LAS VEGAS - Thursday was the first full day of action as Arizona prospects participated in three different events.
Josh Jackson: Thursday was a lot like Saturday in that Jackson was a bit lackadaisical early on, but turned it up when his team needed him the most. He seemed to be more motivated when Billy Preston or Terrance Ferguson was guarding him and that happened more near the end of the game.
We really can’t say enough about Jackson’s athleticism. On one play, his layup came a bit short, so he went up with one hand and dunked it home in one motion, which may have been the play of the day.
One aspect of Jackson’s game that we feel is overlooked is his passing ability. There aren’t many players his height that can find the open man like he can, especially when he has his back to the basket.
Andrew Jones: After two viewings, we feel confident in saying that Jones belongs somewhere in the top 50. His first half on Thursday was remarkable, as he scored from behind the arc, in transition, off a post move, and basically any other way he could have.
Jones is extremely fast up and down the court, but it would be meaningless if he did not have control. Instead, Jones knows how to use his speed to advantage and he never seems reckless with and without the ball. After watching him twice, he is one of our favorite players in the class.
JaQuori McLaughlin: This was our first time seeing him in quite a while and we need to see him again before we become too judgmental.
Obviously McLaughlin has skills or else he wouldn’t have offers from so many schools, but he wasn’t very good on Thursday. Instead of being aggressive, McLaughlin often tried too hard to let the game come to him, which resulted in being passive in moments when he shouldn’t have.
Toward the end of the game, he got a little more aggressive and had a few layups, but we never really got the chance to see his full arsenal on display.
Brendan Bailey: When Bailey’s shot is not falling, he tends to struggle a bit. On Wednesday, it looked like he couldn’t miss at times. On Thursday, however, he had some difficulty finding a rhythm.
He finished the game 3-10 from the field and while we have seen him get his teammates involved, he forced the issue a bit too much on Thursday. Still, he is one of the better shooters in the west for 2016.
Jaylen Hands: In yet another impressive performance, Hands finished with 14 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds to only two turnovers.
Playing without T.J. Leaf, Hands has to be more aggressive on offense and he did just that on Thursday. He showed a nice jumper off of one dribble and his ability to stop on a dime and get a shot off is extremely impressive.
Hands is at his best when he is getting into transition and forcing the opponent to defend him closely, because there are not a lot of players that can stay in front of him when he wants to get to the rim.
De'Aaron Fox: When Fox gets in the open court, it is a thing of beauty. He makes the right decision much more often than not and his speed allows him to get past any defender that tries to stop ball.
There was a sequence in Thursday’s game when his team was down and he answered by hitting two three-pointers in a row and getting a quick steal to get the Houston Hoops right back in it.
If Fox’s jumper is falling, he is nearly impossible to stop because it takes away the space a defender would normally give him.
Trevon Duval: This was our first time seeing Duval and while he struggled with his jumper a bit, we don’t really mind because he was so good at everything else.
Duval is strong to the basket and he maintains control while basically bullying the guy guarding him. In addition, he showed range out to the three-point line and poise that would make plenty of other point guards jealous.
The 2017 point guard is only going to get better and even though it was one viewing, it is obvious why he is considered to be one of the top ten players in the country.