LAS VEGAS – Day II of the NCAA’s final evaluation period took me across the gamut:
There were Thursday stops at Rancho (morning), Durango (mid-afternoon) and Bishop Gorman (early evening) high schools – with a pit stop tossed at a Chili’s for re-fueling.
The lowdown, starting with the Rancho stop for the adidas Super 64 . . .
*The Garner Elite (North Carolina) vs. Dream Vision (California) showdown was a dandy, with the Isaac Hamilton-led Cali lads finally prevailing in OT (79-73) after trailing through most of the first half.
University of North Carolina-bound Isaiah Hicks (6-foot-8/Oxford, NC/ Webb) showed glimpses of why he rated among the top half-dozen or so forwards at his size, nationally, getting to the rim – to rebound and to score – quickly.
There is speculation that the other outstanding post prospect on the team, 6-9 Isaac Copeland (Raleigh, NC/The Miller School), will “reclassify” from the 2013 class to 2014.
Regardless, he’s at tremendously skilled player, and an especially good shoot, both from near the arc, the mid-range and in and around the lane – as he demonstrated, especially in the first half, Thursday morning.
The team also got solid efforts from two other players who also impressed me when I watched the club in April in Las Vegas – point guard Devonte Graham (6-1/Raleigh, NC/Broughton) and Tyrone Outlaw (6-5/Roxboro, NC/Person County).
Graham is one of the better PG prospects in the class of 2013, nationally, although his name isn’t often brought up in those conversations. He is SOOOOO quick.
Outlaw, a relentless offensive rebounder, has really made a lot of progress with his jump – expanding its range and accuracy.
The 6-4 Hamilton (Bellflower, CA/St. John Bosco) dictated both the tempo and the efficiency of Dream Vision’s offense. When the ball was in his hands, he usually made something, positive occur, either by delivering passes to “finishers” such as Anthony January (the gifted forward from Woodland Hills, CA, Taft, who was a senior last season but is an academically non-qualifier) and 6-6 Jamal Aytes (San Juan Capistrano, CA/JSerra), or scoring himself in a multitude of fashions.
He is the No. 2 prospect in the California Class of 2013 (behind Aaron Gordon of San Jose Mitty, naturally).
The game between the Ohio Basketball Club and Indiana Elite was also well-played, with the Hoosiers pulliing it out, 64-59, behind the overall play of Andrew Dakich (6-0/Zionsville) – his dad, ESPN commentator and former coach and player Dan Dakich, coaches the club), Michigan-bound Mark Donnal (6-9/Indianapolis Wayne) and Alex Etherington (6-6/Hamilton Heights).
The Compton Magic got a strong performance – one of his best of the spring and summer – from 6-5 Roschon Prince (Long Beach, CA/Poly) – to beat Tacoma, Washington-based Team Bradley.
On to Durango and the Big Foot Classic . . .
*The Mac Irvin squad is missing highly touted Jabari Parker (foot injury) but that didn’t prevent it from pulling away in the second half for a victory over a solid Arizona Select squad.
That’s because the Chicago crew counts as one of its starters 6-10 Jahil Okafor (Whitney Young) – the best center in high school hoops, regardless of class.
Okafor dominated play from the post – at both ends – with 50-something college head coaches looking on from the “BCS” conferences
He is among the top five prospects on the prep level, regardless of class affiliation.
The Chicago squad also got spectacular – and consistently effective – moments from 6-5 Sterling Brown (Proviso East), an elite-level “wing-type”.
Arizona Select has one of the very best of the “big” prospects in the Western Class of 2014 in 6-8 Payton Dastrup (Mesa, AZ/Mountain View). He played well, especially on the offensive end (his mid-range to near-arc jump shot makes him a threat as a “pick and pop 4”) and as a defensive rebounder.
The Oakland Soldiers, fresh off their Peach Jam championship in South Carolina last week, were upset by Southern California-based California Supreme – another Nike-front program – 77-70 in a significant upset.
Even with guards Nigel Williams-Goss and Parker Jackson-Cartwright out of uniform with injuries, the SoCal guys – with a big hand from 6-8 Marcus Lee (Antioch, CA/Deer Valley), who lives a lot closer to Oakland than do many of the Soldiers – were comfortably in front throughout and never seriously threatened.
Torren Jones (6-8/Phoenix, AZ) and Jordan Mathews (6-2/Santa Monica, CA) were outstanding in stretches for California Supreme.
The 6-8 Aaron Gordon (San Jose Mitty), of course, was the best prospect on the floor during the game. He’s a Top Five – conservatively – player in the 2013 class.
And, at Bishop Gorman, for the Fab 48 . . .
*I zeroed in on the Texas Select-Prodigy Elite (based in SoCal) and M33M (Memphis area) vs. New York Rens contests – which were won by the Texans and New Yorkers, respectively, in front of large gatherings of head coaches from coast to coast.
The first of those games was highlighted by the presence of two of the better 2014 point guards prospects in Emmanuel Mudiay (6-2/Arlington, TX/Grace Prep) and Jordan McLaughlin (6-1/Etiwanda, CA/Etiwanda).
Mudiay is much stronger than McLaughlin with the latter quicker off the dribble and possessing more shooting range – although, after spraining an ankle earlier in the day, he struggled to knock in open jumpers until the final minutes of the contest, when he led a furious comeback then came up just short.
The Rens have one of the best point guards in the Class of 2013 – although many in the national recruiting media have yet to catch on – in Terence Samuel (6-3/Brooklyn South Shore).
Most of the programs in the Big East – and beyond – are now involved with Samuel, whose playmaking, defense, leadership and scoring skills were all top-notch Thursday night.
M33M, of course, is led by 6-9 Austin Nichols, who could be making a push for Top 10 status in the national Class of 2013.
The scope of his skill level is still to be recognized by a lot of folks who write about recruiting.
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 email@example.com