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  • Jared Exler

Under the Radar 2024 PA/NJ Players to Watch this AAU Season

Nelson Lamizana 6’6 Combo Forward (Philly Pride UAA/West Chester Henderson): Lamizana can put the ball on the floor in the half-court when attacking closeouts. He finishes well around the rim with his impressive leaping ability. Creates high percentage second chance layup opportunities for himself with his high motor and quick second jump on the offensive glass. Lamizana also is a threat to make open standstill three-pointers, along with showing flashes of making them when pulling up. Defensively, he uses good timing, explosiveness, and mobility when coming over from the help side. Blocks or alters opponents’ shots around the rim at a solid rate in the half-court or transition.

Brody McQuiston 6’3 Combo Forward (PK Flash/Shenango HS): McQuiston is skilled in the post. He uses a nice spin-move or jump-hook to score on opponents when backing them down. Has the ability to take opposing forwards off the dribble from the perimeter when driving in straight lines. McQuiston finishes effectively around the rim with his strong frame and soft touch off the blackboard. Also creates high percentage finishing opportunities for himself with sharp cuts to the basket coming off screens or if an opponent is overplaying him on the perimeter. Does a nice job finding open seams near the foul line to get to his smooth turnaround jumper. McQuiston needs to be accounted for from long-range, having the ability to make open spot-up treys at a good rate. He has the ball-handling skills to initiate a fast break after corralling a defensive rebound.

Mike Cumbo 6’0 Shooting Guard (NEPA Elite/Dallas HS): Cumbo is a consistent shooter from deep. He has fluid mechanics with a quick release on his shot. Is a threat to make three-pointers on the move or when spotting up. Creates lane penetration well when attacking closeouts or using his quick crossover move. Cumbo has a smooth mid-range pull-up in the lane. He also finishes proficiently around the rim with crafty finger-roll layups. Does a nice job letting the game come to him within the flow of his team’s offense, rarely taking ill-advised shots. Cumbo also creates high percentage layup opportunities for himself on the break. He uses his speed and crossover move to evade defenders when pushing the ball.

Avin Myers 6’2 Wing (York Ballers/Spring Grove HS): Myers can stretch the floor from beyond the arc. He makes treys at a good rate when spotting up. Can put the ball on the floor attacking closeouts to create for himself and others. Myers has a good feel in the lane. Knows when to use his soft mid-range pull-up or dish the ball off to a teammate for a drop-off layup. Creates space well on his pull-up. He uses a spin-move if an opponent is playing tightly contested defense on him. Myers also shows some ball-handling and playmaking upside. He gets by defenders in spurts with a sharp crossover move or finds teammates rolling to the rim for layups.

Bowen Gugger 6’3 Combo Forward (PA Royals/CB West HS): Gugger gets into the paint at a solid rate when attacking closeouts. Takes long strides to the basket and can finish with either hand. If an opponent collapses on him, he has a soft floater as part of his in-between game. Gugger also scores high percentage layups from slipping ball screens or making sharp backdoor cuts when defenders overplay him on the perimeter. While he shoots three-pointers at a low volume, his decent form and mid-range touch provide optimism for improvement moving forward. Defensively, Gugger uses his length well to make it difficult for opponents to shoot over him around the rim. Also rotates quickly from the weak side if a teammate gets beat off the dribble, limiting easy layup opportunities for opponents.

Max Portnoy 6’2 Wing (Team Final Black/Eastern Regional HS): Portnoy has a smooth long-range stroke. The southpaw has compact form while needing very little time and space to get his shot off. He makes three-pointers effectively on standstill attempts. If a defender closes out hard on him from the perimeter, he can put the ball on the floor to get into the paint. Portnoy can hit runners or find teammates for dump-off layups if a bigger defender collapses on him. Uses a quick crossover move when pushing the ball in transition to get by opponents for high percentage finishing opportunities around the basket. Defensively, he creates steals at a solid rate. Uses active hands to pluck the ball away from opponents when they are weak with their handle. Also makes sharp rotations jumping into passing lanes when an opponent telegraphs where they are going to throw the ball.

James Valillo 6’3 Combo Forward (NJ Shoreshots/Holmdel HS): Valillo excels at penetrating to the rim in the half-court when attacking closeouts. He scores layups effectively with either hand. Also gets to the basket well with his sharp crossover move. Though getting to the rim is Valillo’s forte, he is a capable threat from beyond the arc. Has a high arching shot, making treys off movement or on standstill attempts. When catching the ball in the paint, he can take one or two dribbles and use his physicality to score through contact around the hoop. Also has the ball-handling skills to start a fast break after pulling down a defensive rebound. Defensively, Valillo does a nice job rotating over from the help side to block or alter opponents’ shots around the rim.

Jeremy Clayville 6’1 Combo Guard (All In Basketball/DePaul Catholic HS): Clayville is a terrific shooter from deep. He can get hot in a hurry and has range out to the NBA line. Makes three-pointers when pulling up, coming off screens, or on standstill attempts. If a defender closes out hard on him to contest his perimeter shot, he can put the ball on the floor and get to his smooth floater in the lane. Clayville is also capable of playing on the ball. Uses a good change of pace to get into the paint. Finds teammates for drop-off layups when opponents collapse on him in the paint to take away his floater game. He rewards big men for running the floor hard on the break with hit-ahead passes for layups.

Shane Sheehan 6’7 Power Forward (Unity Legends/Westfield HS): Sheehan needs to be accounted for from beyond the arc. He makes spot-up treys at a good rate. Finishes effectively around the rim for layups when rolling out of ball screens and on drop-offs from teammates. Sheehan has good explosiveness and touch with either hand near the basket. He is a solid passer out of the post, finding cutting teammates for high percentage finishes around the hoop. Also shows flashes of putting the ball on the floor when defenders close out hard on him from the perimeter. Defensively, Sheehan does a nice job forcing opponents into lower percentage shots around the rim with his instincts, anticipation, and leaping ability. Already makes a decent impact on the defensive glass, with more potential in this regard as he physically matures.

Reggie Selden 6’2 Combo Guard (Team Rio UAA/Bishop Eustace Prep): Selden creates lane penetration regularly with his quick first step and shifty handles. Scores proficiently around the rim with creative finger-roll or reverse layups. When defenders block off his driving lanes to the hoop, he can find open teammates for spot-up three-pointers or dump-off layups. Selden can space the floor from long-range, making three-pointers at a solid rate when spotting up. Also shows flashes hitting treys on the move. He is difficult to keep away from the basket in transition when he is pushing the ball with a full head of steam. Defensively, Selden moves his feet well laterally. Limits opposing guards from getting by him with straight-line drives.

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