Notebook: Payton's Place

In our weekly Notebook feature, the national team explores creative and broad topics from the grassroots hoops realm.

Three storylines from Adidas Gauntlet

1. Pritchard better than realized – I knew Payton Pritchard (pictured, above), of West Linn (Ore.) High, was at least a borderline top-100 prospect, but watching him at the Adidas Gauntlet it now appears to me he's better than that. At 6-foot-1, he's a strong ball handler, a heady lead guard and a player who can make pull-up jump shots and three-pointers consistently. Based on the improvement I saw since the USA Basketball mini-camp last October, it's obvious Pritchard is a hard worker as well.

2. Simmons & Smith positioning themselves at top of PG list – Kobi Simmons and Dennis Smith are taking things to a new level this spring. The two guards have been dominant at times on the Adidas Gauntlet circuit. Simmons, a 6-foot-4 guard, has great size, is capable of playing on or off the ball, has good vision, is a talented passer, and can also really score. Smith, on the other hand, is a wizard with the ball, has very good speed and is elite athletically for a point guard.

3. Brown in No. 1 conversation? – It's probably too early to say Jaylen Brown is the top player in the 2015 class, but to say he's not putting himself in the conversation would be a lie. At 6-foot-6, pushing 6-7, Brown has very good size for a perimeter player. He's elite athletically, tough to stop going towards the basket, has a developing jump shot and has the potential to be a lockdown perimeter defender. Brown's upside is silly and he's primed for a massive summer on the camp circuit and with Game Elite.

— Evan Daniels

Jeter hitting his stride

One of the major storylines this spring developed this weekend when it became clear just how much 6-foot-10, 225-pound Las Vegas Bishop Gorman center — and Dreamvision star — Chase Jeter has improved.

When first laid eyes on Jeter on March 14, 2012, we wrote that he's immediately one of the top post prospects out west in 2015.

The transition from prospect to player can take months to years, and for big men it can be an especially unpredictable process.

It's not that Jeter was by any means raw before - he's been in's Top 25 for a long time now - but a big part of his ranking was a prediction of what he would be as he got stronger and kept working on his game.

In an era of holdbacks, Jeter - just 16 years old - was always given the benefit of the doubt due to his size, length, hands, athleticism, developing skill set and character.

No longer do we have to guess if Jeter will become a player at the next level - it seems pretty certain at this point - it's now just a matter of how good he's going to become.

There's every reason to believe in his future. That was the case after Chase Jeter evaluation No. 1 and it's certainly the case now.

— Josh Gershon

Diallo shows dominant potential

During the final session of the EYBL, if there was one player who absolutely showed his potential to be a dominant force it was Cheick Diallo. The Team Scan center was a beast all weekend long and turned in arguably the most impressive performance of the session when he scored 20 points and pulled in 20 rebounds in a blowout win.

Diallo realistically is going to measure around 6-foot-8, but he plays much taller than that because of his long arms and freakish athleticism.

Effort and aggression define Diallo's game

If there is one thing that always translates from level to level it is rebounding, and Diallo has been one of the best on the glass. He rebounds extremely well both in and out of his area, and has the sense for where and how the ball is going to come off the rim. He has repeatedly had huge rebounding games, and that along with his shot blocking can be game changing.

Add in that Diallo is developing on offense at a decent rate, and it is easy to see why people are throwing him in the mix for not only top-five status in the Class of 2015, but potentially an even loftier perch.

— Brian Snow

Blue-chip ranks in 2015 suddenly becoming crowded

With Caleb Swanigan reclassing from 2016 to 2015 and Thon Maker considered likely to make that same transition, the rising senior class has begun to take on a different hue. While the class continues to appear relatively weak after the top 12 or so prospects, the top of the class — with both Swanigan and Maker potentially earning their way into the top 10 — now has received a boost.

Along with that, of course, a couple of deserving players are going to get squeezed out. We won't compile new rankings for a few more weeks and don't know exactly how everything will situate entering July, but suffice it to say Swanigan and Maker (assuming he does reclass) will exert a significant impact.

Examining the situation more closely, the frontcourt — already a strength for this class — becomes even stronger. Not only have elites such as Ivan Rabb and Diamond Stone been established for years, others such as Henry Ellenson have stepped up this spring and made a case for themselves as potential prep All-Americans.

Adidas and Nike likely have mixed feelings. With only one team evening remaining for each this travel season, both circuits will lose a top player who'd been scheduled to compete in 2015. But nothing about either player's move was shocking, and both circuits appear healthy and set to reload.

From a recruiting perspective, none of the schools should have been caught too off-guard. Maker isn't even official yet, but that move has been rumored for months. Swanigan's switch didn't appear as likely as that and some new schools have become involved, but it's not like he'll need to rush into a decision. He, and the schools now recruiting him, has plenty of time.

— Rob Harrington

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