The Bill Hensley Memorial Run N Slam is huge. Nearly 40 courts, over 300 teams. It could keep a frog (or person) quite busy during the first weekend of May. So going into the weekend, I had to make some decisions about who I would go watch. It’s not as easy as posting up at Spiece and watching players come through. Although, one could and court one at Spiece showcased some quality programs throughout the weekend.
Instead I had to make some pinpointed decisions about players I was specifically going to go see. And I needed a good reason to do it too. Now some of these kids you have seen or will see Outside the Huddle go more in depth about this weekend and into the summer months, but this about who I decided was important to see, why I felt that way and ultimately what I took away from their Run N Slam performance while I was sitting court side.
Jackson Paul, Indiana Elite Summit City
Paul’s motor has never been a question but it was decidedly refreshing to see how focused he was to use it. I don’t know if there is an added pressure he puts on himself during the school season but there was a certain calm in his eyes and a confidence that followed. Paul can be a game changer, that has always been known. I like seeing him take over, I desire to see him taking over and that is exactly what I got out of him on Saturday morning. On Saturday night, he settled more into a distributor role, but there was still the calming factor in play and it helped the rest of his team play relaxed in a game that I could describe as chaotic at the very least.
Caleb Furst, Indy Heat 2020 EYBL
In case you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Caleb Furst is next up in the Summit City as the “it” guy. Watching him over the weekend was a no brainer if you are a Northeast Indiana person or if you came from Texas. I needed to see firsthand how well he fits with the Indy Heat lineup a year older and he didn’t disappoint. Furst is able to adjust to multiple roles on the high post, the low post or running the floor. His ability and desire to fill lanes opens up so much for his entire team. Indy Heat had an earlier than planned exit playing shorthanded in this tournament after playing so well in Atlanta recently, but Furst moved around the floor well and chose his spots correctly.
Michael Eley, Indiana Elite Central 2021
Pushing the pace is a critical part of Eley’s development, which will allow him to play three spots on the floor and really leave defenders questioning how to guard him. He came into this weekend after picking up two Division I offers from Miami (OH) and IUPUI. Eley excelled in transition, both off steals of his own and missed shots and was able to outpace his opponents with the ball in his hands running nearly the length of the court. When you can do that, filling lanes and looking for a spot up jumper will become second fiddle if he can get the ball, go and slam it home like he did Saturday night at SportOne Parkview Fieldhouse.
Jake Lock, Indiana Elite Summit City 2020 – Joseph
There are adjustments that he has to make away from his Fort Wayne Hawks homeschool team and that isn’t something that is a surprise. Lock is a system guy, by the book and fundamentally prone. That can get lost on the AAU circuit and did a little bit on Saturday. But if you look closer, away from touches on the ball, you saw a first half where Lock did everything right and was able to contribute many ways. His ability to adapt and find some semblance of comfort showed in the second half and he was able to assert himself a little more in the offense. With more comfort and opportunity, his offensive skill set and demeanor will make him a favorite among coaches, teammates and spectators.
Charlie Yoder, SYF Players
Having been privy to the whole Charlie Yoder experience last season, I can only say that I felt the first half of my game watching him felt like he was wasted. Yoder was used exclusively is a spot up shooter, sent in transition usually to the left corner where he stood and waited for a pass that rarely came. When he was able to put the ball on the floor in the second half however, he got to the basket by weaving in and out of defenders on the baseline and that was enjoyable. He also thrived in the second half shooting the ball, using his quick left handed to release to make the opposing team work extra hard on closing out on him.
Mitch Mendenhall, Indiana Elite Summit City 2020 – Joseph
A workhorse mentality makes Mendenhall tick. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t take many second of the game off, even if he’s on the bench taking a breather. But we knew that. And it helped keep his team in the game during an eventual loss on Saturday morning. What I saw that impressed me was a jump shot he clearly has been working to improve. His role during the school season is rarely as a spot up shooter in comparison to his desire to take it off the dribble. During the Run N Slam, his free flowing shot made him a major threat.
Landen Jordan, Indiana Elite Summit City
He really has great length that is going to help him be a force next season in the NECC where quality posts are few and far between. Now, writing about what kids are going during the summer, I am trying to stay away from how it translates to their school team because usually it doesn’t. But what Jordan was able to show both times I saw him over the weekend was an ability to use his length to exploit both smaller players and other posts who weren’t willing to put in the work rebounding the basketball. I would like to see him add some aggression; while not showing laziness, he can still be passive. My guess is that he has the coaches in place this summer to rid him of that quickly.
Luke Goode, Indy Heat 2021 EYBL
Goode is a shooter. Goode is a scorer. But the Luke Goode I watched on Saturday afternoon was the ultimate teammate and facilitator. Something we don’t have the time to see during a high school season is Goode’s special court vision. He sees things well and sets him teammates up for success. When you add that to his clear offensive prowess, there is no wonder why his recruiting is picking up and may skyrocket this summer. Fundamentally he is focused on the greater good and that is something we do see while he is playing at Homestead. Goode makes the teams he plays for better and that has not changed this spring.
Khamani Smith, Indy Heat Red 2021
Working from the high post and short corner, he is able to create off of the dribble because of his quality mid range jumper. Smith can find a niche as a distributing quasi-post at this level and that will make scoring for himself easier. He moves around in the midrange nicely, which is an area that somehow has gotten lost, forgotten or disrespected at many levels of play. It doesn’t hurt that his aggressive rebounding can lead him into transition by bringing the ball up the court himself. Everyone on this level wants a quality rebounder who can get it and go.
Joe Reidy, Indy Heat Red 2022
What we already know about Reidy is that he has an unwavering desire to attack the basket. When I watched him this weekend, what stood out was the diversity of the angles he was getting to the rim from. He is typically a guy who prefers the baseline, but he attacked much more from the middle of the court. He has added a couple on inches since the high school season, but his weight hasn’t caught up so he will still need to work on finishing through contact at the rim. He drew a lot of contact and will continue to. The positive there? The kid can hit his free throws.
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