One of the coolest stories of the 2016 class centers around Andrew Jones' rise from unranked prior to July to a McDonald's All-American.
And that status has been well earned.
Scout had the opportunity to evaluate Jones against elite lead guard prospect De'Aaron Fox and 2017 point guard standout Trae Young during his senior season.
The match up versus Fox was eye opening. While Fox's team won the game, Jones certainly announced his presence and you could argue that he had the more efficient and impressive outing between the two. But whether he outplayed him or not, what was clear was Jones had developed into an elite level recruit.
At 6-foot-4, Jones is quick, fluid and a very good athlete. He's quick off his feet and has an extra burst of speed when he gets out in transition. Over the summer, Jones was tracking more as a shooting guard or combination guard. Now we are convinced he's a lead guard. Jones, who obviously has good size for the position, was particularly impressive in our two viewings in pick and roll situations, as he made good reads and consistently made the right decision. His vision is good, as is his passing and ball handling.
Shooting wise, Jones has good shot mechanics. His shot from long distance is solid and in time he will be a very good shooter from three. He's also comfortable pulling up from mid-range or dropping in floaters.
Texas already has a dynamic backcourt with the likes of Kerwin Roach and Eric Davis already on campus, when they add Jones (and Jacob Young) to the mix they'll have one of the best contingent of guards in the country.
When it comes to James Banks it is still all about potential. Scout has had a chance to see Banks multiple times this high school season and he does a lot of good, and there are still some major areas for growth within his game.
What Banks does as well as almost anybody in the class is block shots and rebounds. He is a good athlete who has good natural timing, and that allows him to protect the rim. Banks has shown an ability to block shots both on the ball and from the weakside, and that is a rarer trait than most would know. Also when it comes to rebounding he is excellent, especially on the defensive glass.
Beyond that Banks has very good feet. This allows him to hedge and recover very well in ball screen situations, and also while you don’t want to switch him on to guards he doesn’t get totally embarrassed either.
Now where Banks still has tons of room to grow is with his understanding of the game. He is still lacking on offense, but sometimes Banks just looks like the game is moving too fast for him, and he doesn’t even seem to know where he should be on the court.
Banks is new to the game relatively speaking, so experience should help with that, but it is still a concern, and one that right now has limited him some and put him in foul trouble quite a bit throughout the season.
This is the only player we haven’t seen as a senior, but Jacob Young remains a gifted scorer. The Yates product prefers to play like his older brother, Joseph Young, but is a bit shorter and not quite as athletic. Still Young is one of the more dynamic players in the country when it comes to putting the ball in the basket.
With players like Jones, Eric Davis, Kerwin Roach, and Tevin Mack getting minutes right away won’t be easy for Young, but he will come in with a ton of confidence and he plays with big time energy.
Because of that it wouldn’t be a total shock if Young finds his way onto the court sooner than some think, but learning the difference between a good and bad shot while also paying attention on the defensive end will be key to determining that.