Saturday's 2025 & 2026 standouts

Saturday’s 2025 & 2026 standouts

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – After a two-year hiatus, the USA Basketball Junior National Team Minicamp is back this weekend as 60 of the top high school players in the country have converged on the US Olympic and Paralympic Training Center.

Players arrived on Friday and spent Saturday morning in workshops focused on topics including mental health and NCAA eligibility, before taking the court Saturday afternoon.

The first session featured the prospects in the national classes of 2025 and 2026. They opened with some of USA Basketball’s customary passing drills before progressing to offensive and defensive concepts, breakdown drills, and then game play to wrap up the evening.

Here’s a look at ten underclassmen that stood out.

Class of 2025

Cameron Boozer, 6’9”, Christopher Columbus (FL) – What was most impressive about Boozer’s performance on Saturday was his overall maturity. While most of the underclassmen were forcing the issue (which is understandable for many of them who are making their first appearance in this type of setting), Boozer was steady and poised from start to finish. He showed the same combination of size, strength, and budding inside-out skill that had already made him the top ranked prospect in the national class of 2025. On top of that there were glimpses of a developing passing instinct, including one beautiful skip pass following a spin move in the post, and very soft hands.

Cayden Boozer6’3″, Christopher Columbus (FL) – The other half of the Boozer twins, Cayden had quite a few people in the gym talking about how much he had improved in recent months. Much more of a guard than his brother, Cayden doesn’t get sped-up with the ball and is able to dictate his own pace.His power and physicality also allow him to create a number of mismatch problems for opposing defenders.

jerry easter6’4″, Emmanuel Christian (OH) – Easter is a big guard with a strong body and good athleticism. He impressed on Saturday with his ability to get downhill and make attacking plays, all while exhibiting a solid feel for the game. He showed an advanced understanding of how to play pick-and-roll at his age, was able to create pace going north-to-south in the open floor, used his body effectively, and was a reliable decision-maker.

Jalen Haralson, 6’7”, Fishers (IN) – At 6-foot-7 with a strong body and good athleticism, Haralson has the physical tools that stand out at first glance and allow him to impose his will at various points on the game. Beyond that though, he showed true versatility with an evolving skill-set to match. He had enough handle to both lead the break and create his own shot, and was also a shooting threat from behind the three-point line.

Nyk Lewis, 6’0”, Gonzaga College (DC) – It was the combination of handle, floor vision, and reliability that impressed with Lewis. He had total control over the ball, was shifty with his change of pace, and consistently able to get to his spots. While he, like many guards here, was aggressive with his dribble, what differentiated him was that he was able to create for both himself and his teammate without getting out of control.

JJ Mandaquit, 6’0”, Real Salt Lake Academy (UT) – He may not be the biggest or most explosive, but Mandaquit was nonetheless one of the first players to stand-out, because he was one of the scrappiest. Well-built with good early strength and obvious toughness, he set the tone defensively from the opening huddle. Offensively, he was strong with the ball, using rips and jabs to create space, and simultaneously able to get places with his dribble.

Meleek Thomas, 6’3”, Lincoln Park (PA) – Thomas made a big impression last weekend in Dallas, standing out as the top underclassmen prospects at the Wootten 150 Camp. This weekend, he’s picking up right where he left off as he had the gym buzzing with his shot-making ability from behind the arc, not to mention a few quick crossovers to match. Similar to last weekend, there were still moments where his youthful exuberance got the better of him, but nonetheless, both his natural talent and the versatility of his weapons continues to stand out.

Class of 2026

Caleb Gaskins, 6’7”, Holy Trinity Episcopal (FL) – Gaskins was the incoming freshman who made the biggest impression on day one. He already possesses terrific positional size and a good build on the wing, but he has some early game to match those physical tools. He knocked down a couple of threes, attacked close-outs to get to his pull-up, was reliable putting the ball on the floor to both sides, and had a high release point to score over top of smaller defenders. The fact that he is still only 14 years old just added to the intrigue about his long-term potential.

Tyran Stokes, 6’7”, Prolific Prep (CA) – Another 14-year-old freshman, Stokes made a major impression, Stokes has the big body type that will allow him to do work in the paint, but also an impressive face -up skill-set for a player his age and size. He handled the ball in the open floor, showed off a soft touch, and clear shooting potential. While he’s already physically strong, he also has noticeably big feet, which could very well mean that he’s not done growing yet.

Jalen Montonati, 6’6”, Owasso (OK) – Montonati had a strong showing last week at the Pangos All-South Freshman/Sophomore Camp and seemed to ride that wave of momentum right into this camp. He has a terrific early combination of perimeter size and skill. He shoots it well, is smooth with the ball, and has a ton of untapped potential in the coming years as he continues to grow into his body and mature physically.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *