Phenom Hoops Showcase: Big day for Bulldogs
I was impressed by…I had been planning to write about how Winston-Salem (N.C.) Quality Education small forward Deshawn Corprew was the biggest steal of the early recruiting period. Instead, I'm here to talk about how the four-star small forward who ranks No. 112 overall in 2016 has opened up his recruitment and won't be signing with Arkansas Little-Rock. Corprew is a powerful 6-foot-5 wing who is a beast attacking the rim. He was good for 26 and 10 in a win. Prior to his commitment others such as Kansas State, Florida State, Texas and more had been involved. He'll be one of the most heavily recruited senior wings in the country this year. One of the biggest early storylines of the signing period has been Mississippi State. Friday, two of its four-star signees, Mario Kegler and Eli Wright, absolutely turned it out. Ranked No. 29 overall, Kegler was the man for Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill as the burly 6-foot-7 forward made six threes and finished with 25 points and five rebounds. His performance was expected (though the three-point shooting was a bonus). On the other hand, Wright's 28-point, six-rebound, three-assist, four-steal effort for 22 Feet Academy was one where he looked to outplay his own lofty status of No. 94 in the class of 2016. A southpaw with athleticism and a terrific first step, Wright made a living attacking the rim and he was also dangerous shooting from beyond the three-point line. The least celebrated of the Bulldogs' sixth-ranked recruiting class, Wright looked like a steal on Friday.
I was surprised by…In just the second day of the game, class of 2017 point guard Michael Okauru proved to be one of the day's better performers. An athletic driver with good 6-foot-3 size, Okauru looked good in the open floor and made some confident pull-up jumpers. He mixed in a few threes and had a great night with 26 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals. Okauru said that his only offer is from Rutgers but he has visited Virginia[tm] and [tm]Xavier, and holds interest from East Carolina, Richmond and Wake Forest among others. Two-thirds of Tennessee's 2016 recruiting class took the floor during the day as three-star power forwards Grant Williams and John Fulkerson both played. They each suffered losses, but showed out for their teams. The 6-foot-6 Williams is an intense competitor around the rim who has sneaky athleticism and great hands. He had 26 points and nine rebounds for Charlotte (N.C.) Providence Country Day in its loss to Oak Hill and ended the day by signing his letter of intent with Tennessee. A 6-foot-7 lefty for Arden (N.C.) Christ School, Fulkers prefers to catch on the perimeter, turn and drive to the basket. He is very athletic off of one foot, has a good-looking shot and he will compete. He needs to get stronger but both he and Williams have intangibles, athleticism and look like guys that could develop into valuable upperclassmen.
Other thoughts …Mountain Mission wing Harold Baruti is going to make some noise this winter. A 6-foot-5 three-star small forward, Baruti is a high level athlete who slashes to the rim, has a workable jumper and plays with an extreme motor. He listed offers from SMU and UNC-Wilmington to go with interest from Florida, Georgia and Western Kentucky. He finished with 14 points and eight rebounds. Baruti's 6-foot-9 teammate Maciej Bender has been hailed as a possible three-star steal for West Virginia but he didn't have his best outing on Friday. Bender has legit Big 12 size and isn't shy on the offensive end but was just 4-for-14 from the field in a nine-point and seven-rebound effort. A sophomore to watch in the state of North Carolina is 6-foot-4 three-star shooting guard Nate Hinton from Northside Christian in Charlotte. Hinton has good wing size, is physical, has a great motor and wields a good-looking jumper. Wofford was the first to offer and he took a visit to Virginia during the summer. Hinton also mentioned College of Charleston and Appalachian State. Class of 2017 Rivals150 forward Nicolas Claxton struggled badly from the field on Friday. But, the 6-foot-8 lefty is a work in progress and it's his length, quickness and long-term potential that we need to keep an eye on. Claxton listed offers from Arizona, Georgia (where his father Charles played), Wake Forest, Baylor, Maryland, Clemson, South Carolina, USC and Florida State to go with interest from N.C. State, Texas, Tennessee and Georgetown Three-star shooting guard Marquis Godwin of the Christ School is one to watch in 2017. The native of Virginia has offers from Rice, Old Dominion, Richmond, Hofstra, Furman, Maryland Eastern Shore, Norfolk State, Howard and Hampton to go along with interest from Creighton, Virginia Tech, Temple and Clemson. Through one game of his senior season, moving Sacha Killeya-Jones to five-star status during the post-summer rankings update looks to have been the appropriate call. The thin and athletic senior lacks physicality at this time and needs to not rely quite so much on his jumper, but his shot is so pretty and he is a natural rebounder who seems to be in the right place at the right time. At around 6-foot-10 his size, skill and athleticism all translate to a high level. Finally, Alabama-bound combo forward Braxton Key was efficient and productive for Oak Hill in its win. He beat defenders to the rim in transition, made plays off the bounce and played with physicality. The four-star forward finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds while making 8-of-10 field goals.
|Harold Baruti courtesy Phenom Hoops Showcase|