Classes of ’19 and ’20 shine at USA Basketball Mini-Camp

COLORADO SPRINGS – A combined 39 members from the high school classes of 2019 and 2020 were on hand Saturday and Sunday during a “mini-camp” held by USA Basketball.

And over the course of the four two-plus hour sessions (which included drills and scrimmaging and also included 15 players from the class of 2017), each player showed why his name was identified and why he earned a round-trip ticket to Colorado Springs.

I went into detail about the 15 seniors who attended during a BurlisonOnBasketball report I filed Saturday night. Nothing I saw during the two sessions on Sunday did much to alter my opinion on what I saw Saturday.

And, once again, University of Washington-bound Michael Porter Jr. (Seattle Nathan Hale) was clearly the best of the bunch – among any class – in the building Sunday.

Until someone convinces otherwise between now and “all-star game circuit” that runs through early April of next year, the 6-foot-9 Porter is my easy choice as the No. 1 player in the class.

OK: On to the classes of 2019 and ’20 . . .

Six-foot left hander De’Von Hampton (Denton, TX, Guyer), a sophomore, was the best of the 2019-20 point guards on display.

He’s a strong, precise and clever ball-handler and passer, hit open shots, didn’t force things (unlike several other players, across the classes, over the weekend) and competed well when matched some of the 2017 PGs.

In the 2020 class of PGs, the West’s best at the position in the class, Nico Mannion (Scottsdale, AZ, Pinnacle) was good on Saturday and exceptional on Sunday.

Another very good from 2019, Cole Anthony (New York Archbishop Molloy), impressed on Sunday and was held out of drills and scrimmages Sunday (because of some ailment or injury, apparently nothing serious because he wasn’t limping while watching Sunday).

It was a very deep field of “wing-types” (shooting guards/small forwards) in the two younger classes on display and most of them seemed to get better with each scrimmage.

Noteworthy in that category in 2019 were 6-5 Scottie Lewis (Tinton Falls, NJ, Ranney School), 6-7 Christian Brown (Columbia, SC, Flora), 6-5 Jaime Jaquez (Camarillo, CA, Camarillo) and 6-6 Juwan Gary (Columbia, SC, Gray Academy).

Lewis is, at worst, a top five prospect in the class (regardless of position).

But Brown, from first workout to the fourth, played as well as anyone in the frosh-soph classes over the weekend.

Jaquez, already one of the very best underclassmen (including all non-seniors) in California, competed quite well over two days, attacking off the dribble for dunks and layups in traffic and nailing jumpers both off the dribble and catch.

Brown was as good as any 2019 player I saw over the weekend. It was my first extended viewing of him but he’s going to be in contention for Top Five in the class whenever I finalized my pre-season 2019 rankings.

And Gary was the most impressive scorer in the 2020 and 2019 sets over the final session on Sunday evening. Only Trae Young (Norman, OK, North) – arguably the best guard in the 2017 class – jump shot as well as Gary did on Sunday.

The 2020 wings who most impressed over the two days were 6-6 Jy’are Davis (Hockessin, DE, Sanford School), 6-6 Dudley Blackwell (Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Westminster Academy), 6-4 Jalen Green (Fresno, CA, San Joaquin Memorial), 6-8 Gregory Brown III (Austin, TX, Vandergrift) and 6-5 Micah Peavy (Houston Dekaney).

Of those fellows, Davis and Blackwell impressed me most, especially on Sunday

Posts (power forwards/centers) from 2019 that consistently dazzled on Saturday and Sunday were 6-9 Vernon Carey Jr. (Ft. Lauderdale, FL, University), 6-10 James Wiseman (Nashville, TN, Ensworth School) and 6-8 Onyeka Okongwu (Chino Hills, CA, Chino Hills).

The left-handed Carey (who goes about 230 or so pounds) had the best combination of power and perimeter skill of any of the non-senior “bigs” at the event.

He, too, is a lock Top Five in 2019.

Six-eight Matthew Hurt (Rochester, MN, Marshall) doesn’t have nearly the bulk or low-post power possessed by Carey but scored off the drive and by way of mid- to deep-jump shots.

The “bigs” representing 2020 that were consistently dominant on both days were 6-10 Isaiah Todd (Richmond, VA, Marshall) and 6-9 Xavier Foster (Oskaloosa, IA, Oskaloosa).

No one played better, nor showed as much “upside”, as did Todd.

Granted it’s still a very limited sample to select from but he’s my choice as the No. 1 prospect in the class right now.

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Frank Burlison
One of the most respected basketball writers and basketball talent evaluators in the world. He’s an original (1978) member of the McDonald’s All-American Selection/Advisory Committee and was inducted into the United States Basketball Writers’ Association Hall of Fame during the 2005 Final Four in St. Louis.
Frank Burlison

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