LAS VEGAS – Wednesday, Day 1 of the final NCAA evaluation period in July, is a wrap!
Bishop Gorman High, home to the Fab 48, was the first stop on a five-day stretch of hoops watching.
And here we go . . .
There were three sets of two exhibition games, played side-by-side, on Gorman’s court’s 1 and 2 (there is even a court 3 on the other of the building, where games will also be played when pool-play action gets under way Thursday morning at 8 o’clock).
On Court 1, Anthony Brown’s Las Vegas Prospects/16s had a pretty much wire-to-wire victory over Southern California-based Prodigy Elite, 86-69.
All of Brown’s juniors-to-be, including guards Shaquile Carr (Canyon Springs) and Darryl Gaynor (Palo Verdes), as well as “wing-types” Diontae Jones (Clark), Gerad Davis (Canyon Springs and – sleeper alert! – Spencer Mathis (Valley), were outstanding.
Their collective performance was more than enough to handle Prodigy despite another in a serious of dazzling performances by Jordan McLaughlin, one of the Class of 2014’s elite prospects – regionally and nationally.
McLaughlin (Etiwanda, alma mater to the Dallas Mavericks’ Darren Collison) hit four 3s in the first half and probably finished with 30 or so points (my apologies; I didn’t peruse the Court 1 score sheets).
The 6-footer has reached the point where high school defenders don’t “stop him” – he just misses shots because they don’t happen to fall.
On Court 2, another one of Brown’s Prospects team – the 15s – held off another Southland squad, Double Pump Elite 2015, 73-70. Six-one Jordan Davis – a prep teammate of Carr and Davis – scored 32 points.
And how many “true high schools” (non-prep schools) – are going to have the kind of perimeter attack Canyon Springs will field next winter?
Another guard, Cameron Burton (Valley), penetrated pretty much at will and got the ball where it needed to go for the winners, whose Ty’Rek Wells (a 6-1 blue-chip football prospects as a running back and also from Valley) had a monstrous dunk over the top of Double Pump’s 6-8 Trevor Stanback (who is set to be a freshman at Chaminade in the San Fernando Valley town of West Hills late next month).
In Set II, Belmont Shore (based in Long Beach, CA) scored the final 16 points (over about six minutes) to beat another SoCal club, Double Pump Elite 17s, 66-60, on Court 1.
Six-four Tyler Dorsey (who was at Ribet Academy in Los Angeles as a freshman but is expected to play for Findlay Prep in near-by Henderson as a sophomore) led Belmont Shore with 22 points while 6-6 junior-to-be Daniel Hamilton (Bellflower, CA, St. John Bosco) orchestrated the comeback with his passing and scoring
Court 2 was host to Dallas Showtyme Elite 17’s 74-72 decision over the Las Vegas Prospect’s top (17s) squad.
Guard Mr – yes, Mr, as in “mister” – Washington paced the Dallas squad with his driving and jump shooting while 6-6 Rashad Muhammad (uh, huh; he is the younger brother of you-know-who, and will be a senior at Gorman) led the Prospects with 29 points.
Muhammad’s improvement since the end of his junior season is somewhere in the vicinity of “off-the-chart-ville”.
His jump shots are tight, and his drives fluid and decisive.
In the final contests of the evening the DC Assault pulled away in the second half to knock off Memphis-based M33M, 84-71, on Court 1 while two Los Angeles-based clubs hooked up on Court 2 with Kenny Smith-coached Aim High 16 trimming CBC – heavily laden with players from the Classes of 2016 and 17 – in what was a tight game pretty much throughout, 74-67.
Brandon Boyd (who will be a junior guard at Woodland Hills, CA, Alemany) next season, had a team-high 19 points for the victors while Smith’s son – KJ Smith, who will be a sophomore at Westlake Village, CA, Oaks Christian – chipped in with 13 points for the winners.
Six-seven Cody Riley – who will be an eighth grader at Sierra Canyon in the San Fernando Valley community of Chatsworth – led all scorers with 30 points. Yes, as in “three-oh-my-he-sure-is-good!”
The Washington, DC-based team trailed for most of the first half before turning up the offensive and defensive pressured over the final 16 minutes.
The Assault – coached by former NBA head honcho (and player) Eddie Jordan – got multiple exceptional performances, including those by Roddy Peters (6-3/Forestville, MD, Suitland), Junior Utou (Arlington, VA, Bishop O’Connell) and Ahmad Fields (6-5/Woodstock, VA, Military Academy).
M33M – sponsored by NBA player Mike Miller – has two of the most heavily recruited prospects in the deep South in 6-8 Austin Nichols (Eads, TN, Briarcrest) and 6-4 Robert Hubbs III (quite the jump shooter, he is) from Newbern, TN (near Memphis), Dyer County High.
Nichols was hampered by foul issues but had a half-dozen or so eye-popping finishes.
There is no head-scratching about why so many college programs – seemingly every college staff in the ACC or SEC is in pursuit – would love to coax Nichols and/or Hubbs into applying pen to letter of intent in November.
Frank Burlison is 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. You can catch his writing, player evaluations and comments on the sport – on all levels – at www.BurlisonOnBasketball.com and via his Twitter account – FrankieBur. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org