By MARCUS HELTON
DUMFRIES, VA - Last Sunday’s Vantage Hoops DMV Showcase at Potomac High School featured a deep and talented collection of players from throughout the area.
Here’s a look at just a few of the players who stood out:
DONOVANN TOATLEY, RIVERDALE BAPTIST (MD) 2018 GUARD
Toatley was his typically electric self, changing speeds with ease and blowing past defenders,
Toatley enjoyed a solid first season at Riverdale Baptist after transferring from St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes, averaging 11.6 points per game and earning Second Team All-Capital Beltway League Honors. He helped lead the Crusaders to the Maryland Private Schools Championship.
“It definitely helped me out, playing with much better people and getting to be a leader vocally,” he said. “It just helped me develop my game into a true point guard, and try to find people and help make the game easier for them. And it helped make me a better defender because I was playing against better people. … It challenged me more and brought my game to another level.”
The 5-foot-9 Toatley holds a scholarship offer from Richmond, and said he’s heard from America, Colgate, George Mason and Lehigh. He’ll play for DC Premier this spring and summer.
“I plan to commit before the start of senior year,” he said, “so hopefully my recruitment picks up and I get more offers and everything falls into place.”
SHYHEIM GILKERSON, MIDDLEBURG (VA) 2018 GUARD
Gilkerson also took his game to another level in new surroundings this past season, averaging 10.8 point games while starting at point guard following a move from Virginia Academy to Middleburg. It wasn’t completely smooth, though, as the Dragons stumbled through a disappointing season.
“I mean, honestly, I think it helped me personally get better as a player,” he said, “and get better as an all-around point guard and mature for this summer and next year as a senior. But, like, as a team, it was a lot less team-oriented and more one-on-one and do your own thing, which I really didn’t like that much, but you have to take the bad with the good.”
Gilkerson’s team approach was on display Sunday, as he consistently set up his teammates for good shots while posting 3 assists per game. Offensively he looked good attacking the basket.
Gilkerson - who will play with New World Virginia 17U - said he’s heard most from Division I Lehigh and VMI, as well as Division II St. Thomas Aquinas.
DEMETRIUS MIMS, POLY (MD) 2018 GUARD
Mims currently holds six scholarship offers from St. John’s, Long Beach State, Old Dominion, Robert Morris and Towson, and looks primed to continue his ascension.
Coming in off of a successful junior season that included Poly’s first-ever state championship, Mims was impressive on Sunday, displaying his full offensive arsenal while averaging 13.3 points per game.
“Even if it doesn’t look like there’s a way of getting to the basket, I can find a crafty way to finish with athleticism,” he said. “I’ve become more of a good post player - like, I can post up smaller guards and I can face up on a big and work to get around almost any defender. And I’m a good lockdown defender; if coach needs me to strap up somebody I can do that.”
The 6-foot-5, 185-pounder will again run with Team Melo, and said he’s working to develop his complete game - shooting his jumper more consistently, ball handling and defense. Following the graduation of Temple-bound star Dre Perry this year, Mims will be Poly’s unquestioned leader next season.
“I wanted it to be my show from the jump,” he said, “but I realized it wasn’t after a while, and now that it is, I’ve got enough experience over the years that I’m ready for the challenge.”
BRENDAN ADAMS, CALVERT HALL (MD) 2018 GUARD
Adams is one of the fastest-rising recruits in the 2018 class, recently adding Minnesota and Stanford to a list of offers that includes Columbia, George Washington, Kansas State, Siena, St. Bonaventure - where his older brother Jaylen stars - St. Joseph’s and Towson. Adams said he’s hoping to commit in the fall, and knows what he’s looking for in the school.
“A lot of people say location, but that’s not really it for me, he said. “It’s definitely a fit - how I fit with the basketball system, and also how I fit with the school in general.”
Adams said he feels his versatility is his strength, and that he’s looking to improve both defensively and on the defensive boards.
I think I definitely bring scoring and I facilitate too, that’s one of the things, like, I can come in and play your point guard but I’m also capable of getting a bucket at any time.”
JASON MURPHY, CHAPELGATE (MD) 2019 FORWARD
One of the area’s top young post prospects, the 6-foot-8, 215-pound Murphy put on an impressive display Sunday, posting 14.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.
“Since the school season ended, I’ve been in the gym basically every day, working,” Murphy said. “AAU’s starting now and we’re [Team Melo] looking real good - we’re going to do some damage in the EYBL - and I’m just trying to get better individually and do some damage this summer.”
Murphy has a strong sophomore year at Chapelgate, averaging 15 points. 11.2 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game. His length and footwork allows him to defend out to the perimeter, he’s strong and athletic enough to finish consistently around the rim, and he’s improved his shooting touch.
“I think I became more of a leader,” he said. “I think I become a better player, a better defender and team player. I think playing under my coach and my school’s system, I think it really helped me and my development.”
Old Dominion has offered Murphy, and he’s received interest from Georgetown, Maryland, Penn State and Virginia Tech, among others.
“After this summer - depending on how the summer circuit goes - I’m going to sit down with my family and we’re going to reevaulate the situation with the schools that I have,” he said. “I’d like to have a pretty clear idea where I want to go going into my junior AAU season, so by the end of it or maybe mid-way through maybe I can make a decision. But right now, I don’t really have a preference on when I make the decision, I’m just going to let it happen when it happens.”
JARED BYNUM, GEORGETOWN PREP (MD) 2018 GUARD
Bynum wrapped his recruitment up this week by verbally committing to St. Joseph’s (Pa.), which he took an official visit to two weeks ago.
Last Sunday, he explained what he was looking for in a school:
“I want to play in the NCAA Tournament, so [I want] a school that’s pretty competitive and that pretty much every year we can count on being a competitive team,” he said. “Also, outside of basketball, coaches that are going to take care of me and a family environment and a school that if it’s not for basketball, I would still enjoy going there as a student. Just making sure that it’s somewhere I’m comfortable and somewhere my Mom knows I’ll succeed and where my coaches think I’ll succeed.”
That place will be St. Joseph’s, and coach Phil Martelli and his Hawks will be getting a good one in Bynum.
“I think I’m a really good outside shooter - like, nobody can really leave me open,” he said. “I’m really good at getting two feet in the lane and finding guys when I penetrate in the lane. I think I’m a good all-around point guard and my passing is pretty good and I can really handle the ball and get where I want on the floor. I think I’m a good leader on the court and I can run a team and just do whatever it takes to win.”
Bynum averaged 14 points, 2.7 assists and an event-leading two steals per game on Sunday. He will play this spring and summer with DC Blue Devils, and said his biggest goal is improving his strength.
“At the next level I’m going to be a smaller guard,” he said, “so I need to be able to defend at a high level. So getting stronger is one of the main things I’m focusing on. My pull-up jumper as well, because I won’t be able to get all the way in the lane. So mid-range and around that area, I’m just working on adding my floater.”
MATT URBACH, WT WOODSON (VA) 2018 GUARD
Urbach (pictured right) put together a nice season after transferring from Paul VI to WT Woodson, averaging 13 points and helping the Cavaliers to the Group 6A state championship - the first state title in school history.
“I think it helped a lot,” Urbach said of the transfer. “I play a lot and it’s helping me with my confidence level, so it’s really good.”
Urbach averaged 12.7 points per game on Sunday, displaying a nice shooting touch and nice explosiveness - nearly throwing down a contested dunk that had the gym buzzing.
Urbach - who will play with Team Takeover - said he’s heard from American, James Madison, Loyola (Md.) and Wofford.
BEN STANLEY, MILLWOOD (VA) 2017 FORWARD
“I already took an official to Hampton a couple of weeks ago," Stanley said, "and I’m about to set up an official to Longwood. A couple of other schools have interest in me and I’m waiting on them to see what they’re ready to do next.”|
The 6-foot-7, 225-pound Stanley is an impressive physical presence with a nice frame and good athleticism. He averaged 18.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.
“I work really hard," he said. "I feel that I don’t anybody with my work ethic. I’m coachable, and I’ll play hard for you.”
GARRICK YOUNG, SIDWELL FRIENDS (DC) 2017 FORWARD
Another hard-working and versatile uncommitted forward, Young is rounding back into form after being hindered by a hip injury during he season.
“I’ve got to finish getting healthy from the season and talk to coach about where I should commit and see what’s the best option for me," he said. "Probably a couple more college visits, and then get ready for college. I’ve got to get stronger - I’m not strong enough yet - and work on my game more and spread out my wing game more.”
Young did a little bit of everything Sunday, flashing some shooting touch from outside to go with a relentless approach on the boards. Young competes hard on both ends of the floor, and is a willing passer and defender.
“Coach always tells us to know what we’re best at," he said. " My athleticism is usually something people say about me, and just my body and how I can jump and my arms and things. Also my defense is one of my strengths, especially my versatility on defense - I can guard guards, I can guard posts - whatever it takes.”
Young said his current list of favorites includes D-I Pepperdine and Lehigh and Division III Rochester, Wesley and Amherst. He holds Division II offers from Caldwell (NJ), Concordia (NY), Millersville (Pa.), St. Thomas Aquinas (NY) and University of the Sciences (Pa.)
“I want a school where I enjoy the atmosphere around it," he said, "so when I walk around I want to see if people are smiling or if people just look mad, things like that. I want to love the coach; I feel like other than your teammates that’s probably the most important relationship you have at the school, so you have to be able to like the coach and understand what the coach is saying and get their system and understand how you fit in it. And last - it’s hard to think about this, but I want to go to a place that I think I would enjoy if I couldn’t play basketball if I went there. Like, I would still enjoy if I was a normal student.”
JUDAH JORDAN, CAPITOL CHRISTIAN (MD) 2019 GUARD
Jordan picked up offers from Penn State, Towson and Hampton last summer, and hopes to build on those following a move to Team Melo.
“The main thing is improving my physicality," he said, "and becoming stronger and becoming more agile going to the basket and finishing better and playing above the rim. I also plan to become a better point guard this year. Some of my strengths are shooting, my pull-up game, beating my man off the dribble, and my defense - picking up full court. And getting my teammates involved.”
“I think it helped me progress a lot, because we did go through a lot of adversity - getting hurt, and we didn’t have that many great games, but I think it did help get better towards the end of the season and come together and beat the No. 1 team in Maryland [Rock Creek Christian] so that helped us a lot. It helped us build.”
DAVID OLIVERAS, GREAT MILLS (MD) 2017 GUARD
Oliveras put up good scoring numbers during his career at Great Mills, but is an able and willing passer, as was the case on Sunday as he averaged 3 assists per game.
"I love passing - people say I pass too much," he said, "but I look to get my teammates involved and then make my open shots. Today I couldn’t make anything, I’m tired from this weekend - I had two All-Star games and another combine that I went to. But I like looking for my teammates and making the right passes.”
Oliveras said he's working on increasing his strenght and shooting range as he looks to finalize his college plans.
“The school showing the most interest in me is Keuka in New York and that seems like a great fit," he said. "They talk to me every day and communicate with me and they said they lost their point guard, so it seems like a good fit. I’m going to visit there soon. The Hampden-Sydney coach talked to me and said they are losing guards, too, so that seems like a good fit.”