Ladera Ranch, Cal. — The recap of the seventh-grade division from the West Coast Kick-off concludes with the final installment of a three-part series featuring the tournament’s most outstanding performers from the Class of 2026. Prep Hoops Next will continue…
Ladera Ranch, Cal. — The recap of the seventh-grade division from the West Coast Kick-off concludes with the final installment of a three-part series featuring the tournament’s most outstanding performers from the Class of 2026. Prep Hoops Next will continue to track the progression of these prospects and many more as our tour of the youth hoops circuit advances across the country…
Ace Simon | Culver City, CA | Class of 2026
For pundits at the high school level, every player in youth hoops is a new face and often described as a “sleeper”, but that is simply not the case. However, I do enjoy finding true hidden gems, and projecting said prospects’ potential perhaps sometimes before they are even aware of their own abilities. Simon is my nomination as a player with extremely intriguing potential from the seventh-grade division at the West Coast Kick-off. Playing with the developmental team for The Truth (CA), this 5-foot-10 forward is all arms and legs, and while not extremely productive his athleticism and fluidity lead me to believe his game will continue to trend upward.
Reeve Slone | Orangevale, CA | Class of 2026
Slone was a long-range specialist for Y.B.A. Elite (CA) and helped his team secure an impressive seventh-grade championship at the Prep Hoops Next West Coast Kick-off. He settled into the corners extending from either baseline and displayed confidence and range with his jumper. Slone did not need a lot of time or space to release his shot and brought sufficient energy to the defensive end of the floor as well. A pesky defender, he created turnovers with active hands and feet, and surprised with his end-to-end speed while handling the ball in transition.
Joseph Terry | Twentynine Palms, CA | Class of 2026
Playing “up” an age and grade division with Team Eleate (CA) during the West Coast Kick-off tournament, few noticed that the athletic, 6-foot-4 forward producing at a consistently high level in the eighth-grade division was, in fact, a Class of 2026 prospect. Terry is a double-double machine at the youth level, presenting a number of mismatches with his size, skill, and fluidity. Capable of playing on the perimeter and with his back to the basket, he’s a menacing presence when playing downhill with the ball, and did an excellent job of pursuing rebounds in the lane. It will be exciting to see how his game continues to evolve moving forward.
Tyus Thomas | Las Vegas, NV | Class of 2026
Unlike the aforementioned Terry, most everyone in youth hoops is aware of Thomas’ talents and class standing. His father, Dedan Thomas, played for Jerry Tarkanian in the early 1990s at UNLV before becoming one of the country’s most respected grassroots coaches. Older brother, DJ Thomas, is already a touted point guard recruit in the Class of 2024. Following a similar trajectory, the younger Thomas starred with West Coast Select (NV) at the West Coast Kick-off, and is easily among the better floor generals nationally in the Class of 2026. A magician with the ball in his hands, Thomas has an elite feel, and is an extraordinary passer and playmaker.
Maximus Van Laningham | Roseville, CA | Class of 2026
The most dominant big man in the seventh-grade division at the West Coast Kick-off, Van Laningham anchored the interior for Y.B.A. Select (CA), helping lead his squad to the title. The 6-foot-6 post prospect towered above the majority of his peers, and not surprisingly, was a dominant rebounding and shot-blocking presence throughout the weekend. Equally impressive was the Northern California native’s ability to transition the floor and catch the ball on the move. His explosiveness is improving, as evidenced by several above-the-rim finishes, and he’s also becoming more comfortable facing the cup to complement his back-to-the-basket game.
Stay tuned for more from Prep Hoops Next!