The Midwest Showdown Shootout, hosted by, wrapped up this past Saturday after featuring six exciting matchups. Area fans were able to witness high level performances by several talented upperclassmen. Despite the tremendous display of talent by these players, I couldn’t help but notice the incredible performances put on by several up and coming players. Among these standout underclassmen were two freshman players that rank among the best high school players nationally. Here’s my take on the best of the best of the underclassmen…

Note – Not listed in any particular order

2022 5-10 Matt Enright - Webster Groves
The lead guard for the Statesman is showing that he is up to the challenge of serving as the floor leader of a storied program that has several new faces leading on the floor and from the sidelines. He has a nice blend of good court vision, ball handling, and passing that allows him to serve his team well in the guard position. He’s able to get into the lane, make plays for open teammates, knock down floaters or take the short pull up. He is also not one to shy away from the spotlight. He has nice range on his shot and is more than willing to fire away from behind the arc.

2023 6-2 Vasean Allette - St. Louis Christian Academy
The Toronto native is a scorer and playmaker that is among the best playing nationally in the class of 2023.  The rugged guard has already turning heads with big performances on the national stage playing with the Cougars. Allette has nice strength and size for his position. He is a fierce competitor that is at his best in attacking mode. He is a thrill to watch in transition where he attacks downhill and finishes well. Allete has good body control and the ability to absorb contact and finish. Vasean also does well in the role of facilitator. He’s a high-level distributor in transition. The skilled passer does a nice job in a two-man game making reads off screens.

2022 5-8 Tevin Gowins - Hazelwood Central
Gowins is a small guard with a big heart. Gowins has good poise and control for his age. He is good at making plays in one on one situations or operating in set offense. He can break down defenders, get into the lane and use angles to score or make plays. His ball handling, passing and floater game make him a danger when he enters the lane, especially when coupled with his ability to operate in tight spaces. Look for the young guard to continue to develop new tools as he leads the young Hawks on a grueling schedule.

2022 6-3 Nick Kramer - SLUH
Kramer is a shooting guard with toughness, determination and grit that allows him to consistently produce on offense. He was constantly moving on offense and when he got into rhythm, he seemed to unconsciously drill shot after shot all over the floor with a nice smooth release. He plays the game with a lot of confidence and has the skill, ball handling, strength and shooting range to keep the defense occupied.

2023 6-4 Jayden Nicholson - Hazelwood Central
Jayden Nicholson is ranked as a top 10 freshman nationally, and it doesn’t take long to figure out why. Nicholson already has the body control, size, speed and handles to blow by defenders and finish at the rim. Once he gets in the lane, his athleticism and skill allow him to lay it in or rise and jam it home over defenders. Nicholson can also get hot from the three-point area quickly. He has an extended range, good form and elevation to merit defensive attention. On defense, he also shows a lot of promise. His lateral movement is good, remains in guarding position, and has nice instincts in the passing lanes.

2023 6-4 Macaleab Rich - East St. Louis
Rich showed that he will be another name to follow in the 2023 class. The young wing is a powerful player who can attack of the dribble and also has a nice touch around the basket. The athletic freshman introduced himself to area fans by throwing down two rim rattlers. He has a lot of poise about him for a freshman and is very efficient on offense. His strength and footwork allowed him to score the ball in tight places and finish over taller players. He also has the ability to step out and hit the open shot out to three.

2022 5-10 Drenin Dinkins- South Iron
Dinkins is one of the most cerebral guards that you will see in this class. Dinkins is a talented playmaker and scorer that plays with a lot of energy, fire and determination that keeps the defense on its heels. The small guard plays beyond his years and has an arsenal of offensive weapons including floaters, 3-pointers, pin-point passing, and good decision making in transition. Watch for his stock to grow as he continues to develop on a well-coached Panthers team.