Las Vegas – This past weekend was the first of four NCAA Live Periods that will take place in April and July. I attended the Pangos Sweet 16 NCAA Certified tournament hosted by Pangos Director Dinos Trigonis held at Bishop Gorman High School, Sierra Vista High School, and Silverado High School in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event consisted of 5 divisions for age groups 15u through 17u, with the top division, 17u Invitational, being held at the main facility at Bishop Gorman High School. I attended games at Bishop Gorman on Friday night and all day Saturday, but was not present for championship Sunday. However, I was able to see all of the teams from the Invitational Division and a few other games from the other divisions that played at Bishop Gorman. This is part two of a three-part article that looks at the top performers from the event based on graduation class, with 20 players from the class of 2023 being the focus of this write-up. The players are listed in alphabetical order and not based on a ranked order. The players selected and evaluated in this article are based on my own observations with some feedback from the other scouts and coaches in attendance. I begin the 2023 class with the seven-footer from Arizona, Noah Amenhauser.
2023 7’0 Noah Amenhauser (Estrella Foothills/AZ) AZ Factory 17u: featured in the picture
Amenhauser is a true center/forward that is a load to deal with in the post on both offense and defense. Amenhauser is a dominant force on the boards, is a high-level rim protector, has nice touch on his shot from fifteen feet and beyond, and is able to make plays from the high post with solid court vision. Amenhauser played a key role for Factory in their run to the 17u Invitational Division semifinals, where they lost on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer. Amenhauser has committed to Grand Canyon University.
2023 6’8 Souleymane Barro (Layton Christian/ Academy/UT) Kongo Red 17u:
Barro is an athletic and versatile forward that can defend in the post and on the perimeter with the ability to space the court from the 3-point line. Barro is a force on the glass, uses his long wingspan and timing block shots at the rim, and has the agility and long strides to defend on the perimeter when he is switched onto a smaller player. Barro is creative on his finishes at the rim to evade defenders, is efficient from beyond the arc, and has enough handle to put the ball on the ground and get into his pull-up mid-range shot with a nice touch. When Barro was connecting from the 3-point line, his confidence to expand his offensive game showed his long-term potential.
2023 5’10 Bradon Bento-Jackson (Arcata/CA) EBO 17u:
Bento-Jackson is a high-level true point guard that makes great reads and has limitless range from deep. Bento-Jackson was key for EBO 17u as the primary ball-handler and playmaker, which led EBO to winning the 17u Invitational Division consolation game. Bento-Jackson has elite handles to break down his defender, gets into the teeth of the defense, and has great court vision to find teammates in tight windows when on the attack. He has a burner from the 3-point line and is ready to fire as soon as he crosses half-court. Bento-Jackson moves well off the ball to create space for catch and shoot threes, as well as the moves to shoot it from deep off the dribble. Bento-Jackson plays with great pace and energy, and has active hands on defense , which led to countless steals and easy transition buckets.
2023 6’5 Dominik Contreras (Oxnard/CA) Team Build Up 17u:
Contreras is a versatile wing/guard that can get his own baskets, as well as make plays to get others involved. Contreras was a key contributor for Team Build Up, as they made a run to the Invitational Division championship game. Contreras is active on the boards, has the handle to push the ball in the open court, and makes good decisions when advancing the ball. Contreras has the moves to create off the dribble, gets to his shot spots, can space the floor from beyond the 3-point line, and is a crafty finisher around the basket. Defensively, Contreras has the footwork and lateral quickness to defend perimeter players, along with the size to handle bigger players in the post.
2023 6’5 Justin Daniels (Denver Prep Academy) Belmont Shore 17u:
Daniels is a combination guard that can run the offense and is a knockdown shooter from beyond the arc. Daniels has good handles to control the pace of play, perimeter moves to create off the dribble, has good body control when attacking through traffic, and is a creative finisher at the basket. Daniels is accurate on his mid-range jumper with good lift to get his shot off over taller players and rebounds the ball well for his size and position. He was the most accurate shooter for Belmont Shore 17u and last summer he received his 1st offer from New Mexico.
2023 6’6 Michael Davis Jr. (San Joaquin Memorial/CA) EBO 17u:
Davis is an athletic forward/wing that is nearly an automatic double-double when he hits the court. Davis has some impressive showings for the 17u Invitational Division consolation champs, EBO 17s. Davis has quick leaping ability, which allows him to control the boards and alter shots around the rim. He has a soft touch around the rim, creates second-chance points for himself on the glass, and is a creative finisher around the basket. Davis has good post moves and court awareness to score the ball in the post amongst taller players. Davis was most impressive with his ability to push the ball off the rebounds, allowing his team to get into transition early and often. He has a smooth jumper from the mid-post, and can hit the 3 ball on occasion to keep his defender honest.
2023 6’8 Brock Felder (Parowan/UT) Ignited 17u:
Felder is a true post player that has a solid frame and knows how to use his size around the basket on both ends. Felder helped lead Ignited 17s to the semifinals of the consultation bracket in the Platinum 17u Division and was one of the best true post players I saw all weekend. Felder is an elite rebounder that uses positioning and his size to dominate the glass, has great bounce and timing to block and alter shots at the rim, has good touch on his finishes around the basket, and is effective with the mid-range shot. Felder had one of the most electrifying blocks of the event, as he volleyball spiked a shot from a Salt Lake Rebel player that echoed off the concrete walls on court 3 at Bishop Gorman High School. Felder has a relentless motor and takes the beatings inside from opponents and is still able to get the ball in the basket.
2023 6’7 Isaac Garrett (Pleasant Grove/UT) Salt Lake Rebels Red 17u:
Garrett is a true stretch four that can score it from all 3 levels with accuracy and was one of the more intriguing prospects at the Pangos Sweet 16 event. Garrett was superb in all facets of the game in the Rebels’ win over Team Ignited in the consolation semifinals for the Platinum 17u Division. Garrett has a large wingspan to dominate the boards and serves as a quality rim protector on the defensive end. He has nice footwork and multiple post moves with good hands to score it in the paint. Garrett showed his range from beyond the 3-point line, as he connected on multiple threes, forcing his defender to leave the interior and open up driving lanes. He has enough of a handle to put the ball on the deck and attack the basket or pull up from mid-range, where he showed nice touch on his shot. Garrett was able to hold his own around the basket going against some big bodies for Ignited 17u, as was evident by the numerous cuts on his hands and forearms after the game.
2023 6’5 Carter Gittens (Sunrise Mountain/AZ) AZ Factory 17u:
Gittens is a physical wing/guard that can lock up on the defensive end and impacts the game in numerous ways on both ends. Gittens is solid on the boards, has the handle to push the ball off the glass, and has active hands on defense to get into his opponent’s dribbling space and create turnovers. Gittens gets downhill with the ball, has a strong build to absorb contact through traffic, and is a sure-handed finisher at the cup. He has the athleticism to defend quicker players on the perimeter, as well as the strength and instincts to guard bigger players in the post. Gittens was the glue guy for Factory 17u and left his imprint on each game played this past weekend.
2023 6’6 Ky Green (Liberty/AZ) AZ Factory 17u
Green is a lengthy and athletic wing/guard that leaves his mark on numerous aspects of the game. Green has a lengthy wingspan and active hands on defense to create turnovers, uses his bounce to rebound over taller players, and has the handle to push the ball up the court. Green is a threat from beyond the arc, displayed improved court vision and playmaking ability, and was very accurate with the high post jumper all weekend. Green played a key role for Factory this weekend that resulted in a final 4 appearance in the 17u Invitational Division.
2023 6’0 Yorgio Golesis (Skyline/UT) Kongo Red 17u:
Golesis is a crafty lead guard that can fill it up from various spots on the floor and is on go mode all game long. Golesis was the driving force for Kongo 17s, as they were one of the younger 17u squads in the Invitational Division, with no 2022 players on their roster. Golesis is shifty with the ball in his hands, has the moves to dice through the defense, gets downhill with a purpose, and has good court vision to find open teammates when on the attack. I was most impressed with his ability to create and make tough shots from all three levels at an efficient rate. Golesis is able to take the contact from his defender with good body control to stay on balance when getting his shot up.
2023 6’7 William Heimbrodt (Archie Williams/CA) Team Rampage National 17u:
Heimbrodt is a lengthy wing that likes to play above the rim and is a versatile defender. Heimbrodt has a smooth stroke from the 3 point line, connects with accuracy, has good handles and moves to create speration from his defender, and and score it from all 3 levels. He is an underratted shot blocker, is active on the glass, and likes to push the tempo in the open court. Heimbrodt moves well off the ball and finds opennings in the defense to recieve passes from teammates where is a creative finsher around the basket. He was a key scorer this past weekend for Team Rampage 17u and is an interesting prospect at the next level.
2023 6’7 Houston Johnsen (Crimson Cliffs/UT) Ignited 17u:
Johnsen is an athletic wing/forward that can score the ball in a variety of ways. Johnsen had an impressive showing in the semifinals of the consolation bracket Platinum 17u Division, as he was knocking down shots from all 3 levels. He is dominant on the boards, has good hands and feel around the basket, and quick leaping ability to get easy points on putbacks. Johnsen has enough handle and moves to create off the dribble but I was most impressed with his efficiency from beyond the 3-point line. He made 3 or 4 threes in the game I watched him play and it opened up the court, creating driving lanes for himself and teammates. Johnsen runs the floor well in transition and understands floor spacing and getting to an open spot.
2023 6’4 Henry Madden III (Central/CA) EBO 17u:
Madden is a jack of all trades on the basketball court and impacts offensive and defensive in a variety of ways. Madden displayed this with EBO 17u over the weekend, as he hit timely shots, created turnovers at opportune times, and was assertive on the boards. Madden has the physicality and creativity to finsh through contact around the basket, is effecient with the mid-range jump shot, and was able to knockdown some threes to show he can stretch the defense. Madden is a solid rebounder who looks to push the pace in the open court and has the court vision to make the right play when on the attack, whether that be getting his own buckets or creating for others.
2023 6’5 Micah Madry (Hillcrest/UT) Salt Lake Rebels Red 17u:
Madry has a physical build and is an impact guy on both ends of the court. Madry hit some big shots in the Rebel’s win over Ignited in the 17u Platinum consolation semifinals. Madry has a good handle on the ball, is confident when on the attack with moves to create off the dribble, and has good lift and consistency on his mid-range jump shot. He has an impact on the glass, has the vision and strength to get the ball up court, and has range from deep. Had a pretty stepback three that was called a travel but showed Madry’s tough shot-making ability.
2023 6’6 Serigne Pouye (CATE School/Oxnard) Team Build Up 17u:
Pouye is a versatile forward that has a strong presence on the glass and can stretch the defense from the perimeter. Pouye played a key role in the post on both ends for Team Build Up, as they made it to the 17u Invitational Division. Pouye has good length to control the boards and alter shots in the paint, has the agility and athleticism to defend in the post and on the perimeter, and does a nice job of getting the ball to his guards off the defensive rebounds to push the tempo. Pouye showed accuracy from the 3-point line, as well as enough handle to create off the dribble when defended by bigger players on the perimeter. In the post, Pouye has good hands for finishes around the basket off the entry pass.
2023 6’6 Ashton Reese (Pinnacle/AZ) AZ Factory 17u:
Reese is a lengthy and bouncy true shooting guard with limitless range from deep. Reese is a specialist from the 3 point line and is a threat as soon as he crosses halfcourt. Reese has improved as a shot creator off the dribble, has fluid off-ball movement, and a quick release with lift on his jumper to get his shot off over the defender. He is more assertive on the glass with the handle to push the tempo in the open court, and more locked in on the defensive end. Key factor for Factory this weekend as they lost on a buzzer-beater in the semifinals of the 17u Invitational Division.
2023 6’4 Will Smith III (Bishop Montgomery/CA) Belmont Shore 17u:
Smith is a physically gifted and athletic combination guard that leaves his mark on both ends of the court. Smith provided scoring and solid perimeter defense for Belmont Shore 17u, as he was tasked with defending the opponents’ top guards in most games. Smith has wide shoulders, good handles, and a burst of speed to get downhill with the strength to finish through traffic at the rim. Smith is nearly automatic with his mid-range pull-up jump shot, rebounds well for his size, which allows him to push the ball up court, and is tough to stop when he decides to go coast to coast at the rim. He has nice footwork and moves well laterally to be a high-level defender on the perimeter, and makes Smith a threat on both sides of the ball.
2023 6’6 Deacon Toliver (Los Osos/CA) Belmont Shore Blue 17u
SoCal sleeper for astute college recruiters to be aware of is Toliver. Athletic and active hybrid-Forward is built Ford-tough, rebounds with authority and can score when needed in the half-court and in transition. Toliver gets downhill with the ball, is a great slasher off the ball leading to easy buckets at the rim, has the physicality to finish through contact, and plays with a great motor.
2023 6’7 Jonathan Webster (North Florida Christian Academy/CA) Team Rampage 17u:
Webster is a lengthy, athletic wing/forward that looks to attack the rim with regularity and was one of the more intriguing prospects I saw this past weekend. Webster does a lot well and impacted multiple areas of the game as Team Rampage had a solid weekend of play. Webster has good size with length that allows him to defend multiple positions on defense, and is explosive on the boards. Webster has the handles to create off the perimeter, is effective from the 3-point line, and is a crafty finisher at the rim where he uses his length to evade defenders around the basket.