Metro Challenge 60 Recap

HYATTSVILLE, Md. -- Keith Stevens and his Separation Sports Management crew compiled some of the best talent in high school basketball in the D.C. and Baltimore area this past Saturday. Who were the top standouts at the Metro Challenge 60?

FULTZ SHOWS OFF

The rise has been swift for Markelle Fultz, but it doesn’t appear over yet.

After playing Junior Varsity as a sophomore, Fultz tore up the WCAC, won player of the year in the league and made his way into Scout’s 2016 top 50. And if his play at the Metro 60 on Saturday was any indication, he’s going to continue to move up the list.

A 6-foot-4 gifted athlete, Fultz was aggressive with his drives, sliced his way to the rim and finished at and above the rim consistently. While he didn’t make three-pointers his first game, he made four in his second and a handful more in his third.

Fultz’s game continues to round out. He started as a slasher, who could really score at the rim. But now he’s developed his long-range shot and is confident firing up shots from that distance. He’s also comfortable from mid-range and is quite consistent with his pull-ups as well.

The talk at the Metro 60 centered on Fultz and if he could make a push for the 2016 McDonald’s All-American game. Based on his effort, it’s certainly a possibility.

FRESHMAN IMPRESSES

One of the more promising long term prospects at the Metro 60 was 6-foot-8 freshman forward Jalen Smith.

Known as Sticks to many at the camp, Smith ran rim-to-rim, showed good bounce off the floor and impacted the game with his defense, rebounding and close range finishes at the rim.

“I like playing defense because defense wins championship,” Smith told Scout during the camp.

Smith has a thin, lanky frame and while he lacks the weight to be physical now, he has very good length, which helps him get to shot attempts. He’s also equipped with good hands, nice scoring touch and impressive form on his mid-range jump shots.

After a good first year at Baltimore (Md.) Mount St. Joseph, Smith is focused on adding weight to his frame and getting stronger.

"I think I played well,” Smith said of his freshman season. “It’s just that since I’m real skinny it’s hard to bang around with the big guys. That’s what I’m working on in the offseason. I’m just working on my upper body and my lower legs.”

Smith said his parents have handled majority of the early college interest he’s received. But did mention he took a recent unofficial visit to Maryland.

“It was good,” he said of the trip. “It was interesting because I didn’t think Maryland would be that big.”

WILSON HAS SCHOOLS TRACKING HIM

After a strong showing at the Metro 60, A.J. Wilson told Scout that he has a long list of suitors.

Wilson, a 6-foot-7 forward, claims offers from VCU, Towson, Monmouth, Rhode Island, Penn State and St. Joseph’s. He also has interest from Wake Forest, Xavier, Maryland and Oklahoma.

“ I’ve taken a visit to Penn State,” Wilson said. “I’ve taken a visit to Maryland, VCU and Wake Forest too.”

“Right now I’m just sitting back and being grateful that I’m being recruited by these schools,” Wilson added. “I don’t really have a top [school]. I’m just weighing my options.”

Although he said he doesn’t have a favorite, Wilson said VCU, Wake Forest and Xavier have made him a priority.

OTHER TOP PERFORMERS

  • Aaron Thompson, PG: A sophomore out of Fairfax (Va.) Paul VI, Thompson is a quick lead guard. It’s clear he’s been working on his game because he appears much more comfortable pulling up from mid-range and although it’s not a strength, even knocked down a catch and shoot jump from three. He has a lot of potential as an on the ball defender, likes to play fast and made good decisions when he had the ball in his hands.

  • Chris Lykes, PG: Lykes may be small at 5-foot-6, but he is an absolute blur with the ball in his hands. He races down the floor in transition and looks to push the tempo every chance he gets. Lykes is also a major threat from three-point land and he buried three after three at the Metro 60 on Saturday. To go with his speed and shooting ability, Lykes is tough and an absolute ball hawk on the defensive end of the floor.

  • Nate Watson, PF: One of the more promising young players in attendance is this 6-foot-7 power forward. Watson was tough for opposing defenders to contain in the paint and seemingly had his way around the basket. He has a nice of hands, a good feel for how to play on the block and showed he could make mid-range jump shots.

  • DeQuan Bracey, PG: Bracey is of the names that I had been told to take a strong look at heading into the event. The 5-foot-8 lead guard is quick and seemingly lived in the lane during the event. He attacked the rim, made good decisions with the ball and showed good court vision. He’s tough and competes on both ends of the floor.

  • D.J. Harvey, SF: The highest rated prospect in attendance didn’t disappoint. Harvey played his normal brand of basketball, hunting mid-range jump shots and making three-pointers off the catch. A good athlete, Harvey has a solid frame that allows him to play well through contact. He’s a terrific all around scorer.


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