The goal tonight belonged with quantity over quality, which counters my typical style. Nevertheless, I did sit down for extended viewings of a few prospects and developed a solid early feel for their talents and styles.
Note: All teams listed in this report compete in the 16-under division.
Omari Spellman, PF, Team Scan — My choice as player of the night, Spellman was dominant for Scan in their opening contest. He's a big kid, likely in the neighborhood of 6-8, 235, but he boasts outstanding reflexes and agility. It's uncommon for any player with Spellman's body type to move so well, and it's downright rare for one to do so as an underclassman. He scores effectively inside with power and quickness, appears to have good touch off the glass. Spellman's offers are beginning to flow and don't expect the pace to abate anytime soon.
Skylar Mays, PG, Nike Team Louisiana — This early LSU commitment continues to grow (is now a legitimate 6-3) and projects as a tall, skilled floor general for the Tigers. Mays has the look of a pick and roll specialist: He turns hard off screens, has a solid frame himself to knock defenders off-balance and is an outstanding passer to teammates cutting straight to the rim. Even if there's no natural passing angle, Mays gently bounces the ball off the floor just ahead of his feet to lead a screener for a layup. That talent could take him far, and now hopefully he'll gain some quickness and explosiveness over the next couple years. He didn't attempt any jumpers while I observed.
Howard Washington, PG, Albany City Rocks — Washington is no stranger to our radar, and his effective game management and basketball IQ rank very highly for a rising junior. He's an excellent passer who sees the entire court and understands how to hit teammates in their sweet spots, while also maintaining interior/perimeter offensive balance. Plenty of college point guards lack Washington's savvy. He also buried a pair of wing three-pointers while I watched, including one for a four-point attempt. He's too polished not to go high-major the question now being whether he can become a touch quicker and enhance his status that much more.
Khadim Guese, C, Nike Team Florida — This very raw, yet promising big man recently joined NTF and is one to watch the next 15 months. At 6-9, he possesses long arms and runs the court well, a good start as he acclimates to the grassroots style. Guese hails from Senegal and attends Victory Rock Academy in Sarasota.
James Banks, C, Alabama Challenge — Already blessed with a solid frame, including strong calves, Banks is a solid, 6-9, low post operator who impressed with his no-nonsense style and ability to change ends of the court. He utilizes above-average length and sound instincts to block shots and pull down defensive rebounds, and in limited exposure I saw him drop in him a short bucket off a post-up. He doesn't jump out of the gym but projects as an easy call for the mid-major level or higher.
Jordan Bruner, PF, Upward Stars — He didn't play well tonight, but Bruner remains a promising athlete. He actually looks springier now than when I watched him last December, and he's certainly impressive when he's able to sky for slams and blocks. He's experiencing some growing pains as he attempts to move from a post role to more of a stretch of hybrid, and the result is he's currently something of a tweener. He may not have a great summer for that reason, but let's revisit his progress a year from now.
Abdul Ado, C, Georgia Stars — Defense likely will become Ado's calling card, at least for the next couple years. He runs the court gracefully and with very long arms, suggesting big things in transition as well as swatting shots and picking off boards. A native of Nigeria attending Chattanooga (Tenn.) Hamilton Heights, Ado reportedly holds an offer from Vanderbilt and likely will receive many more before his time on the prep circuit is finished.
Adrio Bailey, PF, Nike Team Louisiana — This undersized, 6-6 power forward ideally would grow a couple inches, but even if not he's going to attract major-conference attention. He's a strong, very aggressive athlete who loves to finish on the baseline. He roams both sides of the rim hoping to get a pass within dunking range, and he gives himself some cushion thanks to a quick spin move and fearless style above the hoop. Will he grow or will he expand his game? Two primary questions.
Khalil Richards, SG, Baltimore Elite — Not too far away, in the not too distant past, the New Jersey-based Playaz Basketball Club showcased guys like Richards. Myles Davis and Myles Mack both were undersized wings in the Playaz backcourt, and Richards brings something similar to B'More Elite. He makes it work, too; Richards buries long threes, puts the ball on the floor to create for himself and is a confident, tenacious competitor. With a solid body that will enable him to add ample strength for college, Richards will continue to be a regular on Scout.com bandwidth.
Brandon Cyrus, SG, CIA Bounce — He didn't produce much during the half I watched, but Cyrus clearly doesn't lack for talent. He's a very quick driver who gets where he wants to go and then either creates a shot for himself or finds a perimeter shooter who's ready to launch. You know a player is talented when he doesn't produce but impresses you, anyway.
Ibrahim Doumbia, PF, Team Scan — This slender, very long-legged big man runs pretty well and, at 6-8, that's plenty sufficient to garner continued viewings. He has a long way to go, but that's exactly what you'd expect from a rising sophomore. Incidentally, this Jacksonville (Fla.) ACD product is a cousin of blue-chip 2015 forward Cheick Diallo and fellow native of Mali.
Austin Wiley, C, Southeast Elite — When the Scout national team convened to discuss this weekend's plan, colleague Evan Daniels suggested Southeast Elite as a priority due to their being "loaded." Well, they certainly are, with guys like Wendell Carter, Jamal Johnson and John Petty. But it was Wiley who captured my attention on day one, thanks to a 6-9 frame, big hands, reasonably fluid movements already, and highly advanced scoring ability for a youngster. He doesn't have all the moves, but he can sit in the post, receive a pass, turn over either shoulder and score off the glass. That's worth somewhere in the neighborhood of two class upgrades, given that many prep big man never accomplish that feat successfully.
Omari Spellman said that he just picked up an offer from Wake Forest and now has the Demon Deacons along with Villanova, Miami, Cincinnati, Ohio, Dayton and others. He said he also has interest from Florida and Kansas. …
James Banks received his first offer, from Tulsa, with many more certain to follow. …