Last summer Vinny Pastore had one of the highest risers in the 2016 class in Wenyen Gabriel. While the 6-foot-10 Gabriel was taking off as a player, so was his Mass Rivals teammate.
2017 guard Makai Ashton-Langford established himself as a high major prospect and made his way into Scout’s top 100. Now, after a strong close to his junior season, his coach is starting to compare him to a former high school standout.
“Makai is a translatable kid,” Pastore told Scout. “That’s the thing about him. It’s all about whose translatable. He’s a lot like Jalen Adams.”
“Makai, I think he has more upside because he’s taller and I think he’s a longer,” he added. “I think Makai defends his position better, but I think they both need to work on their jump shot. Jalen is older and is a better ball player right now.”
Pastore said Ashton-Langford has a lot of upside and it starts with his defensive intensity and physical gifts at the point guard position.
“He might be the best defender in the country,” he said. “His length and lateral movement is off the charts and he can finish with the best of them at the end. He gets where he wants to go and has a burst of speed. He finishes around the rim and has a bunch of different nifty ways using the glass and spins. He can play fast.”
“I love Makai,” he added. “I would put him against any point guard because he can score on them and they are going to have a hell of a time scoring on him.”
The schools in the Northeast have targeted the 6-foot-2 guard out of Ashburnham (Mass.) Cushing Academy, according to Pastore.
“UConn is recruiting Makai really hard,” he said. “They seem to think he’s a UConn type guard.”
“I think he’s getting a lot of love in New England, because he’s a northeast kid,” he said. “Connecticut has always been to his games and Providence is recruiting the hell out of him. Going into it those are the guys that have worked the hardest.”
Ashton-Langford has taken unofficial visits to both schools, but hasn’t visited any schools outside the region.
“He’s been there, just because they are local and it’s easy to get down there and see a game and he can go down there and play,” he said. “He’s been to a Providence game recently.”
Pastore said there are a host of other schools showing interest, including the Kentucky Wildcats, who lured Gabriel to their team in the fall. He also cited interest from Villanova, Creighton, Georgia Tech, Virginia and SMU.