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Team Final Pre Live Warm-Up Standouts (July 2, 2022)

07/03/2022, 11:00am EDT
By Owen McCue and Dennis Olson

Owen McCue (@Owen_McCue) & Dennis Olson (@DennisOlson6)

In anticipation for next week’s live period, Team Final invited two other top-tier programs — Team Rio University and NY Renaissance Basketball — to Grail Sports Complex in Wilmington, Del. for a Pre Live Warm-Up on Saturday.

The three organizations brought 15U, 16U and 17U rosters loaded with college talent, including a number of Division I and high-major recruits. CoBL caught action from all of the day’s eight games.

With plenty of talent on display, it was hard to narrow it down, but here is a list of standouts from the event:

Rahmir Barno (2023 | Team Final 17U)

Barno, a 5-foot-11 guard, finished with 16 points in Team Final’s 57-39 victory over Team Rio to start his day and matched that scoring output in a 73-71 loss to NY Rens to finish his day. Barno hit a pair of 3-pointers in both games but did most of his damage near and around the basket. He used his athleticism and speed to get to the basket and convert tough takes with some creativity in the lane, especially in transition. On the opposite end of the court, the guard used that same athleticism and speed to put on a nice defensive display. He forced contested shots for Team Rio players and pressure their ball handlers all game long. 

Jalil Bethea (2024 | Team Final 16U)

Bethea can do some special things on the floor and showed some of them off in an overtime loss to NY Rens. His shots were falling in an 18-point effort that included four threes. He also made four threes in a 15-point game against Team Rio earlier in the day. Bethea’s ball handling is fascinating to watch at times — two behind the back moves he made to get himself to the rim were on the shortlist of highlight plays of the day. He played on and off the ball during the game, flashing some strong court-vision and passing ability as well to set his teammates up for buckets from multiple spots on the court.

Team Rio 16U Brandon Benjamin goes up for a shot. (Photo: Owen McCue/CoBL)

Brandon Benjamin (2024 | Team Rio U 16U)

Even in a 73-57 loss to NY Rens, the 6-foot-7 Benjamin displayed a very solid showing on both ends of the court against a team with a lot of size. Benjamin got all of his points from two-point range, mostly coming from down inside the paint. He showed a nice ability to finish at the rim and solid footwork maneuvering in the paint. The rising junior also played good defense throughout the contest. He forced tough contested looks in the paint and was able to get his hands on the ball a couple of times. Benjamin used his strength to his advantage on both sides of the court.

Tyler Betsey (2024 | NY Rens 16U)

Betsey’s clutch shooting helped the Rens erase a double-digit effort to take down Team Final in overtime in the second-to-last game of the day. He finished with 19 points, including three 3-point shots. Betsey, a 6-8 wing from Connecticut, looked very comfortable shooting from the corner, where he knocked down what turned out to be the game-winner in overtime. He finished off the victory with four clutch free throws as well. Betsey’s size and length on the wing also naturally shows up on defense, helping shrink the space opponents have to operate. He got into the passing lanes in both games Saturday.

Ladji Dembele (2023 | NY Rens 17s)

Standing at 6-9, Dembele was a significant problem all game for Team Rio U. Dembele finished with 12 points in an 85-54 win for New York Renaissance Saturday. His presence was felt way more than in just the box score as he was able to contest shots in the paint and force tough shots for Team Rio. Dembele was also a problem on the boards as he was able to get second chance opportunities for his team all game long. Dembele showed exceptional footwork for a player of his size. He showcased a lot of excellent finishes around the net and even hit a couple of fadeaway jump shots as well.

NY Rens 16U Jaiden Glover pulls up for a shot. (Photo: Owen McCue/CoBL)

Jaiden Glover (2024 | NY Rens 16U)

The play of the day came from Glover in Renaissance’s 73-57 win over Team Rio. Glover had a highlight one-handed dunk over a Rio defender that had the whole gym up on their feet. Besides his ferocious dunk, Glover put on an offensive display in the win. Glover finished with 23 points, showcasing his ability to score all over the court. He had four threes, along with a lot of nice finishes at the rim. The 6-foot-6 guard displayed exceptional athleticism along with a lethal and multi-threat offensive game. 

Dylan Harper (2024 | NY Rens 16U)

Harper, a 6-5 combo guard, does a really good job of blending his special scoring and playmaking abilities together to control the game in multiple ways. He scored 13 points in an overtime win over Team Final, also assisting on the pivotal 3-point shot in overtime. He didn’t shoot it as well as he can, but his ability to finish in the lane — with both hands — makes him almost unguardable at times with his size at the guard position. His ability to drive and score in the lane certainly opens up things for his teammates as well and he is adept at finding them up for good looks both in the halfcourt offense and in transition. 

Khali Horton (2023 | Team Final 17U)

Horton, who played his high school ball in South Carolina at Legacy Early College Basketball this past spring and in last month’s live period, can really shoot it for a 6-8 forward. After a quiet first game in Team Final’s win over Team Rio U (eight points, one 3-point shot), Horton flashed his shooting ability in a 20-point effort against NY Rens to conclude his day. He made five 3s, including a go-ahead shot in the final minutes of the game with a hand in his face. 

John Jackson (2025 | Team Rio U 15U)

In a 62-59 win over New York Renaissance Saturday afternoon, Jackson used his strong shooting performance to help lift Team Rio to the win. Jackson finished with 19 points, with 15 coming off five three-pointers. On top of doing almost all of his damage on the perimeter, the 5-10 guard scored 16 of his 19 points in the second half of the game. Jackson found a lot of success off the catch-and-shoot three-point shot which helped propel him to a strong finish. The rising sophomore had a quick release from the outside and didn’t show any hesitation when pulling up from deep.

NY Rens 17s Papa Kante goes up for a shot. (Photo: Owen McCue/CoBL)

Papa Kante (2023 | NY Rens 17U)

The star of Renaissance’s 85-54 win was Kante as the big man, who has high-major offers, finished with 18 points in the win. He was practically unstoppable all game for Renaissance. Kante did all of his work around the paint. He used his strength to back defenders down and had a lot of fantastic finishes at the rim. The 6-foot-10 big man didn’t just bully his way to the basket, he showed his ability to hit turnaround jumpers with ease and even tossed in a few euro steps. It was a two-way standout effort for Kante, who played exceptional defense and came up with a couple of big blocks. Kante and his aforementioned teammate Ladji Dembele were the defensive anchors for the win.

Jaden Kelly (2024 | Team Rio U 16U)

The 6-foot-4 guard put on a shooting clinic in Team Rio’s 61-53 victory over Team Final Saturday morning. Kelly, who recently received a Drexel offer, put up 22 points in the win, but his damage from long distance was the most intriguing part of his game. Kelly hit six three-pointers in the game, mostly off the catch and shoot opportunities. He had his shot working the entire game, hitting three 3s in each half. Kelly showcased a smooth stroke from the outside and used his quick release to get his shot off over incoming defenders. 

Honorable Mentions

15U: Milan Dean (2025 | Team Final), Johnny Keenan (2025 | NY Rens), Trey Lewis (2026 | NY Rens), Griffin Linstra (2025 | Team Rio U), Brady Loughlin (2025 | NY Rens), Deuce Maxey (2025 | Team Final), Elijah Parker (2025 | NY Rens)

16U: Aasim Burton (2024 | Team Final), Nick Coval (2024 | Team Final), Caleb Embaye (2024 | NY Rens), Gio Panzini (2024 | Team Rio U), Dwayne Pierce (2024 | NY Rens)

17U: Naasir Cunningham (2024 | NY Rens), Issac Hester (2023 | Team Rio U), Ty-Laur Johnson (2023 | NY Rens), Ahmad Nowell (2024 | Team Final)

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