Spring Classic Evaluations

Ben Carter, Zach Lavine, Xavier Johnson and Shaquille Carr were among the promising prospects in Las Vegas this past weekend...

Las Vegas, Nev.The Spring Classic in Las Vegas wasn't loaded with talent, but there were some intriguing prospects. Here's our latest evaluation on some of those prospects, along with a message to parents of prospective prospects…

Ben Carter, 6-8 PF Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman. He's been somewhat overshadowed on Gorman, playing with elite prospect Shabazz Muhammad, but Carter is an outstanding prospect in his own right. He's a deceptive athlete, with a very high skill level, great feel for the game, terrific approach, toughness…there's a lot to like with Carter. He can play inside or on the perimeter, he's an excellent (and willing) passer and he competes. He's one of the elite post prospects in the west for 2012.

Xavier Johnson, 6-6 SF Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. There was some question earlier in his career if Johnson would grow into a four, but it's looking like he's going to end up being able to defend, and therefore play, the three. He's certainly got the perimeter ball skills to stay on the wing and he's become a very good three-point shooter. When he's on balance, and squared up, he's an accurate shooter with range beyond the stripe. Johnson has retained his quickness as he's matured and he's able to get in a stance and stay with opposing wings away from the basket. He does need, though, to continue to play inside. He's had a tendency this spring to float to the perimeter and he does himself a disservice when he does so. The best thing about Johnson as a prospect is his versatility. Limiting himself to three-point shooting is going to hurt his stock with scouts and coaches.

Tyrone Wallace, 6-4 PG/SG Bakersfield (Calif.) High. For some reason, Wallace was playing off the ball with his Pump team this past weekend and it didn't help him or his team (which was knocked out of the tournament early Saturday night). Wallace is another player with terrific versatility and upside. He's long, a very good defender, excellent passer, good rebounder and adequate shooter. He's the top point guard in the west for 2012.

Darian Nelson-Henry, 6-10 C Kirkland (Wash.) Lake Washington. He looked to be a bit out of shape this weekend, and he didn't always get a lot of touches, but Nelson-Henry is a very good prospect. Good feet, good hands, very big body…this isn't a tough one. He will have multiple high major offers.

Sekou Wiggs, 6-2 PG/SG Seattle (Wash.) O'Dea. Wiggs is an athletic kid, with long arms and a good basketball body. He's adept at getting into the lane – good quickness – but needs to work on his decisions. He gets out of control at times. His shot looked just decent, but there's definitely some upside there.

Brandon Holcomb, 6-7 C Murrieta (Calif.) Vista Murrieta. Holcomb has a great body, with a terrific frame, long arms and good feet. He's not real skilled at the moment, but he plays with good energy and he moves well for a big kid. He's got a ways to go, but he has some upside.

Zach Lavine, 6-0 SG/PG Bothell (Wash.) High. Reminiscent of a young Stephen Curry, Lavine is a big-time scorer. Baby-faced, and very slender, Lavine can shoot it from deep, but also has a terrific mid-range game. He's very difficult to defend due to his quick release, ability to stop on a dime and excellent body control. He's got good quickness, but it's his body control, and ability to get on balance for his shot, that makes him so hard to guard. He showed some point guard attributes as well – good vision, good passer – but he's such a prolific scorer that he might end up playing off the ball at the next level. In any event, he's one of the elite prospects in the west for 2013.

Ikenna Iroegbu, 6-0 PG Elk Grove (Calif.) Franklin. Iroegbu had a good weekend in Las Vegas, showing off his ability to create for teammates while also knocking down a number of three-pointers. He's got good size and athleticism for his position, he's an above average passer and he has a chance to be a very good defender. His decision-making can still get better –forces things at times – but that should improve with coaching. He's one of the elite guards in the west for 2013.

Shaquille Carr, 6-0 PG Las Vegas (Nev.) Canyon Springs. Carr is a great-looking young point with length, athleticism and passing ability. He's extremely bouncy and showed a very nice feel. I didn't get a chance to see him shoot it, but he has the look of a terrific point guard prospect.

Josh Martin, 6-7 PF Seattle (Wash.) Seattle Prep. Martin is a good-looking young prospect. He's slender, and not real strong yet, but he plays with some toughness despite going against bigger/older kids. He's got a very nice package of skills, showing off a nice jump shot, as well as a low-post game. He has a solid feel for the game and he's a good passer. He's a good, not great, athlete and he's got some bounce. His versatility, especially for a young kid, is impressive.

Here's a word of advice to parents of prospective prospects that want their kids to get "exposure" in an attempt to earn a college scholarship. Make sure that the club team your kid plays with has someone that will fill out a roster with your child's information. His name, school, graduating year, uniform #, phone #, address, etc. There are far too many events now where the packet given to coaches and scouts contains zero information on entire teams. Just the team name…and a blank sheet of paper. Worse yet, when we go to the scorer's table during the game, the official game book often doesn't even have names – just the uniform numbers.

If you're going to be spending money to send your kid to Denver, Las Vegas, etc. to play in front of coaches and scouts, you might want to make sure that your club coach will spend the ten minutes it takes to fill out a roster. These events are supposed to be for evaluation purposes. But we can't evaluate your kid if we don't even know his jersey number. Here are some of the teams that didn't turn in rosters at events I attended this past month: California Supreme, CTB, Darington Dynasty Hobson, Desert Reign, Hard 2 Guard, I Can All Stars, Las Vegas Dogcatchers, Moore Management, NorCal Pharoahs, Prodigy, So Cal Pump N Run, Salt Lake Rebels, Southeast LA Elite, Southern Nevada All Stars, Team Eleate, Tru Playaz, Utah Pump N Run White, Vegas Elites.

In an attempt to help parents make an informed choice regarding club teams, I will be publishing more lists in the future of teams that fail to turn in rosters at tournaments.


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