Weekend Hoops Evaluations

The Scout team was out in force at AAU events across the country, with many UCLA prospects performing well...

2015 Prospects

Jaylen Brown, SF, Game Elite: Up until Friday night it was clear that Malik Monk had the performance of the spring, but Jaylen Brown decided to get him a run for his money. The 6-foot-5 athletic and powerful wing from Game Elite was absolutely on fire.

Brown finished with 48 points on 15-22 shooting including 6-10 from three point range. Brown, who has always struggled with his outside shot, looked confident and comfortable launching from deep and showed that he has been working on his game. He was making shots both off the catch and off the bounce, and then when he was done banging in threes from deep he went to the rim.

When Brown did go to the rim, he went with bad intentions. Brown had numerous highlight caliber dunks and showed that he is impossible to guard when he is making his outside jumper. Overall Brown was absolutely incredible and stole the show. His 29 first half points were simply ridiculous, and had his team needed he could have gone for over 50 in the win. It was a performance for the spring. Already ranked No. 9 overall in the class of 2015, Brown made a strong statement that he can rise even a few spots higher.

After an incredible display on Friday night, Brown was tremendous again on Saturday. This time Brown did it as much by his ability to pass the basketball as his scoring. He didn't shoot it quite as well as he did on Friday, but he still was hitting jumpers and as always was finishing around the rim. Brown had a few ridiculous highlight caliber dunks, and showed why he is the premier wing in the class of 2015.

Cameron Walker.
Cameron Walker, SF, Compton Magic – He was pressed in to point guard duty, and Walker thrived in that role. While he is definitely not a point guard long term, playing on the ball he was more aggressive than ever and showed that he is capable of some very good things. Walker scored 36 points and did it every way possible. He finished through contact off the drive, got to the foul line 15 times, hit jumpers, and then also dished out four assists. It was a tremendous showing overall, and put on display just how good he can be when things all come together for him.

Carlton Bragg, PF, OBC – When it comes to pure talent few are better than Bragg. Bragg started off the game by hitting a pair of deep jumpers, and then also got into the mid-range and hit. Add in athletic finishes above the rim, and Bragg put the entire skill set on display at different times. The issue would be Bragg didn't always look focused and locked in, and disappeared for stretches at a time. Still he is a big time talent and has elite tools, just the next step is to be more consistent every possession.

Chase Jeter, C, Dream Vision – It was his first event back and Jeter was tremendous. Jeter scored very well on the low block and also was rebounding well and controlling the paint. He added in a few post moves and a mid-range jumper and it was easy to see the elite potential that he possesses. Jeter still needs to do a better job of finishing through contact, but during the game he was absolutely dominant and looked improved from the high school season.

Ray Smith, SF, Dream Vision – It wasn't even a great game in the morning for Smith, but still he looked like an elite talent. He is near 6-foot-8 and has big time athleticism with the ability to handle the ball and a good motor. On defense he needs to show more attention to detail, but physically he is more than capable of being an excellent defender. Offensively he was scoring in the mid-range and had a few impressive finishes above the rim, but he does need to be more active.

Bennie Boatwright, PF, Gamepoint – Playing with a new team, Boatwright made a tremendous impression on his teammates. He was absolutely unconscious from deep hitting three after three, and was instrumental in his team coming back and winning. Boatwright is one of the elite shooters in the country, and has great size to go with it. Now he is kind of stiff as an athlete, but in catch and shoot situations it is impressive what he can do.

Malik Newman, SG, Jackson Tigers — Newman could be the top player in the class. Will he? That may prove difficult given that the other contenders — such as Ivan Rabb and Ben Simmons — stand much taller. But as a scorer, with the ability to drain threes, contested pull-up jumpers or drive all the way to the bucket and finish in traffic, no one does it better. He's a terrific shot-creator, so much so that he should be able to steer himself all the way to the highest level of the sport. From there, he needs to cultivate better shot selection and improve his dribbling against pressure, particularly if he aspires to transition to point guard in the NBA. But if you love production, and explosive scoring, Newman's first Saturday outing (36 points, 13-22 shooting) would have made you a believer. If that didn't work, then his second game (33 points, 9-17 shooting) would have done the trick. I criticize his shot selection, too, but he was potent and efficient on Saturday.

Chance Comanche.
Chance Comanche, C, Earl Watson Elite: A lengthy and athletic center, Comanche plays hard and makes several plays each game where you can see his elite upside. He's still quite skinny and the added strength he'll gain over the coming years will only help him finishing and rebounding in traffic. His skill level is coming along underneath the basket and he can step out and shoot as well. He's not a finished product and that's a good thing; if it all comes together for him he has a very bright future.

Diamond Stone, C, Young Legends – The most dominant performance of the day was Stone's first game. The 6-foot-10 big man imposed his will on anyone thrown his way. He scored off strong finishes at the rim, dropped in hook shots, stepped out and hit multiple mid-range jumpers and ran the floor for dunks in transition. He also impressed on the defensive end. He was active, blocked shots and was a presence in the paint. Stone, who recorded 18 points and five blocks in the first half, also appears to be in the best shape of his high school career.

2016 Prospects

T.J. Leaf, PF, Compton Magic – In the first half against Game Elite, Leaf was nearly impossible to stop. He hit a few threes, scored in the mid-range, and then also was good in the post. Leaf is at his best when he plays facing the rim as a power forward and creating off the dribble. Still he must get better as a rebounder, but Leaf is one talented kid who has all the tools to be elite going forward.

Solomon Young, PF, Dream Vision – He isn't the most skilled kid and is slightly undersized at about 6-foot-7, but Young is a beast. He dominates as a rebounder, and then combines athleticism, strength, and an elite motor to be super productive. Young needs to continue to refine his offensive game, but there is no denying what he gets done, and Young is someone who coaches love to have on their team.

Jayce Johnson, C, Earl Watson Elite: A center with broad shoulders, good length and terrific hands, Johnson also plays hard and has nice touch around the basket. The fact that he can easily finish with both hands only makes him more valuable. He plays hard, is constantly fighting for position and rebounds well. He's going to be a load inside at the next level.

Leland Green, SG, Earl Watson Elite: Green is a very athletic shooting guard that plays with a strong determination on both ends. On defense he's a tough kid that gets into whoever he's guarding, and on offense his strength and burst allow him to get to the basket and finishes with contact. The development of his handle and jumper will dictate his ultimate success, but his upside remains high.

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