Centex Invitational & Best of Both Worlds: Rising Sophomore Standouts

So far this week I have attended Urban Asak’s Centex Invitational in Austin and Marcus Sloan’s Best of Both Worlds camp for the 2023 class in Houston. Between the two events, many rising sophomores separated themselves from their peers. Here are the players from this week who high school basketball followers and college coaches need to get familiar with:

 

Malik Presley • 6’6″ • SF • San Marcos

Presley was the best player in both events I attended this week. His speed and activity are the foundation for his defensive and transitional production. However, his steadily improving handle and potential as a scorer from the mid-range will make him just as much of a threat in the half-court. The lefty wing is slowly transitioning into a legit two-guard with a high ceiling. Houston, IUPUI, and Oklahoma State have offered and SMU should be the next of many.

 

 

Tyler Smith • 6’9″ • PF • Fort Bend Bush

Today and tomorrow are the keywords with Tyler Smith. Today the southpaw has a great looking jumper and can make accurate passes off a live dribble. Tomorrow he will use his extreme length and add the functional strength necessary to be a go-to offensive talent while simultaneously leaving a defensive and rebounding imprint on each outing. His clear upside backs his ESPN ranking. The five-star forward currently holds offers from Auburn, Baylor, Georgia Tech, LSU, Memphis, Oklahoma, and TCU. Kansas, Texas, and Texas Tech are also very intrigued by his services.

 

Jacolb Cole • 6’7″ • SG • Bellaire

Cole was effective in his drive game as he got to the rim whenever he pleased. The length and ball skills are in his possession. Once the slim lefty combines both tools with the addition of a softer scoring touch from all three ranges, he will start to own his potential as a high-level two-way prospect. Cole has a very bright future and seems to want to work to keep getting better. LSU, Ole Miss, and TCU have extended early offers while Texas Tech is involved in his recruitment.

 

Ma’Shy Hill • 6’9″ • C • Triumph Gold

Playing up on 17U with Urban ASAK, Hill’s effort in sprinting the floor and battling through physicality was impressive. His body type, athleticism, and length are all attributes that cannot be taught. As he continues to develop his skill set, motor, and offensive repertoire, his game will only continue to grow. His efforts earned him recent offers from Houston and Rice. Expect many more to come in the near future.

 

 

Chris Johnson • 6’4″ • SG • Fort Bend Elkins

I love how Johnson plays with confidence and competes with energy and urgency. He scored on tough shot attempts and continued to display his ability to make on-time and on-target passes off of his attack. Look for him to carry on this level of play going into August. Johnson has picked up offers from Prairie View and Texas Southern this summer. However, Big 12 schools Texas and Texas Tech are showing interest.

 

 

R.J. Jones • 6’3″ • SG • Denton Braswell

Arguably the most polished guard in the 2023 Texas class, Jones was excellent shooting the ball in the mid-range and beyond. He has a unique feel and the knack to create space and find his shot in a controlled fashion. Jones has yet to pick up an offer but SMU, Tulsa, and UC-San Diego have been interested.

 

 

 

Wesley Yates • 6’3″ • SG • Beaumont United

Once a fifth-grade phenom known for his ability to shoot the rock, Yates still boasts that confidence from behind the arc and then some. The Beaumont native will not think twice before letting it fly from 25 feet. He combines a strong and thick body with dangerous range from deep. Yates has collected early offers from IUPUI and Illinois and has received interest from Oklahoma.

 

 

Jaland Lowe • 6’1″ • PG • The Kinkaid School

The son of Grassroots Coach Marland Lowe, Jaland Lowe played with excellent poise, made sound decisions, and was disciplined guarding the ball. His handle is nice and utilized to break defenders down to make a play for himself or others. The lefty guard has the skill and I.Q. but will need to assert himself consistently to maximize his production.

 

 

Josh Jones • 6’9″ • C • Austin St. Michaels

Jones provides the traditional big-bodied back to the basket and high post-game in the class. He gains position, has soft hands, and scores with a soft touch when operating inside. The recent transfer to Austin St. Michaels will only get better as he improves his body and conditioning.

 

 

I COULD NOT FORGET ABOUT…

 

… One of the better guards in the state, Finley Bizjack has the wiggle plus the jumper to be a high-level playmaker. He already is consistently productive while still learning how to take full advantage of what the defense gives him. He has a bright future as a combo guard with continued read development. The 6-foot-3 product of Byron Nelson High School says Denver, Georgia Southern, and Rice have shown interest. He currently holds a couple of scholarship offers from local schools TCU and UT-Arlington.

 

Trealyn Porchia (pictured above). His motor was key in his solid performances. The lefty forward was a magnet for second-chance points and was always in the right place at the right time for a transitional bucket. Beaumont United should be in contention for a deep run for years to come with Porchia, Yates, and rising junior wing Terrance Arceneaux.

 

 

Jaylen Bernard‘s finishing ability is just as strong as his frame. He invites contact and does not let it bother him while he looks to score under the rim. The Cypress Ranch guard also connected on open jumpers with time and space.

 

 

Jamari McDowell was a fresh face who caught my attention with his above the rim play. He made help-side defenders think twice when he exploded off of one-foot. The Manvel wing’s athleticism, length, and size at 6-foot-5 make him one to monitor down the road.

 

… Jesse Fuller of Tomball High School was another new name who displayed a Brock Cunningham (University of Texas forward) level of competitiveness and toughness. Every fifty-fifty ball was his and opponents struggled to get comfortable looks inside while he was guarding the paint. It would not have surprised me if I discovered he led the camp in deflections or blocks. The 6-foot-6 forward was also a bouncy lob target inside.

 

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