Appleton, Wis. — The Community First Champion Center was a fitting name as champions were crowned across three grade divisions on Sunday at the Prep Hoops Next Future Stars Classic. While additional player analysis and evaluations will become available throughout…
Appleton, Wis. — The Community First Champion Center was a fitting name as champions were crowned across three grade divisions on Sunday at the Prep Hoops Next Future Stars Classic. While additional player analysis and evaluations will become available throughout the upcoming week, the following group of performers placed their stamp on the inaugural event on the tournament’s final day of action…
Clevon Easton, Jr. | Madison, WI | Class of 2025
Easton turned heads during the opening day at the Prep Hoops Next Future Stars Classic and continued his high-flying act as the event concluded on Sunday. A 6-foot-3 perimeter prospect, the lefty swingman tormented the rims, and opponents, throughout the weekend. In one of the most exciting games of the tournament, Easton scored in double figures to lead Wisconsin Premier past D1 Minnesota – Dewey, 57-51, in the eighth-grade division’s platinum semifinal match-up. In the championship contest, Easton was credited with a game-high 16 points, as his squad fought back from an early deficit to clinch the title with a 61-45 victory against EZ Work Elite (IL).
Zaihir Jones | Milwaukee, WI | Class of 2027
Back in action with Chapman Basketball Club (WI), the sixth-grader, better known as “Zeak” Jones helped carry his club to an impressive Class of 2027 championship at the Prep Hoops Next Future Stars Classic. After recording a trio of double-digit wins on Saturday, Jones and his team found themselves in a rematch on Sunday morning against Wisconsin Elite for the tournament title. Once again, Jones’ consistent playmaking and scoring steadied his squad, as they rolled to a convincing 47-20 victory behind his 11 points and a collection of assists and steals.
Kai Rogers Kai Rogers 6'10" | C WI | Brookfield, WI | Class of 2025
Rogers and his Wisconsin Playground Club teammates could have easily folded after a disappointing pool play loss to ECI – Meissner (ND) that relegated them to the eighth-grade gold bracket at the Prep Hoops Next Future Stars Classic. Instead, the group rebounded with a convincing win against Chapman Basketball Academy (WI) on Saturday evening, and steamrolled their way into the consolation championship game, where they earned a quality victory against Kessel Heat (IL) to close their weekend on a positive note. For Rogers’ part, the 6-foot-10 post prospect is a massive presence on the defensive end of the floor, anchoring the lane and also capitalizing on his opportunities for putbacks around the rim. Conditioning plays a role in his overall impact right now, but regardless, Rogers’ contributions are felt well beyond the scoring column.
Jake Starcevic | Thompson, ND | Class of 2025
The ECI (Every Childs Important) Basketball program was well-represented with multiple teams appearing in the Prep Hoops Next Future Stars Classic. The North Dakota organization had many talented players but Starcevic was perhaps the most impactful of the bunch when considering his versatility and well-rounded abilities. The 6-foot-3 forward is an above-the-rim athlete, and although ECI fell in the eighth-grade semifinals to EZ Work Elite (IL), Starcevic gave his best performance of the tournament, scoring a game-high 18 points in the loss.
Ed ‘EJ’ Vinson, Jr. | Racine, WI | Class of 2026
While Lamont Hamilton has justifiably earned a great deal of praise, his backcourt mate was also impressive on the final day of the Prep Hoops Next Future Stars Classic, as the duo led Wisconsin Elite to the seventh-grade platinum bracket championship over X-Men United (WI). The Class of 2026 group completed the weekend with a perfect 5-0 record as Vinson scored in double-digits during a semifinal victory against Wisconsin Playground Club and followed that performance with a 15-point outing in the title game match-up. It’s clear from their showings on the Prep Hoops Next circuit to date that Hamilton and Vinson are one of the top backcourts in the Midwest region at their grade level.
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