USA 16u: Friday Top Performers

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - There were several impressive performances at the USA Basketball 16u trials on Friday. Scout broke down the 10 top performers in attendance.

2017 Standouts

Markus Howard has to be considered one of the top stock risers of the weekend. His scoring has been one side of it, and it’s been very impressive, but he’s been one of the camp’s most committed defenders and has given a lot of the opposing point guards fits. That said, Howard’s offensive ability is always going to be what he hangs his hat on and he’s a big time scorer who can also distribute. Howard holds offers from Arizona State, Indiana, Memphis, Northern Arizona, Texas Tech and UNLV.

There is a long list of reasons to like what kind of player Jaylen Hands is today and maybe a bigger list to believe in what he’s going to be in the future. Good size, long arms, elite body control, ability to create his own shot, vision to make others better and a very good frame for the position with plenty of room for added muscle all make him an elite prospect. He’s had some very bright moments this weekend. Hands is being recruited the hardest by Arizona, California, Louisville, San Diego State, Stanford and UCLA.

Daejon Davis has solidified himself as one of the most versatile guards in 2017. He’s a SG but his feel for the game/basketball IQ for the position is elite and he’s also a kid who can score and defend multiple positions. Davis plays with a nonstop motor and is always doing something to help his team win. He’s a very good prospect. Davis’ lone offer is from Washington.

Easily one of the top scorers in the 2017 class, Jaylen Nowell is an elite scorer from midrange and in. His midrange pull-up jumper is his go-to move, but he also has a lot of success taking defenders off the dribble and getting to the basket. If his long range shot and defense come around, watch out. Nowell holds offers from Washington and Seattle.

Gary Trent has been one of the nation’s top stock risers, regardless of class, over the last month and the way he has played at USA Basketball has only helped his cause. He’s a strong wing who can really shoot it but also possesses a high basketball IQ and always plays hard. He’s a tough kid who is willing to play inside or out. Trent has offers from Michigan State, Ohio State, Minnesota, Providence and Texas Tech.

There are several ways that Jarred Vanderbilt helps his team win and many are unique for the four spot. He’s going to be a serious weapon from the high post in college, as his vision will make him a threat to find cutters, while he can also take defenders off the dribble. He competes on the glass, guards multiple positions and doesn’t take a play off. Vanderbilt holds offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Baylor, Kansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas A&M.

Watching Wendell Carter at the USA event in the fall, it was clear he was one of the more promising prospects in 2017 but he’s made a major jump forward since then. Carter has the size, length and athleticism you want out of a center and his been a very good rim protector at this event; he had multiple two-handed volleyball spike blocks on Friday evening. Carter has also finished very well on offense and scored with both hands. Carter has been offered by Duke, Florida State, Ole Miss, Georgia Tech, Auburn, Mississippi State and Texas A&M.

2018 Standouts

Heading into this event, Tre Jones was known as the little brother of Duke title winner Tyus Jones and not much else He’ll exit as one of the top point guard prospects in 2018. He has a high basketball IQ, strong skill level and the ball skills and shiftiness to give defenders problems off the dribble. His body will allow for plenty of added muscle and there’s every reason to believe in his future. Tre Jones has been offered by Texas Tech and has interest from Marquette and Minnesota.

With his play over the last month at EYBL and USA, JaVonte Smart has solidified his standing as one of 2018’s top prospects. 6-foot-4 point guards with his frame and vision don’t grow on trees, while Smart’s size, athleticism and maybe underrated shooting ability will allow him to play off the ball at times too. He’s a terrific prospect. Baylor, Wake Forest and UMass have offered Smart.

Arguably one of the top few performers in attendance, Jordan Brown is way better than he should be given the fact that he is still several years away from being at a level of strength he’ll be completely comfortable with. He can face you up, take you inside, rebounds, passes and plays hard. His development from the fall USA camp to this one has been extreme. Nevada is Brown’s lone offer.


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