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The Grind Session Standouts (Jan. 29, 2024)

01/29/2024, 10:30am EST
By Chad Graham

By Chad Graham (@CGraham_Sports)

PHILADELPHIA — The Grind Session made its way to Philadelphia this weekend, bringing some of the top high school programs in the country for a major showcase event. Chad Graham was in attendance at Cristo Rey on Saturday for five talent-loaded matchups that also included some loacal action squeezed in. Here’s who stood out during the event:


Friends Central 99, Chi Prep (Il.) 94
Orangeville Prep (Can.) 84, Trip MN (Minn.) 64
Winston Salem Christian (N.C..) 77, Balboa School (Fla.) 62
Malvern Prep 62, Cristo Rey 57
Fort Erie Academy (Can.) 59, Accelerated Prep (Colo.) 57


Marial Akuentok, 2025 Fort Erie Acad.

Marial Akuentok (2025 | Fort Erie Academy, Can.) 
As far as special skills go, Akuentok’s shot-blocking was the best of the day. The 6-10 center put a lid on the rim by trying to punch everything that went up inside the paint. It didn't matter if it was an opposing big man going for a layup up or a guard fading away, Akuentok wasn't having it. He paired that tenacity with feel on the offensive end. On the short-rollband when he caught the ball at the elbow, he intuitively swung the ball to the opposite corner or entered it down in the post to teammate for high-percentage looks. And when it was his time to score, Akuentok mostly got the job done with touch, but he also put someone under the rim on a monster lob. He finished the final game of the day with 16 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, and 5 blocks. 

Jaeden “JC” Brooks (2024 | Orangeville Prep, Can.)
Up 1 at halftime, “The Viille” traded punches with Trip MN: then Brooks decided to impose his will on the game. The still-available 6-9 forward used his agility and strength to clean up everything coming off the glass. His 9 points and 8 rebounds in the third took the air out of the game and helped his team extend their lead to almost 30. The opposing team tried to go on a run in the fourth, but Brooks got a putback layup and hit a three to put them down for good. His 20-point, 13-board double-double shouldn't go unnoticed by college coaches. 

Chidube Ekwommadu (2024 | Fort Erie Academy, Can)
Ekwommadu didn't start against Accelerated Prep, but he definitely finished it. Not-yet signed, he was named MVP for his two-way impact that helped FEIA comeback to win the game. The 6-5 wing evenly spread his 22 points out across the whole game, hitting shots from the perimeter, slashing to the cup for tough buckets, and converting his attempts at the line (8-8 FT). But he was clutch on defense in the fourth. Ekwommadu locked up opposing guards with his length and lateral movement, forcing them into contested jumpers and turnovers, as his team helped on to win the game. 

Oliver Engen, 2024 Orangeville Prep

Oliver Engen (2024 |  Orangeville Prep, Can.)
Never wasting an advantage, Engen earned MVP honors due to how effective he was playing off of closeouts. Every time he caught the ball, he used ball-fakes or jab-steps to keep the rotating defense off balance and get into the paint. There, he showed off his touch with a barrage of runners and floaters. Likewise, Engen capitalized on the titled defense by finding Brooks and others for drop-off passes. The 6-4 connector and unsigned guard finished with 24 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists. 

Patrese Feamster (2027 | Friends Central)
After just 5 points in the first half against Chi Prep, Feamster got into a rhythm that helped lift FCS out of a double-digit deficit. His catch-and-shoot jumper was essential to that effort. He found the bottom of the net once in the third, then two more times in the fourth, putting up 10 points in each stretch. Because he kept spacing the floor, the lane and charity stripe were good to him too. Feamster totalled 28 points and 5 rebounds, shooting 4-for-8 from three and 4-for-5 on free throws,

Muhsin Muhammad (2024 | Friends Central)
“Moose” had his hands full early on versus Chi Prep, but he kept battling. The 6-4 wing blocked 2 shots in the third, energizing his team as they got crucial stops. Then he erupted  in the fourth. Muhammad put his defender in the spin cycle as he attacked the rim and finished with either hand for 13 points to force overtime. Chi Prep struck first to go up 5 points. But Muhammad wouldn't fold. After getting yet another layup and Feamster adding 3 points in the extra period, he ripped off 6 unanswered points, including the game-winning bucket. The unsigned senior scored a game-high 31 points and chipped in 7 boards and 3 assists in the overtime win. 

Felipe Patino, 2024 Winston Salem Christian

Felipe Patino (2024 | Winston Salem Christian, N C.)
With a pull-up three and another one off-the-catch in the first quarter, Patino pushed his team out to an early 27-10 lead and never looked back. Even though Balboa School had the overall size advantage, Patino and company won by out-hustling their opponents. He flew around defensively, pushed the rock in transition, and worked off-ball. After his third triple in the second quarter, Balboa started trying to run him off the line. He acted accordingly by making quick decisions: either making the extra pass or driving to the hoop to score. Patino made a couple buckets in the painted area and made 6-of-8 freebies, talking 19 points. 

Ryan Williams (2024 | Malvern Prep)
In the most turnt up game of the day, the Friars took on the host Cristo Rey with a crowd full of Blue Pride fans and came out victorious thanks to Williams. The soon-to-be Northeastern Husky started fast, knocking down two treys in the opening minutes of the contest. He and freshman Marvin Reed spent the rest of the game taking turns initiating the offense, in an effort to keep the Blue Pride at bay. Unfortunately, Cristo Rey clawed back to nearly take the lead. But, late in the fourth, Williams took the game into his own hands. He picked an opposing guard’s pocket and took the ball the other way for a layup, then, he stole the ensuing inbound pass which led to another Friars bucket, effectively putting the game out of reach. He accounted for 22 points, 5 boards, 3 assists, and 3 steals in the gutsy performance. 

Honorable Mention:

Nigel Adamson (2026 | Cristo Rey), Su-Meer Alleyne (2025 | Friends Central), Isaiah Ayala (2025 | Trip MN), Tyler Bailey (2024 | Winston Salem Christian, N C.), Reid Belcher (2024 | Friends Central), Devin Booker (2025 | Cristo Rey), Jacovey Campbell (2024 | Accelerated Prep, C.O.), Hunter Carter (2025 | Accelerated Prep, C.O.), Jordan Dickson (2024 | Balboa School, F.L.), Tristan Ford (2025 | Chi Prep, IL.), Jahmarian Forrester (2025 | Balboa School, F.L.), Nick Harken (2027 | Malvern Prep), Mike Jones (Chi Prep, IL.), Yann Kouakou-Aphely (2025 | Orangeville Prep, Can.), Jordan Lowery (2025 | Winston Salem Christian, N.C.), Darius McGlashen (2026 | Winston Salem Christian, N.C.), Fazl Oshodi (2024 | Friends Central), Jalyn Patterson (2025 | Trip MN), Marvin Reed (2027 | Malvern Prep), Jaden Reynolds (2025 | Winston Salem Christian, N.C.), Ethan Samuels (2025 | Chi Prep, IL.), Nishaan Singh (2025 | Fort Erie Academy, Can.), Kaden Stuckey (2024 | Orangeville Prep, Can.), CJ Vaughn (2024 | Winston Salem Christian, N C.)

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