LAS VEGAS - Thursday was the first full day of action for the Las Vegas AAU Tournaments and we were able to see the following prospects
It’s never easy playing an 8 A.M. game, so it is hard to judge Wilkes when compared to other efforts we’ve seen him in. With that being said, he played just fine and showed off his well-rounded skill set. There’s some debate as to what position Wilkes is, but we like him on the wing because of his ability to take his man off the dribble and pull up for a quick jumper. Wilkes also showed his athleticism off the bounce with quick rebounds. It wasn’t a dominating effort, but he gave enough glimpses to show why he is so highly regarded.
We’re having some difficulty evaluating Lee this week, but to be honest that’s been the case for years now. He has plenty of talent, but his skill set isn’t huge. A lot of what he does is based off of hustle and while he has a decent mid-range jumper, he often isn’t able to create it on his own. His effort level is to be applauded and he is a good rebounder and post defender, so the appeal is certainly there. Schools evaluating him likely have the same issues because coaches love how hard he plays, but wonder what his ceiling is. Thursday was a perfect example of this, as his jumper didn’t fall, but he consistently hit the glass hard, defended well, and got buckets in transition.
It’s a broken record with Trent at this point and we mean that as a compliment. He can score on three levels and is one of the better players in the class at creating his own shot. He had a step back three in the game that we saw him in and was the best player on the court. Trent often does not look like he is trying hard because of how fluid he is, but he definitely takes the game seriously. The school that gets Trent is going to add an instant impact player, especially on the offensive end.
This was our first time seeing Sexton in person and he didn’t disappoint. He came off the bench on Thursday because he doesn’t normally run with CP3, but the whole energy changed once he stepped on the court. Sexton had one sequence where the game was close and he proceeded to hit two three-pointers in a row to gain momentum and force timeout. He’s a killer and wants the big shot, finding ways to get it off. Since we know people like comparisons, Sexton reminds us a little bit of Allen Iverson because of his ability to create his own shot and the excitement that he brings to the game.
Barcello played much better on Thursday than he did in our Wednesday night viewing. He took much better shots and hit at a higher rate. In addition, he defended well and ran the point like he is capable of doing. As long as Barcello can be smart with his shot-taking like he was on Thursday, he will be an effective point guard in college.
Norris is one of our favorite players in the 2018 class and he showed why on Thursday. We counted at least four dunks with half of them coming off legitimate moves and the other two in transition. It’s also impressive that he seems to be playing harder against the older competition and it is because his guards are getting him the ball and the opposition is pushing him more than the 16u circuit he has been on. Norris is only going to get better and we can’t see Arizona letting up on his recruitment.
Jones is everything you want in a point guard. He finished with 14 points, 5 rebounds, and four assists while forcing numerous turnovers. His decision-making is fantastic, as he knows exactly when to look for his own shot as compared to setting up a teammate. When you think of a Sean Miller point guard, Jones is one of the first players that should come to mind.
Thursday was a struggle for O’Neal, but we don’t read too much into it because we have seen him play better. His shot wasn’t falling, though he has a few nice players late in the second half. O’Neal is better than he showed on Thursday and even though he struggled, it says a lot about him that he continued to play hard and didn’t get too down on himself.
After playing with the older team on Wednesday, Jones moved back to the 16 group and, like O’Neal, struggled. He did hit a three late and showed off his athleticism on the glass, but his shot wasn’t there. Like others, it’s not a big concern because we know that he is better than he showed on Thursday.
Williams’ shot wasn’t falling, but it doesn’t matter. He was in attack mode the entire game and if his shot was even average on Thursday, he would have easily dropped 20. He is definitely a better shooter than he showed and was consistently able to create his own shot. Williams it the type of point guard that fans love and coaches want to have on their team because while he is always attacking, it’s in control and he knows when to give it off to a teammate as well. Williams had numerous lobs that were right on point and we still consider him one of the best point guards in the class.
Cherry’s Oakland Soldiers squad won by over 30 points and he took somewhat of a backseat for the majority of the game. He hit a few jumpers early, but when the Soldiers got up big, Cherry chose to get his teammates involved while defending and hitting the glass. He is one of the more versatile forwards in the class and showed the ability to score both in the paint and behind the three-point line.