Hoop Hall: Star shines on final day

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- The stars shined on the final day of the Hoop Hall Classic. Top five players Jaylen Brown, Ben Simmons and Ivan Rabb all lived up to their lofty expectations.

BROWN LIVES UP TO EXPECTATIONS

Every time the nation’s top prospect steps on the floor, he’s expected to perform, but even more so on a big stage.

Jaylen Brown, Scout’s top prospect in the 2015 class, did just that at the Hoop Hall Classic on Monday, pumping in 31 points on 13-for-22 shooting and reeling in 12 rebounds.

At times, Brown was dominant. The 6-foot-7 wing was aggressive off the dribble and looked to attack every time he got the ball. He did hit a three-pointer and one mid-range pull-up, but majority of his points came off strong adjusting finishes at the rim, dunks in transition or offensive put backs.

Brown is gifted physically, has terrific size for his position and is one of the better athletes in the entire class. Match his leaping ability with his strength and ability to play physical and he’s tough to stop at the rim.

The energy Brown played with was also particularly impressive. With a big crowd on hand and plenty of fans watching on national television, Brown more than lived up to the lofty expectations.

On the recruiting front, Brown is currently considering Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina and UCLA.

Brown was scheduled to take his final official visit to Michigan this coming weekend. But following the game, Brown’s mother – Mechalle Brown – informed Scout that they had to reschedule the visit and they are looking at the weekend of February 21st for the new date.

RABB TURNS IT UP

Ivan Rabb had a quiet start to Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O’Dowd’s game against Wheeler, but he certainly had a loud finish.

In the first half, Rabb struggled to get post touches and had just three field goals and eight points. But the second half was a different story. Bishop O’Dowd clearly looked for him more and Rabb took advantages of his touches.

When it was said and done Rabb put together arguably the best performance I’ve seen from him, scoring 24 points on 11-for-15 shooting, grabbing 12 rebounds and swatting five shots.

On the block, Rabb was efficient. He scored over both shoulders and his tremendous touch around the basket was on display throughout. He also did a good job adjusting his shots and playing through contact in the paint. Rabb connected on an 18-footer, faced up and attacked from the high post and also got his hands on a handful of shots.

On the recruiting front, Rabb has taken visits to Arizona, Kansas and Kentucky. He was scheduled to go to UCLA at the end of the month, but has decided to reschedule that for after the season.

“From here I just want to take my next three visits and get this out the way,” Rabb said. “This is a long process, but I want to try and visit every school before I make my decision and a smart decision.”

SIMMONS GETS IT DONE

Much like the other top tier players on Monday, Ben Simmons, Scout’s No. 2 player in the 2015 class, had a strong showing against Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman.

The 6-foot-8, possibly 6-9 combination forward, was aggressive and effective off the dribble. As he always is, Simmons was in attack mode. Simmons is tough to stop when he gets to the rim because of his strength, athleticism and terrific touch around the basket.

Every field goal Simmons made on Monday was scored in the paint off adjusting finishes, dunks or put backs. He has terrific hands, handles the ball well for a player his size and competed on both ends of the floor.

Simmons, Scout’s No. 2 player in the 2015 class, finished with a game high 36 points.

OTHER TOP PERFORMERS

  • Taurean Thompson, PF, St. Anthony – His numbers weren’t gaudy (eight points & five rebounds), but it was easy to see there’s a lot of upside wrapped in Thompson’s 6-foot-8 lengthy frame. Thompson is mobile and runs the floor well. He doesn’t have the strength to be overly physical, but he did play hard in spurts. Thompson contested shots, showed good athleticism and had a nice finish with his right hand off a face up. Thompson played just three games during his sophomore season, so he’s a bit of an unknown nationally, but I can’t imagine that lasts long.

  • Cameron Jordan, SF, Wheeler – The second scoring option for Wheeler was this 6-foot-5 lengthy wing. Jordan is an impressive athlete that likes to get out in transition and make plays at the rim. Jordan also connected on a pair of three-pointers. He’s active on the defensive end and because of his long arms, lateral quickness and athleticism he can impact things on that end.

  • Dwayne Bacon, SG, Oak Hill – Bacon has had a strong senior season and it’s evident that the discipline and structure at Oak Hill has helped his game. He’s one of the premier scorers in the 2015 class and while he didn’t shoot it great from the field, Bacon dropped 33 points and helped Oak Hill escape with a win of St. Joseph-Villa Angela. Bacon, a 6-foot-5 strongly built wing, has the ability to create space and scoring opportunities for himself. He’s a good perimeter shooter, but also one that can make shots on the move and off the dribble from mid-range.

  • Jayson Tatum, Chaminade – Tatum got off to a slow start, but he was able to get it going when Chaminade needed him the most. The top player in the 2016 class went for 25 points and showed off his smooth shooting stroke in the process. Tatum is extremely comfortable pulling up for mid-range jumps and is very effective from the mid-post. For a player his age, Tatum’s footwork and ball skills are advance. He raised the release point in his shot during the off season and it appears to have helped his shooting consistency from both mid-range and three.

  • Charles O’Bannon, SF, Bishop Gorman – This was somewhat of a coming out party of sorts for O’Bannon, a 6-foot-5 wing. Although he’s currently ranked No. 50 overall in Scout’s 2017 rankings, this was the first time O’Bannon displayed his talents on a big stage. O’Bannon was the top performer for Bishop Gorman against Montverde, as he pumped in three three-pointers on five attempts, showed his athleticism in transition and played a fearless brand of basketball. With his size, length, athleticism and shot making ability, there’s a lot to like about his long term potential.

    IN THE STANDS

    Among the head coaches spotted on Monday were John Calipari, Buzz Williams, Kevin Ollie, Paul Hewitt and Tommy Amaker.

    The assistant coaches that stopped by Springfield College for the Hoop Hall Classic on Monday were Wichita State, Georgia Tech, UCLA, California, Holy Cross, Boston College, Brown, American, Manhattan, UMass, Iowa and Northwestern.


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