BOWIE, MD – Last weekend’s DC Blue Devils/DMVelite Spring Warmup provided an early test for many of the area’s top travel programs.
RELATED: DCBD SPRING WARMUP NOTEBOOK, PART I
Here’s Part 2 of our look at some of the weekend’s standouts:
JORDAN MILLER, D1SA SPARTANS ELITE 17U
After a breakout high school season in which he lead Loudoun Valley to its first-ever state championship, Miller has emerged as one of the area’s most intriguing prospects to track this summer.
The 6-foot-6 lefty wing started solidly, dropping an easy 18 points in a win over Maryland Rockets. He has a quick first step, good explosiveness, nice touch and finishes well at the rim, but one of the aspects that stood out was his motor. With his team comfortably ahead late, Miller was on the floor diving for loose balls and making hustle plays – an approach he said is a big part of his game.
“Shout out to my coach, Coach [Chad] Dawson at Valley,’” Miller said, “‘he really got that installed in my brain to make sure that I get every loose ball and the 50/50 balls.”
Miller said he’s received interest from George Mason, Radford and Virginia Tech. He said his biggest goals for the summer include adding weight and strength – he’s only around 165 pounds - and working on his right hand.
JALEN GIBBS, DC BLUE DEVILS UAA 17U
The North Point (Md.) scoring machine averaged 28.3 points per game as a senior this past season, but is playing with the Blue Devils in hopes of attracting scholarship offers while he also mulls taking a prep school year.
“It definitely helped me talk more and become a better leader,” Gibbs said of his role as a senior. “It helped me get my teammates better.”
The 6-foot-3, 170-pounder said he’s working on getting stronger for the next level, as wel as picking his spots better on offense.
LANGSTON GAITHER, NEW WORLD VIRGINIA 17U
Gaither closed his high school career with another strong season at Hayfield - he was named Region 6A North Player of the Year - and has already committed to a prep year at DME Academy in Florida,
Gaither listed offers from High Point and Texas-Rio Grande Valley, as well as strong interest from College of Charleston, George Mason and James Madison.
“We’ll see what happens after the post-grad, but hopefully I can make some noise this summer,” he said. “I’m still OK with my offers and I’m trying to pick up some more.”
Gaither got off to a good start, going for 15 points in an opening 62-56 win over Fairfax Stars and posting 14 in a loss to DC Blue Devils UAA. At 6-3 and 195 pounds he’s a matchup nightmare on the perimeter, able to power past or post up smaller guards and too quick for forwards.
“I’m just really working on getting back to being consistent with my shot,” he said, “and just continuing to work on more point guard skills, because I’m a combo but I’ve got to keep working on my point guard skills and what I do at the 2.”
CHARLIE WEBER, 6TH MAN WARRIORS 16U
Weber is a rapidly-improving combo forward with an intriguing inside-out offensive game, which he had on full display Saturday.
The 6-foot-7, 190-pound Huntingtown (Md.) sophomore shined in a 52-50 win over Team BBC, going for 20 points and frustrating defenders with a combination of jumpers, up and under moves, and put backs. He makes heads-up plays, is active on both ends and runs the floor well.
“I’ve got a good jumper,” he said. “I can rebound and I can post up if I have to – I’m not like a designated big man. I can pass good, and athleticism. .. Personally, I’m trying to get better at driving and just working on my game more,” he said. “This team, I think we can go pretty far in tournaments and win most of them.”
BRAYDEN GAULT, TEAM TAKEOVER GREY 17U
Gault (Battlefield 2018) has enjoyed a highly-productive varsity career, but has his mind set on turning his recruiting interest into something more substantial.
“This year I want to pick up an offer,” he said. “That’s probably the most important. And also having fun my last year of AAU; I’ve got a great group of guys around me. … I have a lot of small interest from some low D1 schools and I’m working on high D2 schools as well just to have both options. But hopefully this summer more will come.”
Gault pointed to his shooting as one of his strengths, and although he struggled to get going from the field early, he brings enough to the table to be able to contribute in multiple ways.
“I think I out-hustle a lot of people,” he said. “I’m not the most athletic kid but I think I make up for it with strength and stuff. I’ve just got to keep working on my ball handling and my mid-range game and changing speed and I’ll be good.”
DOMENICK BAILEY, TEAM TAKEOVER GREY 17U
Bailey transferred from Christ Chapel (Va.) to St. Stephens’ & St. Agnes (Va.) last summer and enjoyed a solid debut, finishing second on the team in scoring at 10 points per game.
It’s the other end of the court, though, where Bailey said the move has proven the most beneficial.
“Its helped me a lot, especially defensively,” he said. “Night in and night out, I’m going against some of the top guards – Jared Bynum, Vado Morse, Xavier Johnson – so I’ve got to be on my game every night. I would say it’s just a higher level, so it helped me out.”
Bailey’s mindset was evident, as he competed hard on both ends all weekend. The 6-foot, 165-pounder did a good job of breaking down his man and getting into the paint, where he was able to set up teammates for open shots.
Bailey listed a number of schools who have shown interest and said they’d be out to see him this summer, including Air Force, American, Army, Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Lafayette, MIT, Old Dominion, VMI and William & Mary.
“This spring and summer, I’m looking to help my team in as many ways as possible while showcasing what I can do to the coaches that will be watching,” he said.
DARIUS MILES, DC BLUE DEVILS 15U
The 2020 Theodore Roosevelt wing opened strong with 16 points in a win over Team BBC, beginning the game with an impressive scoring run that BBC never recovered from.
The freshman pointed to his varsity experience this past season with helping to make him tougher mentally and physically.
“It started in practice,” he said, “because our coach made us do 8.6’s, which is where you run up and down the floor in 8.6 seconds. At first I couldn’t do it and he just kept pushing me and sometimes I wanted to quit, but I had my father on the sideline telling me to keep pushing and keep pushing. Then I just got it eventually.”
At 6-foot-5 and 180 pounds, Miles is long and athletic, and displayed the ability to finish through contact and from different angles. He said he’s primarily working on changing speeds more effectively and his footwork.
“I’ve been working on mid-range,” he said, “because most shooters in the NBA shoot mid-range at first and then they go around the perimeter. So, if my mid-range is deadly, I can shoot off the dribble and then bring out the 3-point shot.”
RAHSAAN EDWARDS, TEAM BBC 16U
The 5-foot-11 Edwards (St. Maria Goretti 2019) finished with 14 points in an early 52-50 loss to 6th Man Warriors, showing nice versatility on the offensive end.
“I’m definitely trying to work on finishing at the rim,” he said, “because I feel like my pull-up and 3 are where it needs to be, and being a consistent shooter, definitely. On defense, I think I can pick up the intensity sometimes - when things aren’t going my way I can still be involved in other ways when I’m not scoring - and that’s one thing I need to work on.”
Edwards enjoyed a solid year at Goretti, and said he’s received interest from James Madison, Xavier and Virginia Tech.
“It really helped me because in my opinion I was practicing with one of the most underrated players I’ve ever played against, Elijah Clarance,” Edwards said. “He’s very good, so he pushed me to be my best and play my best at all times. I had to guard him full court and he would guard me, so he helped me a lot. And Coach [Matt] Miller harping on every little thing, it made me better as a person and my mental toughness stronger.”
WOODY NEWTON, TEAM THRILL 15U
Newton had a breakout season at McKinley Tech this past season, and is hoping to continue his rise this spring and summer. [Although he’s a sophomore, Newton has already said he plans to do a prep year and enter college with the Class of 2020].
“I’m trying to get known, that I’m one of the top prospects in 2020,” he said. “I think I’m a tall ball handler that can break down my defender, and I think I can shot the ball very well at 6’7. I’m trying to get more explosiveness, more agility and become more dominant.”
The 6-7, 180-pounder averaged 12.2 points per game in his first full season with McKinley Tech, which has helped his confidence entering the travel season.
“It showed I can compete with almost anybody out there,” he said. “It’s good competition in DC, with a lot of high major players, nationally-ranked players, and unknown players that are going to be on the come up this year.”