The following is a scouting report of 2014 and 2015 basketball prospects who performed at the D-1 AAU Event at York High School in Elmhurst, Illinois, July 9-11, 2011.
Class of 2014
Jahlil Okafor, 6'-10", center (Mac Irvin Fire – Whitney Young High School)
Okafor is a special prospect! He has awesome footwork in the post. Most big guys dominate at the high school level based on their height and being so much better than everyone else. He has refined post moves already as a rising sophomore in high school.
He absorbs contact and gets to the line. Rebounding is his forte as he grabs every single rebound possible. On offense, he stays strong and finishes with a slam. When picking up a defensive rebound he outlets the ball to teammates well. His passing is an underrated quality in his game.
He is improving his athleticism, evidenced by blocking more shots and even handling the ball in the open floor. My favorite play of his from the weekend was when he had his back turned to the opponent inbounding the ball. The other team threw it off his back and went up for a layup. Okafor proceeded to swat the ball right back in the opponent's face!
Despite a strong push by the next prospect on this list, he remains the top prospect in the state and is the best prospect I have seen nationally in 2014.
Cliff Alexander, 6'-8", center (D-Rose All-Stars – Curie High School)
His stock is shooting through the roof! In the last few weeks, he has received offers from Illinois, DePaul, Tennessee, Ohio State, and UConn. He is dominant on the defensive end and grabs every rebound in sight. It is not uncommon for him to grab 15 rebounds in a game.
He blocks shots at an insanely high rate and alters many others. One respected source said he is better defensively and at rebounding than Greg Oden was at a similar stage.
His teammates have a tough time feeding the post, but when he does get the ball, he is starting to score at a higher rate. He has made great strides on the offensive end.
He can score with an effective drop step and is even starting to show some face-up game. If he continues to make the strides he has made in the last six months throughout the remainder of his high school career, it is not out of the question he could surpass Okafor for the top spot in the class.
Jaquan Lyle, 6'-4", point guard (Spiece Indy Heat – Bosse High School, Indiana)
The first aspect in Lyle's game that will always stand out is his explosive passing ability. He sees the court better than any sophomore I have scouted in awhile. While some floor generals make unbelievable passes in transition, Lyle is just as likely to do it in the half court.
Most of his scoring comes from getting in the paint. One play he beat his man off the dribble, did a spin move on the big, and finished through contact from another defender. Lyle is starting to understand how to combine multiple moves together, which is scary at his age.
He rebounds at a high rate for a guard. One area he can improve on is his shot. He is not a great shooter, as he only hit one jumper in the three games I witnessed. Despite this, he is a special prospect and is one of the top prospects in his class nationally because of his size and vision at the point guard position.
Trevon Bluiett, 6'-5", small forward (Spiece Indy Heat – Park Tudor High School, Indiana)
Buliett is a big, strong small forward in the mold of former North Carolina wing Will Graves. He likes catch-and-shoot situations beyond the three point line. His ability to attack off the dribble and absorb contact at the hoop is another of his strengths.
Tevin King, 5'-11" point guard (Mac Irvin Fire – Providence St. Mel High School)
King was Mr. Versatility last weekend for the Fire. He played at the 15U, 16U, and 17U levels throughout the weekend. He is an aggressive scorer who gets in the lane whenever he wants for shots or free throws. His jump shot is continuing to improve, getting better each time I see him.
He is still a beast defensively, coming up with steals and pressuring guards into nightmares. King still needs to work on his distributing skills if he wants to reach his ceiling, but as of now he and Larry Austin are in a tight race for the top floor general in Illinois high school basketball for 2014.
Kierre Perkins, 6'-5", small forward (Mac Irvin Fire – Morgan Park High School)
Perkins has always been a great run and jump athlete who would score in transition once in awhile in spectacular fashion. There was never much substance behind it though. That changed in the semi-finals of the 15 and Under tournament. He had several plays where he attacked strong and finished at the cup.
His handle has improved since the spring, and he's looking to be more active as a scorer and offensive weapon. He even hit a nice jump shot. You could see how much confidence that game gave Perkins. In my opinion, his stock will continue to rise if he works hard toward attaining his full potential.
Erick Locke, 5'-11", shooting guard (Mac Irvin Fire – Brooks High School)
Locke was impressive once again. He is a big-time scorer who gets to the hoop whenever he wants. His handle is good, and he breaks through the defense when you think he is trapped.
One of the opposing coaches told me every time they thought he was contained, he slipped it for a score. He attacks hard and finishes through contact. I am a big fan of what I've seen out of Locke's game so far, and his stock is on the rise. The next step in his development will be to improve his passing skills. If he does that, he could be a top-notch prospect.
Darius Austin, 6'-5", shooting guard (Southwest Jets – Cahokia High School)
Austin had a nice weekend in Elmhurst. He is smooth attacking off the dribble and uses his strength to slice through the defense remarkably well. His ball handling in tight spaces is good.
Early in the weekend, he had trouble finishing at the hoop. But by the end of the tournament, he was completing and-1's through contact. His passing ability is my favorite part of his game. When put in the position to make plays he does, including a full court outlet pass on the money for a layup at the other end.
I was impressed with how he rebounded strong and was active on loose balls. He is starting to understand he has all the tools to be a great defender and is using them to his advantage. He blocked several shots coming from the weak side.
His jump shot is starting to fall more for him, but this is still an area he can continue to improve. He averaged 15 points per game in the four games I viewed. Several schools were tracking Austin including Illinois, SIU, Purdue, Michigan, Xavier, and Oregon State.
Darreon Reddick, 6'-3", shooting guard (Southwest Jets – Belleville East High School)
This was a coming out weekend for Reddick. He has always played in the shadow of Malcolm Hill in high school and Austin during the spring, but he showed what kind of prospect he is. He has good size and is a nice athlete.
Like Hill, his strength is getting to the hoop. His scoring ability has been increasing throughout the spring, and he is peaking at just the right time while college coaches are watching. He rebounds at a high rate and gets to loose balls.
Reddick has all the intangibles you look for in a young prospect. Reddiuck notched 20 points in the 15 and Under championship game. Several schools, including Missouri and SIU, have shown significant interest in the rising sophomore.
C.J. Rivers, 6'-0", point guard (Southwest Jets – Cahokia High School)
Rivers is a quick point guard with good size. He is the facilitator of the Jets's offense. His passes are crisp, and he makes solid decisions. When he needs to score he can; he has a nice left-handed jump shot. Rivers is tracking as a quality mid-major point guard who could grow into more down the line.
Peyton Allen, 6'-4", combo guard (Illinois Wolves – Glenwood High School)
Allen has a smooth handle and great athletic ability. He started off the weekend hot Friday with a 15 point performance. He made several threes including a nice corner shot.
His most impressive move of the weekend was a spin move in the lane, which he finished with a sweet mid-range jump shot. When open he knocks down shots.
He did struggle at times, as he was frustrated by the officiating calls and aggressive defenders up in his grill. Allen still remains in the group of seven top prospects in the state in his class.
Keita Bates-Diop, 6'-6", small forward (Illinois Wolves – Normal Community High School)
Bates-Diop is a bouncy athlete who is starting to put more and more substance behind his game. He rebounds well and is especially quick to the offensive glass. His handle is becoming smoother, and he's starting to work on combination moves.
Bates-Diop's jump shot is streaky, but you can see he is making improvements. He needs to continue to add weight to reach his full potential.
Nic Weishar, 6'-5", small forward (Illinois Wolves – Marist High School)
Weishar stood out with his intangibles at York. He consistently rebounded on the offensive glass and finished. He beat his opponents to loose balls, made solid cuts to the hoop and hit open threes. He is not a high upside prospect, but there is still a lot to like for a mid-major with Weishar.
Amanze Egekeze, 6'-5", power forward (Illinois Wolves – Huntley High School)
Egekeze was another prospect who really stood out with his hustle and determination. He rebounded at a high rate with his long and athletic body. College coaches really liked what he showed.
Tyler Wideman, 6'-7", center (Meanstreets Wilburn – Lake Central High School, Indiana)
Wideman certainly fits his name, as he has a thick body. He showed off his toughness and rebounding to college coaches. He is a space eater who gobbles up rebounds. When he gets deep position in the post he is a good scorer.
I liked how Wideman defends, and he's a solid shot blocker despite his lack of height. He has Illinois looking at him as he has visited.
Class of 2015
Jordan Ash, 6'-0", point guard (Illinois Wolves – St. Joseph's High School)
Ash does a solid job of running his team from the point and limiting mistakes. He doesn't rush decisions and makes sure his teammates are in the right spots. I really like his leadership skills at a young age. He also has a nice mid-range shot that has good mechanics. With work, there is no reason it shouldn't be able to extend to beyond the arc in time.
Ash will be part of a talented but young St. Joseph's backcourt with Paul Turner and fellow incoming freshman Joffrey Brown.
Kain Harris, 6'-1", shooting guard (Mac Irvin Fire – Morgan Park High School)
Harris impressed me in limited action at the DePaul Team Camp for Morgan Park. Playing against players his own age, you can see why he would be a top prospect in 2015. He is an explosive wing with big-time scoring potential. Harris slammed a tip dunk down in one of the games I scouted him. He is one of the better rising freshman I have seen.
Armani Chaney, 5'-3", point guard (Mac Irvin Fire – St. Rita High School)
Chaney is extremely small, but he impresses me every time I see him play. He is not afraid to go inside and score. He loves shooting his floater over defenders in the paint.
Karl Harris, 6'-4", small forward (Mac Irvin Fire – De La Salle Institute)
The bigger Harris is a slashing wing who is strong and plays extremely hard. I was especially impressed with how he played in transition as a finisher. De La Salle has another prospect to pair on the wing with Alvin Ellis.