Who was the most underrated player over the course of July? Nearly 90 college coaches weighed in on the topic and Wenyen Gabriel, Charlie Moore and Andrew Jones sat at the top of the list.
When it comes to basketball recruiting, July is the most important month for college coaches.
The month consists of three five-day evaluation periods, where coaches span the country -- and in some cases the globe -- to evaluate current recruits, find new ones and follow their pledges game to game.
The final evaluation period ended on July 26th -- and just as I did last year --
I polled more than 100 college coaches on four topics.
The first of this three part series was published on Monday and focused who was the top player and best pro prospect
. The second part of the series focuses on who the college coaches voted as the most underrated player in July.
102 college coaches were surveyed, but 15 opted out of this question because they don't want to draw more attention to the underrated player they are recruiting.
College coaches have voted Wenyen Gabriel, of Mass Rivals, as the most underrated player of July. While the voting wasn't nearly as conclusive as the voting for best player and best pro prospect, Gabriel still led the way reeling in eight of the possible 87 votes.
This was by far the most spread out and wide-ranging category in the survey, as 50 different prospects picked up votes. Compare that to the best player voting, where 19 recruits received votes, and the best pro prospect voting, where just 16 recruits received votes.
Gabriel, a senior-to-be at Wilbraham (Mass.) Wilbraham & Monson Academy, was just 6-foot-8 in the spring of 2014. He’s now grown to 6-10. After a good spring, Gabriel began his significant rise at the adidas Uprising event in Atlanta during the first July evaluation period.
By the end of the event and at the start of the second evaluation period, Gabriel became the talk of the circuit and that has continued through adidas Nations, which ended on Monday.
“His motor and versatility really stick out when you watch him play, he has the ability to play multiple positions and can really pose problems for other teams due to his size and skill,” one college coach said about Gabriel.
“Reminds me of Al-Farouq Amino as high school player,” another high-major coach said. “He’s developing wing skills, can make stand still three’s, is comfortable in pick and pop situations, need to continue to sharpen his handle and play lower as a perimeter driver,” another high-major coach said.
“He’s an underrated weak side shot blocker and his unique length allows him to defensive rebound the ball at a high clip,” the same coach added. “Obviously needs to add strength, but has a thirst to improve and demonstrates a tremendous worth ethic, which signals to me that his best basketball is in front of him as he matures physically.”
Vinny Pastore, who runs the Mass Rivals organization, has seen the improvement every step of the way and raves about the energy he brings to the court.
“His combination of size, length, and skill make him a high level prospect,” Pastore told Scout. “When you add his non-stop motor to the equation, he becomes unique. He’s become a double-double machine that protects the rim and is guaranteed to draw a charge during the course of a basketball game.”
Gabriel will make a big move in Scout’s 2016 rankings when they are updated in mid-August.
Charlie Moore, Andrew Jones round out top three
Gabriel was followed by Mac Irvin Fire guard Charlie Moore, who picked up six votes. Texas Pro guard Andrew Jones rounded out the top three with five total votes. Eli Wright
, five-star guard Markelle Fultz
, Tremont Waters and Tyson Carter tied for fourth with four votes each.
Of those six players, just Fultz, a five-star prospect, and Waters, who checks in at No. 47 in the 2017 class, are the only ones currently ranked.
|Charlie Moore gets second most votes in underrated voting
Moore, a 5-foot-11 guard, built on a strong spring and had a tremendous July, playing well at the Peach Jam, where he averaged 17.2 points and five assists a game, while shooting 40-percent from three.
His summer ended in Las Vegas, where he was up to similar tricks. Moore is quick, changes speeds well, has a high IQ and has a strong, crafty handle. Moore finds ways into the paint and once he’s there he’s able to drop in floaters or find teammates. Moore is also a major threat from behind the arc, as he’s a consistent shooter with deep range.
“He's always in attack-mode,” a high-major assistant said. “He just puts so much pressure on the defense. If you blink he's at the rim. He's the kind of kid that wants to tear your heart out. He's got that Chicago toughness. Watch him play. The kid is always talking, in a good way. He's exactly whom I would want as my floor general.”
Jones was intriguing in the spring, but his play in July was terrific. It started at Peach Jam, but he didn’t slow down at the Great American Shootout or in Las Vegas. Among the new offers he picked up in July where Arizona
, Texas, Louisville
, Texas A&M
joining the likes of Baylor
“I didn’t see that coming,” a high-major assistant coach told Scout. “As you watch him he’s very productive and efficient.
“You can sense Andrews love for the game when you watch him and how he gets better every time he steps on floor,” another high major coach added. “He has great intangibles to go along with a very good skill set and ability to shoot the ball.”
The poll results match up with my personal opinion, regarding who were the most underrated prospects coming out of July. My top four in order would have been Wenyen Gabriel, Andrew Jones, Charlie Moore and Tyson Carter. All four are set to rise into Scout’s 2016 top 100. Gabriel impressed with his energy, but also is length, athleticism and skill. Jones has fast twitch muscles, tremendous speed and excels in the open court because of his athleticism. Moore’s feel for the game, passing ability, plus shooting from distance particularly stood out to me. Last but not least, while Carter is rail thin, he’s skilled, a quality passer and appears to be a very good long-range threat. All four improved their stock considerably in July.