Category: PLAYER INTERVIEWS

Q&A with Hercy and Mercy Miller

Hercy Miller (2021) and Mercy Miller (2024) have an unbreakable bond on and off the court. They are both highly rated recruits in their respective classes, playing AAU for Grassroots Sizzle and high school for Minnehaha Academy. We caught up with both to discuss the travel season and the upcoming high school season.

RLH: How was your AAU season?
HM: We weren’t able to practice much at all, so there was a bit of an adjustment of learning on the fly at our first tournament, but we fought through it. We had big plans to put on a show, but the pandemic ruined that. However, it was good to see all the guys putting in work on their own. I’m part of something special at Grassroots Sizzle and Minnehaha Academy — everyone wants to be the best and works to achieve that.


RLH: Your younger brother, Mercy, played with you this AAU season. What was that like?
HM: Our connection and chemistry are unbreakable. It was a good experience for us both. He’s a student of the game and wants to soak up all the knowledge he can. He listens well to constructive criticism, and he strives to be the best that he can be. I’m looking forward to having him play varsity at Minnehaha Academy.


RLH: Okay Mercy, what was your experience playing up 17u as an 8th grader with your brother?
MM: It was a blessing. Just having the opportunity to get that experience is something I’ll cherish. Hercy and the rest of the guys really looked out for me on and off the court. Playing against the older competition is only going to make me a better player in the long run. 


RLH: 17u as an 8th grader is a big jump. Were you nervous about that?
MM: Yeah, but I was ready. I’ve been playing against my older brothers all my life, so I was prepared for the better competition. It definitely was a faster pace with more physicality, but I embraced that.


RLH: Hercy, what’s it like playing with the #1 recruit in the country, Chet Holmgren?
HM: Chet brings a ton of attention wherever we go…fans, media, and college coaches, so being able to have that fanfare is fun to play in front of. Chet deserves everything he’s got coming. He puts in a ton of work to be where he’s at. It might not be all over social media but that guy is always in the gym. He’s a good guy and fun to be around. Chet isn’t letting all the attention go to his head. He knows there is more work to do.

RLH: Speaking of attention, your dad is famous for his entertainment and sports careers. What is it like handling the expectations of being Master P’s son?
HM:  He looks out for us, but he definitely wants us to earn everything on our own. I don’t want to use my dad’s name to become great — I’m going to earn it on my own, and that is what he would want.
MM:  He is pretty chill and laid back when it comes to being a sports parent. He’s more about words of encouragement while giving us the tools and resources to be successful. Then it is on us to take it from there.


You guys were on your way to a State title last season before COVID-19 happened. What’s the outlook for Minnehaha Academy this year?
HM: We want to win state. We feel like there is some unfinished business there, so that is definitely a top goal as a team. We play a national schedule and have a target on back wherever we go. We know we’ll get the best game from every opponent and we wouldn’t want it any other way. We got the dog in us and we’re excited to put on a show.

RLH: We got a big game scheduled against a Waukee High School team featuring 3 top 100 players in their backyard. What do you think about that game?
HM: We can’t wait! We’re ready to ball and got some pretty good guys on our side, too. It should be a fun environment and look forward to it. 

See a teaser video for Minnehaha Academy vs. Waukee High School

RLH: What is your recruitment like. Any timetable for a commitment?
HM: I’m starting to narrow in on a list of schools but won’t make a rush on the commitment. I’ll see how things play out this season to determine what will be the best fit.
*Note* Hercy’s top 7 are: Arizona, Mizzou, UCLA, LSU, UCF, Howard, and Minnesota.

Brennan Watkins looks to shoot his way onto college coaches radar

Brennan Watkins (2021) was 1 of four non-seniors to be named to the Missouri 4A All-State team for the 2019-2020 season–Nicholas Kern and Taj Manning being the other two. Waktins, a 5-11 point guard from Kearney High School, brings it all the time on the court and in the classroom. Watkins carries a 4.07 GPA and put together a shooting season worth noting: 24ppg & 44% from 3-pt. He also chipped in 3.7rpg, 2.6apg, and shot 89% from the Free Throw line.

We’ve seen Watkins play a lot this past year and even had him at our Larry Hughes Elite Camp. He was the best shooters at camp and one of the best in the entire Kansas City area, if not the best.

We caught up with Watkins to talk more about the season and what’s ahead.

RLH: It was an up-and-down season for you all at Kearney finishing 12-14. Tell us a little more about how things went.
BW: We had a pretty good team this year but never really got going because sickness really hurt us. Throughout the first three-fourths of the season, most of our team was struck with sickness which left us with 6-7 players each game. A lot of these games we were winning or were close but we wore out in the last minutes of the game. Once we got the rest of the team back we weren’t able to get our chemistry back. I am not one to ever make excuses but the teams we were facing had a minimum of 3 guys to sometimes the whole team that played AAU basketball while I was the only one from my school that played AAU.  

RLH: What positives can you take away from this past year?
BW: This past season helped a lot for me in being a leader on and off the floor because most of my teammates had no varsity experience under their belt and a lot of players were younger and were looking at me as a role model.

RLH: You were the only returning starter on your team, so how did you handle defenses knowing that you’re the go-to guy on offense?
BW: It was exciting to know that the whole defense was looking to stop me each and every game, it was a challenge I loved to take on.  Every game was a different defense from double teams to box in ones to fresh defenders every three minutes.  Facing these types of defenses only strengthens my game.

RLH: What was your single most favorite individual accomplishment from this past season?
BW: My most favorite individual accomplishment on the season was reaching 1000 points. Not many players reach 1000 points in their career and for me to reach it as a Junior was really exciting.

RLH: You’re one of the top players in the state in your class. What is your case on why you should be #1?  
BW: I don’t want to sound overly confident but in my eyes, I am number one, I just haven’t received the publicity that some of the other players have.  I play for a terrific AAU program but we are fairly a new program and don’t receive some of the publicity that some of the more established programs receive. We beat a lot of those teams and made it to the championship game at every tournament, except one, we went to last year.  At the end of the day I want to make my case for being number #1 on the court and all I want is the chance to prove that.  I was really looking forward to this summer.  I know it was going to be huge!!

RLH: If a college coach asked what are the strong parts of your game? What would you say
BW: I’d say the strong parts of my game are shooting, ball handling, and my decision making/IQ.

RLH: What are you doing to improve as a basketball player?
BW: Working with trainers on all aspects of my game: dribbling, shooting, and defense.  I’m really concentrating on getting faster, stronger, and more explosive. I’m also watching a lot of game tape to see where my game needs improvement.

RLH: You shot 44% from 3-pt and made 90 on the year…that is 3.5 per game. Who do you watch to model your shot and consistency after? 
BW: I study all of the great shooters; Steph Curry, J.J. Reddick, Ray Allen, Reggie Miller to see if there is anything new I can add to improve my shot but I really don’t model my shot after anyone.  My dad taught me how to shoot a basketball the right way when I was in first grade.  I work on improving my efficiency every year.

RLH: Covid-19 has derailed AAU basketball for the time being. What are you doing to stay prepared if-and-when things open back up? And which team will you be playing for?
BW: I am working out every day and staying in shape. When I’m not working out I am watching film over my high school games to see what I can do to improve as a player and leader on the floor. This AAU season I will be running with Marcus Denmon Elite again.

Q&A with Master P

Percy Miller is a business mogul, rapper, and the only rapper to have played in the NBA. Most know him as Master P, but he’s known as dad to his high school basketball star, Hercy Miller.

Hercy is a rising 2021 point guard at Minnehaha Academy in the Minneapolis area. Minnehaha is nationally ranked and features 5-star prospects, Jalen Suggs and Chet Holmgren. Hercy’s been making a name for himself ever since their move from California in 2019.
 
We caught up with Master P to talk about Hercy’s hoop game, his recruitment and Hercy building his own legacy.


RLH: Hercy just got back from visiting Louisville. How did that go?
Master P :  He had a great time there. Coach Mack was complimentary on his game and likes the way Hercy plays. It’s a first class program and Coach Mack has a track record of taking 3-4 star kids and turning them into NBA players — that’s appealing.

RLH: What kind of compliments are college coaches saying about Hercy’s game?
Master P : They like that he has a killer mentality out there. He isn’t afraid to guard the best player and get in his face all game. They think he is explosive on offense when he needs to be and isn’t afraid to jam it on anyone. Every coach wants a Pat Beverly type player on their roster and Hercy brings that to the table.

RLH: As a dad, what traits of Hercy’s game do you appreciate? 
Master P : That he’ll do whatever it takes to win… he’ll dive on the floor, he’ll take charges, he’ll guard anyone, he just wants to impact the game to get the win. There are some really talented players on his team (Minnehaha), so he knows that it isn’t always how many points he scores to get a win for his team. Also, his court vision and basketball IQ is off the charts. 

RLH: Hercy’s playing with probable future NBA lottery picks on Minnehaha with Chet Holmgren and Jalen Suggs. What’s it like being at Minnehaha.
Master P : It’s been great for him. He’s going up against Jalen every single day at practice — it’s only going to make Hercy better. Hercy’s been playing on a big stage his whole life, but now he’s starting to get contacted from college coaches. Every game is sold out and gets national attention — it’s been a boost to his play and recruitment. He locked up some of the best players at the Sierra Canyon game and that was in front of 17,000 at the Target Center.

RLH: That Sierra Canyon game sold out an NBA arena. Was he nervous for that one?
Master P : If he wasn’t nervous than he isn’t in it for real. Two people or 17,000 people…once that ball is tipped the nerves go away.

RLH: You’ve played high level basketball. What’s it like for you having a son that is trending as a top recruit?
Master P : This isn’t about Master P or anything I’ve accomplished. Everything is on him and he takes ownership of it. He’s up at 5am every morning to get extra work in, he’s getting 300-500 shots up every day, and he’s doing all this while maintaining a 3.8 GPA. I’m proud of his work ethic. I’m not pressuring him to do anything. If he loves it, I’ll be there to cheer him on and support him. He has the skill set, abilities and work ethic to go farther in the sport than I did.

RLH: You have knowledge of the game, so do you train him?
Master P : I let the trainers and people that know the ropes teach him. I think it’s important to have intelligent guys around him that know the game and can be his support system. I’ll support him and let the basketball trainers work with him. He’s got a great trainer in Donald Hogan. 

RLH: What is the plan for the spring and summer AAU season?
Master P : Hercy will be playing with Grassroots Sizzle this spring and summer on the AAU circuit. Brian (Sandifer) and Larry (Suggs) are great guys; we’ve been close for a long time. This is going to be a big year with Chet, Hercy and Prince Aligbe (top 50 2022). All we want is for the kids to get better, to get them exposure, and get them on the spotlight to get seen.
 
RLH: Any other recruiting updates or visits for Hercy?
Master P : We’re going to go to Georgetown and Iowa State for unofficial visits soon. We’ll just take it all in and see what comes up.

Ray’Sean Taylor is making his case for Mr. Basketball Illinois

We saw Ray’Sean Taylor a lot this past spring and summer on the RecruitLook Hoops League and immediately loved his game. In fact, we thought so highly of his play that we crowned his MVP over several other high-major and mid-major division one prospects.

Ray’Sean is tough. He has that dog mentality in him. He’s the type of guy that can carry a team — and that is what he’s doing right now. Ray’Sean has his Collinsville High School squad off to an 8-0 start and ranked #1. We caught up with him…

RLH: What are your stats 8 games into the season?

RT: I’m averaging 23.4 points per game, 5.4 assists per game, 5.1 rebounds per game, 2.1 steals per game.

RLH: You guys are 8-0 and now have the target on your back. What’s it like knowing everyone is going to give you their best game?

RT: It feels good. This is the best start we’ve had in my career and we just have to keep improving. And about teams gunning for us… we just have to stay focused and realize we are going to get everyone’s best game and play with an edge.

RLH: You just beat a super talented Morgan Park team with several division one players — a team that is one of the best in the state. What is your takeaway from this game?

RT: It was a good hard fought win, and a momentum win for us. I think we proved that we are a very good team, but ultimately it doesn’t mean much so we’ll keep improving and working toward our goals.

RLH: You’ve cemented your name in the conversation for Mr. Basketball in the state of Illinois. Was this a goal of yours?

RT: Yes. It is a personal goal of mine… even if it is far fetched.

RLH: You played for Coach Cunningham, a former division one coach, this spring and summer on the RecruitLook Hoops League. How did that prepare you for your senior season?

RT: Playing for coach DC (Deryl Cunningham) prepared me on the court. He pushed me as a vocal leader more than anything and helped improve my game in every aspect, and because of that, I am leading my team the very best that I can.

RLH: You signed at SIUE and coach Barone. With all the D1s recruiting you, what made you feel comfortable to go SIUE?

RT: Coach Barone, Coach Pierce, and the entire staff showed so much love and made me feel apart of a family. And it was the best fit for me as a basketball player and the role I can play there.

2020 PG Aquan Smart Commits To East Tennessee State University

2020 PG Aquan Smart has just verbally committed to East Tennessee State University, he tells Recruit Look Hoops. 

Smart, who plays for Niles North High School in Illinois, joins 6’7” F Cam Bryant of Dutchtown High School in Georgia as ETSU’s lone commitments in the 2020 class. 

Smart officially visited ETSU on September 6th, making the call for the Buccaneers just 3 weeks later. Smart chose ETSU over a number of schools, including FIU where he took an official visit to just last weekend. 

Several schools were vying for his services including high major programs Iowa State and Ole Miss who were trying to jump in the recruitment late. This comes off as a huge win for Coach Steve Forbes and the staff at ETSU. 

Coach Forbes’ message to Smart during his recruitment was simple, “He was going to put me in the right position to succeed.” 

So why ETSU over the other schools, especially Iowa State and Ole Miss? Two things stood out to Smart, “Family environment and the coaches.”

“I felt like I was ready to make this decision. Those are great schools but you never know what the possibilities of those things are,” said Smart regarding the interest from Iowa State and Ole Miss. 

Smart wants Buccaneers fans to know that they’re getting a player that’s always going to give 110%. 

“I’m an exciting player that loves to win. I’ll do anything for my team and coaches.”

Although his recruitment is over that’s not going to stop him from trying to get more talented players to join him and Bryant next season. For the players who are considering ETSU, Smart wants them to know two things. 

“We’re going to be special and shock the world.”

PLAYER EVALUATION

I was first able to see Aquan in the spring and he immediately caught my eye as someone I needed to continue to watch. He is tenacious on both ends of the floor and is always in attack mode when on offense. Quick and decisive score first point guard with incredible court vision and always looks to get his teammates involved as well. Aquan displays great athleticism, which helps him succeed on the defensive end as well. The next step for him is becoming more consistent as a shooter, but he is more than capable of knocking down the three-pointer at a consistently high rate. 

Tyler Simpson – Recruit Look Hoops