For the third straight weekend, AllHoosiers.com recruiting analyst Justin Albers was out on the recruiting trail to evaluate Indiana targets. This weekend's event -- an adidas Gauntlet event in Fishers -- featured the most talent. The Gauntlet has replaced the adidas Invitational and is adidas' form of the Nike EYBL league.
Most of the players evaluated this weekend were in the 2016 class. In the coming days, we will also post a number of video interviews with targets from the weekend and extended features on a couple.
1. Thon Maker, C, Carlisle School: Maker, the top-ranked player in the class, was as good as advertised. Maker is still a bit of a work in progress on the offensive end, but he's much further along than some other center prospects at the same age.
Maker is a legitimate 7-foot, but he doesn't play like a traditional big man. He runs the floor very, very well, plays with a high motor, can shoot the ball from the perimeter, put it on the floor and block shots.
Maker's jump shot looks great and is incredible for a kid of his size and of his age. On the first possession I watched Maker on Friday, his team ran an out of bounds play to get him a 3-pointer, which he made, and then emphatically blocked a layup attempt off the backboard on the other end. The kid is going to be special.
Indiana offered Maker a scholarship recently, but the competition will obviously be stiff for his services.
2. Payton Pritchard, G, West Linn: Pritchard, a 6-foot-1 point guard from Oregon, has picked up significant interest from Indiana coach Tom Crean of late. Pritchard already owns offers from Wisconsin, Oregon, Oregon State and Washington. He is visiting Indiana unofficially on Monday.
Pritchard struggled in the first two games I saw this weekend, but he played exceptionally well in the third. He scored 33 points and added eight assists and seven rebounds in an upset win over Team Loaded, which features Maker. Pritchard was just 6-of-25 from the field in the first game of the weekend.
Pritchard's strength are obvious. He is a very good perimeter shooter, a strong passer with the potential to be a great passer, and he may have what it takes to lead a team. I never saw Pritchard come out of any game during the weekend. He was always running his team.
There's a good chance Indiana will offer Pritchard a scholarship on Monday, and it makes sense. Pritchard isn't overly quick and can struggle defensively at times, but his potential strengths outweigh those weaknesses, if he can, in fact, reach that potential.
3. T.J. Leaf, F, Foothills Christian: Leaf (pictured), a five-star forward from California, is perhaps Indiana's top target in the 2016 class.
Leaf's Compton Magic team really struggled over the weekend, but Leaf had a solid showing. At 6-foot-10 and 205 pounds, he can step out and knock down 3s, put the ball on the floor and attack the rim, and shoot off the dribble. Leaf does a little bit of everything and impacts the game on the offensive end almost effortlessly.
At the college level, I see Leaf excelling in the pick-and-pop game and playing a bit like Dirk Nowitski plays in isolation.
4. De'Ron Davis, F, Overland: Indiana has been pursuing Davis for some time now, and it is clear the Hoosiers have made him a priority. The 6-foot-9 Davis is from Colorado and is a five-star prospect.
Davis had a bit of an up-and-down weekend, as did his Colorado Hawks team. He looked really strong in some games, showing off the ability to step outside and hit jump shots while also posting up and attacking the offensive and defensive glass.
But Davis also had times when he was a bit too passive and wasn't as involved in the game as you would have liked to see.
Regardless, Davis is an elite prospect with a ton of upside. He needs to add some weight, and if he does, he can be a dominant force on the low block.
5. Austin Conway, G, Overland: Conway plays with Davis at Overland in Colorado, and he too has been on the Indiana radar for some time. He hasn't quite developed the way some had anticipated early, but he still has potential at the point guard position.
Conway, a three-star prospect, stands only 5-foot-8, but he plays downhill about as well as any guard I saw this weekend. He's constantly on the attack, so much sometimes that he forces the issue when he shouldn't. He isn't a great perimeter shooter but he can certainly knock down 3-pointers.
In some ways, Conway reminded me a bit of Russell Westbrook by the way that he played. Obviously he's much smaller and not as athletic, but he plays with tons of energy, loves to attack, and wants to win.
Indiana is still recruiting Conway, and he is a big fan of Crean because of the fact the Hoosiers have consistently recruited him since the beginning.
I will post the second half of my evaluations from the weekend tomorrow.