Weekend Hoops Evaluations

The Scout team was out in force at the Nike EYBL and Adidas Gauntlet this week, and they spent time evaluating several UCLA prospects...

CLASS OF 2015

Stephen Zimmerman, C, Oakland Soldiers – It hasn't been a great spring to date for Zimmerman, but on Saturday he lived up to his elite five-star billing. After a slow start to an afternoon game he got a tip dunk and from there picked things up in a big way. Zimmerman made mid-range jumpers, scored on step back post moves, and also made several nice passes. Then in an evening win he was a complete beast on the glass. Overall it was one of his best days of the spring, and a very good step in the right direction.

Henry Ellenson, C/PF, Playground Elite – The strides Ellenson has made recently are impressive. He has shown his ability to play both inside and out, and at nearly 6-foot-10 is a major matchup problem. At times he can be a bit too finesse on the perimeter, but he is beginning to really find the right balance between playing on the interior as well as outside. He was excellent all day long and proved himself against some of the best in the country.

Isaiah Briscoe, SG, NJ Playaz – Going against Blakeney was Briscoe, and after early foul trouble he really settled in to have an excellent game. Briscoe can really shoot it, but he is also excellent at using his strength and going to the rim. While he is not close to being a point guard, he does have decent feel, and made a few nice passes for easy jumpers to shooters. Add in that he is super competitive and Briscoe is one of the more talented scorers in the class.

Caleb Swanigan, C, Spiece Indy Heat – Swanigan isn't the best athlete, and at times he just struggled to finish, but still he was excellent on the glass and got his share of points down low. Also Swanigan is a bit of an underrated passer, and showed a few good outlet passes. Swanigan needs to continue to move his feet better in ball screen situations, but overall he was very solid despite his team coming up short.

Jaylen Brown, WF, Game Elite — Brown might be the best player here. He might even be the best prospect here, though obviously Thon Maker and others may have something to say about that. But clearly Brown has taken his rising senior summer extremely seriously: He has boiled himself into top-notch shape and improved his historically errant jump shot.

He's a stupendous athlete with a strong, aggressive, junkyard dog mentality, yet one who also happens to harbor impressive skill. He remains an inconsistent shooter but no longer is a non-shooter, at least, and he has improved his quickness and speed. Along with that he's a tough rebounder and defender, one of the most brutally determined drivers in the class — resulting in frequent fouls on the opponent — and so strong that he can swing the ball through swiping hands on his way to the rim.

Chase Jeter, C, Dream Vision: There's a lot to like about the direction of Jeter, who has grown to 6-foot-11, as a prospect. He continues to grow in height and is visibly stronger, but he also continues to add to his game. He's developed a go-to move in a right jump hook, which at his size is nearly impossible to get to. He hit four of them against Ohio Basketball Club on Saturday. Jeter is also mobile and runs the floor with purpose and he locks down his area from a rebounding standpoint. Already a five-star recruit, expect Jeter to rise even higher when rankings are updated.

Carlton Bragg, PF, Ohio Basketball Club — The Bragg/Jeter matchup didn't proceed as well as Bragg would have liked, but there's clearly no doubting his talent. He'll need to avoid the temptation to fall in love with his jump shot, but he's very skilled and it's understandable that he wants to show off his future (likely) NBA game. Meanwhile, he's a good rebounder, solid passer and leaned up athlete who has made real strides in multiple categories over the past year. He's a blue-chipper for good reason, and that doesn't appear likely to change anytime soon.

CLASS OF 2016

T.J. Leaf, PF, Compton Magic: A versatile and very talented four man, Leaf showed off several of the weapons in his arsenal on Saturday morning. He has terrific touch in the paint and finishes very well, but can also step out and hit jumpers from the elbow or an open three-pointer. Add his scoring to the fact that he is a very good passer who also rebounds very well and you have a kid that is easily one of the top posts in the 2016 class.

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