Last weekend's open evaluation period allowed college coaches a chance to get a good look at some of their top targets, as well as set eyes on some new prospects. With plenty of players seeing their recruitment pick up this week, the Spiece Run-N-Slam is teeming with recruits that are on the verge of blowing up.
There are a few top 2015 Xavier targets in Fort Wayne this weekend, including Jalen Brunson and Brevin Pritzl, but Friday night offered a chance to watch some talented younger players from the Musketeers' home state of Ohio.
Always 100 Duo has Xavier Interest
Friday night's action tipped off with the Ohio squad formerly known as VCC Ohio – playing in this tournament as Always 100 for the first time – rolling over an overmatched Michigan Titans squad. Always 100's top two players are a pair of Xavier targets, Seth Towns and Matthew Moyer.
Towns has been a target that Xavier, as well as others, have been on for well over a year now, but Moyer has quickly emerged as one of the state's fastest rising prospects with his play this spring. Friday, both showed why college coaches have been blowing up their cell phones.
Towns' shooting range was on full display as he nailed a few 3-pointers with his smooth release. Even more impressive, he made a few nice moves off of the dribble, including a turnaround 17-foot fadeaway at full speed, and a crossover, euro-step combo that culminated in a nice dunk. At 6-8 with a high skill level, Towns is already a stretch four that can cause match-up problems and spread the floor. If he continues to improve his game off the bounce and around the basket, he has huge potential as a scorer.
Moyer's athleticism jumped out from the first possession of the game when he threw down an easy dunk after winning the tipoff. While the opponent had no one capable of matching his ability to play above the rim, he threw down no fewer than eight dunks in the game, two of which were poster highlights. At 6-7 with good length but lacking skill, Moyer understands that he's a face-up four man. When he plays physical and with effort, he is a productive rebounder and garbage scorer. The most intriguing part of his game is the development of his ability to put the ball on the deck and get to the basket. He showed the self-awareness to put himself in the right positions to catch the ball on the move heading towards the basket so that he was able to keep it to quick two or three dribble moves to the rim. It will be especially interesting to track his performance the rest of the weekend against more talented and bigger competition.
Both Towns and Moyer have already been to Xavier's campus and plan on returning to visit. Towns already holds an offer, while Moyer says he anticipates an offer coming soon from the Musketeers' staff, which has really picked up its recruitment of him recently. USC, UNLV, Wisconsin, Dayton, Virginia Tech, Detroit Mercy have already offered Moyer.
Loaded King James Team Cruises
Another Ohio squad that rolled to an easy victory in the first game of pool play on Friday night was King James 16U, a team loaded with future college talent.
The starting frontcourt for King James, 6-9 center Derek Funderburk and 6-7 forward Derrick Daniels, were the top two Xavier targets coming into the night, but it was their much smaller teammate, 5-10 point guard Xavier Simpson, that really stood out.
Daniels is another slightly undersized face-up four that the Musketeers are recruiting. He's a really good athlete with a great frame, and he plays with a high motor for the most part. Friday night he stood out when working the high post against the zone defense. In addition to knocking down a few face-up mid-range jumpers from the free-throw line extended, he also made a few really nice passes and just looked comfortable in general in that position. As always, he also showed off his athleticism when rebounding and with a few finishes at the rim.
Funderburk, who already holds a Xavier offer, is a big man with good size, length and touch around the basket. He didn't have a big game on Friday night, but his team also didn't need him against a much smaller and completely overmatched team. In the second half, he had a nice stretch of about six possessions where he played a big role on the offensive end and made plays. He scored six points, grabbed three boards and had two assists during that stretch, showing not only his physical ability, but also his feel for the game. It didn't play a big factor against a smaller, primarily jump shooting opponent on Friday night, but Funderburk has the length and coordination to be a rim protector on the defensive end.
Simpson is a pure point guard that is skilled in running an offense and passing the basketball. He was dropping dimes all over the court, while also using his slick handle to get into the lane and break down the defense. He's small and he doesn't shoot it well from the outside, but Simpson's feel for the game and toughness really stood out on the loaded King James team. He did make a three from the top of the key and is working to improve his jumper, but it's still a work in progress at this point. His highlights came in the form of multiple no look assists and his impeccable decision-making.
All three of these players have an established relationship with Xavier's staff already, and are local targets that will continue to get recruited heavily. This team may be the most talented 16U team in the tournament, so watching them against top competition in bracket play will be entertaining.
Name to Remember: Jordan McCabe
One new recruiting territory that has been added to the mix with the addition of assistant coach Rick Carter is Wisconsin. Friday night a 14U Wisconsin Playground Elite team was playing on the court next to King James, which offered the opportunity to watch Jordan McCabe, an 8th grader that recently went viral because of all the flare and shake in his handle.
The young point guard is more than just an and-one mixtape tour highlight video, though. In addition to being an absolute magician with the basketball, he's a knockdown shooter from the outside, and he also showed great pace and feel while running his team at the point guard position and setting up his teammates.
It's too early to speak on his recruitment, but don't be surprised if this is a name that pops up on Xavier's radar in the not too distant future.