Thursday, July 24, 2014

Finals Report - 13U "ELITE METRO SHOWCASE"

Despite several nail-biters and a dozen thrillers, the Championship game of the 13U bracket left little to the imagination.  National super-power, 10th ranked GA ELITE BALLERS stormed past the Elite Playmakers 75-44, which was more of a coronation than a ball-game.

Coach Ernest Brooks team buried a three to start things off and never looked back.  Glenn Walker from Elite Playmakers helped keep his team close in the first quarter, trailing only 20-14 going to the break.  But the dam eventually burst.  Depth and prominent talent carried the Ballers to yet another summer tournament victory.
Coach Brooks's squad joins another national power, the Georgia Stars, as winners of a 7th grade bracket at the EMS in North Atlanta.  Congrats to GEB and Elite Playmakers on a great summer AAU season!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Finals Report - 12U "ELITE METRO SHOWCASE"

Alabama Bravehearts game action versus the Cherokee Spurs - 7/20/14
The Alabama Bravehearts came into the 2014 Elite Metro Showcase as decided favorites, and seemed to be in the position of an NBA 2K14 video game - name your score!  Through three pool games, and a semifinal bracket play game, there was little evidence that would change in the Championship. 
But Coach Jecory Chillous's squad was matched up against Coach Jim Davis and the Cherokee Spurs, who famously said:  "We will suit up and play, let's see what happens."
The locals put up an awe-inspiring fight, making the 6th grade final interesting until late in the 4th quarter.  Trailing 66-48, the Spurs went on a 12-0 run to close the gap to 66-60 with possession of the basketball.  After that run the gas seemed to be gone from the tank, allowing the Bravehearts to pull away in a game much closer than the final score suggests, 83-62.
Congratulations to the 2014 EMS Champions, the Alabama Bravehearts, one of the most dominant teams in the country in 6th grade.  But also to the Cherokee Spurs, who put up a worthy battle to the bitter end!
2014 EMS Champions - 6th Grade Division - the Alabama Bravehearts


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Finals Report - 11U "ELITE METRO SHOWCASE"

A hard fought effort was not enough for the hosts as national power Lakeland Stars from South Carolina outlasted North Metro Elite 57-43, to win the 11U bracket for the 2nd Annual ELITE METRO SHOWCASE.

Coach Ellis Belton talking to Stars players during the Championship Game of the 2014 Elite Metro
Showcase (7/20/14)
The Stars jumped to an early lead and never looked back.  North Metro Elite closed to within 8 twice, the last time at 47-39, but could inch no closer.  The Stars were led by #5 Jakobe Leach, #23 Jeremiah Lomax, #21 Nas Marshall, and #10 Jahilyn Shuler.  NME kept it close thanks to a herculean effort by Griffin Cherry and Kristian Ford.  All the players from both teams left it all on the floor.
2014 11U Champions - 2014 2nd Annual ELITE METRO SHOWCASE at North Paulding High School
in Dallas, GA


Monday, July 21, 2014


National power the Knoxville Lakers rolled into the north Atlanta suburbs and laid a whooping on the local talent.  The Lakers took the 2nd Annual ELITE METRO SHOWCASE with a decisive 39-12 rout of the hosts North Metro Elite.

After a brief run early brought the score to 12-5 at the start of the second quarter, the Lakers finished the half on a 12-0 and coasted the rest of the way.  North Metro Elite finished the tournament 3-2, and had two of their best offensive out-puts of the season against ATL Select.  NME finishes their season next week at the Atlanta Super Showcase July 25-27.
[Picture below of 2nd place hosts - NME]


Peach Jam: Briscoe rises up

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- The talent-laden Peach Jam event showcased more outstanding performances on Saturday. Isaiah Briscoe, Quinndary Weatherspoon and Alterique Gilbert all improved their stock in front of some of the nation's top coaches.
Briscoe comes through

Isaiah Briscoe made plays late to help his team to the win.
The quarterfinal matchup between the Playaz and the Texas Titans featured several highly rated recruits, and the game did not disappoint.
In a game that came down to the last minute of the game, the Playaz pulled out 66-59 win and advanced to the semifinals in large part due to the play of five-star guard Isaiah Briscoe. Although not one of his better shooting games from the perimeter, his physicality allowed to score around the rim just about whenever he wants. His size, strength, versatility and ability to raise the level of play of his teammates is very similar to Marcus Smart, formerly of Oklahoma State and now with the Boston Celtics.
The Playaz also received significant contributions from Shakur Juiston, a bouncy 6-foot-7 power forward. Juiston consistently reeled in tough rebounds and finished in traffic. Word amongst coaches in attendance is that his recruitment will be taking off when he returns home from the Peach Jam.
Weatherspoon on the rise
Jackson Tigers guard Quinndary Weatherspoon came into the Peach Jam as a relative unknown. He's not going to leave that way. On Saturday morning, he had several head coaches taking in his game such as Anthony Grant, Mark Fox, Mike Anderson and Cuonzo Martin.
Despite losing to Team Penny, Weatherspoon pumped in 27 points. A wiry 6-foot-4 guard, the three-star prospect has a pure stroke (he was 5-for-9 from three-point range) and a nice mid-range game. Like a lot of kids his age, Weatherspoon will need to fill out his thin frame in order to be more effective off the dribble, but he's very tough despite his lack of strength. Long term, he looks to have potential to be a combo guard at the high-major level.
At the moment, he says Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Wichita State and Murray State have offered him a scholarship. He thinks Georgia will be next. Alabama and Auburn have also been showing heavy interest.
Gilbert goes for 31

Alterique Gilbert has offers from Auburn, Florida State and others.
Although CP3 didn't advance out of their pool at the Peach Jam, they did manage to win two games in large part due to the play of point guard Alterique Gilbert.
In a Saturday morning win over CIA Bounce, the Georgia native went for a quiet 31 points, if that's even possible. In a back-and-forth game, Gilbert made all the right decisions and big plays, whether it was creating for himself or his teammates. With his team down two mid-way through the second half, Gilbert rattled off nine straight points to put some distance between CP3 and CIA Bounce and that proved to be the difference in the game.
Gilbert, ranked 93rd in the 2016 Rivals150, currently holds offers from Auburn, Cincinnati, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Memphis, Miami, Texas A&M and Wake Forest.
Saturday news and notes
Florida commit Kevaughn Allen had a huge game in a morning win over the Jackson Tigers. He tallied 29 points and connected on six of his seven three-point attempts. The 6-foot-3 guard is an explosive athlete and showed it when he came down the lane and dunked in traffic before defenders could get up to contest him.
Four-star guard Malik Beasley dropped 21 points and scored the game-winning lay-up with 0.7 seconds left for the Georgia Stars against Team United. Head coaches from Alabama, Baylor, California, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, LSU, Oregon, UConn and Wake Forest along with assistants from Auburn, Maryland and Tennessee were in attendance.
Oakland Soldiers five-star front-court duo of Stephen Zimmerman and Ivan Rabb always bring out the top coaches. John Calipari, Steve Alford, Martin and Andy Enfield along with assistants from North Carolina, Duke and Kansas were spotted.
Eyes on Davis, Harwell Basketball Recruiting

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. -- High-level 2016 big man De'Ron Davis and Malek Harwell put in some memorable performances at the Cream of the Crop Challenge on Saturday afternoon, while in the evening at the Best of the Summer, under-recruited Kyle Leufroy showed off his game.
Davis does his thing
The No. 26 player in the class of 2016, 6-foot-9 big man De'Ron Davis looks to be finding his way. At least, he has been very good during his time in Southern California with the Colorado Hawks during the second live evaluation period of July.

De'Ron Davis is generating more and more recruiting interest.
Playing at the Cream of the Crop Challenge, Davis looked comfortable with his own strengths and weaknesses.
A big, strong kid, Davis looks a bit like Johnny O'Bryant at the high school level. He is best around the rim taking his time, moving around defenders and scoring deep in the post. After establishing himself down low, Davis has the skill to face up and make some jumpers.
That kind of game at his size draws a lot of attention and there was no shortage of eyes on Davis on Saturday. Colorado coach Tad Boyle tracked him and so did assistants from Indiana, Arkansas, Purdue and Oklahoma State. They've all offered, along with Wake Forest, Arizona, Oregon and UCLA while Kansas, Duke, California and Louisville are taking a look.
"They like how I pass the ball and get teammates involved," said Davis of the college interest. "I like to get my teammates going early and then I can do my thing on offense."
In the past, Davis has sometimes settled for jumpers, but he has made a good effort to play from inside out and his game is now about patience and playing to his strengths.
"I think that I'm really patient," Davis said. "With my patience, I can feel things out in the post and make good decisions. I'm trying to be more focused on playing from inside to out."
Leufroy being under-recruited
The trip to SoCal has produced a lot of under-recruited options on the perimeter and 2015 combo guard Kyle Leufroy of Earl Watson Elite falls into that category.
The strong and confident scorer has offers from Lehigh, UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara, but frankly he should have more.
Leufroy has good strength, handles the ball well and is a dangerous shooter from deep. He can run the point, doesn't force too much and makes good decisions. It probably isn't fair to call him a late bloomer because he has been playing at a pretty high level for a while now.
However, Leufroy's recruitment hasn't quite taken off as much as one might expect. More performances like Saturday night against the Northwest Express, though, and the offers should begin to pour in.
Harwell rounding back into shape

Malek Harwell has been offered by Colorado, among other schools.
For most of the last three months, Idaho shooting guard Malek Harwell has been sidelined after having a meniscus injury surgically repaired.
Playing with the Utah Basketball Club at the Cream of the Crop, the 6-foot-3 three-star shooting guard looked like he is well on his way to recovery.
Harwell shot the ball from deep, showed some bounce in his step and effectively used the dribble to create his offense. He isn't at full strength just yet, but he didn't look to be too far away.
"This is just my second tournament back from injury," Harwell said. "I'm getting there. I'd say I'm probably at 80 percent, but I feel better every game."
So far, Harwell has been good enough to draw offers from Colorado, Boise State, San Francisco, Portland, Utah State, Lehigh, Weber State, Toledo and LMU. He has additional interest from Stanford, Harvard, California, Kansas State and Memphis with more soon to follow.
"I think they see me as a combo guard," said Harwell. "I can pass well and I can score well off the dribble. My strength is shooting."
Saturday news and notes
Make no mistake, UCLA has landed a major talent in point guard Lonzo Ball. At 6-foot-5, he has the kind of ball-handling ability, all around game and vision that evokes memories of Shaun Livingston at the same age.
At the same time, though, you can't help but watch him and think he could give even more by being a bit more aggressive off the dribble. That is pretty scary, considering he went for 17 points, 15 rebounds and 14 assists during his Big Ballers squad's win over Team Access on Saturday night. Many times, Ball whipped the ball 30-50 feet up the floor for easy assists and didn't even have to cross half court. His development over the next few years is going to be interesting to watch and there is no denying that he has big-time talent.
It has been a good run for slender four man Roman Davis at the Best of the Summer. The 6-foot-7 rising senior is at his best when he operates from either elbow and between 12 and 17 feet. He can drive the ball, is a good passer off the dribble and is best shooting medium-range jumpers. Sometimes Davis settles for deep jumpers, but the activity level he has played with bodes well for the three-star prospect's recruitment.
Let's see where JaQuori McLaughlin is once he gets some physical maturity. As it is, the 6-foot-2 point guard from Washington is an impressive looking prospect. The rising junior is very skilled off the bounce, gets into the lane and is a clever finisher and passer. Despite a lack of strength, he is a very good on the ball defender who makes his man work. That lack of strength hurts him a bit as a finisher, but there is a good reason why Lorenzo Romar of Washington was watching him closely.
A 6-foot-9, maybe even 6-foot-10, post player who can run and has fluid athleticism, Drew Eubanks isn't putting up huge numbers for the Northwest Express just yet. But, he is showing flashes of being a legitimate high-major option. Relatively new to playing hoops, he glides up and down the court, elevates quickly for dunks and has some touch to 12 feet. He just looks like a player waiting to be developed and Portland and Washington State have banked on that by dropping early offers. Now, most of the better West Coast programs have him on their radar and he's going to be evaluated closely by a lot of Pac-12, Mountain West and West Coast Conference schools.

Josh Speidel's stock continues to rise this summer.
Word out of the Adidas Unrivaled camp last weekend was that 6-foot-7 four man Josh Speidel played very well. He backed that up with Indiana Elite at the Cream of the Crop. A very good athlete who likes to drive and try to dunk on his defender, Speidel also has good skill facing the hoop. Vermont, UIC, Ohio, Evansville, Ball State, Toledo, Northeastern, New Orleans and UNCW have all offered and he has interest from Drake, Gonzaga, Northwestern and Utah. At a minimum, Speidel looks like the type of player who should be a no-brainer for most Missouri Valley, Horizon and MAC schools.
Wyoming did well to lock up three-star point guard Austin Conway early. Conway checks in at around 5-foot-9, but he has serious speed. In fact, Conway is as fast with the ball as any point guard in the country and his football background shows in his toughness. He is a bulldog defender and can take his team from defense to offense in a hurry.
The Compton Magic chose to rest many of their more well-known players on Saturday, which gave Nick Pete a good opportunity. A bouncy and swift power forward, Pete isn't going to face you up and bury jumpers consistently, but he can play above the rim and is a greyhound in the open floor.
Class of 2016 shooting guard Shembari Phillips didn't have a monster game when watched him with the Georgia Tornadoes, but his talent is evident. He has good size at around 6-foot-5, has good athleticism and seems to have a good feel for the game. Six-foot-eight power forward Davante Cooper of the Tornadoes is a 2014 kid who is going to head to prep school. If what he showed on Saturday is an indicator of what to expect, his recruiting will pick up pretty quickly. Cooper is skinny, but he is extremely mobile, quick off his feet and chases down rebounds all over the floor.
Six-foot-five wing Brandon Smith of the OC Pride is an outstanding early pickup for UC Irvine. A lefty with a great basketball frame and good athleticism, Moore is a hard playing wing who thrives in transition and attacking the rim. His jumper is very much workable and he looks like a kid with a lot of upside.
Eric Bossi is the national basketball recruiting analyst for You can click here to follow him on Twitter.

What We Learned: Battle for top spot Basketball Recruiting

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RANKINGS: Class of 2014 - 2015 - 2016
Between spending time in Atlanta at the Finals for the Under Armour Association and the Nike EYBL Finals at Peach Jam along with the Nike Elite Youth Invitational in the Augusta, Ga., area, saw a significant amount of talent during the second July recruiting period. We learned a lot from watching the top travel teams sponsored by Under Armour and Nike.

Jaylen Brown is not as versatile as Ben Simmons, but he is a more explosive scorer.
Fight for the top spot
In the most recent update of the 2015 Rivals150, small forward Ben Simmons claimed the top spot, and for good reason. It's not often that somebody at 6-foot-8 in high school possesses the versatility that Simmons does. That versatility was on full display at the Peach Jam as he averaged 18.8 points, 9.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists in Each One Teach One's six games in North Augusta. His ability to play inside and outside makes him such a tough matchup; most small forward can't match up with him in on the block and most power forwards can't stay in front of him if he goes outside. He's going to be a good one for his short stay in Baton Rouge. LSU head coach Johnny Jones was a regular at his games this weekend.
Over in Atlanta at the Under Armour Finals, two of the nation's best were doing their best to take Simmons' spot atop the rankings. Game Elite's Jaylen Brown put on a show on Thursday morning against the nation's top 2016 prospect, Josh Jackson, with head coaches from Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kansas, Kentucky and UCLA watching, In just the first half, Brown pumped in 20 points on just nine shots from the field. Brown has always been an elite athlete and a very competitive player, but his improvement on his 3-point stroke has taken his game to a new level. While not being quite as versatile as Simmons, Brown is a more explosive scorer than the LSU commit.
The other highly ranked prospect trying to make the jump to the top of the 2015 rankings was Young Legends big man Diamond Stone. At 6-foot-10, Stone's big, strong body combined an all-around skill-set make him somebody who will have NBA scouts excited in a couple years. Matched up against Atlanta Xpress four-star center Doral Moore on Wednesday night, Stone went for 29 points and reeled in 12 rebounds.
For a team to qualify for the Peach Jam, it has to go through a rigorous schedule in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League and find a way to win enough games to finish in the top five in one of the four divisions or hope they receive an at-large bid. Every team in the EYBL's roster features players who will play at the highest level of college basketball. But what they don't all have is a group of players who have great chemistry and players who will accept their role on the team.
The New Jersey Playaz won the Peach Jam on Sunday afternoon largely because of they are the ultimate team. Five-star guard Isaiah Briscoe grabs the most headlines on the team as the centerpiece for the Playaz, but he's flanked by a great supporting cast that includes Syracuse commit Moustapha Diagne, Temple Gibbs, Shakur Juiston, Elijah Cain and stud 2017 guard Trevon Duvall.

Isaiah Briscoe does it all for the Playaz.
Briscoe does is it all for the Playaz, whether it's hit a big shot, set a teammate up for an easy bucket or make a big play on the defensive end. Briscoe saved his best for last this weekend, going for 20 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists in the championship game win over Team Penny. Three-star 2016 guard Temple Gibbs is a key player in the backcourt for the Playaz and had some big games this weekend. At 6-foot-2, Gibbs has the speed and quickness to get to the rim on a consistent basis but can also burn a team from three-point range. Elijah Cain doesn't score quite as much as Gibbs and Briscoe, but his versatility and unselfishness allows the others to flourish. Trevon Duvall comes off the bench for the Playaz, but at times had to carry the scoring load if the team went into a dry spell.
Perhaps no player improved their stock this weekend more than Shakur Juiston. Despite being undersized at 6-foot-6 and roughly 200 lbs., Juiston consistently out-fought much bigger players for rebounds and scored when he needed to. In eight games at the Peach Jam, Juiston averaged 8.4 points and nine rebounds per game. His partner in crime in the post, Moustapha Diagne, also had a very good weekend, averaging 9.4 points and 8.4 rebounds.
Class of 2015 deep at SG
Taking a look at the very top of the 2015 Rivals150, you'll notice a lot of forwards and centers. But when you take a deeper look at the class as whole, the shooting guard position might be the deepest of them all. Between the Peach Jam and the Under Armour Finals, we saw many of the top shooting guards in the country. None of them disappointed.
Athletes First shooting guard Allonzo Trier led the Nike EYBL in scoring, and he picked up right where he left off over the weekend. In five games at the Peach Jam, Trier averaged a tournament high 30.8 points per game, including a 42-point outing against the Playaz. He's not an overwhelming athlete, but he's got a wide variety of moves he can use to score and a quick trigger from three-point range if a defender doesn't get up on him.
Each One Teach One shooting guard Antonio Blakeney is a hot name in the 2015 class and he recently added offers from Kentucky and North Carolina. He averaged an impressive 19.7 points per game at the Peach Jam, including a 26-point performance against Trier. A more explosive athlete than Trier, Blakeney also has strong repertoire of moves he can go to.
Malik Beasley's Georgia Stars team had a rough EYBL season, so they did not qualify for Peach Jam. They did, however, still make their way to Augusta to participate in the Nike Elite Youth Invitational and advanced to the semifinals before losing to Playground Elite. If people need any indication of where Beasley's stock is at the moment, he had a number of head coaches coming to watch him all weekend. Florida State and Georgia each took it a step further by bring the head coach and all three assistants to one of his games, the maximum allowed by the NCAA.

KeVaughn Allen had a big weekend.
Kevaughn Allen's sudden commitment following the April recruiting period surprised a lot of people, but it appears the Gators were just ahead of the curve in their evaluations. The 6-foot-3 shooting guard from Team Penny had a big weekend at the Peach Jam and was big part of them advancing to the championship. Averaging 20.9 points through eight games, Allen shot the ball pretty consistently from three-point range all weekend and showed the explosiveness to throw down some of the more impressive dunks of the weekend.
Over in Atlanta at the Under Armour Finals, The City shooting guard Donovan Mitchell had a number of head coaches following him around all weekend and he didn't disappoint. He routinely made his way into the 20's in the scoring column. Looking more confident and more athletic than in the past, he gave defenses fits all weekend trying to figure out how to slow him down.
For college coaches, it's a great year to be in need of a quality shooting guard because there are plenty to go around.
Memphis made a smart decision
Right before the second recruiting period began on Wednesday at 5 p.m., Memphis announced a hire that had been rumored for a while. Josh Pastner hired Keelon Lawson, the father of Team Penny forwards K.J. Lawson and Dedric Lawson. K.J. Lawson had already committed to Memphis, and Dedric announced on Sunday morning that he'll be making his commitment to Memphis official on Tuesday.
If the play of the two brothers in North Augusta was any indication, Pastner made the right decision to hire Keelon Lawson. K.J. Lawson, a 2015 forward, averaged an impressive 18.6 points and 8.1 rebounds per game at the Peach Jam. Dedric, currently the 8th ranked prospect in the 2016 Rivals150, averaged an equally impressive 14.6 points and 10.9 rebounds per game, including five double-doubles in just eight games.
K.J. and Dedric also have two younger brothers who have yet to play a high school game coming up through the ranks. College basketball is all about getting the players to help you win. As long as Pastner has Keelon Lawson on staff at Memphis, he's all but guaranteed to have four very talented players come through the program over the next decade.

Stars of the Future: Preston, McWilliams shine Basketball Recruiting
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RANKINGS: Class of 2014 - 2015 - 2016
NORWALK, Calif. -- For the final day of's SoCal swing for July's second evaluation period for college basketball coaches, we headed to the campus of Cerritos College for the Pangos Stars of the Future event. Designed to showcase some of the area's top rising talent from the classes of 2016, 2017 and 2018, it certainly served as a spot for rising sophomore forward Billy Preston to showcase his considerable talent.

Billy Preston sees himself as a wing in college but can play almost anywhere.
Preston has huge upside
During Thursday's coverage of the Battle of the Beach, we wrote some about 6-foot-8 combo forward Billy Preston of Redondo Beach (Calif.) Redondo Union who had been playing up for the Compton Magic's 17U elite squad. At Cerritos, though, the rising sophomore had a chance to play against his peers in a camp setting.
Preston's talent stood out, and he was easily the best prospect in attendance.
For a kid with his height and body (already a solid 220 pounds) who is just preparing for his second year of high school, Preston is already quite skilled with the ball. He can handle a bit, he can make jumpers to the three-point line and is a capable scorer in the post.
While Preston is quite talented, he doesn't always play to his strengths. He can float or look disinterested on the floor at times. But as he's getting older, he is learning the right approach.
"It's coming along for me," Preston said of his game. "I'm improving every day. Especially with my speed and my motor."
With his inside/out ability, Preston has the tools to be a very high-level player as he continues to develop. College programs have certainly taken notice as he already has offers from New Mexico State, UNLV and USC. He says that he has also heard from most of the Pac 12 . Preston also said that early on he's thinking that he might prefer to stay closer to home, and he mentioned that he's grown up a fan of both the Trojans and UCLA (which has also been in touch).
For now, Preston is looking to develop his game as much as possible and is happy playing wherever his coach tells him. Long term, he's preparing himself to play on the wing.
"I'm versatile so I can see myself at the two, three, four or five," said Preston. "At the next level, I would like to be a three."
McWilliams lights it up
Like Peston, 6-foot-4 shooting guard Johnny McWilliams has been playing up on the Compton Magic's 17U Elite squad. Playing in a situation where he could showcase his individual game, the rising junior from San Marcos (Calif.) High did his thing.
A very good defensive player with good lateral quickness, McWilliams showed that he is quite good on the offensive end as well. He was pretty much in the zone on Sunday as he hit several deep threes, got to the rim with strong and decisive drives and then outran others in transition.
McWilliams still has plenty of room to get stronger, and given that his father is a former NFL player, genetics suggest that he won't have any trouble adding weight to his currently lanky frame.

It won't be long before Johnny McWilliams has some scholarship offers.
According to McWilliams, he has yet to pick up a scholarship offer but he has started to hear from USC (where his father played his college football), Utah, Arizona State, Vanderbilt, San Diego State, California and many other west coast programs.
"I think that I shoot the ball well," McWilliams said. "I crash the boards hard and I'm a pretty good slasher on offense."
Others to keep an eye on
Because it wasn't a long event and because it was more of a pickup-game style setting, the Stars of the Future wasn't a place to form many strong opinions. However, it was a great opportunity to see many young players and to form a baseline evaluation of their games and where they can go from here. Here's a quick look at some others who caught the attention of
Playing at Chatsworth (Calif.) Sierra Canyon, guard Terrance McBride is part of a team loaded with young talent. He hasn't exactly been overlooked, but he hasn't yet earned the acclaim some of his teammates have. The 6-foot-2 rising sophomore is a smart and sound basketball player who makes good decisions. He can get to the rim, doesn't mind contact and is a good defender. McBride is certainly one to watch moving forward.
He is a sub six-footer and doesn't have much strength yet, but rising freshman Spencer Freedman is already a deadly shooter from the perimeter. His shot is a little bit of a push shot (which should be corrected with strength) but he isn't going to miss very often if he gets a clean look at the rim. On top of his shooting, Freedman has a deft feel for passing the basketball.
During the game that watched, rising sophomore Ethan Thompson struggled to convert shots from deep and finishes at the rim. A 6-foot-2 combo guard, Thompson was however able to get any kind of look he wanted and whenever he wanted to do so. Having also seen Thompson at the Best of Summer event earlier in the weekend, it is evident that he is a potential high-major talent. The younger brother of class of 2015 four-star Stephen Thompson, his father is a newly hired assistant at Oregon State.
Another player who impressed earlier in the week with his club team (Compton Magic 16U) and again at Stars of the Future was shooting guard Jordan Griffin. The 6-foot-3 rising junior at Corona (Calif.) Centennial is armed with a very nice looking jump shot and he is already adept at one and two dribble pull-ups and the transition 3-pointer.
Based on the players who surfaced during the trip to SoCal, the talent in the San Diego area looks pretty good for the 2017 class, and Claude Robinson is part of it. A 6-foot-7 power forward from San Diego (Calif.) Kearny, Robinson has a good frame, is pretty mobile and is already a very capable face-up jump shooter out to 18 feet. As he fills out and diversifies his game, the base tools to be a very good prospect are all in place.
Finally, the most highly ranked player at the event was Vance Jackson. No. 40 in the class of 2016, Jackson is a tall gunslinger who likes to let it fly from deep. While he has always been able to fill it up from beyond the 3-point line, Jackson has added the ability to create and finish through contact in traffic. His body has filled out and Jackson is learning how to use that newfound strength. Jackson's size and shooting ability are already tickets to high-major scholarship offers, but if he continues to become more versatile he will be more impactful early in college.