The Ridgewood shootout was well worth the price of admission with some of the top players in the state putting on shows. Here are some of the standouts at the event.
Julian Triffo (6’6 SF, 2022)
Triffo put on a low post clinic with up-and-unders and spin moves on the interior en route to 14 points against heavy defensive attention. He passed the ball well and handled it in transition. An aggressive rebounder (11 rebounds) that has a nose for the ball, it’s easy to project Triffo as a wing or a face-up four. He is also capable of stretching the floor from beyond the arc. His instincts, length, and versatility will play well at the next level. He’s a potential Division 2 player that would be a high-level D3 prospect.
Kaden Karstens (6’0 SG, 2023)
Karstens was active throughout the game and finished with a game-high 15 points. He knifed into the lane well and had some nice finishes in transition. Even at 6-foot, he has the toughness to guard multiple spots on the perimeter. Karstens added a three and putback as well. He had high energy for the Hawks.
Hunter Duncan (6’2 PG, 2023)
The athleticism and ball-handling was on display. Maine South struggled to keep him out of the lane as the game went on, using in-and-out moves and crossovers to get downhill to finish. He ended with 13 points with a majority coming in the second half. The strength that he has as a point guard is a significant advantage and led to some forced turnovers on the defensive end. Duncan connected on a three later in the game too. His physical profile and upside is in line with Division 1 prospects but he’s still looking for consistency.
Eli Aldana (6’0 PG, 2023)
Aldana was one of the top scorers in the first half where he did most of his damage. His first step is quick and he creates space off the bounce. Aldana is a skilled finisher and shooter that should be the focus for most defensive schemes for Viator.
RJ Gamble (6’0 PG, 2023)
Gamble was effective on the defensive end using his upper body strength to battle inside with Triffo despite lacking some height. He was able to get to the rim on a few occasions as well. Gamble provided good life for Viator and took a charge.
Joey Hernandez (5’8 PG, 2025)
Hernandez showed well applying pressure on the ball defensively. He has a good base and moves well laterally, getting deflections and rotating over for a charge. Only a freshman, his handle was strong and led to multiple drive-and-kick opportunities.
Joseph Rodriguez (6’4 PF, 2022)
Rodriguez displayed soft hands, touch, and toughness in the paint. He bullied his way to multiple putbacks and scored on rolls a couple of times. A little undersized at 6-foot-4, he just knows how to use his body to carve out space. The footwork really stood out in the post and on a face-up drive from the elbow where he scored with ease. Rodriguez isn’t a modern post prospect but he gets things done. He had 16 points off the bench for Taft.
Gideon Adewole (6’3 SG, 2022)
Adewole made explosive moves from the jump, sprinting out in transition for a layup and dunking off of one step off a pass. Rangy with a projectable frame, he was impactful on the defensive end. He sprayed in a three from the wing to add to his point total. Adewole could play either wing spot going forward.
Michael Dempsey (6’1 PG, 2022)
Acting as Taft’s primary ball-handler, Dempsey drilled multiple threes and got to the paint a few times to score 12 points. There was some shake to his game with evident confidence on tough shots. He’s a solid playmaker that pushed the tempo well.
Paxton Warden (6’4 SG, 2022)
Often underappreciated outside of the program, Warden went off on one of the biggest stages in this young season. He had 20 points with a number of timely threes and finishes. His most impressive play may have been a tip in late in the game where he elevated well above the rim to knock it in. Whether it was as a cutter or driver, Warden showed his physicality and athleticism, especially off of two feet. But there was nothing surprising about this performance. Warden is a legitimate D2 prospect with size, shooting, and toughness that makes him a difficult player to help off of for GBW. He was the key to the win.
Braden Huff (6’10 PF, 2022)
Even when the defense was locked in, scoring looked easy for Huff. He mixed in floaters, threes, and a powerful putback dunk. His passing out of the post against double teams opened up easy looks for teammates all night. The Gonzaga recruit was impressive and efficient in his 17-point night.
Cade Pierce (6’6 SG, 2022)
Pierce is the ultimate do-it-all guard. He got numerous deflections, steals, and kicks at the top of the zone to throw off the rhythm of the Titans. Offensively, he made the extra pass and crashed the glass hard for second chances. There’s an extra level of bounce that he has around the rim this year that is aiding his paint presence. He also should have been at the foul line a few times. But Pierce did what needed to get done.
Bobby Durkin (6’7 SG, 2022)
Durkin’s shot comes out so effortlessly. Early on, he had a dunk in transition and a deep bomb from a few feet behind the arc. He didn’t get much going in the second half with Warden and Huff leading the way. Durkin has been a big-time scoring threat so far this year and should continue that going forward.
Ryan Renfro (6’8 PF, 2022)
Two early fouls didn’t end up hindering Renfro much. As usual, he was a man on the boards and gave plenty of activity on the defensive end. Renfro scored on a running left hook and a putback. The Army commit is a nice complement to Huff in the frontcourt.
Cooper Noard (6’2 PG, 2022)
I don’t know the last time I’ve seen a high school player hit so many tough threes from beyond NBA range. Noard made seven threes, with most of them coming off the bounce or on kickouts from the logo. It was the best offense against the huge Hiltopper zone and ended up putting the Titans within a made bucket of a win. Some of Noard’s shots were just ridiculous. He has no fear or quit to him and that energy radiated as they overcame a 20-point deficit. To have a 21-point game in that fashion against that level of opponent made it an instant classic.
Nick Martinelli (6’7 SG/SF, Glenbrook South)
Martinelli was working the paint amongst the trees early on with a pair of quick floaters, a putback, and an aggressive two-hand dunk in transition. The defense started to collapse in the second half, but he still managed to come alive in the first to pull the game within a possession. He spun over his right shoulder and worked the baseline masterfully for a finish. Elon got a huge signing with Martinelli.
RJ Davis (6’1 SG, 2023)
Davis played with good pace and made three big threes. He was shot-ready against the zone and showed good confidence knocking them down. He’s an efficient, talented junior to track.
Gaven Marr (6’2 SG, 2023)
Marr worked well in transition and got out for a contact layup. In the second half, he had a strong putback as well. Marr has been a nice complementary piece to Noard and Martinelli and projects as a solid guard prospect going forward.
Spencer Brown (6’4 PF, 2022)
Brown was competitive and very active on the defensive end and glass despite giving up some size. He was able to create some turnovers with his hands and positioning. Brown does a lot of the dirty work for the Titans but it didn’t go unnoticed.
Jaden Schutt (6’6 SG, 2022)
Schutt had a smooth 23 points in what was the third game in three nights for the Mustangs. He exploded in transition for a finish and did a lot of damage behind the arc with pull-up threes. The Duke recruit is going to be around 30 points a game on most nights.
David Douglas Jr. (6’3 PG, 2023)
The penetration and transition game of Douglas was impressive. He’s long and elusive with the ball, able to get into creases to score. The 6-foot-3 guard can also shoot it from distance well. He ended with 21 points and is a young player to watch for the Mustangs.
Kj Vasser (6’3 SG, 2022)
Defense turns into offense for Vasser quickly with steals into layups and a high volume of long-range looks. By the end of the day, he had 16 points which is actually less than what he has been putting up this year. His defense could be his calling card at the next level where his anticipation and length take over.
Jehvion Starwood (6’3 SG, 2024)
The most impressive sophomore at the event; Starwood skied for a one-hand dunk in transition and chipped in 10 points in an exciting fashion. He goes hard left and can stop on a dime or change his body mid-air to score. Another opportunistic defender; Starwood was out and running early on for YC. He has a ton of talent that should continue to develop with time.
Timaris Brown (6’5 SF, 2022)
A big, physical forward, Brown finished with 22 points using mostly inside finishes to score. He had a size and strength advantage that led to some easy looks against the pressure. Despite his size, Brown has some natural playmaking ability and ball skills to push in the open court to get his shot. He’s also got a nice mid-range game. Brown could is a scholarship level player without question.
Bryant Handley (6’4 SG, 2022)
Even when the game looked out of hand, Handley was competing. He worked his way to 17 points by running the floor and finishing through contact. The athletic guard has plenty of positional height and length to project well to college