NY2LA Futures Camp Recap

MILWAUKEE - The NY2LA Futures Showcase featured some of the top 2017 and 2018 players in the country, while 2016 prospects such as Nolan Narain and Rapolas Ivanauskas stepped up as well.

2016 forwards dominate

While the NY2LA Sports Futures Camp was dominated by the play of the younger prospects, two class of 2016 forwards really stepped up. Both Nolan Narain and Rapolas Ivanauskas showed very well for themselves at the camp.

Ivanauskas opened up eyes over the summer with his play, and the 6-foot-8 forward did it again on Saturday. At right around 6-foot-8, Ivanauskas has great versatility and is a tough and athletic forward who finds a way to be effective in a lot of different ways. He rebounds well, is a good passer, and is a very good athlete who finishes through contact well.

Also Ivanauskas is a solid shooter, though he needs work in this area. While his shot goes in a decent amount of the time, he has a hitch in his release that causes it to be slow. Still Ivanauskas made a lot of plays, and proved that he is someone who will easily contend for top 100 status with his size and unique skill set.

Ivanauskas was good, but Narain might have had the most impressive showing of any prospect at the entire camp.

The Canadian forward who attends La Porte (Ind.) La Lumiere was a monster all camp long. He is longer than he is athletic, but he is still a pretty good athlete at 6-foot-8 and around 200 pounds.

Narain runs the floor really well, has tremendous hands, and also has good touch around the rim and out to the mid-range. Beyond that at the camp he showed a greater desire to rebound, and also finished pretty well through contact which has been a question with him in the past.

All of that combined so that Narain had an MVP performance.

Trio of 2017 prospects show major potential

Three forwards in the 2017 class really stood out at the event. Ohio native Derek Culver, Illinois product Christian Negron, and Milwaukee prospect Terrance Lewis all put on a show with their play at the event.

Culver is the one who looks like he could be really special. He passes the look test at an elite level at around 6-foot-8 and 210 pounds, and then also has good athleticism and solid skill to go with all of the physical tools. Culver is at his best scoring around the rim out to about eight feet now, but the ball skills are there, and the athleticism is around to potentially even be a big wing in the future. An injury limited him some at the end of camp, but overall there is no doubting just how much upside Culver has.

While Culver is the physical freak, it is Lewis who gets the most done right now. Only about 6-foot-5 and 170 pounds, Lewis is athletic and has a motor that never stops. No one plays harder and with more energy than Lewis, and that means he rebounds well and scores at will with sheer energy. Also Lewis has very long arms and has a ton of defensive versatility. Overall it was impressive to watch him work in this camp setting.

He is somewhat caught in-between positions right now, but Negron is just effective. At around 6-foot-6 and 195 pounds, Negron could end up being a small forward or power forward depending on how things go with his game and his body. Negron has very long arms, a good feel for the game, and the ability to play inside and out. He rebounded very well, blocked shots, played with good energy, and showed the makings of a major offensive threat with some refinement. That led to an MVP showing, and Negron proved he is one to watch out of Illinois in the 2017 class.

Next one from the Windy City?

It is tough to get too carried away with a kid who has never played in a high school basketball game, but Kezo Brown appears to be the absolute real deal. Brown is around 6-foot-1, has good length, excellent floor vision, and the ability to shoot. He has to get stronger, but that will clearly come in time.

There have been a ton of big time point guards out of the city of Chicago in the past, and Brown is obviously the next one in line. He has all the ability in the world, and should make an impact on a loaded, but young, Simeon High School squad. One could easily make the argument that Brown was the best prospect at the entire camp.

Other top performers

Devin Gage showed why high-majors are getting involved in his recruitment. He is a guard who has tremendous strength, good athleticism, and the ability to score. Gage has seen the stock go up, and he proved it is only going to get better as the year goes on. A combo guard with upside, Gage was on the breakout stars.

Juwan McCloud isn’t the most physically gifted player, but the 2016 point guard makes things happen. He is a very good shooter and shows good floor vision and the ability to run the team. McCould isn’t an elite athlete or have great size, but he is so solid that high-majors could begin to really take a look since point guards are always in demand.

His older brother drew headlines for years, but now Isaiah Coleman-Lands looks primed to earn some attention of his own. Coleman-Lands is at his best slashing to the rim, and knows how to find teammates once he gets into the paint. He is a solid athlete, and his shot is improving, and now the La Lumiere product looks primed to earn a lot of playing time.

Ishmael El-Amin also was tremendous at the camp playing point guard in the 2017 class. Yes, El-Amin is the son of the former UConn great, but no he looks nothing like his father from a body type perspective. El-Amin has long arms, is a good shooter, and has the feel for the game that coaches love. He looks like a lock high-major player going forward.

Joey St. Pierre is a true center to watch in the 2017 class. He is very reminiscent of 2014 prospect Sean O’Mara, who also hailed from Illinois. St. Pierre isn’t very athletic, but at 6-foot-8 and nearly 245 pounds he has a huge body and great hands. Also he knows how to play on the low block and shows a decent ability to change ends. He is still putting it all together, but St. Pierre definitely will have a lot of coaches checking in on him this season.

It is unlikely that Kevin Zhang gets a ton of playing time at La Lumiere this year, but the 2018 forward will be heard from before his high school career is over. A native of China, Zhang is a very skilled 6-foot-6 forward who can really shoot it from deep and has a good handle for a kid his size. He is still adjusting culturally and basketball wise, but there is no doubt Zhang will have a ton of offers before it is all said and done.

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