Vegas Notebook: Labissiere, McQuiad & Sears

LAS VEGAS -- Skal Labissiere says five schools are prioritizing him, Matt McQuiad drew a number of coaches and Sears is a 2017 talent.'s staff breaks down all three in their opening day notebook.


On the first day of the third evaluation period, Skal Labissiere had Josh Pastner, John Calipari, John Thompson III, plus assistants from Mississippi and North Carolina sitting on the baseline watching him play at the Big Foot event in Las Vegas.

In the opening game, Labissiere, a 6-foot-11 skilled post player, was superb, as he showed his full scoring arsenal. He hit catch and shoot jump shots from the perimeter, made a right jump hook, ran the floor for points and impacted the game with his shot blocking.

But that wasn’t enough for Labissiere,’s No. 10 prospect in the 2015 class.

“I could have played more aggressive when I got the ball in the post,” Labissiere said I’m working on attacking the basket more instead of settling for the jumper. In the offseason I’m going to work on getting stronger that’s my main problem.

At his size and with the tools at his disposal, its no surprise Labissiere is a hot commodity among college programs. According to him there are five schools that are making him a priority.

“Really Memphis, Kentucky, Ole Miss and North Carolina now and Georgetown too,” Labissiere said.

“They are just getting in contact with me more,” he added. “They call more. They text my guardian a lot and North Carolina recently just offered.”

Roy Williams watched Labissiere multiple times during July and pulled the trigger with an offer on Monday.

“That was the second time I’ve talked to coach Williams,” he said. “He told me he was going to talk to me in Philly and after that he offered me.”

While UNC is starting to ramp up their interest, Memphis has been there from day one and they’ve been tracking him from event to event this July.

“It’s a great school,” Labissiere said. “Coach [Josh] Pastner and coach [Robert] Kirby, he’s been recruiting me. They were the first school to offer and we’ve been talking since then, since the eighth grade really. They have a great fan base over there and obviously it’s my second home.”

John Calipari and Kentucky have been heavily involved for quite some time as well. He told he likes how many professional players Calipari has produced.

“It’s a great school,” he said. “What’s not to like about coach Cal? He sends guys to the pros and it’s a great program.”

Mississippi has received quite a bit of buzz around Labissiere’s recruitment as of late and he said their distance from home is a positive.

“They are an hour away,” the Cordova (Tenn.) Evangelical Christian standout said. “Obviously that’s close to home. It’s a great program.”

Georgetown is selling their history of talented big men and Labissiere is paying close attention to that.

“It’s a big man school,” he said. ‘Their offense runs through their big men, so that’s something I’m really looking into.”

Labissiere said he wants to start setting up college visits following the final July evaluation period, which ends on Sunday.

--Evan Daniels

McQuaid finds range, brings coaches front and center

When Matt McQuaid recently de-committed from SMU, everyone knew he'd immediately attract a bevy of high-major coaches. The Class of 2015 is plagued by a lack of shooters, and McQuaid is one of the country's foremost marksmen. He not only possesses a stroke that's pure, he gets into his shot immediately on the catch and doesn't need much time to fire away.

McQuad draws coaches

In his first outing here in Sin City, the slender shooting guard torched the nets early for Team Texas Elite in their loss to New Heights. He stroked several long threes, including pull-ups, off-the-catch and with easy, obvious confidence. Even his misses generally looked good, always the hallmark of a good shooter.

His athleticism projects to be just average for the high-major level, and he's likely a couple years away in terms of strength. Still, he's quick enough to get into the lane on occasion, at least frequently enough to punish defenders who crowd him on the perimeter. He may never be a great defender, but shooters tend to enjoy greater slack than other players due to their critical importance to the team. If, hypothetically, McQuaid is the best shooter yet also the word defender on the squad, he'll still play big minutes.

He cooled off in the second half on day one but certainly did not make the coaches observing him feel like he'd wasted their time. His recruitment has taken off in short order, and he already has compiled offers from Indiana, Texas, Creighton, Baylor and LSU. McQuaid cited the Longhorns, Bluejays and Bears are carryovers from his original recruitment, while the Hoosiers and Tigers represent new entrants.

Additionally, he has fielded phone calls from North Carolina assistant Hubert Davis and Virginia assistant Jason Williford, though neither the Tar Heels nor Cavaliers has offered yet.

"I want a system where I fit in, and want to shoot and want to play," McQuaid said.

He added that he'll continue to consider SMU, though a reunion appears unlikely. McQuaid undoubtedly will continue to draw coaches to his games this week.

--Rob Harrington

Sears one of west’s top 2017 prospects

It’s not difficult to figure out what kind of prospect DreamVision 15u has in Ernie Sears.

When you see a kid like Sears in layup lines you hope he knows how to play and in this case, he definitely can.

The 6-foot-3, 155-pound wing from Mission Hills (Calif.) Alemany has a terrific basketball body with extremely long arms and a slender, athletic frame.

Sears has natural basketball instincts and used his anticipation and quick hands to pick up several steals on Wednesday afternoon.

The 2017 prospect made play after play in transition, either going to the basket or, more often, making a perfect pass to a teammate.

Sears will need to keep getting stronger and adding to his skill set, but his upside is very high.

The baby-faced prospect says that he’s grown four inches in the last year and is working hard on adding to his game.

“I think I’m a good penetrator but I’m lacking in outside shooting,” Sears said. “I’ve gotten a lot better there though. I’m pretty good on defense anticipating steals. “

Northern Arizona and Cal Poly are the only two schools that have shown interest so far, according to Sears, whose father, Ernie Sears, Sr., played basketball at California.

--Josh Gershon

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