Tyler Simpson | Lead Writer
The Top Rank Showcase provides great exposure and allows kids from several states to compete against each other with the highest level of competition coming from each state. What makes the showcase a great event is the amount of local prospects that get brought in, and are able to hang with the best of the best. Ranging from Division One kids to the top Junior College talent, the showcase never disappoints from the local aspect of it.
In Kansas City, the best of the metro area were on hand in Blue Springs for the event in October, which had a handful of Division One players in attendance. Two stand out players from the Kansas City event were Dru’ Smith and Zack Andersen, both of whom will attend the Orlando event in March. Smith’, a crafty scoring guard from Parkville, Mo, made the top 20 game in Kansas City and looks for a repeat performance come March. Andersen, another guard who can score in bunches, looks to improve upon his performance from Kansas City and hopefully get his name out there more. Both have a great ability to score the ball and will not go unnoticed at the Orlando event.
Ashton West, Top Rank Showcase founder and president had great things to say about them both, “Zack is fundamentally sound, a great shooter, and extremely unselfish. Dru’ is a playmaker, great slasher, and is also very unselfish. Both have tremendous potential and will be great additions to any college program.” I was fortunate enough to catch up with both Dru’ and Zack and get their thoughts on several topics and what makes the Top Rank Showcase such a special event.
How’s the season been going for you two thus far? Dru’ I noticed you’re from Park Hill and played in the Basehor tournament this year, which normally has a lot of talent in it, how was the competition?
ZA: My season is going pretty good so far. I’m averaging about 25 a game, we’re 13-3 on the year and tied for first in our conference.
DS: Season has been going good, we won our first ten games and first two tournaments, we are 12-3 on the season after a weird weekend at Basehor. I feel like we didn’t play to our full potential, the competition was okay, I feel like we played down to the level of competition, but we have regrouped and are ready to make another run. The season has been going well for me, I am averaging 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists a game. We’re currently first in a tough conference.
Your guys’ high school seasons have both respectively been going well, what are your main goals to finish out your senior year?
ZA: Win our conference tournament and state tournament, then be first team all-state and first team all-conference.
DS: Win conference, win districts, and then win a state title.
Have you guys been hearing from any colleges about playing for them at the next level?
ZA: Yes, I’ve heard from two schools in Kansas, Calvary University and Kansas Christian College.
DS: I’ve heard from Southern Illinois, Missouri State, South Dakota, Drake, Central Arkansas, and some top juco schools.
Awesome. What are you guys working on to improve before playing basketball at the next level?
ZA: Being a better defender and getting stronger. Also, just being more vocal, take good shots, and not try to force anything.
DS: Getting stronger and faster, being a better leader and being more efficient.
For the people who haven’t been able to watch you or see your guys’ game, how would you describe yourselves? Give a little insight on the type of player you are.
ZA: I would say I can attack the rim very well and finish at a high percentage, I can also knock down open shots and create for myself when needed, I can get hot quickly. I look to get my teammates involved and am also very hard working and try to lead by example to my younger teammates.
DS: A playmaker who can finish around the rim or over it. I can knock down open shots, create for myself, and am very good in transition because of my speed and getting others involved in transition. Very good in ball screen situations, good on-ball defender, and a great rebounding guard.
Both of you attended the TRS in Kansas City, what did you guys think of the event? What’d you like about it?
ZA: I thought it was a great event and good experience. I liked the competition there and the exposure that you get from the event.
DS: It was a great event. I had fun playing against some great talent, it was a great learning experience for me.
What are you guys looking forward to for the Orlando event?
ZA: Playing with and against people from different parts of the country, and just playing against all of the talent there.
DS: Playing against all of the talent.
It’s awesome what we’re doing with these events, then all of the talent we bring in for for everyone to compete against is great. Do you have any specific goals for Orlando?
ZA: Mainly just try to play well and try to get my name out there more, and try to get all of my teammates involved as much as possible during the games.
DS: Play great and just get my name out there on that side of the country.
What would you say makes the Top Rank Showcase so special?
ZA: The competition level and playing against the people I’ve heard about but never got the chance to play against them.
DS: Going against great competition from all over.
Who do you guys have winning the Super Bowl?
ZA: I would love to see the Patriots win because I love Tom Brady and the type of player he is.
DS: I want the Patriots to win the Super Bowl because Tom Brady is my favorite quarterback.