Back in May when the three main shoe circuits – Nike, adidas and Under Armour – announced the cancellation of their summer seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the general consensus among players around the country was that they were having conflicting emotions; on the one hand players understood that it was important to be safe yet, at the same time, they wanted nothing more than to compete.
Eventually, events began to surface around the country and a handful of players managed to raise their stock despite the lack of opportunity for consistent high-level exposure.
Every week for the next month we’ll highlight five players who have managed to ascend this summer.
Here’s the first batch.
JD Davison, Calhoun (Letohatchee, Ala.), PG, 2021
Davison picked up right where he left off after dropping 34 points and the game-winning 3-pointer to lead Calhoun to a state title last season, effortlessly dominating each event this summer. His combination of speed, athleticism and feel continue to make him nearly impossible to stop.
Matthew Cleveland, Pace Academy (Atlanta), SG, 2021
College: Florida State
Cleveland’s jump shot has elevated to near automatic this summer and he’s getting where he wants to on the court when he wants to get there. The byproduct of his hard work is an elevation of confidence which has spelled doom for all comers this summer.
Robert Dillingham, Combine Academy (Charlotte, N.C.), PG, 2023
From countless “wow” plays to epic point totals in games (56 points) to averaging north of 40 points a game for an entire tournament, Dillingham has annihilated the competition to a level that put him a class of his own this summer.
Scoot Henderson, Kell (Marietta, Ga.), PG, 2022
Henderson is one of the most complete point guards in the country, regardless of class with a combination of speed, shiftiness and feel that create easy scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates. Henderson has had his way with the competition all summer, improving his pace and picking his spots well.
Jabari Smith Jr., Sandy Creek (Tyrone, Ga.), F, 2021
Smith’s greatest asset is his versatility and that’s been on full display this summer, dominating on the perimeter and in the paint. He’s also added muscle and finishes more consistently through contact, making him an even more complete threat on both ends of the floor.