UA Association: Vick, Johnson among standouts

ARDSLEY, N.Y. -- LaGerald Vick, who recently committed to Kansas, had a strong weekend, Jayce Johnson showed up in great shape, plus players like Billy Preston, Trevon Duval and J.J. Caldwell were standouts at Under Armour's third stop of the spring.

Kansas reels in impressive talent

At this point, it’s not clear whether LaGerald Vick will head to Kansas in 2015 or 2016, but what was abundantly clear at the Under Armour Association New York event is the 6-foot-4 guard is loaded with talent, upside and natural ability.

In Team Thad’s match up on Saturday against the Indy Hoosiers, Vick, a 6-foot-4 guard that committed to the Jayhawks last week, went for 28 points and showed off an athletic game with a scoring punch.

Vick has a long, wiry frame. He’s fast, quick off his feet and a very good leaper. He’s tough to contain in transition, a good shooting threat from three and also has quite a bit of potential on the defensive end.

Thaddeus Young, who sponsors the team, said Vick’s strengths center around his scoring.

“Definitely his shooting ability and his ability to put it on the floor,” Young said. “He’s just a natural born scorer. He has the ability to control offenses a little bit. He’s patient and knows how to go get you a bucket and set other guys up.”

Vick is currently ranked as the No. 82 player in the 2016 class and if he were to stay in that grade he would surely move up. If he opts to go to 2015, which we think is likely, he will be slotted as a four-star prospect and among the top 100 players in the class.

“He’s always been a good scorer it’s been a matter of getting him out on the circuit and letting everybody see it,” Young added. “He’s come into his own as a player and does a great job. He’s been working and he wants to learn and he’s hungry.”

Assuming Kansas ends up getting Vick for this coming season, they stole a very good one that can help them next year, late in the process.

Jayce Johnson remains high major prospect

After transferring from Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep to Santa Monica (Calif.) midway through his junior season, doubts were at an all-time high regarding 7-foot, 235-pound center Jayce Johnson.

The 2016 prospect barely got off the bench for Findlay, where he transferred to following prior stints at Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei and San Juan Capistrano (Calif.) JSerra.

While the transfers probably didn’t help Johnson’s reputation, ultimately there just weren’t too many in the basketball community who believed in him as a high major prospect.

This weekend at the UnderArmour Association New York event, Johnson’s play pretty much cemented his stock as a Top 100 player who will only receive more college attention once coaches see him again.

Johnson played this season at 235 pounds but has leaned down and added muscle. The slimmed down Johnson already had wide shoulders and long arms to go with good ability for his size.

He’s always been tough and played hard, but the improved mobility has made finishing around the basket – which he can do with both hands – easier, while he’s also improved as a rebounder and shot blocker.

According to Jayce’s father, Jay Johnson, the schools recruiting his son the hardest are Arizona State, California, Stanford, USC and Utah.

Johnson already has a good list, but look for it to only expand given the advancements in the Top 100 prospect’s game.

2015 Standouts

Thon Maker has proved himself as one of the nation’s top energy guys, regardless of class, and Sunday definitely was no different. His size, length, motor and athleticism makes him a guy who can really defend the paint and block shots, while he’s always going to be a threat around the basket as a scorer, especially in transition. Arizona State and Indiana are considered the teams to beat here.

2016 Standouts

For Josh Jackson’s extremely high standards, he wasn’t at his absolute best on Saturday afternoon, yet still showed why he’s one of the top few prospects in high school basketball, regardless of class. Jackson is an elite athlete and defender who can guard multiple positions, rebounds very well for a wing, blocks shots and can get to the basket whenever he wants. His shot wasn’t as on target as it has been lately, but he found plenty of other ways to impact the game.

J.J. Caldwell was very impressive on Sunday. He has a good frame for a point guard with long arms and handles the ball very well. Caldwell’s best attribute is his vision; he’s an outstanding passer who does a nice job constantly looking for teammates and making those around him better. He’s an improved shooter, who hit some jumpers on Sunday morning. Caldwell was an early commit to Texas A&M.

2017 Standouts

Billy Preston isn’t a new name to the circuit, but he certainly played with a new, more developed and more effective game in New York. Preston, who stands 6-foot-9, is filling out and in turn is playing more physical at times. He has a nice blend of being able to impact a game inside and out. When he is tuned in, he’s scoring in the paint and playing with energy, then stepping away from the rim for jump shots. He’s improved his scoring package, can consistently hit hook shots and is a good shooter off the catch. Up against the Carolina Wolves on Saturday, Preston scored 22 points on 8-for-13 shooting and added eight rebounds. He also hit two of three three-point attempts.

There’s been a decent about of buzz out of Florida about L.J. Figueroa, a 6-foot-5 wing prospect. Playing with the Team Breakdown 16’s, Figueroa played an aggressive style of ball and looked to attack the basket for scoring opportunities at every opportunity. He particularly favors floaters and high finishes off the glass. At his size, he has good length and is an above average athlete. He dunked on a defender in transition, went to the glass and showed good passing ability. He finished with 19 points and nine rebounds in a game Sunday morning.

There has been a ton of talk about Trevon Duval coming out of the Under Armour events all spring and it’s easy to see why. A lead guard, Duval is pushing 6-foot-3 and has a length set of arms. He’s quick, possesses a very strong handle, has good court vision and is also capable of making jump shots or slicing his way to the bucket for nifty finishes. On top of all that, he projects as a very good on the ball defender. Duval is already ranked No. 18 overall, but even that appears low for this elite point guard. Among the schools involved with Duval are Syracuse, Villanova, Seton Hall, Rutgers, Connecticut and Louisville.

This past year Brandon Sampson was a heavily pursued wing out of Baton Rouge (La.) Madison Preparatory Academy. Sampson ended up signing with LSU. Next up at Madison Prep is 6-foot-5 athletic wing Josh Anderson. Playing for his high school coach – Jeff Jones – on the Louisiana Elite 16’s team, the lengthy guard was a major standout. He’s a special athlete that made play after play in transition on Saturday. He’s finishes well through contact and is good at adjusting his shots around the basket. He played him some on the ball and is a good passer, but he’s at best when he’s slicing his way to the rim and in attack mode. Anderson currently has an offer from UAB and claims interest from Tulane, St. John’s and LSU.

Billy Preston and Terrance Ferguson get majority of the play on the MWA team, but Victor Bailey is an impressive looking guard prospect in his own right. At 6-foot-4, Bailey has a long, lean frame. He’s quick, a good athlete and the lefty can make long-range shots. Bailey plays well in transition, picks his spots to attack the rim and can defend the perimeter. Bailey should be a popular name in the Midlands region for high major schools.

Arguably the top prospect in high school basketball, DeAndre Ayton definitely lived up to his lofty reputation on Saturday. His size, length, athleticism and build are all pretty much exactly what you’re looking for out of a center. Ayton’s best attribute is his rebounding ability - he’s absolutely elite there, especially offensively – and he scores a lot of points on the offensive glass. On offense he can face up and hit jumpers or score around the basket, while he’s a strong rim protector on defense. It’s hard to pick against him when trying to evaluate the top prospect in high school basketball as of today. Ayton hasn’t been publicly discussing his recruitment.

Jemarl Baker plays some on the ball, but as of right now he’s best as a shooting guard. He has a pretty good frame with good length and his best weapon on the court is his catch and shoot three-point ability. If you give him space he hits at a high percent off the catch from three. Baker also plays hard on defense and is an unselfish player with good vision. Oklahoma State, Providence and USC have offered.

Scout Hoops Top Stories