Justin Edwards (above) was one of numerous Team Final players who impressed this weekend. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
The annual Team Final Scrimmage took place this past weekend in Wilmington, at Final's new home at the Grail Sports complex. The lights were bright on the gym's solo court, spotlighting a ton of talent that took to the floor over the weekend.
Here’s who played well in front of the CoBL staff this weekend — and considering the overall level of talent on the court, this was a high bar to clear:
Team Final 17U
Couldn’t start this list of standouts without mentioning Team Final’s oldest group as a unit, though we’ll also give shoutouts to a few particular players in this list. Even though they won’t get a full EYBL schedule due to COVID, this Final group has the potential to be one of the Nike-backed program’s best ever; some outlets have mentioned them as the No. 1 travel group in the country. And they showed why, looking good in a 70-61 win over the Albany City Rocks (N.Y.) before absolutely dismantling Team Melo, 88-61; it was 55-23 at halftime, and it felt like Final could have won by 50 if they kept pushing instead of (understandably) relaxing somewhat midway through the second half. Of course it starts with the twin towers of Jalen Duren and Dereck Lively, but the high-major backcourt of Justice Williams, Corey Floyd and Jameel Brown was clicking too, with a five-assist effort from backup point guard Jahim Bethea. They defend, they score, they shoot, they have four years of chemistry and they’re already rolling. Watch out.
Javon Adams (2022 | Team Final Red | Olympus Prep, N.J.)
A 6-foot-8, 190-pound wing forward, Adams’ mix of length, passing ability, and scoring touch are a reason his stock has skyrocketed recently, with offers from East Carolina and La Salle this week. Scores well within 15 feet, but he’s a creative, accurate and willing passer which really sets him apart.
Xzayvier Brown (2023 | K-Low Elite | Roman Catholic, Pa.)
As he’s shown as Roman’s starting point guard each of the last two years, Brown is a crafty scorer who knows how to get to the rim at a variety of speeds, and he really knows how to use the glass. Great footwork in the lane.
Nick Coval (2024 | Team Final | Parkland, Pa.)
The Lehigh Valley Rookie of the Year and son of DeSales coach Scott Coval, Nick bombed away from 3-point range in both games at a good clip, but also took advantage of driving opportunities and dropped in a floater or two.
Jalen Duren (2022 | Team Final | Montverde Academy, Fla.)
The Duren Dunk Show was in full force Sunday, the 6-10 center throwing down a number of lobs and dump-offs from his teammates, along with a few mid-range jumpers as well. Duren also displayed his passing abilities, and had more than a handful of blocks between two games.
Justin Edwards (2023 | Team Final | Imhotep Charter, Pa.)
The 6-7 lefty wing forward has always been an impressive athlete, but he’s starting to add more and more basketball skills to his resume. Sunday, it was a few one-dribble pull-ups into the mid-range and more aggressiveness attacking the rim. Still needs to develop his off hand.
Corey Floyd (2022 | Team Final | Roselle Catholic, N.J.)
Floyd was solid in Final’s first win and tremendous in the second with a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double. The 6-4 UConn commit has a college-ready body and athleticism but also a smooth outside stroke, and he’s fearless attacking the rim.
Anquan Hill (2021 | K-Low Elite | Archbishop Carroll, Pa.)
A day before he committed to Fairleigh-Dickinson (we’ll have more on that later this week), Hill had a strong couple games for K-Low Elite; the 6-9 center was as active as we’ve seen him, scoring in a number of ways in the post and knocking down a couple jumpers.
Mike ‘Deuce’ Jones (2024 | Team Final | Trenton Catholic, N.J.)
First impression of this 5-11 lead guard was strong; thought he was left-handed through most of his game until he pulled up right-handed for a jumper, that’s how good he was getting to the hoop with his off-hand. Super-quick and with a great handle, Jones was tough to stop.
Drew McKenna (2024 | Team Melo | Reservoir, Md.)
A 6-6 wing, McKenna had a great game Sunday afternoon against Team Final, his relentless energy inside providing a real problem for a bigger Final squad as Melo came out victorious. McKenna continually found his way inside for tough layups and rebounded at a high clip.
Jayden Moore (2024 | Team Melo | Loyola Blakefield, Md.)
An athletic 5-10 combo guard, Moore really gets after it on the defensive end, and his energy fired up the entire Melo squad. Strong on the ball on both ends of the court, Moore got his teammates involved but found his own shot when the time was right.
Derek Simpson (2022 | K-Low Elite | Lenape, N.J.)
Simpson had a great opening game for K-Low Elite’s 17s, showcasing a heady floor game; a true dribble-drive point guard, Simpson is a great passer on the move and also has a nice outside shot. Also threw home a nasty dunk on the fastbreak, showing his athleticism.
J.J. Starling (2022 | Albany City Rocks | La Lumiere, Ind.)
Starling has the look and game of a high-major combo scoring guard, with a long, athletic 6-4+ frame, a good handle and the ability to score on either the catch and in pull-up situations, with range. When he heated up against Final on Sunday afternoon, he poured it on in a hurry.
Cam Whitmore (2022 | Team Melo | Archbishop Spalding, Md.)
Whitmore had the play of the weekend, a put-back dunk on Saturday that required a full extension from the 6-7 forward, who certainly defines the term ‘power forward.’ Whitmore is a physical specimen who thrives off getting to the rim, but as he showed against Final on Sunday he can also stretch the floor with his jumper, knocking down a couple 3-pointers.
Robert Wright III (2024 | Team Final | Neumann-Goretti, Pa.)
Neumann-Goretti’s always got guards, and every few years the next special one comes along. That certainly looks like it’s Wright, a 6-1 combo guard who — while he sometimes got a little too fancy on Sunday — has a lot of spunk and talent, plus three-level scoring ability.
Justice Williams (2022 | Team Final | Montverde Academy, Fla.)
Williams certainly improved in his year at Montverde, with a more confident floor game rather than the shot-happy form he displayed at Roman. In fact, he didn’t attempt a 3-pointer in two games, a testament to his willingness to attack the hoop and feed his teammates for shots. Also rebounded really well.
Honorable Mention: Rahmir Barno (2023 | Team Final | Imhotep Charter, Pa.), Luke Bevilacqua (2024 | Team Final | St. Augustine Prep, N.J.), Elijah Brown (2024 | Team Final | St. Augustine Prep, N.J.), Jameel Brown (2022 | Team Final | Haverford School, Pa.), Carlton Carrington (2023 | Team Melo | St. Frances Academy, Md.), Quadir Copeland (2022 | Team Melo | IMG Academy, Fla.), Aristides John Hobson (2024 | Team Melo | Virginia Academy, Va.), Anthony Finkley (2023 | K-Low Elite | West Catholic, Pa.), James Johns Jr. (2023 | Team Final | TBD), Kyree Latimer (2024 | K-Low Elite | Bonner-Prendergast, Pa.), Aaron Lemon-Warren (2021 | K-Low Elite | Archbishop Ryan, Pa.), Dereck Lively II (2022 | Team Final | Westtown School, Pa.), Justin Moore (2022 | K-Low Elite | TBD), Baye Ndongo (2023 | Albany City Rocks | Darrow School, N.Y.), Angelo Reeves (2022 | Team Final Red | First Love Christian, Pa.), Brett Rumpel (2022 | Albany City Rocks | Spire Academy, Ohio), Yasir Ali Supreme (2024 | Team Melo | Gilman School, Md.), Tyson Thomas (2022 | Team Final Red | Allentown Central Catholic, Pa.)