Class of 2016
There might not have been a more impressive player all weekend than De'Aaron Fox. Fox is still a natural shooting guard, but he is getting better on the ball as a floor general as well. His speed with the basketball is second to none in the country, and he showed all the reasons why schools such as Texas, Kansas, Arizona, Baylor, Texas A&M, and others are showing him significant interest. Fox scored going to the rim, hit from deep, and then finished well above the rim as well. Add in more of a commitment on defense, and it was impressive to see what he was doing on the court.
It was a good weekend for V.J. King who looked as explosive athletically and aggressive offensively as ever before. King, who recently visited Louisville and has a trip set with Connecticut, was an offensive machine who as usual scored with his jumper, but also did more work inside even in post-up situations. If King continues with this type of aggressive attitude on offense, his game will only continue to get better.
Tyrique Jones was an absolute monster for Expressions all weekend long. Though Expressions was shorthanded, Jones did everything he could for his team. He is slightly undersized at about 6-foot-7, but that doesn’t stop him from making plays. Jones has good explosion, blocks shots, rebounds, and has some solid footwork as well. Schools from the Big East, American, and ACC have been making him a priority for a little while now, and it is easy to see why.
Shamorie Ponds is someone who has really emerged this spring, and he continued to put up impressive numbers over the weekend. He isn’t really a true point guard, and isn’t as big as you would want in a wing, but Ponds just knows how to get buckets. He is at his best creating space for himself for a jumper. Ponds has significant interest from Minnesota, St. John’s, DePaul, Oklahoma, South Florida, and others. With a premium now on being able to score, Ponds is someone who should only see more offers come his way.
One of the major breakout stars all spring has been Kevin Huerter, and despite arriving late this weekend he made his presence felt in a big way. Huerter is someone who can really shoot the basketball, and then also has game off the dribble and solid athleticism. With long arms and the ability to move his feet, Huerter is versatile on defense, and then on offense he can play almost any perimeter position. His shot making and versatility make him one of the more interesting prospects to monitor as it heads into the summer.
It was a good weekend for Howard Washington who showed a tremendous ability to use ball screens and make the right play. Also Washington shot the ball fairly well, and looked the part of a high-major guard. Schools like Wake Forest, Butler, and Xavier are all turning up the heat on Washington who looks like he could play either guard spot going forward. He does struggle at times with pressure, but his feel for the game and passing were absolutely tremendous all weekend long.
There aren’t many more physical and tough wings in the country than Bruce Brown. Brown was impressive over the weekend with his ability to get into the lane and make plays. A gifted scorer, Brown never backs down and seems to always bring a high-motor style of play. With a visit to St. John’s and Arizona being planned, it is clear that schools are taking a liking to Brown, and he did nothing to hurt his stock with his impressive showing this weekend.
The one major knock on Tony Carr last year at this time was his inability to hit the outside jumper consistently. Well that has clearly changed. Carr was an excellent shooter all weekend long, and with his size, athleticism, and ability to play either guard spot it makes him such a tough matchup. Schools from all over the country have come in since the high school season to make Carr a priority, and with his play this weekend one would think that list will get longer before it gets shorter.
There is only so much you can say about Jayson Tatum. He is one of the truly elite talents in the country and with a list of St. Louis, Duke, Kentucky, and North Carolina it is easy to understand why the elite of the elites are beating down his door. Tatum was a dominant force as his team really looked to be clicking over the weekend. Tatum didn’t shoot it great from deep, but in the mid-range he was tremendous, and then he also rebounded well and showed solid passing ability.
Despite battling what appeared to be an ankle injury, Marques Bolden still found a way to have stretches of complete dominance. The 6-foot-10 Bolden is more refined as a low post player than he was a year ago, and is beginning to get that consistent high level motor that will make him nearly impossible to defend. Schools such as Kansas, Texas, Kentucky, and Louisville are all involved with Bolden who keeps asserting himself as one of the truly elite low post players in the class, and someone who should see his already lofty ranking rise.
There has never been any doubt about the athleticism, toughness, and competitiveness of Miles Bridges, and now he is adding more skill into the mix. His catch and shoot jumper looked better, but now he is also making some plays off the bounce for others with passes. Add in that he is an excellent rebounder. With schools like Kentucky, Louisville, Iowa State, Michigan, and Michigan State showing major interest, Bridges continues to add to his game, and has seemingly made himself into a full time wing.
He doesn’t blow you away with his physical size or elite athleticism, but Xavier Simpson continued to impress this spring with his play this weekend. Simpson capped things off with a very impressive comeback win that he finished in style by converted an and one to finish undefeated on the weekend. Xavier, Purdue, Illinois, Iowa, and Iowa State continue to be heavily involved with Simpson who intends to make some visits during the summer before coming to a decision. As a pure point guard who has tremendous feel for the game and is improving as a shooter, Simpson no doubt will continue to be a valuable commodity on the recruiting trail.
This is a very intriguing long term prospect. Right now Tauren Thompson is a bit inconsistent and lacks physical strength, but he has long arms, has a nice touch into the mid-range, and shows pretty good hands as well. There is no doubt that Thompson is a work in progress, but there is also a reason schools like Oklahoma and Xavier have joined local schools such as Rutgers, Seton Hall, and Temple as offers for Thompson. His shot blocking potential is enormous, and as he continues to get more experience and confidence he is definitely going to be one to watch.
The Georgia Stars frontline gets most of the attention, but Brandon Robinson is someone who also shows elite potential on the wing. He has high level athleticism, is a good shooter, and also is capable of scoring going to the rim. He continues to get more confident in his ability, and as he gets stronger he should be excellent on defense as well. The new staff at Florida has made him a priority recruit to go along with Georgia, Georgia Tech, Stanford, and a host of others. With this weekend, heading into June and July, Robinson is definitely going to be one to watch.
Class of 2017
There is absolutely no question about John Petty and his ability to score. As usual he was getting buckets at an extremely high level. Petty is someone who can score in a hurry, and do it in a variety of ways. Now his shot selection has to improve, but he has the length and athleticism to get his shot off over anybody, and he has a quick release as well. Not surprisingly Auburn, Alabama, LSU, Kentucky, and others have major interest in Petty who is going to be one of the best pure scorers in the this class.
When it comes to Michael Porter there just isn’t much to say that hasn’t already been talked about. He is the total package as a wing and one of the absolute best prospects in all of high school basketball. He gets tremendous lift on his jumper, which is almost always pure, and just finds a way to get the ball to the rim. Add in that he now is getting better rebounding and attacking the rim, and Porter is becoming one of the most dangerous players in all of high school to try and guard. It is very easy to see why Missouri, Kansas, Duke, Illinois and numerous others are already making him a top priority.
Really the only thing that slowed Jeremiah Tilmon down this weekend was foul trouble. The 6-foot-10 center was a dominant force when on the court. He combines good length with excellent athleticism and improving skill to be a major force around the bucket. Always a dominant defender, Tilmon now is becoming reliable on the offensive end, and that is allowing him to begin to capitalize on his potential. With offers from schools like Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois, Tilmon is definitely one who will be the subject of an intense recruitment.
Running with Team Final and playing up doesn’t allow Lonnie Walker to be the go-to guy that many prospects in his class are, but there is no doubt this is one of the best wings in the country. Walker combines nice athleticism with good length and an excellent skill set. He hit big threes, and clutch ones at that, and then also got to the rim and made plays. Defensively he is very versatile already, and that should only improve with strength and experience. It is easy to see why Ohio State, Indiana, Syracuse, Villanova, and others are very interested in Walker.
Troy Brown is a big guard with high level athleticism, the ability to score, and good floor vision. If there is one negative about Brown’s game it is that he tries to hit the homerun too often and doesn’t make the simple play. Still the talent level he possesses is simply incredible. Brown all weekend was impossible to stop in one-on-one situations, and made key buckets for his team. With offers from Arizona, UNLV, Kansas, Duke, and Louisville it is easy to see why he is one of the truly elite players in this class.
Markus Howard is someone who just flat out can shoot the basketball. Howard had it going all weekend making shots from deep, scoring off the bounce, and then also doing a decent job of getting to the rim. Now he didn’t show much of a feel to be a point guard, and he is a bit short for a shooting guard, but he is the type of kid who just changes the game with his ability to score. A recent de-commiment from Arizona State, Howard is someone who should continue to attract a ton of attention.