C.J. Walker, Spiece Indy Heat – The 2016 point guard’s fearless and relentless style of play was on full display Friday night in Lexington. He finished with 17 points (5-8 FG, 2-2 3PT, 5-7 FT), four assists, two rebounds and four turnovers while playing in front of Xavier assistant Mike Pegues.
Walker constantly attacks the lane with a fervor that borders on reckless, and 90 percent of the time he takes it all the way to the rim himself. Despite being a smaller point guard, one of his best attributes is his ability to explode through contact and finish. He had numerous and-one finishes in Hampton two weekends ago, and picked right back up where he left off Friday night with three more and-ones against Mac Irvin Fire. Two bonuses in this performance were his pair of smooth 3-pointers that he drained and the vision he showed when passing. In addition to his four assists, he had a few other sharp passes in transition that should have led to buckets for his teammates.
According to his coach, Wichita State, Texas A&M, Xavier, Butler, Florida State, Purdue and Penn State are the schools that have been most involved in his recruitment since he decommitted from Purdue on March 29. Chris Mack and Travis Steele paid Walker a visit this week.
Andre Wesson, All-Ohio Red – The 2016 wing received an offer from Xavier after the EYBL event in Hampton, and Jeremy Growe was courtside watching him in Lexington. He finished with two points (1-5 FG, 0-3 3PT), two assists, one rebound, one block and four turnovers in a blowout win, 72-47, over Team Texas.
Even though he didn’t play his best on Friday, Wesson is a wing with good size and a good build that can do a little bit of everything. While he struggled shooting the ball, his lateral mobility and length stood out on the defensive end while matching up with a tough one-on-one assignment.
Wesson’s younger brother, Kaleb, has the chance to be a big-time center prospect in the 2017 class. Xavier was the first school to offer both brothers after watching them in Hampton. Toledo quickly became the second school to offer Andre. He’s also receiving interest from West Virginia, Illinois, Miami (FL) and Indiana. Mack and Steele visited with the Wesson family on Monday, and then the brothers visited Xavier on the way down to Lexington on Friday.
Lamar Stevens, Team Final – The 2016 combo forward overwhelmed Howard Pulley with his strength and athleticism in an 81-59 win. He finished with a team-high 30 points and seven rebounds to go with two steals a block and three turnovers.
Stevens is a power driver, and on Friday he showed how difficult he is to stop when he attacks the rim off the bounce. He started slow as he struggled to finish those drives, but as the game went on he found his rhythm and dominated the second half. The best part about his offensive game is he sticks to his strengths. If he has a wing guarding him, he overpowers the defender. If he has a forward on him, he makes a quick move and gets to the rim. He’s also a hard-nosed rebounder on both ends of the court that can really go and get the ball out of his area because of his athleticism.
Stevens is blowing up this month. In addition to offers from Villanova, Indiana, Temple, Penn State, Rhode Island, Saint Joseph’s, La Salle and East Carolina which he already held, he added offers from Xavier, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Iowa, Pittsburgh Virginia Tech and Florida State since the first evaluation period. He is hoping to visit Xavier on Sunday after the event is over if time permits.
Tony Carr, Team Final – The 2016 point guard showed off a smooth shooting stroke on Friday night in Lexington. He finished second on the team in scoring with 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range. He also had three rebounds, two steals and an assist.
Carr’s stroke was smooth and confident on the three triples he hit and the other shot he made was a stepback jumper from 17 feet in the short corner. He also handled the ball well in transition and made sound decisions.
Carr has offers from Georgetown, Maryland Indiana, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, Iowa, Florida State, Xavier, Temple, Rhode Island, Penn State, and George Washington. He too expects to visit Xavier on Sunday.
Dylan Painter, Team Final – The 2016 center didn’t play many minutes due to the team’s easy win, but he still showed a soft touch in limited opportunities on Friday. He finished with seven points (3-6 FG), five rebounds and two blocks in 15 minutes of action.
Painter had a few shots rim out, but overall he looked very comfortable on the offensive end. He feels very confident in his ability to score with a jump hook or quick turnaround from six to 10 feet from the basket, and he has the touch to do so. Also, he faced his man up near the perimeter, drove into the lane and threw successful no-look passes to teammates on two different occasions, which was very intriguing.
Painter has offers from Xavier, Penn State, Georgia Tech, Saint Joseph’s, Rhode Island, Davidson, Yale, Richmond, Duquesne, Hofstra, Lehigh, George Mason, Lafayette, La Salle, Boston, Holy Cross, American, Marist and Dayton. He will visit X on Sunday with his teammates if it all works out.
Xavier Simpson, King James – The 2016 point guard was the best player on his King James team Friday night in a 70-65 loss to PSA Cardinals, even though his outside shot wasn’t falling. He finished with a team-high 15 points (6-20 FG, 1-7 3PT), five assists, four steals, four rebounds and one turnover.
Even though his shot wasn’t falling from deep, Simpson still stood out because of his control over the game on the offensive end. His understanding of how to dictate the pace of a game and also run his team is a skill set that never fades, even when he isn’t scoring. Once again, he showed that his top priority as a point guard was to take care of the basketball and value possessions.
He has offers from Xavier, Iowa, Iowa State, Butler, Illinois, Northwestern, Cleveland State and Toledo. Mack and Steele both visited him at school this week.