John Lucas: 2016 & 2017 Standouts

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- On Monday I highlighted the top 2015 performers from the the John Lucas Midwest Invitational, today lets take a look at the top 2016 and 2017 standouts from the event.

Thon Maker, C – One of the many things that stick out about this 7-foot sophomore is his pure speed and mobility. He races rim to rim, moves his feet well and makes it difficult for opposing big men to keep up. Defensively he chances the game with his length, motor, timing and ability to get his hands on shots.

On the other end of the floor, he has a high skill level and he even handles the ball well enough where he can start the break. Maker has great hands and touch, plus he can score the ball in a variety of ways. This weekend he stepped out and made both mid-range jumpers and three-pointers, but also displayed a handful of moves on the block, including hooks. Maker is a special talent that impacts the game on both ends of the floor.

Mario Kegler, SF – Blessed with good size, a strong frame and lengthy arms, Kegler certainly looks the part. To go with his impressive basketball body, Kegler is a pretty good athlete that showed he could make plays attacking the rim. Although he didn't show his long-range shot, he is capable of making shots from mid-range and scores it well through contact.

Kobi Simmons, PG/SG – It's unclear what position Simmons, a 6-foot-4 guard out of Georgia, will end up playing. But what is clear is how much talent Simmons possesses. Simmons is able to play on and off the ball and does each quite effectively. Simmons has good speed, athleticism and ball skills. He has good vision and is a talented passer, but he's also quite useful as a primary scorer when he needs to be. He made plays in transition and attacked the basket with a purpose throughout camp.

Jeremy Rodriguez, PF – A native of the Dominic Republic, Rodriguez was relatively unknown heading into camp. But he already has good experience having played for the Dominican Republic U17 team this year. At this stage, Rodriguez is an undersized power forward. He stands 6-foot-6, is active in the paint and finishes well around the rim. Rodriguez ran the floor with purpose, showed good use of both hands around the rim and rebounded his area.

Derek Funderburk, PF – One of the best things about the John Lucas Midwest Invitational is getting to evaluate a host of young post players. Funderburk, a 6-foot-8 power forward, was among the post players that stood out. Although he lacks strength at this stage, Funderburk showed good hands, touch and awareness in the paint. He played hard, looked for put back opportunities and did hit a mid-range jump shot in one game I took in.

M.J. Walker, SF -- One of the better wing prospects I've come across in the 2017 class, Walker impressed at the camp with his ability to put up points. He's a true scorer that is confident in both his mid-range and long-range jumper. Walker is blessed with an impressive frame, good strength and is an all around solid athlete. He's certainly one to watch over the next couple years.

Jarred Vanderbilt, PF – Perhaps the best long term 2017 prospect I came across at camp, Vanderbilt, who stands 6-foot-8, has a bright future ahead of him. At his size, he's long, runs the floor with ease and is a pretty good athlete. He's skilled enough to grab rebounds and push the break. He also has very good hands, good touch in the paint and can stretch the floor with his mid-range jump shot.

Matt Coleman, PG/SG -- Coleman drew my eye at the Peach Jam playing on Boo Williams' 16's team this past July. In this setting, he proved to be more of a scorer. The 6-foot-1 wiry guard hunted shots from mid-range and in and despite his slender, but lengthy frame, he finished on his drives to the rim. The southpaw from Virginia also handled ball pressure well and is at the least a combination guard that can be effective playing both guard positions.

*2017 power forward D.J. Harvey looks the part. At 6-foot-8, Harvey has a lengthy frame, moves well and is a pretty good athlete. For his size he also has a good handle, nice hands and good touch in the paint.

*The camp fit Chicago (Ill.) Simeon combo forward Ben Coupet's style of play. The 2016 prospect was able to get out in transition, make plays at the rim and use his athleticism around the basket.

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