Bishop O'Connell (Va.) / DC Premier 2022 Guard Paul Lewis (Marcus Helton).
ALEXANDRIA, VA - If was long overdue, but the first official DMVelite event of 2020 took place last weekend, as the DMVelite Fall Showcase was held at the District Sports Center.
The event gave several area teams the opportunity to shake off some rust after long layoffs, and continue to stay sharp in a year where the basketball calendar has been dramatically disrupted.
Here’s a look at a few of the players who stood out last weekend:
PAUL LEWIS, DC PREMIER UA 16U
The Bishop O’Connell (Va.) 2022 guard had one of the biggest breakouts of any player in the area last season, emerging as a high major recruit with offers from Georgetown and Maryland to go with Bryant, Cleveland State, James Madison and Old Dominion.
“I think [the key was] just trying to win games - that was the main thing I was doing,” Lewis said. “You know, a lot of people were saying we weren’t even going to win 10 games, so my main thing was just to try to win as many games as we could - try to win every game, really. Regardless of who we were playing I just wanted to win, and [the breakout] came with that.”
The 6-foot-2, 175 pound Lewis can score at all three levels, and showed the ability to finish through contact - and from multiple angles - in both the half court and transition. He said he feels he’s gotten better defensively and as a rebounder.
Lewis said the Fall Showcase was only the second event he’d played in with Premier this year - to go along with a few scrimmages - but added that he stayed active during the quarantine and didn’t feel any rust.
“I could feel myself getting better throughout the time,” he said, “and getting the notoriety that I got - I got some offers and things - it’s good to get that and to know that my hard work is paying off. So it's been a good year for me, definitely.”
Lewis still has plenty of time to make his college decision, but he already knows what he’ll be looking for.
“A coaching staff that’s going to make me better,” he said. “I want a staff that’s hard on me and pushes me to get better every day and things like that.”
Lewis’ older brother Matt - a former O’Connell standout - is a star senior guard at James Madison, and has been a valuable sounding board in his younger brother’s recruitment.
“Oh yeah, that helps a lot,” Matt Lewis said. “Having my brother be able to walk me through it and tell me different things to look for and things like that, it's good to have him around.”
DEMETRIUS LILLEY, DC PREMIER UA 16U
Lilley was the biggest player in attendance at 6-foot-10 and 225 pounds, and he was a total matchup nightmare in a pair of DC Premier victories.
A 2022 prospect from Kobe Bryant’s alma mater, Lower Merion (Pa.), Lilley broke out this past season, earning scholarship offers from Bryant, La Salle and St. Joseph’s.
“This school was my best year of my high school career so far,” he said, “so it was a great year for me. I came from unranked and no offers to D-I offers, so it was a big accomplishment this year.”
Lilley attributed that improvement to focusing on his body over the past year.
“I weighed a lot,” he said. “I was like 260 at the beginning of the school year and I’ve lost about 50 pounds and it just all worked out for me. As my body slimmed down, the better opportunities there were for me. I just worked out every day and stayed consistent and it paid off.”
Lilley has a very solid touch around the rim and also showed the ability to knock it down from 3-point range when given the chance. He opened with 25 points in a 67-56 win over Falconers.
CAVAN REILLY, DC PREMIER UA 16U
Reilly averaged 15 points in a pair of DC Premier victories, showing impressive versatility on the offensive end.
A highly-regarded shooter, Reilly showed some nice explosiveness as well, highlighted a two-handed dunk over a defender in his team’s second game against South River Shooters.
Despite the pandemic throwing a wrench in the travel ball schedule, Reilly said he feels good about his development since the high school season.
“I know a lot of people didn’t even get to play AAU, so at least we got to play some good games,” he said. “And I thought I did good and showed off what I could do. I think over quarantine some people came out the same, but the whole time I felt like I came back better than I was before. So I’m just excited for the high school season.”
The 2022 guard made the move to Bishop O’Connell following the sudden closure of Middleburg Academy (Va.) in June.
“It was kind of like, a shock right away,” Reilly said, “but I talked to Coach [Joe] Wootten and everybody and Paul [Lewis] who was at O’Connell, so I knew it was a good fit when I went there. … I think we’re going to be pretty good. My friend Christian [May] from PVI is going there, and Wes [Peterson], Paul, Mason [So] - we’re young too, so I think we could be good for the next couple of years.”
The 6-foot-4, 175 pounder had a solid sophomore year at Middleburg alongside high-scoring guards Isaiah Folkes and Jaden House (High Point), but feels he’ll be able to show more of his all-around game at O’Connell.
“I think I’m a three-level scorer, but my biggest strength is my 3-point shooting,” Reilly said. “That's what I feel like I can bring to the table in the WCAC, because every team needs a shooter and I think that’s probably my biggest strength.”
Reilly currently holds offers from Bryant and Southern Utah, and said he’s also hearing from Belmont, Elon, Princeton and Wake Forest.
BYRON IRELAND, DMV STAGS 17U
The St. Frances (Md.) 2021 guard put on a show Sunday. In his first game he threw down two highlight-reel poster dunks in a blowout victory over Falconers. He was even better in Game 2, scoring 12 of his team-high 16 points in the second half to lift the Stags to a comeback victory over Virginia Academy.
The Stags trailed by as many as 15 points early as Virginia Academy stormed out the gate, but they slowly chipped away, eventually going ahead on a Barry Evans bucket with 7:17 remaining.
“Basically we just had to stay in the zone,” Ireland said. “We noticed they had one shooter, basically, so we were just going to make him force shots and then just cut the middle down so they wouldn't get any easy layups and then be smart on offense.”
The 6-foot-2, 190 pound Ireland had a strong first season at St. Frances after transferring from Annapolis, teaming with current Virginia Commonwealth freshman guard Ace Baldwin to give the Panthers one of the area’s toughest backcourts. He’s a tough on-ball defender, and has the ability to fill it up on the offensive end, where he is particularly strong going to the basket.
Surprisingly, Ireland said he’s still awaiting his first scholarship offer, but that won’t be the case much longer.
“I need to get seen basically, and just win games,” he said.
JAKE KOVERMAN, DMV STAGS 17U
A little less than a year removed from a torn ACL that forced him to miss his entire junior season, Koverman looked really good on Sunday while helping to lead the Stags to a pair of victories.
“I feel great,” he said after scoring 14 in an opening win over Falconers. “ I feel my knee is stronger, 100 percent, and I think everything in my game increased over the process of coming back. Defensively I got a lot better, my jump shot got a lot better, my athleticism got a lot better.”
Koverman injured the knee in a football game against Hammond last fall - “I went to go get a pass and somebody’s helmet went into my knee and it all just buckled out and popped out” - but his recovery was relatively swift. He said he was back to walking two weeks after his surgery, jogging in a month, and jumping after two months. He said he’s been back playing 5 on 5 for three months.
Mentally, he felt his time on the sidelines made him sharper.
“When I was sitting down watching my high school play, I was actually observing the game,” he said, “and I was seeing what all the coaches were telling me, and I took that and was like, ‘Alright, let’s just take that and go to the next step.’ So then my IQ got higher and higher during the process of me just sitting and watching.”
The coronavirus quarantine also gave him some extra time to work.
“It definitely did, because nobody was really playing - they were all just working out, the same as me,” he said. “[The quarantine] sucked for everything, but it also kind of helped me at the same time too, because I got to go into more gyms and workout than other people could, so that helped me out a lot more.”
Koverman holds a Division I offer from High Point, and said he’s also heard from Navy, UMBC and VMI, among others. A strong high school campaign - Maryland has now pushed the season back to February - should help reenergize his recruitment.
“I think we're going to be able to play, he said. “I think it's like 16 or 17 games or something like that, so at least I’ll get my senior year.”
BARRY EVANS, DMV STAGS 17U
After a breakout junior campaign at Oakland Mills (Md.), the 2021 wing elected to transfer to state 3A power Poly (Md.) for his senior year. He’ll be counted on to help fill the holes left by the graduation of three Division I players in Rahim Ali (Howard), Justin Lewis (Marquette) and Brendan Murray (LSU, via IMG Academy).
“[I want to] Win a championship,” he said. “It’s a lot of good guys over there, and I'm just going to play hard and try to do the best for Coach Sam [Brand]. I feel at home because I’m from Baltimore, so it just feels like I’m back.”
At 6-foot-6 1/2, 185 pounds, Evans is an athletic slasher and creator who sees the floor well.
“The strength of my game is getting my team involved,” he said. “I’m really unselfish, and at 6-6 I can be a point guard and I can rebound good and play defense. I’ve just got to tweak my shooting a little bit.”
Evans said he was able to stay on top of his game while working out through the pandemic, but said it was nice to get on the court for 5-on-5 action with the Stags.
“It felt good because all of us are like, low majors and we don’t really have a lot of offers,” he said, “but when we get on the court we come to play.”
O’MEECH WILSON, DMV STAGS 17U
Another player coming off of a breakout junior season, the North County (Md.) 2021 forward’s versatility stood out on Sunday. He showed a willingness to do the dirty work and controlled the glass while posting a team-high 15 points in their opening win over Falconers.
“[My strengths are] Definitely rebounding and defense,” he said. “I let my team do a lot of the work and I try to contribute on offense as well, but I’m more of a defense and rebounding type guy. I try to play my role the best that I can.”
The 6-foot-4, 180 pounder was hoping to build off his high school success in the spring and summer, and said he was happy to be back out on the floor again.
“We just come in with a new mindset, you know? At first, we didn’t know what to do because of all this COVID stuff that’s crazy going on, but Coach made it work for us to still be prepared and be in shape and try to get some scholarships for our last year.”
“We’ve been playing on the weekends for like three weeks straight. From the DMVelite Showcase to the Hoop Group Elite tournaments and all that stuff. We’ve been trying to put ourselves with the top comp, because we know our potential and that we can play with them.”
DERIK QUEEN, TEAM THRILL 16U
One of the most talented young players in attendance, the 2024 forward showed flashes of the skill set that made him such a highly-touted prospect.
Maryland and Virginia Tech have already offered the 14-year-old Queen, who will make his high school debut with St. Frances (Md.)
So what are his immediate expectations for high school?
“To bring energy and do what I do best,” he said. “I should be doing the same thing and they should expect the stuff that I’m putting in.”
The 6-foot-7, 215 pound Queen is a matchup problem, with the ability to shoot over or muscle smaller defenders and the quickness to get by opposing forwards. He said he considers scoring and passing as the biggest strengths of his game, and wants to work on his explosiveness and strength.
MIKE WILLIAMS, TEAM THRILL 16U
The Calvert Hall (Md.) 2023 guard had a game-high 16 points in a 45-35 win over Runnin Mavericks 2022, showing the ability to attack and finish through contact.
Williams said the Fall Showcase was the third event he’d played in with Thrill this year, allowing him to keep his skills sharp.
“Since the coronavirus it's been, like, a setback,” he said, “but every opportunity you’ve got to take advantage of, because everyone’s not playing. There’s only a few teams in Baltimore that are playing, and we’re one of them, so we have to take advantage of it. I was itching to get in the gym every day, working out every day and doing as much as we can so we could stay sharp.”
The 6-foot-3, 170-pound Williams was a key part of a very young Calvert Hall team that struggled last year, but he’s confident that last year’s experience will pay dividends this season.
“[Varsity was] much faster and much stronger, and you've got to play at - not a slower pace, but you’ve got to learn how to change speeds,” he said. “Especially being young and playing against older guys, it’s different, so you’ve just got to adjust to it. It wasn’t really hard for us to adjust to it, though.”
BANKEYS OMARI, DMV STAGS 16U
The 2022 Clarksburg (Md.) guard was the weekend’s most consistent scorer, pouring in 22 points against Germantown Basketball Club and 20 against Trailblazers Elite.
The 6-foot-2, 165 pounder was dangerous in transition and displayed a knack for finishing in the mid-range with his pull-up jumper.
Omari said his recruitment has been slow, and he’s struggled to get his name out during the pandemic.
“It's been scary, man,” he said. “I’ve been trying to get to a better school but it's hard with such limited games and coaches not being able to come out every day. So I’m just trying to do what I’ve got to do, you feel me? But we make the best of it.”
TREY THOMAS, FALCONERS
Wise (Md.) looks to be very strong next season with several shifty combo guards led by Thomas, the reigning Prince George’s County 4A Player Of The Year.
Thomas’ scoring talent was on full display in an opening loss to DC Premier, as he poured in 25 points while keeping Falconers close.
Thomas will need to continue to develop as a floor general, but is trending in that direction.
XZAVIER LONG, VIRGINIA ACADEMY
The 2021 forward was left without a home following the closure of Middleburg Academy, but he’s found a place he can make an impact with the Patriots.
The 6-foot-6 Long is strong, athletic, and a presence on both ends of the floor. He had a team-high 15 points in his team’s lone game against DMV Stags.
GREG WILLIAMS, VIRGINIA ACADEMY
A transfer from Fairfax (Va.), Williams staked the Patriots to an early lead with his 3-point shooting. He is reclassifying from 2021 to 2022, and should see a dramatic uptick in his recruitment if he can continue to connect from deep consistently.
JAMES JASPER, NOVA CAVALIERS 17U
Jasper’s scoring talent was on display Sunday, as he went for 15.5 points per game in a pair of victories. He plays well in the midrange and finishes well in transition, and has the ability to fill it up from 3-point range when he gets going.
Coincidentally, the victories came on the Jasper twins’ 19th birthday, making for an added bonus.
JALEN JASPER, NOVA CAVALIERS 17U
James’s twin brother averaged 10 points per game while running the show for the Cavs. He’s a very solid point guard with good court vision and has the ability to make his teammates better. He also competed hard on the defensive end.
AIDEN HARRIS, RUNNIN MAVS 2022
Harris is a long wing that creates and can shoot it from deep. He impressed with his patience and high IQ.
AJANI LOMAX, RUNNIN MAVS 2022
A quick scoring lead guard, Lomax showed the ability to make plays off the bounce. On the other end he’s a pesky defender.
GAVIN WALSH, RUNNIN MAVS 2022
A 6-foot-8 forward from Loyola Blakefield (Md.), Walsh has a college-ready frame and impressed with his versatility and athleticism. He provided one of Saturday's biggest highlights with a nasty poster dunk.
JALEN BOWIE, CBSA HOYAS
An athletic scoring guard, Bowie opened a lot of eyes over the weekend with his versatility on both ends of the floor. He can guard multiple positions effectively, and showed the makings of an impact defender.
Jaden Arrington, CBSA Hoyas
Robert Hallman, CBSA Hoyas
Chris Metevia, CBSA Hoyas
Roman Barshow, DC Premier UA 16U
Justyn Fernandez, DC Premier UA 16U
Henrikas Kalnius, DMV Stags 17U
Darrius Tilghman, DMV Stags 17U
David Moako, DMV Stags 16U
Moe Johnson, DMV T-Wolves
Davon Wallace, DMV T-Wolves
Holden Pierre-Louis, Germantown Basketball Club
Bryan Sowell, Germantown Basketball Club
Korey Trone, Germantown Basketball Club
Nate Brown, Loudoun CDP 2021
Jake Mancuso, Loudoun CDP 2021
Darius Fletcher, Marrick Homes
Jayden Holland, Marrick Homes
Jordan Green, Maryland Movement
M. Henderson, Maryland Movement
F. Palacios, Maryland Movement
Maasai Brown, Metro Celtics
Aaron Bremser, Nova Cavaliers 17U
Jiaan Sehaat, Nova Cavaliers 17U
Jacob Aryee, Runnin Mavs 2022
Josh Chambers, Runnin Mavs 2022
Jaden Bryant Runnin Mavs 2023
Robert Dion, Runnin Mavs 2023
Edrees Farooq, Runnin Mavs 2023
Jeremy Berger, South River Shooters 2023
Camrin Catteron, South River Shooters 2023
Trashaun Timmons, South River Shooters 2023
Anthony Jacks, South River Shooters 17U
DJ Dormu, Team Thrill 2023
Braylon Wheeler, Team Virginia
Greg Jones, Team Virginia
Tez, Team Vito Red
Marcus, Trailblazers Elite
Rashard, Trailblazers Elite
Duro Segun, Virginia Academy
Darren Wright, WDC Bears