The 2017 NY2LA Sports Next Level Invitational carried on from Mequon Homestead High School on Thursday. Day two featured platinum bracket play in the NY2LA league championships. In the 16U division, Quad City Elite advanced to Friday’s semifinals led by their star point guard D.J. Carton. 

Top Performers
DJ Carton – 2019 – PG – Quad City Elite

It didn’t look like Carton would have one of his best performances initially. After a slow start by him and his team, Carton turned things on in the second half as Quad City ran past Chicago Lockdown. Carton was doing a little bit of everything – scoring, facilitating, rebounding, and collecting steals. The 6-foot-1 point guard had four steals in total, three of which he took back the other way for dunks. A pass-first floor general who can take over offensively, Carton can sling the rock around the floor, which only opens more driving lanes for himself. He finished with 14 points in the win. 

Musa Jallow – 2018 – G/F – Team Blaze
Team Blaze hung on for a tight victory against RL9 and it was Jallow’s clutch play that kept them in front. The Ohio State commit had a momentum-swinging dunk plus the foul and a huge block that kept what would have been a key bucket off the board. At 6-foot-6, Jallow is such a handful with his versatility, explosiveness, shooting ability, and motor. There might not be any one area he’s elite in, but Jallow just does everything well with few weaknesses and his ability to play or defend four positions give his team such value. Jallow scored 15 points in the morning victory. 

Owen King – 2018 – G – Wisconsin Playmakers
Being able to overcome an off shooting performance is among the hardest things to do, particularly in-game. But King is always the same player, whether he’s scoring 30, or suffering through a dreadful shooting stretch. Just as impressive, King’s lack of offense didn’t impact the other parts of his game. The South Dakota State commit came alive in the final 10 minutes, leading the Playmakers to a hard-fought win over KC Premier. King never lost confidence in his shot and banged home some deep, contested triples. He also made winning plays down the stretch, making great decisions with the basketball to set his teammates up. King came up with 10 of his team-high 13 points in the final period to seal the deal. 

Donovan Moore – 2019 – G – Illinois Irish
Moore was impressive in a blowout victory over the Wisconsin Swing. A terrific creating guard, Moore scored inside and out on Thursday. The 6-foot-3 guard had some above the rim finishes in traffic and also displayed the ability to shoot off the bounce, hitting some tough, off-balance jumpers. Moore has plus length and can probably play either guard spot effectively. He’s been solid in the catch and shoot game throughout the travel season, but also has the handles and toughness with the basketball to break people down and create offense in the paint. After picking up some offers in June, Moore had some new coaches buzzing about his play Thursday. 

Cole Nau – 2019 – PG – Ray Allen Select
Division 1’s need to take note of Nau, who’s had a very strong travel season. Continuing to improve his game, Nau hit some tough jumpers on Thursday, stopping on a dime and pulling up from mid-range against quality defense. Nau is a crafty point guard with a terrific feel for his teammates. He seems to feel where they’re headed and deliver passes with pinpoint accuracy before his teammates actually make their move. Also a standout defender, Nau always locks his man up and has kept other Division 1 level guards quiet this spring/summer. Nau dropped 19 of his team’s 44 points in a quarterfinal loss to Made Men. 

Xavier Pinson – 2018 – PG – Mac Irvin Fire
Just give him the ball and he’ll do the rest. Pinson was carving up Inland Empire during their platinum bracket win Thursday. A terrific isolation point guard, Pinson is so difficult to stay in front of 1-on-1 that teams need the other four defenders in help position early. And when that happened, Pinson found his teammates for beautiful back door lobs over the top. Pinson got into the paint at will and made difficult finishes look easy. Emerging as a top mid-major recruit, Pinson drew about 20 coaches Thursday afternoon. Pinson finished with 15 points, six assists, and three steals in a low scoring affair. 

Jalen Shaw – 2018 – F/C – Kessel Heat Black
Although Kessel Heat was knocked out of the platinum bracket on opening night, that didn’t stop Shaw from playing hard. The rising big man posted 13 points and 12 rebounds in a win Thursday night. Shaw was dominant in the paint on both ends and added three blocks to his stat line. Establishing himself as a top mid-major prospect, Shaw has shown signs of potential rapid development. He’ll have a chance to jump a few levels in college and definitely has star potential for any program who can develop him. 

Stock Boosters
Romelo Burrell – 2017 – F – Mac Irvin Fire

Burrell posted a monster 21-point, seven-rebound performance in a win over Playground Elite in the 17U quarterfinals. Burrell was aggressive in transition and on the offensive glass, leading his to 8-for-9 shooting performance. Burrell caught the ball in high percentage areas and was deliberate and confident in his moves to the hole. The long, athletic forward can be a bit of a mismatch problem at 6-foot-7 with his ability to slash. 

Flynn Cameron – 2017 – PG – AUSA Platinum
Cameron plays the point guard position and runs the show offensively at an advanced level. The 6-foot-4 floor general is a terrific ball handler and only plays stronger with the more pressure that’s thrown his way. Cameron sees the floor very well played with excellent anticipation, always one step ahead of the defense and slinging the ball around the floor before defenders could react. The ability to break people down off the dribble was impressive. Once Cameron got to the rim, his length and smooth athletic ability allowed him to glide by people in mid-air. He was a big reason for AUSA’s impressive win over Mercury Elite Thursday afternoon.

Aaron Elliott – 2020 – PF – Yanders Law
Elliott is an enforcer in the paint and if you enter his area, be prepared for contact. A physical, athletic forward, Elliott is a nice shot blocking presence who doesn’t give up easy baskets. He needs to play with more discipline and got himself into unnecessary foul trouble Thursday morning, but when he commits an infraction, Elliott makes sure the shooter isn’t getting a clean look off for a potential 3-point play. The 6-foot-6 sophomore plays with a high motor on the offensive glass and has a mentality that anything that comes off the rim is his. 

Diang Gatluak – 2018 – G – Pentagon National
Gatluak found success attacking the rim in a win over Greenwood Elite. An intriguing 6-foot-5 guard, Gatluak can play anywhere on the perimeter, including point guard. Using a quick first step, Gatluak blew by defenders to the hole. When he’s knocking down his jumper, he becomes very difficult to defend. The best days are likely down the road for Gatluak, who has a lot of room to improve on both ends of the floor and has the tools/upside physically to take off in a collegiate strength/conditioning program. 

Octavius Parker – 2017 – SG – Playground Elite
Parker made things interesting against the Mac Irvin Fire during Thursday’s quarterfinal loss. The senior sharpshooter got hot late and sparked a rally that would come up short. Parker didn’t have his most efficient scoring effort, but was cool against tough perimeter defense. Using a quick trigger and quick feet, Parker creates separation with ease and is quick enough to get by defenders who try and crowd him. He finished with a team-high 18 points in the loss. 

Chase Robinson – 2019 – G – Made Men
Closing out a big upset over Ray Allen Select, the ball was in Robinson’s hands throughout the final minutes. After a nice first half, Robinson helped put the game away with timely buckets and assists. With Ray Allen Select forced to pressure late, Robinson made smart, winning plays with the basketball. Robinson had his mid-range jumper working as well and got into the teeth of the defense at will. He finished with 19 points in a big victory. 

Abe Scruggs – 2020 – PG – Wisconsin Shooters
He might get lost in the shuffle among the many Division 1 prospects in Wisconsin’s 2020 class, but don’t lose track of Scruggs. A pass-first, pure point guard, Scruggs has an advanced understanding of the position. What we didn’t know coming into Thursday is that the sophomore point guard can leap. Scruggs had a couple of impressive dunks in transition. More importantly, Scruggs played with poise down the stretch. Holding off a late comeback, Scruggs wasn’t fazed by tight defense. Instead, he took the game over late by demanding the basketball, breaking his man down, and getting to the rim. If he can expand his offensive skillset, mainly his jumper, Scruggs can play his way to the Division 1 level. 

Zach Toussaint – 2019 – G – Kessel Heat Black
Despite a loss, Toussaint hit some terrific shots in the 16U quarterfinals against Quad City Elite. He’s undersized, but has learned to get his shot off without ideal height/athleticism. Toussaint often catches defenders by surprise with his fearlessness to pull the trigger from well beyond the arc or take shots in a crowd. Putting together a nice travel season, Toussaint’s stock has gone up since April. 

Recruiting Notes
Xavier Pinson has offers from Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, Milwaukee, Chicago State, and Western Illinois. He said Buffalo, Wyoming, Texas, Oklahoma State, and Evansville are expressing interest. 

D.J. Carton has offers from Marquette, Wisconsin, Northern Iowa, IUPUI, and North Dakota. He’s been receiving interest from Ohio State, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Central Florida, and others.