USA: Vernon Macklin Spotlight

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Vernon Macklin is a case study in potential. A lean, athletic post player from Virginia, Macklin (nicknamed "The Big Ticket") began receiving national publicity his first year of high school. Now a rising junior, the sky remains the limit for his upside and he's admittedly not there yet.

Playing on a team here at the USA Basketball Youth Development Festival that's not loaded with elite experienced post talent, Macklin has had the opportunity to start a few games and play nearly 30 minutes per contest – the ideal experience for a player that needs just that.

"It's been great here," he said, "helping make my weaknesses stronger and it's real physical out here so that's helping me, too."

Macklin, who is 6-9 and 207 pounds, had his best performance of the week Saturday morning, with 18 points and 12 rebounds – 10 of which came off the offensive glass.

"Macklin right now is a run-and-jump athlete whose strength is his ability to use his athleticism to get inside and get rebounds and stick backs," said analyst Dave Telep, of TheInsidersHoops. "He's very much a power forward and probably thinks down the road he's a three-man, but today he stuck with his strengths and this was his best game of the event."

Through three games, he's averaging 12.3 points and 7.7 rebounds.

Macklin is teammates here with good friend – and AAU teammate – Marcus Ginyard, who committed to North Carolina last summer. The Tar Heels are one of the only two teams on his current school list.

"I've narrowed it down to North Carolina and Wake Forest," he said. "The coaches have seen me play and they talk to my coach a lot and send me mail."

He's even closer friends with AAU teammate Stefan Welsh, a rising junior guard, and they've planned a visit together to Wake Forest in August.

Macklin's summer plans include the Nike Camp, the Peach Jam and the Super Showcase.

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