3-point line with accuracy, and has good footwork and touch to score in the post. Khamenia has impressive court vision, operates well from the high-post to the top of the key where he finds teammates cutting off the ball, is active on the glass, and has the handle to push the ball and play the point-forward. Khamenia is a tough defensive assignment, as he can score with his back to the basket over smaller defenders or can pull bigger players away from the basket with the moves and shooting to create from the wing.
2024 6’ Cameron Mercadel (Santa Margarita Catholic/Rancho Santa Margarita CA)-BTI Select 16u:
Mercadel is a true lead guard that has a great feel for the game and the ability to create his own offense or play make for his teammates. Mercadel had a few impressive performances at the Adidas Open, as he went for 19 points connecting on 3 threes in a win over Garner Road 16u, which was followed by a 25 point game against Utah Prospects 16u. Mercadel has a tight handle on the ball, keeps his head on a swivel constantly surveying the court, shows the vision to make the correct reads off the dribble penetration, and has good body control on finishes through traffic around the basket. Mercadel has good moves to create separation from his opponent, does a nice job of getting his defender on his hip, makes good use of the hesitation move to keep his man off balance, and has good touch on his perimeter shot making him a 3-level scoring threat. Mercadel showed improved accuracy on the 3-ball, which opened up the floor and allowed him to dissect the defense.
2024 6’4 Mercy Miller (Notre Dame/Sherman Oaks CA)-JSizzles 17u:
Miller is a poised lead guard that makes quality decisions with the ball in hand and is capable of knocking down difficult shots consistently. Miller performed well in several games, as he was one of the leading scorers for JSizzles 17u at the Open, and showcased his elite shot-making. Miller plays with good pace and feel, has the moves to shift direction and get his defender on his heels, can stop on a dime for the pull-up jumper, and is crafty on finishes around the basket. Miller has nice footwork to create space, good body control when getting into his defender’s body, and is accurate from beyond the arc with range. Miller is a solid on-ball defender and has the wingspan and quick hands to generate turnovers.
2026 5’11 Jayden Moore (Hopkins/MN)-JSizzles 16u:
Moore is a lead guard that has the vision and court awareness to be a playmaker and the shot making ability to create for himself. The incoming freshman had a solid showing against Dream Vision 16u, where he displayed the ability to score in a variety of ways and finished with a team high 13 points; connecting on 3 threes in the process. Moore has shifty moves and handles to slice through the defense, the court vision to make plays when on the attack, and is a creative finisher over the trees in the paint. Moore is accurate with the 3-ball, can knock down perimeter shots off the dribble or the catch and shoot, and showed the poise needed to run the offense. He was playing up two age groups in the 16u Division with a bright high school career ahead.
2024 6’8 Clayton Mpiana (Redlands Christian/CA)-Dream Vision 16u:
Mpiana is a strong and physically imposing power forward that asserts his presence in the post on both ends. Mpiana was the key to Dream Vision’s Day 3 win over JSizzles 16u as he kept getting fed the ball on the low blocks and, with his size advantage, he was able to bully his defender for numerous buckets around the basket. Mpiana is dominant on the glass, does a solid job protecting the rim and altering shots around the cup, decent moves and good touch on his finishes around the basket, and showed some promise on his mid-post shot. Mpiana finished the game with 11 points and 11 rebounds to advance to the losing side of the championship bracket.
2024 6’5 Rakease Passmore (Combine Academy/Lincolnton NC)-Garner Road 16u: Featured in Picture
Passmore is a physically gifted elite athlete that is tough to stay in front of on the attack with the efficiency to score from the perimeter. Passmore had one of the most impressive scoring performances I watched live at the Adidas Open in a tough loss to BTI Select 16u. Passmore finished with a game high 28 points and scored in any way he wanted. Passmore looks to get downhill with the ball, showed he can bulldoze his way through perimeter defenders at will, converts a lot of buckets around the basket while getting fouled, was efficient from the free-throw line, and had some dunks in the half court setting and transition that impressed the spectators/coaches in attendance. Making it even more difficult to defend Passmore is his ability to create off the dribble and knock down tough mid-range and 3-point shots, which forces defenders to close out and opens up the middle for him to attack. Passmore was one of my personal favorites from the event and I heard that from multiple scouts and coaches as well.
2025 6’8 Koa Peat (Perry/Gilbert AZ)-Compton Magic 17u:
Peat is a point-forward that has great size and skill to operate off the perimeter and the height to impact the paint on both ends. Peat, one of the top nationally ranked players at the Adidas Open, showed his ability to score the ball from various spots on the floor in a tough Round of 16 loss to eventual Final 4 representative Southern Arsenal. In the post, Peat has good footwork and touch on shots within fifteen feet, the wingspan to alter shots and control the boards, and the handle to push the ball in the open court. On the perimeter, Peat has a good handle and moves to create off the dribble, good touch on his perimeter shot from the mid-range to the 3-point line, improving court vision to be a consistent playmaker with the size to make reads over any perimeter defender, and presents a problem for opponents given his ability to score both inside and outside. Peat has already established an elite high school basketball resume with Team USA, Pangos All-American Camp, NBPA 100 Combine, ranked #2 in his class by all major national rankings, and still has 3 years of high school basketball remaining.
2024 6’2 Travis Perry (Lyon County/Eddyville KY)-Indiana Elite 2024/16u:
Perry is a true lead guard that is an elite playmaker that can score at a high ckip, off the dribble or moving off the ball. Perry had a great showing in the semifinal win enroute to Indiana Elite winning the 16u Division, where he had his full offensive arsenal on display against some quality perimeter defense by ETG Midwest. Perry keeps the ball on a string and head on a swivel to survey the floor, makes great use of the change of pace and direction to keep his defender off balance, the court vision to find teammates in tight windows off the drive and kick-out, and has nice touch on floaters and finishes over height around the basket. Perry is a knockdown perimeter shooter, moves fluidly off the ball to create space for catch and shoot opportunities, and showed range and accuracy with the off the dribble 3-ball. Impressive how Perry keeps relentless pressure on the opponent with the ball in hand, and is a disruptive on-ball perimeter defender that creates turnovers and easy open court buckets.
2024 6’1 Dedan Thomas Jr. (Liberty/Henderson NV)-Dream Vision 17u:
Thomas is an elite floor general that constantly surveys the floor to find open teammates and has the moves to score it from all 3-levels efficiently. Thomas orchestrated the offense for Dream Vision, as they had a great showing at the Adidas Open, with his squad taking 2nd Place at the event. Thomas has dynamic handles, the moves to change speed and direction without a break in his pace of play, gets great acceleration off the wing to blow by most perimeter defenders, and makes good reads or tough finishes around the basket once he gets into the paint. Thomas has good touch on his perimeter shot, can stop and pop on a dime from fifteen feet to the 3-point line, and shifty body movement under control to get his defender off balance. Thomas plays at his own pace and has the handles and IQ to prevent his defender from getting him off his game plan.