Kansas City, Missouri — The #NEXTMidwestKickoff was the start of grassroots basketball for most teams in attendance. This two-day tournament consisted of teams coming from Oklahoma, Kansas, Wisconsin, Illinois, Nevada, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, and all over Missouri, from age groups of 11U all the way up to 14U. Several players stood out from each class due to their scoring and dribbling abilities. Many players put up high-scoring performances that caught the attention of everyone watching. Here we’ll take a look at some of those top-performing recruits from the class of 2027.
Myles Montgomery | Springfield, IL | Class of 2027
Myles Montgomery was one was of the most persistent scorers and most exciting players to watch at the Midwest Kickoff. Myles proved to be a walking bucket that could drop 20 points just about any time he stepped on the court, he even put up 29 points against the Kansas City Basketball Academy and 22 points versus PBA Elite. Montgomery’s a relentless attacker and slasher with great focus and concentration when penetrating the lane where he has a shooter’s touch near the basket, barely missing any of his layups or floaters despite the contact and fouls. Montgomery displayed a quick first step and nifty footwork when driving, as well as the ability to turn the corner on a defender when being guarded tightly, showing tremendous control of his body and the ball even when moving at top speed. Good anticipation on both ends of the floor, the ATC guard knows when and how to attack and also when to gamble for a steal. Myles Montgomery seems like one of those players that spend most of their time in the gym perfecting their craft.
Chase Branham | Rogersville, MO | Class of 2027
Chase Branham put everyone on notice when he put on a big-time 25 point performance that sent his team to the championship game. This lead guard proved to be a high-level playmaker with a phenomenal feel for the game and an all-around skill set. Chase can really shoot it, he has a beautiful form and follow-through, can create for himself and others, distribute the ball to keep guys involved, and cause turnovers on defense. The kid did it all and he did it at a higher level than his peers, leading his team in scoring, assists, and steals, Branham was no slouch on the glass either. Chase was the most fundamentally sound prospect of them all, the best ball-handler in the building and he’s only a sixth grader, which goes to show just how talented he really is. Branham showed great poise and tremendous control of the rock, he has 101 moves in his bag that he go to whenever needed. Chase Branham is definitely a name to keep track of, he’s Intense, plays with a lot of confidence, and a true will to win. He will likely become one of Missouri’s top prospects in the next few years.
Demetrius Roberson | Springfield, IL | [Class of 2027
Demetrius Roberson came off of the bench early on in the tournament and completely changed the game by making all the effort plays, crashing the boards each time a shot went up, cleaning up misses on the offensive end and creating numerous second-chance opportunities, picking up a man the full length of the court on the defensive end, and also making it tough for the opposing teams to get a clean shot off in the lane. One of the unique things about Roberson was that he defended every position from point guard to center effectively. He moved his feet well, staying in front of a man without fouling, utilizing his quick choppy and length to his advantage. His wide wingspan was used to make things difficult for his opponent, not many players were able to get a clean pass off or get an open shot up with him guarding them. Roberson’s awareness and active hands on defense led to several deflections. He’s not afraid of a challenge either, Demetrius pulled rebounds down over bigger and strong players with no problem. I loved Demetrius Roberson’s effort and impact on the game and how he consistently made a noticeable difference, he didn’t always need the ball or to score to make a change, Roberson played tough defense and dominated the boards game in and game out.
Kentrayl Roberson | Racine, WI | Class of 2027
Kentrayl’s presence down low was crucial, his combination of strength and length made him an absolute force of nature inside as a scorer, rebounder, and shot blocker. He even went on to swat 4 shots in the final game of the tourney. Offensively, Roberson is still raw but shows potential to create his own shot within 15 feet or get to the basket off the bounce. He’s has a traditional back-to-the-basket style of play with a nice soft touch under the hoop. Kentrayl Roberson ran the pick-and-roll exceptionally well for his age, setting extremely strong screens and before slashing straight to the hoop holding his hand held high looking for the ball where only he could get it.
Langston Ratcliff | Russellville, OH | Class of 2028
Langston Ratcliff played for the youngest team and the only 11U squad in attendance and he held his own. Ratcliff proved to be a high motor competitor that is relentless on the boards, anytime a shot went up whether, on defense or offense, you can always count on Langston to be under the basket getting a hand on the ball. Langston was in full control of the glass in each and every game, displaying a terrific nose for the ball, great hands, good intangibles, and phenomenal use of his strength. A very strong young man, kids bounced off of him when trying to compete with him for a rebound. Langston Ratcliff was a major reason PBA Elite was able to compete effectively, leading to thrilling comebacks after being down double digits in some games, and even keeping scores tight against bigger and faster opponents.
Mike Thomas | Blue Springs, MO | Class of 2027
Ryan Broomfield | Springfield, IL | Class of 2027
Mikhi Pratt-Hassan | Racine, WI | Class of 2027
Kaimen Smith | Springfield, IL | Class of 2027
Derek Coleman | Kansas City, MO | Class of 2027
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