Friday, June 20, 2014

Brown dominates at ScoutsFocus




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RANKINGS: Class of 2014 - 2015 - 2016
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The NBPA Top 100 Camp isn't the only game in Charlottesville this weekend. Right across the street, ScoutsFocus is holding its own camp and they landed a big fish to compete in seven-footer Zach Brown. After a terrific showing at the Elite 100 in St. Louis last weekend, Brown picked up where he left off.


Zach Brown is an impressive young big man.
Brown dominates in the paint

It is important to keep in mind that Zach Brown just finished his freshman year of high school and that he is by no means a finished product, but the class of 2017 big man is certainly impressive.

Having a relatively average game -- in comparison to his performance last weekend -- Brown was still dominant much of the time. At around seven-feet tall with a big strong body, Brown is physically tough and plays the game extremely hard. He keeps his hands high, always goes strong to the rim and is aggressive on both ends of the floor chasing loose balls and hauling in rebounds.

Brown isn't a high flying athlete or sprinter in the open floor, but he does focus on running from rim to rim as fast as he can and knows what to do once he gets there. Also, he is still very young and has good coordination overall.

According to his high school and summer coach Jacob Shaw, Brown doesn't yet have a scholarship offer but Virginia, Kentucky, Miami, Florida and South Carolina have all been involved. Shaw said that Brown averaged 19 points, 17 rebounds and seven blocks per game and had a season high of 43, 26 and 11 one night.

Bottom line, Brown is already well advanced where it matters most and that's from a skill standpoint. At this early juncture, he looks to be well on his way to developing into a big time prospect.

More notes from ScoutsFocus

Playing on the same team as Brown, lefty wing Clayton Hughes really looks like one to keep an eye on down the road. A 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Jackson (Tenn.) University, Hughes is a dangerous jump shooter who can handle the ball, finish above the rim in transition and make outstanding passes off of the dribble. It was just a first look, but he looks like somebody that should draw some high major looks this summer given that he is a class of 2016 kid. No offers yet, but Hughes mentioned that he has heard from Virginia, Tennessee, Memphis and Vanderbilt. Later this month he'll head to Western Kentucky for their elite camp.

One of the better floor generals Rivals.com has seen from the class of 2017 is Virginia's Matt Coleman. At ScoutsFocus, Coleman played as expected and was making plenty of plays off the dribble. Coleman is quick and has a very good handle. So good in fact that he got caught getting a little too cute with his dribbling at times meaning he had unnecessary turnovers. But, when he needed to get somewhere and make a play he had little problem and he's certainly tracking as a player we will watch a lot down the road.

All spring long, five-star point guard Dennis Smith has been drawing rave reviews for his play with Team Loaded NC. Lost in all of the hubbub has been that his teammate Jaylen Fornes is pretty good too. A rising junior from Raleigh (N.C.) Word of God, Fornes is a combo guard suited to scoring from the wing. He shoots jumpers very well and with range, plays with confidence and is a sneaky athlete off the dribble. It will be a surprise if schools don't take more notice of him during July.

Adebayo solidifying five-star status

RANKINGS: Class of 2014 - 2015 - 2016
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Friday is the last day of pool play games at the NBPA Top 100 with playoff action starting on Saturday. Traditionally, Friday is the day where campers start to drag and the energy level suffers. While it is easy to tell that many players are tired, the energy level was good during Friday's first session of games. Edrice Adebayo didn't put up huge numbers but has solidified his status in 2016 while others like Deng Adel and Chance Comanche made some noise as well.


Bam Bam Adebayo is expanding his game.
Adebayo expanding his game

One of the most athletic and physically tough big men regardless of class, there have never been any questions about Edrice Adebayo's ability to dunk in traffic and rebound the basketball. At the NBPA Top 100 Camp, the five-star post man who guys by Bam Bam, or just Bam for short, is showing that he has expanded his game a bit.

A 6-foot-8 power forward at Washington (N.C.) Northside who currently ranks No. 9 overall in the rising junior class, Adebayo feels he has had a good run in Charlottesville.

"I think I've been playing well," Adebayo told Rivals.com. "I'm getting good exposure. The guards are giving me the ball in the post, sometimes at these camps it is all about the guards."

Rugged and tough, Adebayo has a long and wiry strong play and has a style similar to a Montrezl Harrell type. He is comfortable as an above the rim power player but is working hard to improve his ability to attack via one or two dribbles and make short jumpers.

"I've really been working on it since last summer," said Adebayo. "I'm trying to perfect getting by people with a shot fake and dribble and hitting the elbow jumper.

Adebayo didn't want to speak about a school list and said that he is wide open in the process. He did mention that he has heard from N.C. State, Iowa State, Duke, Memphis and Wake Forest since coaches could start making contact with rising juniors last week.

However, Adebayo also cautioned that he is just in the infancy stages of his recruitment and that there are several other schools in contact with his mentor Eric Peartree. It is clear that Adebayo thinks highly of his mentor and he will lean on him for guidance.

"He's very important to me," said Adebayo of Peartree. "If it wasn't for him I believe a lot of people would come at me in a hateful way and try to get me to do the wrong things. I'm thankful to have him in my life."

More news and notes from Friday's first session


Chance Comanche was active Friday morning.
Five-star big man Chance Comanche had a good run during Friday's first session. The 6-foot-10 Californian was running the floor, using his length to finish around the rim and he even stepped out and knocked home a very clean looking three-point jumper. Comanche still has to get stronger and is certainly more of a face-up player than a low post grinder but there shouldn't be any question about whether or not he has big upside and potential.

Class of 2015 four-star Jimmy Whitt is a natural combo guard who is best scoring off the dribble. At NBPA Camp he has been playing almost exclusively as a point guard. Running his team has cut down on his shots so he hasn't been a huge scorer, but he has been very effective utilizing the high ball screen and he has proven himself as one of the premier pull-up jump shooters in the country. During the morning session, Whitt had a string of four straight pull-ups. Whitt currently has a huge list that he's hoping to cut down at the end of the summer but he did say that Arkansas and SMU are very likely to get official visits while Missouri has really turned up the heat since hiring Kim Anderson. Whitt also mentioned Illinois as a place he would look to check out unofficially in August.

The play of 2015 power forward Luke Maye at NBPA Top 100 shows that he needs to remain in the Rivals150. Throw out the ideal physical characteristics for a power forward because Maye breaks them down. There are plenty of guys with more length or athleticism, but few have his jump shooting, tough rebounding, overall awareness and skill level. It will be very interesting to see who prioritizes him in July.


Deng Adel loves to use the glass.
Currently and unranked three-star prospect, Deng Adel has locked up a spot in the next edition of the Rivals150 for the class of 2015. The only question is how high he will enter the rankings. A very skinny wing with 6-foot-7ish size, Adel is solid in all aspects. He runs the floor well, uses the dribble effectively and will get on the glass. What he does as well or better than just about anybody else, though, is use the glass on 12 to 15 foot jump shots.

There has never been any question about 2015 small forward Derrick Jones as an athlete, but there have been questions about his skill level. Those questions remain valid, but Jones has perhaps been a bit underrated skill wise. He has a great first step, has gotten a bit better with the dribble and seems to have a better feel for the game situation. At least he did early Friday while playing the best ball Rivals.com has seen from him in a while.

It wasn't the best spring for Bryant Crawford and he had some struggles when we watched earlier at NBPA, but he seemed to turn things around some on Friday morning. After spending too much time hunting jumpers from deep, Crawford decided to start attacking off the dribble and getting into the lane. The aggressive play seemed to favor him and he even lit up the gym with a one handed throw down on Ben Simmons -- who had another outstanding outing with 17 points -- at the rim.

Mustapha Heron is more well known for his strength and getting to the rim. The class of 2016 wing who has committed to Pittsburgh has also looked like he will be more of a mid range jump shooter than deep threat. However, Heron has shot the ball extremely well from deep at camp and if that development holds up it bodes very well for his future at Pitt.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Nike Elite 100: Breaking down the class of 2016



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RANKINGS: Class of 2014 - 2015 - 2016
ST. LOUIS -- Monday, we took a look at the overall standouts from the Nike Elite 100 held on the campus of St. Louis University. Today, we shift our focus to coverage of more class of 2016 standouts such as Omari Spellman before wrapping up coverage Wednesday by taking a look at some of the class of 2017 notables in attendance.

Marques Bolden's game is coming around to match his physical presence.
Marques Bolden: The big man from DeSoto (Texas) High is now a four-star prospect and will factor into the 2016 rankings update at the end of the month. A sturdy kid with 6-foot-9, 236 pound size and a 7-foot-4 wingspan he has very good measurables. Bolden doesn't just fit the profile physically, though, his game is coming on. He has pretty good hands, relatively soft touch and the ability to play rugged in the post. He is easily a high-major prospect.
Bruce Brown: Simply put, Brown is a bucket getter. A 6-foot-3 shooting guard, Brown has high confidence and a very short memory. Missed shots don't get to him and is more than happy to keep firing away because of his confidence. Off the dribble, Brown uses his powerfully built body to get into the lane and finish through contact. He had a good year at Vermont Academy, has been solid on the grassroots trail with BABC and looks to be improving his overall profile.
Trent Forrest: One of the top wing athletes in camp, Forrest looks like a player who is appropriately ranked at No. 59 in the class of 2016. He can defend in space, attacks the rim in transition and is a solid all-around shooting guard prospect.
Alterique Gilbert: Coming out of a Miller Grove program in Georgia that wins state titles every year (well at least the last six), it wasn't surprising to see Gilbert playing smart, team oriented basketball. He isn't the biggest guy around, but he has the command of his team and is a leader on the floor. Skinny but quick, Gilbert can also make defenders pay from deep.
Carlos Johnson: This kid's game is all about toughness and being aggressive. He is strong and athletic and takes everything to the rim that he can. A combo forward who is a bit undersized (listed at 6-foot-6 but looks to be more like 6-foot-3 or 6-foot-4), Johnson has an incredible motor and nose for the ball. If he can show more perimeter skill he will be a very intriguing prospect because his game doesn't fit into any conventional box/position mold.
Mitch Lightfoot: Easily one of the most competitive players in camp, the 6-foot-7 power forward from Arizona plays with much more physicality than you would expect given his skinny 196 pound frame. Lightfoot was constantly battling for position, hitting the glass and running the floor. He's pretty quick off his feet around the rim and looks to be a good faceup shooter to at least 16 feet.
Skylar Mays: Already committed to LSU, Mays is a by-the-book point guard. He runs the plays he is supposed to run, gets the ball to who is supposed to get it and has great command of the high pick and roll. At 6-foot-3 he has good size and looks like a solid early get for LSU.
Rodney Miller: Over the last year, the center from New York who attends Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill has improved considerably. He runs the floor much better, he has gotten much stronger (up to 245 pounds) and he is starting to understand how to use his 6-foot-10 size to impact the game on both ends. Not yet a developed offensive player, he does rebound, alter shots and pick up buckets where he can in transition or off of clean up opportunities.

Omari Spellman was one of the best players in St. Louis regardless of class.
Jagan Mosely: A rugged and long armed 6-foot-2, 200 pound shooting guard, there is nothing soft about the way Mosely plays. He is going to attack the rim off the dribble, seeks out contact and is a physical defender. Mosely is a guy that Big East and A-10 programs should be all over if they want a tough guy wing.
Omari Spellman: One of the best players in camp, the 6-foot-8 power forward outplayed his current ranking of No. 37 in the class of 2016. He has very soft hands and is surprisingly quick and athletic given that he is lugging around 270 pounds. That size makes him tough to move out of the post where he makes jump hooks and turnarounds with ease but his ability to block shots straight up and make jumpers make him a valuable prospect.
Lamar Stevens: Tough and athletic, Stevens is a combo forward who really likes to attack the rim via the dribble. He is always in the mix when it comes to rebounding, runs the floor and is a very strong finisher at the rim.
Nick Ward: Probably more of a natural center with power forward size, Ward is very good in the low post with his back to the basket. He uses his 230 pounds to hold off defenders and has soft hands to go along with good footwork. A seven-foot wingspan helps overcome being slightly undersized (measured 6-foot-6 in his socks) and he is a promising prospect who should be monitored by high major programs.
Howard Washington: A point guard from Buffalo, NY, Washington is a steady performer who moves the ball, plays good defense and can score when needed. Ranked No. 50 in the current rankings for the class of 2016, Washington first popped onto our radar at last year's Elite 100. Last summer he seemed to be more of a shooting guard who could play some point but he has developed into a true point guard while retaining his ability to score.
Greg Williams: Originally from Houston, Williams plays for his brother at Lynchburg (Va.) Genesis Academy. The 6-foot-4 wing has an electric first step to go along with top shelf athleticism. His motor runs a bit hot and cold and he is rough around the edges. But, he shows lots of ability as a transition finisher and looked pretty promising as a jump shooter on a few step back jumpers.
Cassius Winston: One of the highest ranked players in attendance at No. 30 in the class of 2016, the six-footer from Detroit backed up his reputation and played quite solidly at the point. Winston is a tough competitor, has outstanding quickness and is about getting others involved first. He makes enough shots to keep defenses from totally backing off on him.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Brandon Ingram Rising from Stackhouse Elite

      
Brandon Ingram has risen to #11 in the 2015 rankings.
Brandon Ingram has risen to #11 in the 2015 rankings.
 
By Eric Hampford:
Future150 East & West Analyst. Covering East & West high school basketball.
Nashville, TN (Future150) -- Take one look at Future150's updated Class of 2015 Rankings, and you'll see a few new names near the top, one of them being scoring wing Brandon Ingram.
Checking in at #11 in our update, the Kinston (NC) star has seen his star rise considerably this AAU season after improving his perimter skills and consistency.
Playing for Stackhouse Elite in the Adidas League this spring, Ingram has put up sensational numbers against quality competition. Heading into July, he has led his team to a 12-4 record during league playing, while putting up impressive statistics throughout league stops in Dallas, Indianapolis & Orlando.
The versatile wing is being courted by several of the most notable programs nationally, holding scholarship offers from the likes of Duke, Florida Louisville, North Carolina & N.C. State, while Kentucky and others are tracking him closely.
His most impressive qualities include his ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter, especially when scoring over the top of defenders, taking advantage of his 6-foot-8 height. He is one of the smoothest scorers in the class and is a calculated decision maker.
Look for him to continue to be a highly sought after recruit as AAU action heats up in July, where he could attract several more high major offers.

6th Grade "J5" McPhatter - CBC (North Carolina)

CBC Elite 2020

J5
Jordan “J5” McPhatter (NC) is not a new guard on the scene.  Jordan has been playing the game and winning at a high level since he started playing Division 1 AAU basketball .  He plays the game the way that a point guard should play, looking to get his teammates involved as well as leading on the defensive end of the court.  He has a very high IQ for the game of basketball.  Jordan’s biggest assets are his ball handling abilities and his text book stroke, shooting with ease from the NBA 3- point line. Jordan is also great at penetrating to either pass or score the ball.  His confidence and flair for the game is exciting and fun to watch. The best skill that he’s been blessed with is his leadership.  Jordan has the ability to get himself involved as well as making the players around him better. His court vision continues to improve more and more with each game he plays. He is great at finding and setting up teammates for easy looks and scores. Stay tuned for more great things to come.
VN:F [1.9.18_1163]

Sunday, June 8, 2014

10 things to know about the ESPN 25

10 things to know about the ESPN 25

 Here are 10 things to know about our updated Class of 2017 ESPN 25 player rankings:

1. Projecting freshmen: As with any freshman class, this one is loaded with potential. It will be fun to watch their development over the next three years. This class could easily be better than the 2015 class, and it has a chance to catch the outstanding 2016 class. Some of these freshmen are already making an impact on the 16-and-under and 17-and-under levels; they just need to continue to develop.
[+] EnlargeTroy Brown
Kelly Kline/Under ArmourTroy Brown Jr. is the top point guard in the Class of 2017.
2. Strength in the frontcourt: The Class of 2017 has some pretty good point guards, which already puts it ahead of the 2015 class. The point guards in 2017 are lead by 6-foot-5 Penny Hardaway-clone Troy Brown Jr. There is still only one true point in the ESPN 25 (Jalek Felton and Trevon Duval are combos), but there is plenty of depth when looking at the next 50 players. Posts and wings dominate the class at the top.

3. Early impact: It is interesting to note that none of the players in our top 25 play in their age group (15-and-under level) with their summer club teams. They all play "up" in division, either one or two age groups. That lets you know the strength of the class. These youngsters are making immediate impacts despite limited experience.

4. Breeding success: Many players in our top 25 have famous athletic bloodlines: Gary Trent Jr. (father played in the NBA), Connor McCaffery (father is Iowa basketball coach Fran McCaffery), Isaiah Stokes (brother of former Tennessee forward Jarnell), Jalek Felton (nephew of NBA guard Raymond Felton), Michael Porter (father is assistant women's coach at Missouri), Victor Bailey Jr. (father was a wide receiver in the NFL) and Tomas Murphy (Dad, Jay, played in the NBA and overseas).

5. Are true big men back?: The true center might be trying to make a comeback. Two of our top five players are true centers. DeAndre Ayton is more of a face-up player right now, but he is developing a solid back-to-the-basket game. Zach Brown projects as a back-to-the-basket player. Others who project as true low-post centers are Nick Richards, Mitchell Robinson, Kaleb Wesson, Wyatt Yess, James Banks and Brandon McCoy, just to name a few.

6. Point guard depth: There are several great prospects who just missed our top 25, including point guards Jaylen Hands and Trae Young, wing Mitchell Ballock and shooting guard Jordan Myers. This appears to be a deep class. As these talents continue to develop, there will be quite a few changes in our rankings.

7. Top prospect is foreign: The No. 1 player was not born in the United States. Ayton is originally from the Bahamas. He came to America in the seventh grade. If he can remain No. 1, he would be the only player who wasn't born in the U.S. to begin and end No. 1.

8. Super growth spurt: Porter is a super talented and skilled wing. He was already good, but he has been helped as a prospect by a tremendous change in his body. He was 6-4 last June but is now almost 6-8.

9. Positions are changing: This class is continuing the trend of skilled big men and scoring point guards. It seems that over the past few years, true low-post centers and pure point guards are disappearing. Centers are becoming more and more skilled at an early age and moving away from the basket, while point guards are becoming more playmakers and facilitators versus running-their-team-type guards. With the success of players such as Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook, look for the trend to continue.

10. Age is a factor: Over the past few years, incoming freshmen are becoming older. This class continues that trend with almost all of our entire top 25 being older than 15.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Pangos All American Kicks Off

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Each year the Pangos All-American camp serves a bridge between the spring travel ball circuit and the summer's All-Star camp circuit and live evaluation periods. On opening night, five-stars Tyler Dorsey and Isaiah Briscoe went head to head and Jacob Evans left his mark.


Tyler Dorsey dueled with Isaiah Briscoe.
Dorsey and Briscoe trade blows

Maybe the most intriguing matchup on opening night was the one between five-star guards Tyler Dorsey and Isaiah Briscoe. Headed to Arizona, Dorsey is a 6-foot-4 combo from Los Angeles who currently ranks No. 7 in the class of 2015 while Briscoe is a tough 6-foot-3 point guard from New Jersey who checks in at No. 19 nationally.

On the spring travel circuit, Briscoe made a strong case that he should be considered the best point guard in the class of 2015 and he will be moving upwards in the rankings. Early on, he took the fight right to Dorsey. Perhaps Briscoe didn't finish as well as he usually does, but he got anywhere he wanted to go and he did it anytime he wanted. Maybe most impressive early was the message Briscoe was sending defensively. A few early Dorsey drives were met by Briscoe beating him to the spot, getting his chest out using it to knock Dorsey back a few feet.

Like Briscoe, Dorsey came out aggressive. But, in the first half he lost a little bit of steam as Briscoe got off to his hot start and chatted up Dorsey and anybody else in the gym who wanted to listen. However, halftime gave Dorsey a chance to regroup and he came out and had a much better go of it in the second half. Mostly, Dorsey drove the ball and by the end of the game he had pretty much evened things out with Briscoe after Briscoe had gotten the better of him early on.

Evans announces presence

Each year, the Pangos All-American camp serves as the launching pad to national notoriety for a player or two who entered the camp relatively unknown. Based on Friday night's results, small forward Jacob Evans from Baton Rouge (La.) St. Michael is putting himself in position to be one of the players who sees his stock take off.

During Friday night's mostly wild and out of control play, Evans skill based game, basketball IQ and ability to use his body to create space and finish with either hand were impressive.

Evans does most of his damage attacking off the dribble where he can best utilize his size and he dictates the pace of things on the floor.

"I felt pretty good out there," Evans told Rivals.com. "My team, we can all push the ball and that's my type of playing style."

While Evans doesn't yet attracted a bunch of national coverage, he's getting hit hard by college coaches and that's what matters the most. Evans listed offers from Oklahoma State, South Carolina, UTEP, Houston, Richmond and Memphis. He also listed interest from LSU, West Virginia and Florida.

Currently an unranked three-star, Evans is going to be somebody to watch much more closely this weekend and during the summer with the Louisiana Dynasty. He is certainly a kid who has a good feel for his own game.

"I feel like I can get to the rack," said Evans. "Then along with my driving I can shoot pretty well. I'm working on my shooting more and want to be better with my three point jump shot.

More Friday notes

Oklahoma shooting guard Shake Milton continues to build his case for the national rankings in the class of 2015. At this point, he's a safe bet to make his way into them and it is just a matter of where he settles in. The beauty of Milton's game is in his efficiency and even in a camp setting where some wild shots are going up around him, Milton stays dedicated to taking good shots, using his quickness and making things happen. He was hot from three on Friday night and had a rock solid outing.

The No. 79 player overall in the class of 2015, Horace Spencer is one of the most athletic big men in the country. The 6-foot-8 Philly area native who attends Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep is bouncy, strong and has great quickness in the lane. He was tearing down rims and dishing out some intimidation in the lane on Friday night.


Paris Austin played well on Friday.
Another impressive big man on Friday night was Marquese Chriss. The 6-foot-9 power forward lacks strength but he is a high end athlete who has touch on his jumper. For the most part, Chriss played above the rim and beat opposing bigs from block to block with regularity. He's had a good grassroots season and is under-ranked a bit at No. 76 nationally.

During the first game of the night, the stage was set for a battle between two of the West Coast's top players in the class of 2016, point guards Lonzo Ball and Derryck Thornton. As it turned out, 2015 three-star Paris Austin outplayed both of them on Friday night. Paired with Ball, Austin showed an alpha dog mentality and took over primary ball handling duties. A sidekick of five-star Ivan Rabb at Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd, Austin isn't the tallest point guard but he is tough, strong and very fast with the ball. He attacked the lane and did a nice job of blending his offense with setting up teammates to finish with 11 points and seven assists.

On Thursday, Jeremy Hemsley committed to San Diego State and not surprisingly the four-star shooting guard played very well on Friday night. Something about getting a commitment out of the way always seems to take the edge off of things for a prospect and allows them to just play free and easy. Friday night, Hemsley focused on getting to the rim and used good first step quickness to lose defenders.

Friday night was Rivals.com's first look at 2016 small forward Micah Thomas. The slender wing from Eads (Tenn.) Briarcrest Christian is definitely one to monitor going forward because of his fluid athleticism and open floor ability. High major programs will surely be getting to know more about him this summer.

No. 39 in the class of 2016, 6-foot-7 combo forward Vance Jackson is one of the country's premier jump shooters from deep. If he gets a clean look -- particularly from the corner -- he isn't going to miss very many of his three-point attempts. Thought of as more of a wing up until now, Jackson has started to bulk up and he is an interesting option as a four man who can stretch the floor. He was one of the night's most productive players with 20 points and six rebounds.