A crafty and creative lead guard, Trae Young dazzled with his long-range shooting, especially in a match up with Irving (Tex.) McArthur on the opening night. Young’s shot is arguably his biggest strength and he buried deep threes from well behind the stripe. Through two games he connected on 10 of his 22 three-point attempts and scored a total of 77 points. Young also showed off impressive ball handling, the ability to change speeds and utilized a go-to floater when he made his way into the painted area.
Andrew Jones was one of the biggest post-July risers in the 2016 class and based on his two performances at the Hoopfest, Jones’ rise isn’t complete. Jones scored 66 points on 22-for-40 shooting from the field in games against Norman (Okla.) North and Katy (Tex.) Cy Lakes. Matched up against Trae Young and De’Aaron Fox, Jones proved he belonged. In fact, he did much more than that. Jones is a tremendous prospect and underrated at No. 30 in the country. Jones has developed as a lead guard. He made the right reads in pick and roll, played an efficient brand of basketball, especially in his second contest, and made 7 of his 15 three-point attempts in two games. He also showed potential on defense, made impressive passes and was tough to contain in transition.
Although De'Aaron Fox didn’t shoot the ball as well as he wanted in the match up with Andrew Jones and MacArthur, Fox made shots and ramped up his defense when crunch time approached. The 6-foot-4 Kentucky signee was relentless in transition and attacking the rim in the half court. Despite his skinny frame, Fox is a good finisher at the basket and is an explosive athlete with a very quick first step. But where Fox separated himself, especially late in the game, was on the defensive end. He’s arguably the best on ball defender in the class and that showed as he made things difficult for the opposition as the game neared its end.
Heading into the event Isaac Beal was an unknown to Scout, but after playing a pair of games in the event, Beal, a 6-foot-6 lengthy and lean power forward, is firmly on our radar. He’s a tad undersized and still lacks strength, but he’s a mobile, active and plays with energy. Beal showed good touch around the basket and event stepped away from the rim and displayed good form on shot making ability from mid-range. At this stage, he’s a mid-level prospect, but there’s upside here.
One of the biggest finds of the Thanksgiving Hoopfest was senior available guard Alex Vilarino. Vilarino, of McKinney (Tex.) High, showed a good balance of distributing and scoring against Garland Lakeview. Vilarino has a quick first step and is a quality athlete. He was able to weave his way into the paint and either dish out crisp passes or drop in his go-to floater. He also pushed the ball in transition, when there were opportunities and showed he could make an open three. Vilarino has spotty interest from colleges, but is the least a mid-major prospect.
Plano (Tex.) Prestwood freshman Justin Webster stood out in both outings at the Thanksgiving Hoopfest. The 6-foot-2 guard hunted shots from long distance and he proved to be a good shooter, especially off the catch. A 2019 prospect, Webster, whose father – Jeff – played at Oklahoma, is a young prospect in Texas to keep an eye on over the next couple years.