LEBANON, Mo. — The inaugural SWMO Basketball Future 50 Showcase brought together many of the region’s top players last Sunday at Lebanon High. Here is a look at the Class of 2022-23 players at the event. The players are listed by the team they played on and their jersey number.
Team K — ATOMIC BLUE
(PLAYER, SCHOOL, CLASS)
1 — Blake Mathis, Bunker, 2022
Mathis made defense a priority. He found his rhythm early and he wasn’t afraid to take on the opposing team’s best forward. He stayed tight, making sure his man had little room to breathe. That said, he really made strides on offense. He has a nice shot and can score on the move in traffic.
3 — Cohl Vaden, Webb City, 2022
Vaden won over the crowd in the first two minutes of play and went on to capture one of two MVP awards at the event. He danced around the court and fed his teammates whenever they had the right look. He’s a smooth guard, a guy who can sink shots from deep and cause problems when he decides to go for a steal. Vaden is a special player with a solid game.
4 — Josh Barlow, Hollister, 2022
Barlow is a guard who had to play forward the first part of game one. He held his own, but he plays his best when he can find space along the wing and contribute away from the ball. He’s good at setting screens, someone who takes the little things very seriously. Barlow found ways to create when he had the ball as well. It took him a while to get comfortable, but he looked sharp throughout.
5 — Blake Shanks, Willard, 2022
Shanks is a skilled guard that moves well off the ball. He is quick, and has a good eye for defensive schemes. Several players find ways to contribute when few are looking, and Shanks is at the top of that list. He didn’t hold back much from the start and was able to capitalize in half court settings because of it. A good team player.
6 — Jaden Carrasquillo, Verona, 2022
Carrasquillo plays beyond his age. At one point, an opposing coach asked the score keeper if he was on the right court. He has an athletic frame and a motor that never eases up around the glass. He’s a player that looks great when he’s running the show. He can score, defend at a high level and find ways to keep his teammates happy. Players don’t have to worry about him keeping the ball too long. Carrasquillo rebounds at a high level, can take the ball from coast-to-coast and always seems to be looking for another assist.
7 — Haden Brown, Willard, 2022
Brown is a strong player who can mix things up for his team. He is a physical defender, a rim protector who can block shots near the basket and behind the 3-point line. He has a good frame for his age. He moves well and can fill space on the floor in several positions.
8 — Aden Flood, Webb City, 2023
Flood played hard against a lot of older players Sunday. He fought through screens and guarded players who had a size advantage on occasion. Flood can make baskets and fights for loose balls. He can also control the ball and makes smart passes.
9 — Austin Herzan, Reeds Spring, 2022
Possibly one of the smartest players in Donnelly gym Sunday. Herzan is a thoughtful, shooting guard/ small forward who defends well and plays defense with his legs. He can handle the ball if he needs to and he works well in a motion offense. Herzan didn’t appear to get as many touches as he’s used to, but everyone in the gym could see he knows how to play.
NN — Ahlante Askew, Republic, 2023
Askew got better the more he played. He’s a versatile offensive player who can play off the ball extremely well. He can separate himself coming off screens and slip to the basket around players. Even though he doesn’t have a forward’s frame, Askew looked great down low fighting for rebounds and scoring off second chance baskets. A fun player to watch when he’s in the zone.
4 — Jack Larimore, Bolivar, 2023
Larimore is a guard who can score jumpers in tight spaces. He’s serious about basketball, someone who enjoys what he does and can play well when he gets the chance. He’s quick, a good passer and enjoys playing on a team that is fast and loose.
Trevor Huey, Forsyth, 2022
Huey is an intelligent guard who can read a defense and make them pay. He cuts when a guard should and has a good eye for openings in half court settings. Huey was open far more times than he touched the ball, but he stayed positive and kept his head up. When he did get the touches he didn’t come up short. Huey has a nice rhythm to his game.
Team L — GREEN
1 — Cade Sutton, Bunker, 2023
Sutton played well Sunday staying in front of his opponents on defense. He moves his feet and does his best to avoid using his hands to guard. He also contributed on offense, popping off screens and in search of the ball and a clean look. Sutton wasn’t against giving it everything he had as he showcased his athleticism running lanes and getting back on defense.
2 — Gaige Pitts, Thayer, 2022
Pitts is a point guard who can bring the ball up the floor with no problems. He has smooth handles, capable of taking it to the basket or stopping on a dime to hand of a pass to a crashing teammate. That said, he’s best when he takes over a game and scores for himself. He has a good shoot from deep and a clean release.
3 — Thomas Shuster, Willard, 2022
A streaky shooter who is tall for his age. Depending on the match-up, Shuster proved he can play down low on occasion or move out and play a shooting guard. Shuster has a nice shot and a soft touch. He can find ways to make an impact. As long as he stays on the move, Shuster didn’t have trouble contributing on the floor.
4 — Josh McMillen, MCE, 2022
Another Marion C. Early player who can shoot well from behind the line. He can score inside, but he looked comfortable from deep. McMillen stayed active, set good screens and sacrificed himself to get a spark going for his team.
5 — Evan Mayse, Catholic, 2022
Mayse can do a bit of everything for his team. He has a basketball look to him, a clean-cut guy who does what is expected without being told. He can shoot, defend, rebound and make good passes to teammates who have a better angle than him. You can tell he enjoys playing, even when things aren’t going his team’s way.
6 — Ian Carr, Lebanon, 2022
Carr is a player who is good at the little things. He can rebound, fight through screens and play big in the paint. He goes after the ball on defense, doing his best to put his team first and play hard. Carr can score near the basket and does well in the paint on both sides of the floor.
7 — Tommy Pinegar, Greenwood, 2022
Pinegar plays his best basketball when he seems a little upset. He doesn’t play out of control, rather with purpose. He made his mark when his team struggled to follow the motion offense. Pinegar took the ball and forced himself to find the basket. He has a nice step-back and some good fakes. A good player overall. He understands the game and what is needed to compete.
8 — Caden Burks, Carver, 2022
Burks is a solid athlete who can accomplish a lot by staying around the basket. He enjoys shooting the long ball, but shoots a much higher percentage close to the basket. He was strong on defense and his team’s best rebounder. He is also capable of going coast-to-coast and finishing near the rim. When he finds space he can do a lot. Burks is one pull-up jumper away from filling out a stat sheet on offense.
9 — Peyton McBride, Marshfield, 2022
It took McBride a while to get warmed up, but he did not disappoint when he did. He has good size and can put the ball on the floor. His height allows him the edge and his long arms help him finish off the glass. McBride has a lot of heart. He’s passionate about the game and he brings a good combination of energy and skill.
NN — Will Carlton, Marionville, 2023
A nice rotation player who took off from the start. Carlton kept good spacing and read plays the way solid two-way players should. One of the coaches watching him informed us of his hustle and ability to process schemes. He added that he stayed in front of his defender while cutting and was a good target despite not getting as many looks as he should have.