Under Armour: Louisville
Markelle Fultz, DC Blue Devils - The 2016 guard's unique scoring ability was on display on Saturday despite his Blue Devils suffering a 60-54 loss to the Illinois Wolves. He finished with a team-high 20 points on 8-of-19 shooting from the field, including 2-of-5 from 3-point range, with four rebounds, three assists, two steals and two turnovers.
Fultz has one of the silkiest shots you'll see, and he's one of the rare players who shoots it really well off the dribble. On Saturday, he scored most of his points off of his signature one- and two-dribble pull-up jumpers. He got off to a slow start in the first half, which is the reason for his inefficient stat line, but even the shots he missed looked perfect in terms of his release and the way they hung softly on the rim before falling out. The other aspect about his game that stood out is how patient and unselfish he plays on the offensive end. He’s a volume scorer that doesn’t force bad shots.
Fultz has offers from Arizona, Kansas, Louisville, Xavier, Virginia, Pittsburgh, Memphis, South Carolina, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Georgetown, Cincinnati, Washington, Miami, Oklahoma State, Texas, NC State, Southern California, West Virginia, Penn State and DePaul. Xavier received an unofficial visit from him on Friday.
Damien Jefferson, SYF Players - The 2016 wing showed off the first step, length and body control on Saturday that could make him one of the biggest risers in the class this spring and summer. He finished with 18 points on 6-of-14 shooting (6-7 FT) to go with seven rebounds, an assist and a steal in a 70-69 loss to the NY Jayhawks.
While his team doesn't exactly play well together or share the ball much, Jefferson was a difficult matchup for the Jayhawks whenever he had the ball in his hands. In addition to being a good athlete, he has great burst on his first step and when rising to finish. His length and body control helps him adjust his shots on the fly, but at times he contorted himself too much in the air and made it too difficult to finish. One trait of his game that especially stood out on Saturday was his willingness to use his length and athleticism to make an impact on the glass, particularly on the offensive end.
Jefferson has received offers from New Mexico and Ball State this month, but he’s also receiving interest from Xavier and other high majors.
Joey Brunk, Indy Hoosiers - The 2016 center's touch and footwork were on full display Saturday morning. He finished with 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting to go with four rebounds, two steals, a block and an assist in a 66-54 loss to Net Gain Sports.
Brunk has a big, strong frame that he combines with a variety of post moves to score with his back to the basket. A few of his top moves included a baseline spin move and reverse layup finish, a baby hook, and an off balance fadeaway in the lane. He's also comfortable facing the basket where he has confidence in his soft midrange jumper and sees the floor well as a passer. On the defensive end, Brunk isn't the quickest guy but he moves well enough and has the strength to get the job done as a post defender.
Illinois is the most recent school to offer and seems to be a big factor now in his recruitment. He also listed Xavier, Butler, Indiana, Purdue and Michigan State as the other “big ones” that are involved with him.
Aric Holman, Hoop Dreams - The 2016 stretch four's length and athleticism made a big impact in the second half of Hoop Dreams' 69-63 win over The Firm on Saturday evening. He finished with 14 points (9-10 FG), 14 rebounds and two blocks.
Holman has always possessed all of the physical tools to be a special talent, but in the past his motor and productivity have been noticeably lacking. On Saturday he was more active around the paint, which led to his teammates finding him on dropoffs or off of cuts for easy dunks and finishes. Defensively his lateral mobility is elite and he changed several shots because of his length. Overall, Saturday was definitely one of the best showings Holman has had in front of me.
Holman listed Minnesota, Louisville, Xavier, Cincinnati, Auburn, Texas, South Carolina and St. Louis as the schools that have offered and are still seriously involved in his recruitment since he reclassified to the 2016 class.
Jeremy Carter-Sheppard, Team Loaded – The 2016 point guard showed why Xavier decided to extend a scholarship offer to him after watching him two weeks ago in Dallas on Saturday night. He finished with 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting (2-7 3PT), three rebounds, two steals, an assist and no turnovers in a win over the Upward Stars.
Carter-Sheppard is a point guard but he plays off the ball on his aptly named Team Loaded squad. Part of what makes him the best candidate on his team to slide off the ball is his quick trigger approach from the outside and overall ability to score. While he’s had a few rough games from deep recently, including the 2-for-7 performance against Upward Stars and an 0-for-7 game against the NY Rens earlier in the day, his shot looks smooth and consistent with little space needed to get it off. He also showed off a really tight handle and played under control whenever he had the ball.
Carter-Sheppard holds offers from Xavier, Cincinnati, Richmond, Miami (OH), Duquesne, Robert Morris, UNCW, Longwood, Hampton, East Carolina and Mount St. Mary’s.