Scout released its updated 2019 rankings last week and coming in at 9th was Cassius Stanley, a 6-foot-5, 190-pound versatile prospect from North Hollywood (Calif.) Harvard-Westlake.
Stanley is an elite athlete who has shown consistent improvement with his jumper, handle and vision, who projects as a player who will be able to play and defend multiple spots at the next level.
Cassius’ father, Jerome Stanley, is pleased with his son’s sophomore campaign.
“He’s grown quite a bit,” Jerome said. “His energy is higher this year. It’s been a growth thing because they have a structure but he’s learned to be successful within a structure.
“I also think the structure has reinforced what he’s always been taught which is there’s more ways to be successful on the court besides scoring. If you defend and rebound at a high level, everything else will work out for you.”
Continuing to improve as a player has always been a focus for Cassius and moving forward, Jerome has a few areas he’ll be looking for progress.
“There are three things he has to do,” he said. “One, he has to continue to improve his energy. The next thing is he has to be able to shoot the ball consistently. The third thing is he has to know what buttons to push on the court.
“You look at guys like Trevon Duval, they know that buttons to push. ‘This situation, requires this response.’ Cassius hasn’t developed that nuance yet, and I’m sure he will with time, but he hasn’t yet.”
Jerome made it clear that Cassius won’t get too involved into his recruiting process until later, but the local programs have used their edge in proximity to their advantage in recruiting the five-star prospect.
“With UCLA, Steve Alford is a really good, passionate coach and a good man for your kid to be around. It’s a beautiful school and it’s here in Los Angeles.
“USC is my alma mater. I really like Andy Enfield. He’s a really nice guy and a passionate coach with a system. It’s a growing program on the way up. You can’t go wrong with USC.”
There are a number of other programs involved in Cassius’ recruitment besides the local schools, however, and Jerome broke down what stands out about them.
Arizona: “It’s a consistently high achieving program. West Coast, Pac-12, great, passionate fan base. They have great young coach in Sean Miller. They have guys from Southern California consistently. It’s a great program; Arizona is a great program, period.”
Alabama: “Alabama has a coach with great pro experience and it’s a different region in the country with a very competitive conference. It’s a beautiful campus and you can do well playing there.”
California: “We have a lot of respect for Coach (Cuonzo) Martin. It’s Pac-12 and the Bay Area. Going to Cal Berkeley would be a dream. It’s an outstanding school for your kid to go to. You’ve got to consider it if they show interest.”
Kansas: “Kansas is a blueblood and all the bluebloods have their own category. They’re the blueblood we have heard the most from. As a result of that, you have to look at a school like that. Having a bigger basketball footprint over football has value.”
LSU: “LSU is in that same situation as Alabama. It’s a competitive conference and a great school to go to.”
Stanford: “It’s a special environment. It’s a Pac-12 school not far from home in California. It’s probably the best high academic environment he can get to play college basketball so they’ll stand out because of that.”
This isn’t a recruitment which is expected to end any time soon.
“We’re far away,” Jerome said. “I don’t think we’ll make a decision any time before his final year. We really want to see where he is as a developing young man. We are taking it year to year.”
Location could end up a factor in the recruitment, but whether or not it will be is very much in the air.
“Selfishly, I’d like to see my son every day but that’s just not the way it works,” said Jerome. “I think that’s just a decision we have to get to at his senior year.
“He could very well, come his senior year, say, ‘Dad, I’m wanting to get out of the house.’ It’s too early to know how he’ll feel.”