2015: Dominic Green, SF, NW Panthers: One of the breakout performances of the summer on the West Coast belonged to Green on Wednesday night. He’s 6-foot-7 with at least a 6-foot-11 wingspan, has plenty of room to grow physically and can really stroke it off the catch and pull. He hit at least five three-pointers and multiple midrange pull-ups, while also playing hard and doing a very good job on the defensive glass. He’s a very good prospect and may not have any offers now, but that should change shortly. David Crisp, PG, NW Panthers: You always know what you’re going to get in Crisp, who was his normal big time threat from distance. Crisp just isn’t a player you want to give an inch to beyond the arc as he get good lift on the shot and hits open threes at one of the best rates in the 2015 class. He also was very good in transition, as the lefty pushed tempo and got to the basket. Justin Simon, PG, DreamVision: Playing with a new team, Simon fit right in. His 6-foot-5 height and 6-foot-11 length with strong athleticism will always stand out, but Simon played his normal unselfish game, giving up open buckets to create for teammates instead. Simon was big time in the open court, using his elite body control and athleticism to get to the basket and also dropped in a midrange jumper. He has one of the highest ceilings in the 2015 class. Chase Jeter, C, DreamVision: Jeter has developed a high level go-to move with his right hand hook shot and he had it on display on Wednesday night. He played hard, blocked shots, deflected passes on defense, scored on the offensive glass and was efficient around the rim. It was just another game in a long line of performances that tell you Jeter continues to go in the right direction as a prospect. Skal Labissiere, PF, M33M: There’s a lot to like about Labissiere and the direction he’s going as a player. He’s pushing 6-foot-11, has lengthy arms and runs the floor with purpose. He’s shines on the offensive end, as he has impressive tools at his disposal and can score the ball in a variety of ways. During his first game at Big Foot on Thursday, he made long-range jump shots, connected from mid-range, dropped in hooks and threw down misses. He was also effective as a shot blocker, as he swatted five shots. Theodore Holloway, SG, YIS-Team Speed: We’ve been waiting for new names to emerge and this is certainly one college coaches should put on their radar. At 6-foot-5, Holloway has good size on the wing. He shot the ball with confidence and connected on four of his eight three-point attempts. He made one mid-range pull-up and looked comfortable shooting it. He also had a number of finishes at the rim. He has good speed and quality athleticism. Holloway doesn’t currently have one scholarship offer. If he plays like he did on Wednesday night that will quickly change. Lamarr Kimble, PG, Team Final: Kimble was a top performer at the Nike Peach Jam and he continued that level of play on opening day at the Big Foot. Kimble led Team Final to a win over Utah Basketball Club. He handled the point guard duties well. A tough and scrappy guard, Kimble finds ways to get into the paint, doesn’t mind a little contact and sees the floor quite well. He’s a good set up man that knows how to run a team. One college coach put it best: “He’s a winner.” Juan Reyes, C, Game Elite: What stood out the most about Reyes’ game was his activity level and ability to block shots. The 6-foot-10 center used his length and was able to impact a number of the oppositions shot attempts. He has good mobility and has gained strength, which clearly has helped his confidence. He dropped in a right jump hook and had a pair of nice passes out of the post.
|Brandon Sampson keeps getting better|
Brandon Sampson, SG, Louisiana Elite: The summer has proved very kind to Sampson, who said after his game tonight that UCLA had stepped forward with a scholarship offer. Small wonder. Sampson is a very quick and athletic slasher who incorporates jump shots to 22 feet. He's comfortable pulling up for 17-footers as well, and his release is very quick. Frankly, he competes with more of an NBA style than he does college, and don't be surprised if he one day plays at that level. More than a scorer, he also demonstrated outstanding passing skills in Louisiana Elite's contest versus D.C. Premier. His primary deficiency remains loose ball handling, something he can work to improve between now and his matriculation to the college program of his choice.
Dupree McBrayer, SG, New Heights: Back in April, at the Southern Jam Fest, McBrayer impressed us as a slinky scorer who projected well for the upper mid-major level. Well, he's still slinky, but on day one McBrayer played like a genuine high-major. He continually drove past more touted Team Texas Elite guards to make buckets on the move, and the southpaw also drained several threes. He's a streaky shooter, but as he gains strength and consistently from range, he should become a multi-level threat in college. McBrayer also possesses good ball skills and some combo tendencies, but when he initiates offense he sometimes passes into turnovers and definitely is best off the ball. Given his solid quickness and length, he should develop into a capable defensive player as well.
Marquez Letcher-Ellis, WF/PF, D.C. Premiere: On the move to Montverde (Fla.) Academy for his senior season, Letcher-Ellis has been a pleasant surprise this month. He played well at the Reebok Breakout Classic and showcased clear high-major potential on day one in Vegas. He isn't a natural wing, that's the first thing to note. Offensively, he's more of a combo forward because he does a lot of his best work around the rim. That said, his quickness and overall athleticism should enable him to make the move to the wing full-time down the road. Letcher-Ellis has very long arms, which will allow him to compensate for troubling matchups on the perimeter. He projects best for a team that gets out in transition and facilitates action in the open floor.
2016: Braxton Blackwell, SF/PF, Atlanta Celtics: With Kobi Simmons at the USA Basketball trials the Celtics needed Blackwell to step up. The 6-foot-7 combo forward did that and filled a variety of roles. Blackwell even spent time on the ball. He’s a quality passer, has good ball skills and makes good decisions. He won’t wow you athletically, but will with his feel and ability to play the game. He has nice touch inside, but is also capable of making jump shots. Abdul Ado, C, Atlanta Celtics: Ado was playing with a new team, but he still impacted the game the same way he has all spring and summer and that’s with his ability to block shots. At 6-foot-8, Ado is quick off his feet, has tremendous timing and with his length is able to get to shots. He didn’t get many – if any – post touches, but because he’s such a good shot blocker he’s still able to leave an imprint on the game. Solomon Young, PF/C, DreamVision: A strong post who has a thick frame with long arms, Young always comes to play and Wednesday was no different. He battled for rebounds on both sides of the court, scored on the offensive glass, competed on defense and blocked multiple shots. He doesn’t have the highest ceiling in the class, but he does have a strong floor given his motor, physical tools and developing skill.
DeAndre Ayton, PF, Supreme Court: We presented Ayton as our No. 1 rising sophomore upon releasing rankings for the Class of 2017, and on Wednesday night that certainly did not appear to be a mistake. Ayton reminds us of a young Lamarcus Aldridge, with roughly the same body type and length to accompany a straight-up, on-his-toes running style. He also has the makings of a future face-up forward, given pretty good touch already on jump shots. His current contributions largely occur in the form of dunks and blocks, and for a precocious big man, that's fine. He's a talented passer as well, however, and though thin his frame looks fine to put on eventual muscle. And not only does he block shots, he frequently does so with his left hand. If there's one issue to address going forward, Ayton does sometimes drop passable catches, though in most respects his hand-eye coordination appears to be excellent. Ultimately, it would be difficult to argue for anyone else as No. 1 at this early stage.
Renathan Ona Embo, SG, Supreme Court: Some players, despite obvious significant scoring talent, don't seem to embrace the alpha role. To their credit in many cases, they prefer to play within the team concept and allow others to take command. Well, this aggressive scorer isn't one of those guys. Ona Embo is a quick, fast and explosive scorer who wants to punctuation the action and puncture his opponents. He fired up a lot of shots on Wednesday night and converted on many of the attempts, scoring at the rim in transition and on halfcourt drives. He also demonstrated dribble moves that suggest he could become a potent one-on-one scorer, particularly as he smooths out the rough edges of his game over time.* Evan Daniels, Josh Gershon and Rob Harrington contributed to this report.