Carter still on the board
One of the better point guard performances at the Hoop Hall Classic came from 5-foot-11 Burlington (N.J.) Life Center Academy standout Traci Carter (pictured above).
Carter played with great energy and tenacity on both ends of the floor. His defense set the tone, as he was a ball hawk and defended the ball very well. On offense, he ran his team, created shots for teammates and showed he could score.
“I’m wide open,” Carter said.
Carter said his stepfather is handling his recruiting, so he didn’t know which of the schools involved had offered him a scholarship.
“Basically if me and him feel like it’s the right fit we’ll just go with that,” Carter said.
— Evan Daniels
No Easy Decisions
Sometimes, the prospects at the top of the rankings make things easy. For instance DeAndre Ayton has asserted his dominance over the 2017 class this year. However, the same can not be said for the classes of 2015 and 2016.
|Ayton has no true rival in the sophomore class|
In the 2015 class currently Jaylen Brown holds the top spot, but Skal Labissiere and Ben Simmons are both stepping their games up. That isn't to say that Brown has fallen off at all — in fact, quite the opposite — as he has been incredibly impressive as a senior. However, now Brown, Simmons and Labissiere are all playing at such a high level that the debate is only getting more difficult instead of becoming easier.
On top of that, the trio at the top of the 2016 rankings is trying to make things impossible. Jayson Tatum has the top spot right now, and has been incredible this season, but Harry Giles and Josh Jackson are both having unreal junior seasons, and the three of them are playing at such a high level that the thought of one of them being the third best in the class really defies logic.
While it won't be easy in 2015 and 2016 to determine who is No. 1, it is good to see players raising their level of play to make the debate more fun.
— Brian Snow
Euro Step going viral
The subhead says it all. The Euro step rose to fame in America with Manu Ginobili — and then was mastered by Dwyane Wade and others — and its influence has filtered down from the NBA to the grassroots level.
And lest you think this is a get off my lawn rant, I certainly don’t intend it to be. It’s a great move for the skillful player when confronted by a defensive opponent who has taken away a higher percentage attempt.
But what has manifested at all levels of the game now is an overreliance on the Euro, and I’ve observed it more than ever this high school season. Rather than having the step in a toolkit of options as a player is driving to the basket, some guys now clearly set out to use it as a finishing move even before they start driving.
Even in the open floor, with an angle on the defender and the potential to draw an and-one by lowering a shoulder, many players choose to make a far more difficult Euro attempt at full speed.
This phenomenon has emerged in part because the Euro has become a popular move taught at various camps, but mostly it’s just proof that young athletes will emulate those at the top of the sport. It’s not all bad, either … here’s just hoping it will become just a touch less popular within the high school ranks in 2015.
— Rob Harrington
West Coast has two elite power forward prospects in 2018
It's still extremely early when it comes to evaluating the 2018 class, but two of the top prospects who have emerged this season - not just on the West Coast but nationally - are Marvin Bagley and Jordan Brown.
Both power forwards who are most comfortable in the high post but also capable of playing inside, Bagley and Brown are nice prospects today who also have a lot of upside.
Bagley, a 6-foot-10, 210-pound power forward from Tempe (Ariz.) Corona Del Sol, is a terrific athlete with a very good frame, high level body control, impressive vision and a skill set that allows him to face up or attack the rim. He's easily one of the top few prospects in the country in his class at this point.
Brown, a 6-foot-9, 180-pound power forward from Roseville (Calif.) Woodcreek, isn't quite the athlete that Bagley is and probably further down in his physical development scale, but he has pretty good footwork already, can really pass it from the high post and is capable playing facing the basket or with his back to it.
There's a long way to go with both of these kids, but Bagley and Brown have done a good job of establishing themselves as two of the west's top 2018 prospects at this stage.
— Josh Gershon
Evan Daniels, Brian Snow, Josh Gershon and Rob Harrington contributed to this report