Now that the July evaluation period has come and gone, TSD is taking a look at which Louisiana players made the biggest leaps on the hardwood in terms of their stature and level of recruitment over the summer.
The underclassmen will have their day soon on a separate list, but I'll begin with my selections for the five Class of 2015 players that engineered the biggest rises since their prep seasons came to a close several months ago.
This list is in order, with No. 1 being the player who rose the most.
1. SF Jacob Evans, Louisiana Dynasty
If you follow basketball in Louisiana and didn’t know Evans before this summer, you do now. The St. Michael’s small forward, listed at 6-foot-5, 190 pounds, put in serious work for Louisiana Dynasty, leading his team to the finals of a stacked Las Vegas Fab 48 tournament this past weekend. Evans, a consistently strong shooter, also had a big weekend at Pangos All-American Camp at the end of May, furthering his rep. The three-star prospect was rewarded for his big summer recently when he added offers from Auburn and Mississippi State. Evans also reports offers from Oklahoma State, South Carolina, Richmond and UTEP and has been receiving interest from LSU, Memphis, Creighton and Cincinnati, among others. The Baton Rouge native has authored quite a rise of late.
2. SG Christion Thompson, Louisiana Dynasty/Nike Team Louisiana
Sometimes a change of scenery can make a big difference. Did Thompson suddenly become a different and markedly better player when he transferred this offseason from Dutchtown to Madison Prep? No, but the increased exposure he’s gotten from playing on two big-time summer teams – and practicing alongside the next guy on this list – have elevated his stock coming into his senior season. Thompson (6-4, 185) went off at the Battle of the South tournament in Jackson, Miss., earlier this summer, guiding Louisiana Dynasty to the title. Shortly after that point he switched over to Nike Team Louisiana of Baton Rouge, playing alongside the likes of Chad Lott. A three-star prospect, Thompson has collected offers from Louisiana Tech, Mississippi State, Richmond, UAB and Houston. He also reports interest from Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, Clemson and Western Kentucky.
CLICK HERE to read my premium update on Thompson from this summer.
3. SG Brandon Sampson, Louisiana Elite
Of the five players on this list, Sampson, a four-star recruit, was regarded the highest before this summer. But, now that he’s made a barn-storming tour across the country in the last three months, Sampson (6-4, 175) has in my opinion put an exclamation point on being the top player in Louisiana for 2015. He’s also built an impressive offer list, extending his reach to the West Coast, and become a legitimately national recruit. The Madison Prep standout averaged 21.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 2.1 steals for Louisiana Elite on the Under Armour circuit. He was the second-leading scorer at Pangos (16.5 ppg) and drew rave reviews at Stephen Curry’s camp in northern California. In the process he rose to the No. 56 overall player for Scout and now has offers from UCLA, California, LSU, USC, St. John’s, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and South Carolina, among others. He may not have been the biggest riser in Louisiana this summer, but he does rest atop the mountain.
CLICK HERE to read my premium update on Sampson from this summer.
4. F Melvin Frazier, Wings Elite (Ark.)
The biggest player on the five-man list, Frazier (6-6, 195) had an explosive summer as the starting swingman for Wings Elite, an Arkansas-based AAU team. Frazier, who plays his prep ball at Higgins, grew almost three inches and 20 pounds since last summer, giving him more of a physical edge attacking the basket and providing him the length to guard multiple positions. The tough-nosed high-flier made a real impression at Ty Lawson and Victor Oladipo’s camp a month ago before putting up a good showing at the Peach Jam (averaged 10.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.6 steals). A three-star prospect, Frazier reports offers from Arkansas, Northwestern, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech to go with interest from LSU, Alabama, Auburn and Memphis. This is a case of a player making the jump from potential to substance. He showed a lot to college coaches this summer.
5. PG Corey Davis, Southern Elite/Nike Team Louisiana
Consider Davis’ case the opposite of Sampson’s. While the latter built on name-brand recognition he already had, the former started more from scratch – at least in the eyes of college recruiters. That’s no longer the case, however, after Davis (6-2, 175) enjoyed a nice summer pulling the strings for two quality programs. The Lafayette High prep player was the leading scorer (13.3 ppg) on a Southern Elite team that included Baylor commit Mark Vital. For good measure Davis also led the team in assists (2.8 apg) and shot a robust 47.9% from the field. He went on to play the final two weekends of the summer with Nike Team Louisiana, and Davis ended his recent run with an offer from Louisiana Tech and interest from several programs including UL Lafayette. Don’t be surprised if he moves several more rungs up the ladder his senior season.
Honorable Mention: SG Jordan Andrews (Louisiana Dynasty – Riverside Academy), PF/C Blake Paul (Nike Team Louisiana – East Jefferson HS), PG Romalis Walker (Louisiana Dynasty – Carver HS)