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Verlin: High schoolers who've impressed on first watch this season

01/31/2023, 10:45am EST
By Josh Verlin

Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)

One of the most fun parts of covering high school basketball is discovering new players and prospects, either talented underclassmen making a big splash, or perhaps some veteran upperclassmen who’re finally breaking through. 

After watching more than 70 local high school games already this season, I figured it was overdue to sit down and put together some thoughts on players who I didn’t know much about before the season, but have certainly made positive first (and sometimes, second and third) impressions this season.

Without further ado:

Aasim 'Flash' Burton (above) has been a terrific addition at point for O'Hara. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Aasim ‘Flash’ Burton (2024 | Cardinal O’Hara)
I saw Burton once or twice in summer action with Math, Civics & Sciences, but not enough to really get a read on him as a player; it hasn’t been until this year with O’Hara that I’ve really gotten to see him play a few full games, and he’s been good (at minimum) each time. Burton’s got his nickname for a reason, as he’s got a great first step to get by defenders or into a one dribble pull-up, and he’s a true point guard who knows how to set his teammates up and doesn’t mind behind a secondary or tertiary scoring option. Still looks like he needs to fill out into his frame but he’s a no-doubt D-I guard at this point.

Ryan Carter (2027 | Penn Charter)
It still feels strange to be writing about members of the Class of 2027, who haven’t technically entered their high school years yet, but a few 8th graders are playing major minutes with varsity teams, and have played well enough to earn mention on this list. First in that group is Carter, a 5-10 guard who hasn’t needed to be a star for the Quakers — who have two Division I-bound seniors and more returning talent in the starting lineup — but has still made a big impact for a squad on its way to a second straight Inter-Ac title. Long, athletic, and versatile, Carter already has a number of high-major Division I offers, and she’s still only scratching the surface of her talent.

Kareem Diaz (2023 | Dobbins CTE)
Only got to see Dobbins once so far this season, but Diaz was impressive: the 6-4 lefty wing had high-level athleticism, was a terrific finisher with his left (dominant) hand, created out of the high post, and did a great job of finding his teammates, racking up a number of assists on top of his own buckets. Was also a great interviewee, and wrote this story on Diaz and Dobbins’ successful season that’s been one of my personal favorites of the year. Going to be very interesting to see how he progresses once he gets to college, as he’s got a number of D-IIIs recruiting him.

Rian Dotsey (2025 | Haverford High)
I didn’t get to see the Fords at all last season, so you could add Caroline Dotsey to this list, as the Maine commit was excellent when I finally got to see them this year. But I’m going to write about the younger Dotsey sister, who’s turning into a Division I prospect of her own with a breakout sophomore year. Dotsey’s a long 5-11 wing, a versatile defender and offensive producer, capable of knocking down 3-pointers and scoring around the rim. It’s a good year for her to grow as a significant contributor, and she’ll have a lot more responsibility on her shoulders when her sister, Sky Newman and Mollie Carpenter graduate this spring.

Alexis Eberz (above) comes from a strong hoops lineage, as both of her parents played at 'Nova. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Alexis Eberz (2026 | Archbishop Carroll)
Basketball’s one of those sports that goes from generation to generation, and Eberz is one of a number of legacy hoopers on this list; her parents both played at Villanova, and Alexis has jumped right into a starting role for Carroll. The 5-9 combo guard is quickly gaining confidence over the course of the season, showing her abilities as a 3-point markswoman and off the bounce, as she can hit shots from all over the court, and she’s got a terrific competitive streak. She’ll certainly make her on mark on the PCL over the next three seasons.

Patrese Feamster (2026 | SCH Academy)
This one’s a little cheating, since I did see Feamster in July for a game with the Team Final 14U squad (playing up a year), though 15U AAU games aren’t exactly the greatest place to make a first impression. So it’s been much more meaningful to see Feamster play with SCH Academy, where he’s been a part-time starter a full-time contributor as a high school rookie. The 6-3 shooting guard has a lot of things that scream upside, like a long, athletic frame and a picture-perfect jump shot, quite similar to Moses Hipps when he was at Carroll two years ago, before moving to Georgia. He’ll also have a lot more responsibility on his shoulders moving forward, but it’s been a productive first season.

Perry Fields (2024 | Boys’ Latin)
Like Diaz, I’ve only seen Fields once this season, but he put on a show for Boys’ Latin. The athletic 6-3 slashing guard was hitting 3s from all over the court, finishing at (and above) the rim, defending at a high level, etc. It’s been a breakout season for Fields, who’s got scholarship-level potential, and I’m looking forward to seeing him this summer against different competition to see if he can replicate the performance. 

Silas Graham (2027 | Haverford School)
Graham’s another one of those impressive eighth graders, and one of those basketball legacy prospects, as the son of Penn assistant Nat Graham looks to have a bright future in this sport as well. Already 6-4, Graham’s best described as a point guard; he doesn’t have an elite handle just yet, but he has a terrific IQ, feel and court vision, making him a terrific distributor who knows how to get his teammates open and find them in their spots. He’s also got a smooth jumper and has some different scoring options, like a floater, when he gets into the lane. Great foundation to build on, for sure.

Zahra King (above) has become a major scoring threat for Westtown this season. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Zahra King (2024 | Westtown School)
I didn’t get to see Westtown last year, so I’m late to the Zahra King party, but she’s been one of two players for the Moose who have impressed all three times I’ve seen them…we’ll get to the other one a little later on. King’s a long 5-10 wing guard with all sorts of high-major offers, and it’s easy to see why. She’s strong from outside as she is attacking the rim, has great court vision and makes pinpoint passes, finishes with both hands, through contact, rebounds well, and more. She’s especially good running the fast break, but there aren’t many situations where she’s not strong. 

Marquis Kubish (2024 | Harriton)
It’s been a nice step forward of a season for Harriton, which only won six games a year ago and now finds itself in the mix for a District 1 6A berth with 11 wins heading into the weekend, and Kubish has been a major reason why. The 6-2 junior has become the Rams’ leading scorer, a solid-bodied lead guard who handles physical defense well as he gets into the lane, his jumper strong enough to keep defenders honest against his dribble-drive. Clearly a college-level player, it’ll be interesting to see if Kubish makes a run at scholarship territory with a big summer and senior year; he’ll need to work on a little game refinement and a little body/athleticism to put himself in that mix. 

Lateef Lorenzo-Wright (2026 | Bartram)
Gotten to see Bartram twice this year and Lorenzo-Wright was a one-man show. The 6-4 left-hander is still very dependent on his dominant hand, but he’s got so many ways to score, at the moment it doesn’t seem to be a problem; he was hitting off-balance mid-range shots, odd angle layups around the rim and 3-pointers, and he can play above the rim as well. Definitely a lot of upside here but certainly a lot of refinement to do in terms of tightening his handle, working on his off hand, etc. A name to keep an eye on moving forward, for sure.

John Mobley (above) went from unknown to a major factor for Lower Merion. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

John Mobley (2024 | Lower Merion)
Mobley put on 30 pounds of muscle this season and has exploded into one of the most athletic wings in all of District 1, the late-blooming junior forward giving the Aces a huge boost on the glass despite standing about 6-2. Mobley’s got some serious bounce to play above the rim, and he’s becoming an increasingly reliable threat from the 3-point arc, while putting in maximum effort the whole time he’s on the floor. The key for Mobley’s development is really just skill-based, improving his handle and pull-up to be able to better create his own shot; if he can do that, he could be in scholarship territory a year from now. 

Kirby Mooney (2024 | William Tennent)
The nephew of Richmond men’s coach and Archbishop Ryan grad Chris Mooney, Kirby’s had a breakout junior season for the Panthers, who are in contention for a SOL Freedom title as we enter the final week-plus of the regular season. A 6-4 combo guard, Mooney’s at his best attacking the rim, but it’s his well-rounded game that makes him stick out: he’s often Tennent’s leading rebounder and assist-giver as well, as he’s becoming a better 3-point shooter, especially with his feet set. Looking forward to seeing what kind of summer he has with college coaches watching.

Nadir Myers (2023 | Upper Darby)
The driving engine behind Upper Darby’s significant bump up the Central standings this season has been Myers, the 5-10 point guard much more than just a blur of talent in a Royals uniform. Myers is a strong on-court leader, directing traffic whether he’s got the ball in his hands or not, keeping his teammates together and connected, as Bob Miller’s group really knows how to share the ball and features four dangerous scorers. Myers, who surpassed 1,000 points in only a couple seasons, is a fun player to watch, throwing his body around with measured abandon, a three-level scorer and tough on-ball defender. Pursued by multiple D-III programs, his best ball’s ahead of him.

Megan Ngo (2026 | Upper Dublin)
Another legacy hooper — Ngo’s mom, Jen Zenszer, was a standout at La Salle, in the school’s and Big 5 Hall of Fame. Ngo’s one of two talented sisters on the Cardinals, though older sister Amy Ngo is only just returned from an ACL injury that’s had her out for the last 11 months. In her absence, Megan’s had a lot on her shoulders to start her high school career, and the 5-2 guard has responded with a confidence beyond her years. Ngo is a speedy little point guard who loves to turn the corner on screens and get to the hoop, but she’s also a quality 3-point shooter, and distributor in transition. 

Onyx Nnani (above) is a 6-8 wing guard with a mega upside. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Onyx Nnani (2025 | Phelps School)
The phrase ‘big guard’ gets thrown around a lot, but at 6-8, Nnani is certainly the kind of player who fits the bill. Though he’s more technically a wing due to his ability to guard the ‘3’ man, he’s got the handles and shot of a guard, and his size makes him a real problem. Haven’t gotten to see Nnani since November, but was really impressed when I did see him, especially considering he was coming off the bench for Phelps; I expected a good bit of rawness given his age, but he was instantly impressive with his fluidity, shot-making ability, and overall length/upside.

Jordyn Palmer (2027 | Westtown School)
Okay. On one hand, Palmer is an eighth grader, not yet in high school, with so much time ahead of her before we really know what kind of player she’s going to turn out to be. But as of right now, it’s hard not to think big things are ahead for the 6-1 wing forward, who’s already putting up some seriously impressive numbers against high-level competition for the Moose, in a starting role. She’s excellent at attacking close-outs and getting to the rim, where she can finish with both hands with ease — reverses, up-and-unders, you name it. Seen her block shots in a flying leap, Euro-step in transition, initiate offense, etc. Just so much that’s impressive, and very little that isn’t.

Mary Sareen (2023 | Radnor)
Sareen’s been putting up big numbers for Radnor all season, and watching her play, it’s easy to see why. The speedy 5-7 point guard can really work off screens and get to the rim with ease, and she’s also a strong outside shooter and foul shooter, has quick hands defensively and hits the glass hard, stuffing the stat sheet with regularity for the Raptors. A small-college recruit, her motor and hoops IQ alone will help whatever program she ends up with.

Amaya Scott (2025 | Neumann-Goretti)
Part of a terrific pair of sophomore guards for the Saints along with Carryn Easley — also having a good year for Andrea Peterson’s squad — Scott has burst out as a big-time scorer this year. She doesn’t technically qualify for this list, as I did see her play last year, in a much smaller role for Neuman-Goretti, which really featured senior Mihjae Hayes with D’Ayzha Atkinson in a supporting role. Now Scott’s counted on to put up numbers for the defending PIAA Class 3A champs, and she’s doing that with aplomb, hitting buckets of 3s, being strong with the rock, getting into the lane, etc. Her and Easley both stand at around 5-4, but they’re both a bundle of fun to watch.

Ian Wiliams (2026 | Archbishop Carroll)
Williams is one of a number of freshmen the Carroll coaching staff is high on long-term, and one of two who have seen significant varsity minutes early on. The Patriots’ starting point guard, the 5-10 Williams has been playing like an upperclassman all season long, from his controlling tempo and picking his spots to attack and when to run offense; he’s a good outside shooter, a good finisher at the rim, has a mid-range pull-up, and is a quality on-ball defender. He and sophomore Jake West will be a fun backcourt to watch the next few years.

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