The NEO Youth Elite National Showcase wrapped up this past Sunday, June 25th and the event had perhaps its biggest draw yet, selling out at 80 kids for the high school division alone.
Ballislife, SLAM Magazine, Hoop Diamonds, 3rdCoastHoops, Elite Mixtapes, Prep Scouting LLC, and several others offered a unique exposure event for student-athletes across the region and country.
NEO Spotlight was in the building Sunday in its entirety and was able to watch a top heavy high school group loaded with underclassmen.
Zion Harmon is a name that basketball fans have been hearing quite a bit this summer. From his time on the EYBL 17U circuit, his stint with USA basketball, or being the only 8th grader to play in the high school division at the NEO Youth Elite camp, Harmon is accustomed to playing well at the highest level.
I walked away most impressed with his ability to effortlessly create a shot as well as how he dished the rock. Throwing a variety of left and right darts across the floor in what was just another business trip for the rising freshman.
Alonzo Gaffney (#30) 2019 - This past weekend wasn't the last time you'll be able to check out 6'8 forward Alonzo Gaffney on Turney Road. Earlier this month, the NEO hoops scene was shaken up when news spread that he would be transferring to Garfield Heights for the 2017-18 season. Gaffney, along with Columbus' Jeremiah Francis, is regarded as one of the elite prospects in the soon-to-be junior class. The 6'8 forward showcased a much improved jumpshot en route to a 41-point performance, interrupting the Zion Harmon and Julian Newman show.
Colin Granger (#468) 2020 - In an environment that typically suits guards, Granger was able to earn a spot in the camp's Top 20 game with his energy and ability to stretch the floor. The 6'7 forward out of Georgia made the most of his opportunities from the perimeter, cashing in on a number of jumpers, but was also able to get out in transition where he finished efficiently with either hand. With a mature frame and ample skill, Granger is a prospect who could find his way onto a number of recruiting boards as he is still in the early stages of the process.
Devon Grant (#477) 2019 - The 6'0 guard out of Lorain plays the game with flair and when you combine that with the loose brand of basketball played in these type of events, the result is a highlight exhibition. Grant's smooth handle and ability to gracefully change speed allowed him to beat his man and pick his spots all weekend long. More importantly, he made a conscious effort on the defensive side of the ball as he has taken strides towards being a capable defender at the PG spot.
Marlon Landingham (#214) 2020 - Landingham was a relative unknown to NEO Spotlight prior to the camp but he quickly changed that with his grit and competitive spirit. He forced the issue on the offensive end, slashing into the lane with a number of tough finishes around the rim. Giving up more than a few inches in height, Landingham accepted the challenge of defending Alonzo Gaffney and at times, making it difficult for him to get to the rim.
Jesse Laster (#251) 2020 - Despite playing limited minutes a year ago for Coach Sonny Johnson, Garfield Heights' boys basketball coach and NEO Youth Elite director, sophomore Jesse Laster added his first scholarship offer via Cleveland State just a few short weeks ago. A big-time athlete at the wing spot, Laster thrived in the open floor on Sunday as he allowed his defense to create some easy runouts. His energy and perimeter touch earned him a spot on our list.
Fred Mulbah (#268) 2018 - It should have came as a surprise to no one when Mulbah walked away with the NEO Youth Elite dunk trophy. With a little bit of love from the crowd, the 5'9 guard put home a clean self-oop eastbay to cap off the extracurricular fun. His explosive style was on full-display throughout the course of the weekend but he also proved to be one of the camp's top defenders. Mulbah currently holds an offer from Coppin State (Verbal Commits).
Roman Woods (#311) 2019 - Woods, better known throughout the camp as "Chicago's Finest" was one of the top performers in the final high school game of the weekend, stealing the show against his fellow Top 20 performers. Woods was in attack mode from the opening tip, using his compact frame and downhill strength to overpower defenders at the rim before making his way out to the arc where he knocked in a few jumpers.
While Zion Harmon versus Julian Newman was the headliner of the weekend, Newman found himself going at it with Jaythan Bosch out of New Hampshire. Both Newman and Bosch are almost always the two smallest competitors on the floor, and this wasn't the first time the two had ran into each other.
The two first crossed paths at a Middle School Hoops TV camp. Check out some highlights of the rematch courtesy of Ballislife, including Bosch's in-and-out crossover that nearly dropped a helpside defender.