Make no bones about it, South Carolina is a football state. Even still though there are some outstanding high school basketball prospects rooted right here in the Palmetto State as well. SCPrepNation.com prides itself in bringing forth the most talented prospects in South Carolina not only on the gridiron but also the hardwood as well. In this installment of our "UP NEXT" series we sat down with 2010 Aiken High SG/SF Justin Maxwell who is starting to generate plenty of interest for himself from a multitude of D1 programs early on.
For the Maxwell household the phone calls and emails stream in on a regular basis. Normally on the other end? College coaches who are very excited about what they've seen of the standout SG/SF from Aiken High. Justin already has tremendous size at 6'5 185 pounds. His most noticeable skill is one that in many ways has gone to the wayside, the lost art of shooting the basketball. Don't get us wrong, there are guys who can shoot the rock but then there are guy who can really stroke it and burn up the nets. Justin falls into the latter category.
So far Justin has interest from a number of D1 programs and he shared a brief listing of the ones who call the most for him currently. "I hear from Richmond, William and Mary, George Mason, Boston University, Northeastern, BYU, Rice, UT-Martin, St Joseph's, SMU, Furman, College of Charleston, Elon, and USC Upstate on a regular basis."
"Out of those schools I'd say that Richmond, William and Mary, Boston University, BYU, SMU, College of Charleston, UT-Martin and Rice are contacting me the most frequently."
With so many schools involved early on does Maxwell have a clear cut favorite at this juncture in his recruitment? "No, not at this time. I don't have one favorite but Richmond, College of Charleston, Boston University, and Brigham Young are some of my early favorites."
Maxwell has been contacted about making some visits to some of the schools mentioned earlier but has yet to make any journey to those campuses yet. "I haven't yet. Richmond and UT-Martin have also invited me to upcoming games."
In-state College of Charleston is slated to come and see Justin play soon so we'll see if Bobby Cremins and staff making the trip to Aiken plays a role in their chances of swaying Maxwell early on.
So far it's been an up and down season for Maxwell and Aiken High. "We're 11-9 overall, and 5-6 in Region V-AAAA. Our region is one of the toughest in the state right now." Given the tough teams they've faced Maxwell has a bright outlook for his team and himself heading towards the home stretch. "My goals are to finish the season strong and make a strong run in the playoffs. It would be great to make all-region and all-state."
Having watched various games of Justin in action we've got a analysis that will be posted at the bottom of this article. We asked the junior to assess his own game right now in terms of strengths and weaknesses and he obliged. "I can shoot it from deep and midrange, and I can also get to the basket. I'm also versatile. I've played four different positions at times for Aiken this year, including point guard." As for areas of improvement he offered up the following, "I'm going to work on my strength and my defense this offseason."
Last year Maxwell ran with TOPPS Black on the AAU circuit. TOPPS Black finished as runners up in the 16U SC State Championship and made it to the final four for 16U in the Peach State Showcase at USC-Aiken.
Displaying a great game on the court is one thing but Justin also gets it done in the classroom as well. He reports a 3.1 GPA taking advanced classes. He will be taking the SAT in March. The 2010 prospect also has an idea as to what he'd like to pursue in college already. "I may want to major in Sports Management or Sports Medicine."
What will Maxwell be looking at closely when making the decision for college? "First off is my education, I want to get a degree in either sports management or sports medicine. I also want to come in as a freshman and be able to play in the strongest conference possible. I'm also going to look at the style of play. I like a team who gets up and down the floor."
SCPrepNation.com will continue to bring you the latest updates regarding Justin Maxwell and other top hoops prospects from the Palmetto State so keep it locked in right here!
FUN FACTS with...Justin Maxwell
Favorite player: Lebron James
Favorite food: Steak
Favorite school subject: History
Favorite thing to do when not playing basketball: Hanging out with friends
Who is the most inspirational person in your life? My dad, he's the one who got me started with basketball and taught me most of what I know about the game today.
If you could pick any 2 teammates in the world for a 3 on 3 tourney who would you pick? Lebron James and Chris Paul
Finish this scenario, 10 seconds left in the game and your team is down by one point. You have the ball in your hands at the time line...."I'm taking it to the basket, to either get the layup or draw the foul and win the game."
Justin Maxwell has what I call tremendous basketball savvy. Some players press and force the issue but Justin flows and plays with a quiet confidence. His strength at this point is indeed his shooting ability. Most "shooters" at this stage are proficient from behind the arc. Justin stands out in that he's able to knock down not only threes but he also has a nice midrange game as well. He has good vision despite being a shooting guard and we feel many schools will value that trait. Could easily go out and average 25+ points per game but he does what is asked of him to help his team. In all honesty, there are times where you want him to be more selfish on the offensive end. Undoubtedly he will need to get stronger but that will come with time in the weight room and as his body continues to mature. Should he get stronger and continue to work on his ballhandling there's a chance he could jump from mid-major prospect and entice a few looks from some high level teams. The size is already there and in the right system he's a good fit as a guy who can knock down shots and help facilitate an offense if asked to.