Mike Layssard, JR.
2016 C, Northwood High School (Lena, La.)
Scoring and offensive game: Layssard has developed a solid offensive game recently, possessing a jump-hook with both his left and right hand and has good touch from both. He can comfortably score off the block when fed an entry pass and is tough to guard because of his build and vertical ability. He could be a better finisher above the rim but overall still finishes well. The three-star center’s handle in the paint is solid. He can get through defenders and right to the hoop, so he’s shooting a lot at literal point-blank range. Layssard can even shoot a little further away. He’s an OK mid-range shooter and mixes in some occasional three-point attempts. And he can hit the long-range shots better than expected. But that is not and will not a primary method of scoring for him.
Defense: Layssard is space eater in the paint. He’s a good shot contester, although a lot of his best defensive work won’t show up in stat sheets because he alters an offensive player’s shot angle or position, forcing a miss. It’s underappreciated by stats but important to defense. He’s active on the defensive glass too, and when he’s in his best shape, he can run the floor in eight to ten minute spurts before tiring out.
Patrick’s take and projection: One thing to keep in mind with Layssard is that he’s very raw. His knowledge of basketball terminology and X’s and O’s is very limited. So he doesn’t have a lot of experience setting screens, coming off screens and awareness of how a play develops. Because of that, he’s not glued or barred from a certain system. He would fit best in a ball-control, deliberate offense. SMU can sell its ball-control offense and the Larry Brown teaching effect. Layssard has lost a lot of weight in the last 15 months, but still has some baby fat and the weight can fluctuate a little bit (his coach admits he loves to eat). The selling point there for SMU will be its development of Markus Kennedy’s fitness and skills. He needs to continue to get in better shape before he can go hard at the college level for more than a few minutes.Offers: SMU, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Wichita State, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Mississippi State, Clemson, Wake Forest, Memphis, South Florida, Providence, Rhode Island, Old Dominion and Murray State.
Weight: 235 pounds
2016 PF, Churchill High School (San Antonio, Texas)
Scoring and offensive game: Brown gets a lot of entry passes on the block and is agile in the paint. He’s patient with the ball and will wait for the best time and opening to make his move, but his touch and finish could be more consistent because he will occasionally rush a move to the hoop. He’ll also get a lot of passes after he makes a backdoor cut from the perimeter, often resulting in an easy dunk. Brown is also a good passer and has good awareness; He will get an entry pass and take a step or a dribble toward the hoop. But he’ll sometimes notice that move drew other defenders in, giving a shooter who’s setting up on the perimeter a little more space. Brown then passes it back out for the shooter. College and high school basketball is seeing a lot more drive-and-kick and entry-pass-and-kick (for lack of a better term) today.
Defense: Brown looks thicker and a little taller than the 6-foot-7 and 200 pounds he’s listed at. He’s a good shot contester from the center despite being a little short for the position. He minimizes contact while contesting shots because he goes vertical to block a shot instead of lunging up and toward the shooter (usually another big man). At Churchill, he plays in a lot of zone defenses and is a capable anchor in the paint. He’s athletic and fast, helping him play a lot of high-energy minutes and run the floor well.
Patrick’s take and projection: Brown plays power forward and center but will be a four-man in college. He has elements of a face-up four and a traditional power forward, so he’s a bit of a cross between the two. The 200 pounds seems thin, but he looks and plays bigger, so he’s not in as dire need of weight as he would seem. He would fit in a fast, transition offense that looks for quick scoring and moves a lot, but would also do well in a slower-paced offense that has actively moving big men (especially four-men).Offers: SMU, Texas, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Notre Dame, Miami (Fla.), Purdue, Illinois, Vanderbilt, Auburn, Rice, UTEP, Tulsa
Weight: 200 pounds
2016 C, Prestonwood Christian Academy (Plano, Texas)
Scoring: One word defines Herard’s game: Power. He’s a big man who uses his enormous frame to power over and through low-post defenders. But, he’s very raw as an offensive player and isn’t a refined post scorer at all. He doesn’t have a go-to move or a move that has been developed. He scores because he’s simply bigger and more powerful than most other kids on the court. He can receive an entry pass and find a way to score it, but he’s not going to do it in a fancy or technically sound way. He enjoys low-post physicality and uses it to his advantage, but he needs a lot of coaching to develop some scoring moves at the college level. He won’t have that power advantage in the college game. He’s not an overly explosive player or a great jumper, and he’ll have to improve his touch too. Free throw shooting needs work too.
Defense: Herard is a four-star and the 44th-ranked player in the 2016 class because of he defense. He plays with some power on defense too and is a load to score against in 1-on-1 situations. He tries to wear out his opponent by being extremely physical and bullying them in the paint. Sometimes this can backfire because he’ll create too much contact when contesting a shot and get called for a foul. He relies on the physicality because he’s not as good a leaper as most other rim protectors and shot blockers. He runs the floor well when he’s focused, but sometimes looks a little disinterested and mentally distracted. To be an impact defender at the next level, he’ll need to develop a more aggressive and energetic mindset. A lot of big men come to college needing similar mental development, so it’s not a knock unique to him or impossible to overcome.
Projection: Whichever team lands Herard will need to accept that he might not be an immediate impact guy and will require a lot of teaching. He’s physically ready, but just not refined enough on either end of the court to be a difference-maker right away or even play a big chuck of minutes. Relying on power and size alone will not cut it at the high-major level he’s being recruited at. He fits as a true center for a lot of teams, and most would love to have a big, physical center with a defensive presence. Herard is an enticing project because of his physical maturity, but still a project nonetheless. He’s capable of developing into a great defender and a good enough offensive weapon.Offers: Herard has 34 offers but his top ten consists of SMU, Arizona, Kansas, Texas, California, Indiana, Alabama, Purdue, Mississippi State and Texas Tech.
Weight: 260 pounds