Philadelphia is a hotbed for talent, both at the Public and non-Public School levels. Philly has always been known for their hard-nosed players who simply get the job done on both ends of the floor. I was delighted to attend the 23rd Annual All City Classic just to get a glimpse of the future of Philadelphia basketball. The organizers of the All City Classic are well known throughout the High School basketball scene and have been running these high profile events for more than 20 years, which is longer than these players were alive for. All City Classic teamed up with Rasual Butler, who last played with the San Antonio Spurs and happens to be a native of Philadelphia who rose through these same ranks on his way to the NBA. I made the trip to Girard College in Philadelphia and the venue was very nice to say the least. I bumped into my old friend Tom Konchalski (The most important HS basketball Scout in the country) and instantly knew that if he was there then I was in the right place for some entertaining basketball. Quade Green, the All American Point Guard headed to the University of Kentucky also came out to check out the action. There were 3 games scheduled for the day, the freshman game, sophomore game, and junior game. Each game was stacked with talent and I knew that these games were well worth the trip. Each of the games started out slow but picked up rather quickly. After a few minutes the players settled down a bit and gave the crowd what they came to see.
The game showcased some talented student athletes from around the city. There were a few players who stuck out from the rest. Here are the All Things Hoops Notable players of the showcase.
Elijah Taylor (Class of 2020 – Imhotep) The one player who I felt had the most potential was Elijah Taylor, the 6’7 Frosh from Imhotep. He had a smooth game and showed tenacity on the defensive end. Taylor, already a part of the Imhotep rotation will look to provide them with another weapon to an already strong team. He can score with ease and makes the game look easy when he’s on the floor. This will be a huge summer for Taylor, who is playing with the 15U WeR1 squad.
Mikeal Jones (Class of 2020 – Girard College) The other standout who played this freshman game was Mikeal Jones out of Girard College. He is a 6’7 reclass freshman who plays his summer ball with Team Final. He got off to a rough start with a few early turnovers but you can tell that this kid knows how to play the game. He has all the physical tools to play at the next level. He’s still developing his offensive game, but defensively is a savage. He had about 4 blocks in the game and has a great feel for defense. He protects the rim and can jump out the gym. His game is still raw and he will need to tighten up his ball handling skills to succeed. He’s going to be one of those players to keep an eye out for in the next few years. Glad I got a chance to watch him now.
Mark Bradshaw (Class of 2019 – Archbishop Carroll) Bradshaw is a speedy guard who uses his athleticism to get passed defenders with ease. The 6 foot guard will have an expanded role for Arbishop Carroll this year. He can create off the dribble and has good decision making skills to have success at the next level. His jump shot appeared to be a bit streaky but when it’s falling he’s that much more dangerous. His stocky build gives him the advantage over smaller guards. It’s going to be a pleasure to watch his game grow for the next few years.
Imere Harris (Class of 2019 – West Catholic) The speedy 6 foot guard from West Catholic can light it up if given space. He just knows the game and makes smart decisions when on the floor. Also on the WeR1 16U roster Harris is a hard working player who forces his opposition into making mistakes. He then capitalizes on those mistakes on the offensive end. A small guard, Harris will need to bulk up in order to keep pace with the stronger guards. He is lightning quick and is excellent in transition.
Chereef Knox (Class of 2019 – Imhotep) Knox has all the tools to succeed at the next level right now. The 6’6 wing is going to be a really good player for a college team when he gets there. At the All City Classic there was a stretch of about 8 minutes where he was involved with every basket made. He is an excellent rebounder and moves well without the ball. He can finish around the wing and gives his opposition trouble defending him because he is so active. He always seems to be in the right place at the right time. His stoke doesn’t look too bad, but with some work he can have a serviceable jump shot. Another solid piece to the Imhotep Empire.
Naheem McLeod (Class of 2019 – Plymouth Whitemarsh) McLeod and his 7 foot frame is a fierce defender who makes scoring a very difficult task for opponents. Everytime I see him play he is adding another aspect to his game, and looking a bit more polished each and every time. For a player his size he has very good foot speed and uses his height and length very well. He finishes well around the basket and cleans up missed baskets easily. Heading into his junior season he should give Plymouth-Whitemarsh optimism for next season.
Ahmin Williams (Class of 2018 – Plymouth Whitmarsh) Ahmin Williams is one of the emotional leaders of Plymouth-Whitemarsh. Together with his twin brother Ahmad, will their Colonial team towards success. A fierce defender Williams prides himself in playing excellent defense and you can see it in his play. Williams also can find the open man and rack up assists as seen at the junior game of the All City Classic where Ahmin earned MVP for his public school squad. He wants to win and will do whatever his team needs him to do. He will need to polish up his ball handling skills in order to succeed at the next level. He is going to be a major piece for Plymouth Whitemarsh next season.
Sam Sessoms (Class of 2018 – Shipley) Sessoms gets it done. His gritty style of play gives him the edge when playing. At 5’10 Sessoms is a pure floor general who can find you if you’re open. Awarded the MVP of the junior game for the non-public schools, he was able to find teammates all game long. As a ball-handler, he’s always under control. Uses this trait to his advantage when making decisions in the pick-and-roll. Sessoms has good ball handling skills and can get to the rim and finish with either hand, where he tends to finish at the rim or get fouled. He sometimes would force passes into crowded lanes but for the most part is a smart enough ball player to know when to make plays for his teammates and when to take the action upon himself. This upcoming season he will be one of the best point guards in the area.
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