Gibbons Tournament: Talent on display
|Javonte Smart should be one of the more highly recruited 2018 guards.|
The Southern Stampede 16U team fought their way into the semifinals on Sunday morning after winning two highly competitive, tight games down the stretch on Saturday. They did so in large part due to the play of lead guard Collin Sexton, a class of 2017 prospect out of Hillgrove High School in Powder Springs, Georgia. After an up and down sophomore campaign with his high school team, Sexton seems to have hit his stride during travel season. At 6-foot-1 with arms with long arms and elite quickness, Sexton could not be stopped getting to the rim all day on Saturday. He lived at the free throw line where he rarely missed. To complement his ability to get to the rim, Sexton also possesses a deadly stroke from the perimeter and is capable of hitting shots with defenders closely contesting. While he took on more of a scoring role on Saturday, Sexton's long-term position will likely be point guard. In an afternoon win over New Orleans Elite, Sexton was constantly harassed by scrappy guards, but took great care of the ball and made very good decisions for the most part. What really stands out when watching Sexton is the confidence and swagger he plays with. He's one of those rare players that can talk a little smack with opponents and is able to feed off it. Sexton certainly looked like a high-major guard on Saturday. He says offers are already in from Ole Miss and Tulane with interest from Georgia, Virginia, Clemson, Stanford, South Alabama and others.
Big day for Ballard, Georgia Stars
The Georgia Stars 16U team is loaded with players that will play college basketball at a high level someday, but one prospect in particular stood out above the others today: three-star wing DeAndre Ballard.A 6-foot-6 wing, Ballard is wired to score and that's what he did all Saturday. In an afternoon victory over Florida Elite, Ballard went for somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 points for the Stars. He didn't score quite that many in the quarterfinal win over Juice All-Stars, but still made plays and helped the Stars cruise to an easy victory. He had the perimeter stroke rolling and made several crafty moves to finish at the rim. He's not the smoothest looking athlete around, but he always seems to find a way to score. Ballard was far from the only top performer for the Stars. Daniel Lewis, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard, also put up big numbers in the scoring column and, like Ballard, did it in a variety of ways. Chuma Okeke, who recently added an offer from Georgia to go along with a Florida State offer, is a 6-foot-8 versatile forward that you could argue is the most important player for the Stars because of his unselfishness.
|Robert Baker was recently offered by Oklahoma State.|
One to watch
Each One Teach One took a tough loss to the Southern Stampede in the 16U quarterfinals on Saturday, but Silvio De Sousa, a 6-foot-7 forward in the 2018 class, emerged as somebody to keep an eye on moving forward. A native of Angola, de Sousa just arrived in the United States a few months ago and enrolled at Montverde Academy in Florida. If Saturday night is any indication, Kevin Boyle, the head coach at Montverde, is going to enjoy coaching him over the next few years. De Sousa opened up the game with a pair of put-back dunks. He possesses the type of athleticism where his teammates can throw the ball up somewhere near the rim and trust that he'll go up and make a play on it. Going forward, de Sousa will need to continue to polish up his skill set and learn to become a more consistent player, but there is little doubt that he has the natural ability that will get college coaches excited about his long-term potential.
More Saturday night notes
Robert Baker has been receiving high-major offers almost daily for the past couple weeks, and it's not hard to see why. At 6-foot-9, he's got a pure stroke and a great feel for the game. Oklahoma State is Baker's most recent offer, but Butler, Georgia and Georgia Tech also recently entered into mix.
Javonte Smart will be one of the more highly recruited guards in the 2018 class in the Southeast. At 6-foot-4, he's very athletic and just makes plays with the ball in his hands. He's carried his Elfrid Payton Elite team into the semifinals on Sunday morning.
There aren't many kids around that shoot the ball as well as Heat Check guard Jordan Lyons. In only a few minutes of seeing him play, the 5-foot-11 guard hit a contested mid-range jumper and followed that up with two NBA-range three-pointers that looked effortless. Mid-majors will be all over him this summer.
Keon Clergeot has been a hot name at the mid-major level lately, and for good reason. The Florida Elite point guard is super quick and scrappy, but probably even more important, he's an ultra competitive kid.
2016 standout Jermaine Matthews of the River City Reign is uniquely gifted at playing with his back to the basket at such a young age. The 6-foot-8 post player isn't blessed with elite athleticism, so he uses a combination of ball fakes and great footwork to find angles to score in the paint.
Florida Elite 16U lost by a pretty big margin, but Nate Patrick was a bright spot. The 6-foot-3 guard opened the game with a pair of three-pointers and followed it up with some crafty finishes in the paint over the Georgia Stars long, athletic front-line.
Dan McDonald is a basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. You can click here to follow him on Twitter.