Cassidy Awards: adidas 3SSB in Birmingham

HOOVER, Ala. – The adidas 3SSB grassroots circuit rolled through the South over the weekend, and so too did Rivals national analyst Rob Cassidy, who took in all three days of the event in the Birmingham suburbs.

Below, Cassidy dishes out awards based on some of the most impressive performances he witnessed at the event.

Rumor Mill: Five-star standouts preview visits


2024 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2025 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team

2026 Rankings: Top 100

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Mullins isn’t an unknown commodity by any stretch, but his current ranking of 88 feels a touch low after a weekend that saw the 6-foot-5 guard consistently impact games in a long list of ways. Sunday saw the junior stand toe to toe with a talented ASAK squad and finish the contest with 17 points, four rebounds and four assists while going 7-for-13 from the field.

He still needs to fill out from a muscle standpoint but his jumper, efficiency and ability to see the floor are striking. He averaged 20 points and 2.6 assists for his Indiana Elite squad over the course of five games and helped his squad to an undefeated weekend. Mullins is playing like a top-50 talent and could see his stock rise even higher by the time all is said and done.

Recruitment: The Indiana-based Mullins is a priority target for both Indiana and Purdue, but his recruitment could get quite a bit more crowded if he continues to play like he’s playing currently.


STOCK UP: Nate Ament

Ament already boasts a lofty ranking, as the versatile, 6-foot-7 guard currently holds down the No. 14 spot in the Rivals150. His play this weekend began to hint that may not be high enough, however, as Ament showed developed guard skills and smooth ball-handling running with Team Loaded over the weekend.

Ament has the look and the upside of a modern-day NBA wing and his production is starting to match his potential. Ament also displayed his athleticism on Saturday, when he threw down one of the weekend’s most jaw-dropping dunks over a defender in transition. Ament will get more dangerous as his long-range jumper and defensive effort become more consistent.

Recruitment: Ament plans to visit Indiana in the coming months and is in the process of locking down a date for the trip. Virginia, Virginia Tech and Duke are also involved with the five-star wing.


MR. PHYSICALITY: Ikenna Alozie

Not only does Alozie, who runs with the Utah Prospects, boast a college-ready body, he knows how to maximize his strength to gain advantages on both ends of the floor. The five-star guard is a load when he gets downhill and finishes through contact with impressive regularity. His high-level athleticism allows him great defensive versatility, as he contests shots at the rim and is a nightmare to get past on the perimeter.

Alozie is more than just strength and athleticism, obviously, but the way he is adept at using his gifts is what sets him apart.

Recruitment: Coaches are not permitted to call prospects in the class of 2026 until June 15, but Alozie has contacted certain coaches himself and spoken with them through intermediaries. Because of that, he says he intends to visit Kansas State, Houston and UCLA once after the contact period begins.


SNIPER: Eli Ellis

One of the most productive players in the 2024 class, Ellis is a certified weapon from long range. He’s also an incredibly gifted passer when he doesn't try to do too much. Ellis was at his very best running with Team Loaded on Saturday and showcased his shot-creation ability as well as his court vision.

It was his catch-and-shoot performance from three-point range that really turned heads, however. Ellis was 4-for-5 from three-point range on his way to a 17-point, seven-rebound effort in an easy win over a Game Elite squad that featured an array of high-major talent.

Recruitment: Ellis is committed to South Carolina.



DO IT ALL: Darryn Peterson

Nobody had a more well-rounded weekend than Peterson, whose combination of skill, athleticism and physicality are unmatched in this class. There simply isn’t much the 6-foot-5 guard can’t do. The weekend in Alabama saw Peterson back down smaller defenders and utilize a spin move that almost always created an easy layup in addition to knocking down a handful of 3-pointers per contest.

His lateral quickness is as good as any player’s in this class and his motor allows him to be more than a pesky defender. His explosiveness and ability to play above the rim is what creates highlights but his jumper and basketball IQ are also well above average. Peterson is currently ranked as the No 3 prospect in the 2025 class and would be in the discussion for No. 1 in a lot of previous years.

Recruitment: On Friday, Peterson said the programs most involved in his recruitment are Kansas, Ohio State, Kentucky, Arkansas and North Carolina. He is currently finalizing a date for an official visit to North Carolina and has been in touch with the new coaching staffs at both Kentucky and Arkansas.


EVOLVING: Moustapha Thiam

Thiam has become a lot more comfortable shooting the ball from deep. And while he is still not a sniper by any means, the progress is obvious. The young 7-footer remains a fluid, rim-protecting modern big with loads of upside, however, and the ways in which he impacts games even when he’s not scoring in volume make him a promising long-term prospect.

His potential is starting to turn to production, especially on the glass and the defensive end where his presence significantly alters everything. If Thiam, who runs with Austin Rivers Southeast Elite, continues to be a willing shooter and refines that skill, the sky's the limit for the four-star center.

Recruitment: Thiam is committed to UCF.




Murphy, who is unranked for the time being, spent the weekend in Alabama running with Team Loaded’s 16U group and was clearly the on-floor leader of the group, both verbally and from a production standpoint. The 6-foot-4 guard avoids poor shots and plays an efficient brand of basketball while still showing the ability to create for himself off the bounce.

The 6-foot-4 guard has a reliable floater in his repertoire and is also capable of lighting it up from beyond the arc. Murphy isn’t a national name, but the weekend put him squarely on the rankings radar and proves he has a future as a possible high-major prospect.

Recruitment: Murphy’s standing as a member of the class of 2026 dictates that coaches are not allowed to contact him until mid-June. Expect him to collect his first offer when the contact period opens.


BEAST MODE: Malachi Moreno

There were few bigs more productive than Moreno over the weekend, and the 7-footer’s masterpiece came on Sunday in a game against ASAK that saw him rack up 29 points and 12 rebounds. Moreno is as athletic as 7-footers come, a fact that manifests itself all over the floor but particularly on the glass, where his agility allows him to grab tough rebounds and contests shots at the rim.

On offense, Moreno showed a knack for playing above the rim and threw down at least two putback dunks over the course of the weekend. Moreno isn’t much of a threat from deep, but has a number of post moves in his bag as well as a solid face-up game out to 10 feet or so. He has no delusions about where his bread is buttered and functions as an unmistakable paint presence on both ends.

Recruitment: Moreno is from the Lexington suburbs and plans to meet with the new Kentucky staff during an unofficial visit in the coming weeks. Programs such as Arkansas, USC, Michigan, Iowa, North Carolina, Texas and Kansas are also involved in his recruitment.