Opening night of the annual NY2LA Sports Invitational got off to a great start as we saw teams and prospects from Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin hit the hardwood.  Some of the top players in the country were on fill display and many rising prospects looked to make a name for them self.  Here are some of the players that stood out to me on Friday night.

Top Performers 
DJ Carton – 2019 (Quad City Elite 17u)
- One of the premiere 2019 prospects in the country was on full display in the opening night showdown between Quad City and Phenom University.  Carton was scoring at a high rate, crashing the boards, and dropping dimes all game long.  He made his presence felt for the full length of the game.  The 6-2 guard can finish around the rim as well as anyone in the country and was doing so all game long.  He threw down multiple highlight reel type dunks that had the whole gym buzzing.  Carton finished with a game high 27 points.

Reece Beekman – 2020 (Phenom University 16u) - The rising 2020 prospect did an outstanding job leading his team.  Beekman is a true floor general who takes on the leadership role for a very talented team.  He has the ball in his hands during clutch times and can straight up determinate the pace of the game with his style of play.  He scored from all three levels blowing by his defenders to finish around the rim, hit some nice floaters, and he was knocking down midrange and three-point jump shots.  Beekman finished with 17 points and 14 of them came in the second half.

Xavier Dusell – 2020 (Team Harden 16u) - Dusell was outstanding for Team Harden all game long.  Dusell knocked down almost every deep ball he shot as he finished with 5 total threes.  He has nice athleticism, size and length for a guard and looks like he is still growing.  He showed that he can defend multiple positions and crash the boards as well.  The 2020 prospect finished with 19 points in Team Hardens win over Kevon Looney Elite.

Ace Evans – 2019 (WI Shooters 17u) - The rising 2019 prospect continued his stellar spring with a great performance in the shooters opening round game against Get Buckets.  He started off hot scoring 11 of his team's first 15 points and carried that on for the rest of the game.  The athletic and bouncy guard/wing can score from all three levels but is at his best attacking the rim where he finds creative ways to finish above the rim.  He was knocking down midrange jumpers at a high rate and it didn’t matter if his opponent's hands were in his face or not.  You can expect Evans recruitment to take a jump in the next couple of months.  Evans finished with 22 points.

Jamari Sibley – 2020 (Phenom University 16u) - Sibley was huge down the stretch for Phenom University hitting big shots and throwing down a very impressive two hand dunk to help stretch the lead late in the game.  Sibley has a much-improved jumper and was showing it off by shooting off the pass and off the dribble.  He was very active on the glass and protecting the rim using his plus length to affect shots.  The 6-9 forward finished with 13 points.

Stock Boosters
Donnell Gray – 2019 (WI Triple Threat 17u)
- Gray was showing off his speed, quickness, and ball handling as he was blowing by defenders and crossing them over all game long.  He has no problem stepping up and taking the shots his team needs him to do as he proved that he can score from all three levels at a very high rate.  Defensively Gray was picking his opponent up for the full length of the floor and making it very hard for them to get pass half court.  Gray finished with a team high 11 points.    

Isaiah Stewart – 2020 (WI Dynasty 16u) - The 6-0 guard was relentless for WI Dynasty in their big opening night win over a talented Chicago Lockdown team.  Stewart played most of the game without coming out and still had one of the highest motors on the floor.  He moves very well without the ball and gets himself open by slashing and using backdoor cuts.  He didn’t score at a high rate, but he still was one of the most productive players on the floor affecting the game in different ways.

Fred Cleveland – 2019 (Team RWA 17u) - Cleveland was very impressive for Team RWA in their opening night win over WI Swing as he put together one of the most impressive scoring performances of the night dropping a game high 27 points.  He was hitting his shots from all over the floor and there wasn’t much his defenders could do to stop him.  He is very quick and an excellent ball handler making it very hard for people to stay in front of him as he was blowing by his defenders with ease.  Cleveland is a sleeper in the 2019 class that will make some college coaches very happy in the coming years.

Drew Lutz – 2019 (MBA Select 17u) - Lutz made a name for himself in the first couple of sessions of the NY2LA Association as he is the leading scorer in the league.  Friday night he did exactly what he does best and that is score.  He has a green light and isn't afraid to let the ball fly from anywhere on the floor.  He is highly skilled and has a very high basketball IQ making him a very solid point guard prospect.  He finished with a game high 22 points in MBA Selects win over the Minnesota Knights. 

Fillip Bulatovic – 2019 (All In Athletics 17u) - Bulatovic is a high volume scoring shooting guard who knows how to score in a variety of different ways.  In a breakout performance scoring 26 points the 6-4 guard was on full display.  He has a nice stroke from the outside, can attack and finish at the rim, and was getting out in transition very well.  Bulatovic has a nice combination of size and athleticism and is a rising 2019 prospect to pay attention too.