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Scouting Report: 2015 C Deyonta Davis (MSU) Reply

A 6’9” center who is one of the premier shot-blockers in his class, Deyonta Davis continues to add skills to his physical gifts, and establish himself on the national stage. He’s exceptionally mobile for a player his size, possessing a good pair of hands, and nifty footwork. His post-game is in the early stages of development, but his unique combination of length, athleticism, and versatility will ultimately place him towards the top of the 2015 rankings.
Davis had a breakout year as a junior. After committing to Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans in December, Davis absolutely dominated down the stretch, while leading his Muskegon High School (MI) team to a 28-0 record and the Class A State Championship. An All-State selection, he went on a tear in the state tournament, averaging 21 points, 10.3 rebounds and 5.3 blocks.
Davis has deservedly received a lot of buzz this season, and he’s made his way up the rankings as a result. Earlier today, I analyzed film of Muskegon’s State Championship win over Bloomfield Hills (MI) in an attempt to direct Davis’ game and project his development as a prospect. Check out my breakdown of Davis’ performance, skill-set, and recruitment, as well as a highlight tape of his 16-point outing versus Arthur Hill (MI):

Evaluation:

Muskegon HS vs. Bloomfield Hills HS – 3/22/14
Blessed with the type of size, and length that scouts dream about, Deyonta Davis is an elite interior defender with major upside, and the ability to play multiple roles. His anticipation and athleticism are his biggest weapons, and while his lean frame limits his production as a post scorer, Davis’ non-stop motor and blossoming face-up game make him a truly gifted two-way player. As Davis fills out his frame and develops his post-game, he has the mobility and versatility to be a Top 25 recruit this time next year.
In the State Championship Game against Bloomfield Hills, Davis was matched up with Georgia signee Yante Maten, a big-bodied post player who inflicts damage around the rim. This provided an ideal scenario to gauge his progression, and assess the biggest weaknesses in his game. Maten took it to the hole on a couple of possessions, but was only effective from point-blank rage, and had a tough time finishing over the length of Davis. This highlighted Davis’ effectiveness in 1-on-1 situations, as he showed the patience, anticipation and footwork to time his jump, avoid the foul, and consistently deter Maten’s shot attempts. In the first half, Davis and Muskegon had a 24-4 advantage on points in the paint, and that trend continued in the second half.
Davis’ biggest strength is diverse skill set. There aren’t many 6’9” bigs who run, and jump like Davis, or impact the game in so many ways. Mid-way through the second quarter, Davis had a stretch that embodied the level of versatility he brings to the floor. Off an out-of-bounds set, Davis came over from the weak-side to block a shot. As a teammate recovered the ball, Davis beat everyone down the floor, and spotted up on the perimeter. On the break, Muskegon’s point guard knifed into the lane and kicked it out to Davis, who stepped into a 18-footer and drained it. A couple minutes before that, Davis showed his all-around scoring ability on a set play in which he started on the weak-side elbow, received a pass as he curled around a screen by 2-guard Joeviair Kennedy, and took a single dribble before laying it in over the outstretched hand of Maten.
At 6’9”, Davis is a gifted shot-blocker with a quick second jump, and excellent recovery speed. He shows good fundamentals on blocked shots, going straight up and down, and never yielding an inch to oncoming traffic. One of the most underrated aspects of Davis’ game is his mere presence in the lane. Opposing players are always aware of his position on the floor, and his reputation as a premier post defender forces guards and wings to pull-up from 15-feet, instead of continuing their drive to the basket.
Davis’s shot-blocking prowess makes him an extremely valuable help defender, and he’s got the basketball IQ, anticipation, and range to cover both sides of the paint. In the Championship Game, Yante Maten wasn’t able to finish at the rim, so he began to stretch out to mid-range, which drew Davis away from the basket. Davis made the decision to give Maten those looks, sagging off him a good 3 or 4 feet, which allowed Davis to stay in position to offer help if Maten passed out of his shot. 
As a scorer, Davis is at his best in transition, where he simply beats opposing bigs rim-to-rim for easy buckets. With Deshaun Thrower leading the break, Davis was able to go stride-for-stride with the Stony Brook signee. He’s quite the athlete for a player his size, flashing the ability to rise up and throw it down, regardless of who is standing in his way. If the ball-hander takes it straight to the rack, Davis gets in prime position to tip in a miss, and is so quick to the ball that he’s constantly called for offensive goaltending.
Offensively, Davis has the skill to step out and knockdown 18-foot jumpers. He is always active on the offensive end, but his lack of strength is an issue, as he gets pushed off the block, and struggles to hold position on post-ups. Davis has a tendency to fade away from bigs on short-range jumpers, which makes his shot much easier to get a piece of. Even when his shot was blocked, Davis never gave up on a play, and constantly followed his shots, leading to easy put-back buckets. 
In Muskegon’s offense, a lot of Davis’ production came from being a decoy. With the ball at the top of the key, Davis stands at the edge of the paint, forcing his defender to stay on his hip. This opens a driving lane to the basket, as the threat of Davis throwing it down of a pocket pass forces his man to stay home. He doesn’t set a very wide screen, but Davis causes matchup problems in the pick & roll. He’s always looking to slip to the basket for the quick lob pass, but can also pop-out to the elbow and stroke a 16-foot jumper.
His soft hands, and huge wingspan make Davis a constant threat on the boards. Area rebounding is one of his biggest strengths, and his vertical leap is a big-time weapon in this facet of the game. However, his ability to add 10-15 pounds of muscle this summer will ultimately determine his potential as a rebounder. He has a tendency of going up for a rebound with one hand instead of two, which is OK at this level, but will lead to strips and loose balls as he transition to the college level. 

Skill Rating:

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In TCT’s Rating System, Deyonta Davis earns a future rating of 90. He’s in the 86-87 range at this point in time, but given the jump he has made over the past 12 months, I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up surpassing my expectations. Davis been on the scene for a little while now, but the improvement in his consistency and motor has taken his game to a whole new level. With his reputation as an elite shot-blocker, and his continued development as a mid-range shooter, Davis has put himself in the mix with the top big men in the junior class.
In order to take that next step, Davis needs to get in the weight room to add some bulk, and log a ton of hours in gym working on his post-game. He’s got the ability to step away and make off-the-catch jumpers, but by solidifying his foundation and adding a go-to post move, he can become more than just a producer out of the pick & pop, and second chance opportunities. Davis needs to start with the basics. He’s got nice touch around the rim, but needs to expand his arsenal by adding scoring moves on the block, and a couple of counters. 

Recruitment:

Before blowing up at the end of his junior summer, Davis was being recruited by mid-majors in the immediate area, fielding offers from Cleveland State, Detroit, Illinois-Chicago, and Northern Illinois during the months of June and July. His stock took off heading into the fall, earning offers from Iowa State, Marquette, Memphis, Michigan State, Missouri, and UNLV. After taking a string of visits to East Lansing, Davis committed to the Spartans on December 11th, citing his family’s proximity to the MSU campus and his relationship with the coaching staff.
“The big fella surprised me,” Muskegon head coach Keith Guy told Mark Opfermann. “The scholarship has been on the table for months and he just said this morning, ‘I’m ready to roll.’ We went down to the North Carolina game and he liked it. Like I said, he’s been around Coach Izzo a lot and Coach Dwayne Stephens, who’s done an excellent job recruiting him and building a relationship. They feel he can be the next Adreian Payne.
If his pledge holds firm, Davis will be the first Michigan native to make his way to East Lansing since the Spartans’ 2012 recruiting class, when Izzo reeled in Denzel Valentine and Matt Costello. MSU has always been a presence in the midwest, but they’ve struggled to lockdown the state of Michigan in recent years, letting five-star wing James Young escape last year, and missing out on 4-star big man Jaylen Johnson this season.

Highlights:

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Scouting Report: 2016 SG Zack Norvell Reply

A natural scorer at the 2-guard position, Zack Norvell had an up-and-down sophomore year, but he has the shooting ability and versatility to be a Top 25 recruit down the road. With his composed demeanor on the court and smooth style, Norvell is years beyond his age, and he’s as skilled above the neck as he is with the ball in his hands. This was evident in his transition to the point guard position, which was a little rocky in the early going, but his scoring output and all-around production never wavered. 
As a freshman, Norvell was part of a loaded Simeon roster that included NBA-bound Jabari Parker and a pair of Illini guards in Kendrick Nunn and Jaylon Tate, meaning that he’s been on the national radar since his first game at the high school level. Following a year of tutelage under some of the top recruits in the class of 2013, the graduation of Nunn and Tate pushed Norvell into a starting role, where he overcame early struggles to guide a young Simeon Wolverines to a 22-5 record on the season.
After seeing Norvell play limited minutes at the 2013 Hoophall Classic, I’ve taken a look at his sophomore film in an attempt to gauge his progression and project his development. Simeon’s matchup with Curie High School will serve as my base evaluation before checking in on Norvell this summer when he plays with Mac Irvin Fire. Check out my breakdown of Norvell’s performance, skill-set, and recruitment, as well as a highlight tape of Norvell during his freshman year at Simeon:

Evaluation:

Simeon Career Academy (IL) vs. Chicago Curie HS (IL) – 12/28/13
Norvell is a lefty sharpshooter with a smooth jumper and range out to the arc. He gets his shot off in a moments notice, and is a stone-cold killer off 1 and 2 dribble pull-ups, displaying the body control to stop on a dime, rise above his defender, and stroke it from 16-feet. His jumper is effortless, featuring a slight fade, and a quick release, but while his mechanics are sound above the torso, I’d like to see him improve his footwork. He angles his body completely to one side, which makes it easier to straighten out his shooting arm, but reduces the amount of lift he can produce. He needs to do a better job of squaring his hips, stepping into his shot, and getting a couple more inches beneath his feet.
On drives to the rim, quickness is Norvell’s biggest weapon, as he catches the ball in-stride, creating immediate separation and opening a clear lane to the rim. He reads the defense like a quarterback, timing his drives perfectly, and taking full advantage of late switches, or delayed rotations. He shows good burst to the rim, protects the ball with two hands, and seeks out contact. He’s a developing triple-threat, using his quick first step to get into the lane and create high-percentage looks from mid-range. On kick-outs, Norvell catches the ball in motion, which allows him to his first dribble to get by his man, and his second to set up a pull-up jumper from 17-feet.
My favorite part about Norvell’s game is his basketball IQ, and awareness on both ends. Late in the first quarter, Norvell stayed under the basket after a made shot by his team. He made it appear as though he was going to pressure the ball-handler the full length of the floor, but jumped in front of the inbounds pass at the last second, leading to an uncontested lay-in, which resulted in a 4-point swing. It’s the little things like this that make Norvell such a special player. He’s the type of prospect that can be written off by those judging his performance by stats alone, but coveted by D1 coaches who see his ability to produce in every facet of the game.
Without a true point guard on the roster. Norvell has been given the task of running the Simeon offense. It’s clear that he’s out of his comfort zone as a lead guard, but I was impressed by Norvell’s poise running the point, as he didn’t commit a single turnover, which is remarkable considering the amount Curie pressed. He was on point with his passes, and never forced the issue, however, he had a tough time creating for his teammates. 
On the perimeter, he’s a crafty defender who never stops moving, and his combination of fast hands and solid length make him a constant threat to poke the ball loose and start a fastbreak. He plays the passing lanes well, showing excellent footwork and good anticipation. With added strength, Norvell will be able to guard multiple positions, using his 6’4” frame to body up smaller guards, and his length to disrupt bigger wings.
Even though he struggled in the role of facilitator, Norvell has real potential as a combo guard, and his ability to transition between guard positions will do wonders for his value as a prospect. He simply needs to do a better job of looking for his teammates. He drives to the rim with a single focus, but showed deft touch on his passes, and the ability to collapse the D and dish it to the open man off the penetration kick-out. 

Future Rating:

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In TCT’s Rating System, Norvell earns a skill rating of 85, and a future rating of 90. His potential lies in his innate scoring ability, and versatility on the wing. Norvell’s quick first step is his biggest weapon, as he’s lightning quick with the ball in his hands, paired with a smooth jumper and range out to 22-feet. His leaping ability is the most glaring weakness of his game. He can throw down the occasional one-handed jam in transition, but he’s an average athlete, and plays mostly below the rim.
His future rating of 90 is based on his development as a passer, his continued progression as a scorer, and his ability to add 15-20 pounds of muscle to his lean frame. As you can see from the disparity between Norvell’s current and future ratings, I’m expecting Norvell to use his junior summer to breakout in a big way. His basketball IQ is easily the best I’ve seen in the class of 2016, and with his jumper, penchant for getting to the rim, and high-level versatility, Norvell has the foundation of a Top 25 recruit.
In order to take the next step, Norvell needs to show me that he can produce at a consistent level. His motor and work ethic are readily apparent, but at a certain point, production has to trump potential. Whether it’s evolving into a knockdown shooter from all three levels (he’s made major strides, but isn’t quite there), an improved distributor off the bounce, or his team’s No. 1 scoring option, Norvell has the tools to round into a truly unique prospect, he hasn’t quite put it all together.
Even if he doesn’t end up becoming the type of player I am projecting him to be, Norvell has the talent to be one hell of a scorer at the college level, and I’m looking forward to tracking his overall progression through his final years at Simeon.

Recruitment:

His recruitment is in the early stages, but with the presence of former Simeon teammates Kendrick Nunn, Jaylon Tate, and D.J. Williams at Illinois, it’s tough to consider Norvell ending up anywhere but Champaign. He currently holds offers from Bradley, Loloya (IL), and Memphis. According to 247Sports, he’s taken unofficial visits to DePaul, Illinois, and Kansas, with John Groce and his staff getting a look at Norvell twice in the span of one month. It’s only a matter of time before the Illini extend an offer to the projected top player in the state for the class of 2016. Ultimately, his proximity to the Illinois campus and relationship with the current roster will be the determining factors.

Highlights:

 

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Scouting Report: 2015 PF Nate Grimes Reply

A 2015 forward who has seen his stock take off over the past 12 months, Nate Grimes is an intriguing prospect with major length and a ton of potential. He’s a rangy shot-blocker, a developing scorer, and a mobile 4-man with the physical attributes to make an impact all over the floor. He does a little bit of everything for Desert Pines (NV), but going forward, Grimes has the face-up game and versatility to become a dynamic hybrid-4.
Grimes began playing organized ball in 9th grade, when he played on the Cheyenne High School (NV) freshman squad. After academic issues forced him to sit out last season, Grimes played his first year of varsity basketball this season, helping guide Desert Pines to the Division 1-A State Semifinals, while posting averages of 13.8 points, and 9.4 rebounds per game.
During the 2013-2014 high school season, Grimes proved to be one of the biggest risers in the class of 2015, and is currently ranked No. 133 in the 2015 Industry Rankings. In order to see what all the hype is about, I looked over the film from Desert Pines’ loss against Green Valley on December 18. Check out my breakdown of Grimes’ performance, skill-set, and recruitment, as well as a highlight tape of Grimes at the Phase 1 Hoops Top 40 Camp in December, 2013:

Evaluation:

Desert Pines HS (NV) vs. Green Valley HS (NV) – 12/18/13
Nate Grimes isn’t going to blow you away with his athleticism, or shoot the lights out from three-point range. In fact, he’s noticeably raw in almost every area of the game, and is clearly still adjusting to his rapidly growing body. But whether its his lengthy frame, or subtle production across the board, its easy to see why so many college coaches have been impressed by the 6’8” junior. 
His jumper is clearly a work in progress, but while his fundamentals need work, Grimes has a consistent release point, a quick trigger, and range out to the perimeter. On catch and shoot opportunities, Grimes sets his feet in an instant, but he gets little-to-no lift on his jumper. His shot features a natural fade, which needs to be corrected over time, however, the foundation of a suitable jumper is there. His load is fluid, his stroke is compact, and it produces a high-arcing shot with decent rotation on the ball. He has to do a better job of stepping into his shot, and holding his release. This will improve his reliability from beyond the arc as he continues to extend his range. He ended up going 1-4 from 3-point range against Green Valley, hitting his first attempt of the game before going ice-cold.
On drives to the rim, Grimes didn’t show the aggressiveness I would have liked to see out of him, as he didn’t attack the body of Green Valley defenders. Instead of initiating contact, he tried to go around them, and got his shot blocked on a pair of drives as a result. He has to learn to use his size to his full advantage, taking the ball up with two hands, drawing contact, and getting to the free-throw line. He’s got a decent handle for a player his size, but is off-hand dribbling is clearly an issue, and he has to improve his ball security. He’ll have to work on lowering his dribble, as it’s simply too easy for a smaller guard to swipe the ball away. 
Grimes’ biggest strength is his versatility as a defender. He frequently matched up with Green Valley’s primary ball-handler, and he showed the ability to switch onto opposing bigs, using his length to hold his own on the low-block. He’s a skilled shot-blocker with a combination of good anticipation and the length to block or alter a ton of shots in the paint. He doesn’t have the type of quick second jump that is prevalent among elite wings, but he makes up for it with his patience and ability to time his jump.
With that said, Grimes still has a long way to go on the defensive end, and his weaknesses were exposed when Desert Pines switched to a man defense. Given the assignment of Green Valley’s best long-range shooter, Grimes got caught ball-watching on a number of possessions, leading to wide open looks. Grimes also needs to do a better job of moving his feet on the perimeter. He has a tendency to use his hands a little too much, attempting to hand check the ball-handler and prevent him from turning the corner. His complete lack of proper footwork leads to easy penetration opportunities for the opposing teams, and Grimes would be much more effective by getting into a lower stance and shuffling his feet to stay parallel to his man.
The biggest detractor to Grimes’ value as a prospect is his lack of athleticism. He can finish above the rim, but he isn’t the type of fast-twitch athlete that is going to rise up and finish over traffic. With the ball in his hands, Grimes lacks the burst and explosiveness to be an efficient scorer at the rack. This was evidenced by a couple of fastbreak opportunities with Grimes at the helm. Early in the first half, Grimes led the break in a 3 on 2 situation, taking two dribbles and going up for the lay-in. His elongated stride, and deliberate movements with the rock allowed a Green Valley defender to pull a 180 in mid-air, and get a clean block as Grimes exposed the ball at the top of his jump.
He’s remarkably coordinated for a player his size. He’s got soft hands, and catches just about everything thrown his way, but his left-hand is a glaring weakness. He showed a nice touch with his right-hand, but constantly went to his right hand on drives to his left, which will make his shot much easier to block as he transitions to the next level. On left-handed drives, Grimes routinely picked up his dribble after just one bounce, highlighting the lack of confidence he has in his off-hand.
His passing ability is a question mark, as Grimes struggled to read defenders and his offensive awareness left a lot to be desired. With his height and length, he’s able to see over traffic, but he made poor decisions with the rock, and turned the ball over twice in transition. On one possession, Grimes passed it to a teammate who was clearly behind half-court. He did show good vision on his lone assist, firing a 30-foot bounce pass to a leaking teammate, but the ball lacked adequate power, and was almost picked off before it reached the intended target.

Skill Rating:

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Grimes is commonly listed as a small forward, but with his lack of quickness, and athleticism, he projects as a hybrid-4 at the next level. As a wing, Grimes is a defensive liability on the perimeter, and guarding swingmen will take him away from the basket, mitigating his impact as a shot-blocker. Offensively, he’ll have to improve his ability to finish around the basket, but Grimes will be able to stretch defenses with his size, and continued development as a long-range shooter.
In the TCT Rating System, he earns a future rating of 75, and is currently in the 70-71 range. His mobility, length, and shot-blocking are his biggest strengths, and his face-up game receives a favorable grade due to the progress he’s made as a shooter. He’s a skilled rebounder, with good hands, and the length to turn every loose ball into a battle below the rim. His motor is top-notch, and his toughness/desire for contact will be aided by added strength, and a thicker foundation.
As I wrote at the top of the page, Grimes has only been playing organized basketball for three years, and has spent just one season at the varsity level. His 6’8” frame give him the foundation of a talented forward prospect down the road, but his value will be decided by his work-ethic. He needs to get in the weight room and build his lower-body, which will improve his explosiveness, and allow him to be a more effective scorer on the low-block.
If Grimes was a member of the class of 2016, he’d earn a much more favorable review, but with just one more year until he begins competing at the college level, he is slated to be a reserve for the first two years of his career, but has the potential to be an impact starter by the time he puts it all together.

Recruitment:

His breakout junior year has led to offers from a number of high-majors and west coast powers, including: Boston College, Iowa State, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego State, and USC, as well as interest from Arizona State, Oklahoma, Oregon State, and UNLV. New Mexico and SDSU are considered to be the favorites at this point in time, but the determining factor will be the presence of UNLV, which is just 15 minutes away from Grimes’ high school.
The Runnin’ Rebels have reportedly shown heavy interest, and had Grimes on campus for an unofficial visit for the SDSU game on March 5th. The Aztecs and Lobos have both been going after Grimes pretty hard lately, with the New Mexico coaching staff attending multiple Desert Pines games throughout the season, and SDSU recently inviting him to campus a week after extending an offer. Keep an eye on USC, who has the advantage in level of play, and exposure. Ultimately, I see Grimes as UNLV’s to lose, but it remains to be seen how serious Dave Rice’s interest is in the 2015 forward.

Highlights:

2013 Phase 1 Hoops Top 40 Camp

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Top 25 Centers in the Class of 2014 Reply

As the No. 1 overall prospect in the Final TCT Top 250, Kentucky signee Karl Towns Jr. (Metuchen, NJ/St. Joe’s HS) sits atop the center rankings, and is flanked by Duke pledge Jahlil Okafor (Chicago, IL/Whitney Young HS) at No. 2, and uncommitted big man Myles Turner (Euless, TX/Trinity HS) at No. 3.
A trio of centers have made their first appearances in the center rankings, with Serbian-native and Arizona commit Dusan Ristic (Serbia, EUR/Sunrise Christian Academy) at No. 12, unsigned center Rokas Gustys (Mouth of Wilson, VA/Oak Hill Academy) slotted at No. 22, and recent Cal commit Kingsley Okoroh (Phoenix, AZ/Westwind Prep) coming in at No. 23.
Here are the rankings:
RK
Name
POS
Hometown
HT
WT
School
1
Karl Towns Jr.
C
Metuchen, NJ
6’10’’
225
Kentucky
2
Jahlil Okafor
C
Chicago, IL
6’11’’
270
Duke
3
Myles Turner
C
Euless, TX
6’11’’
225
Uncommitted
4
Michal Cekovsky
C
Slovakia, EUR
7’0’’
225
Maryland
5
Goodluck Okonoboh
C
Tilton, MA
6’9’’
220
UNLV
6
Anas Osama Mahmoud
C
Orlando, FL
7’2’’
190
Louisville
7
Trayvon Reed
C
Snellville, GA
7’0’’
200
Maryland
8
Thomas Welsh
C
Los Angeles, CA
7’0’’
245
UCLA
9
Chinanu Onuaku
C
Upper Marlboro, MD
6’10’’
220
Louisville
10
Elbert Robinson
C
Garland, TX
6’10’’
265
LSU
11
Paschal Chukwu
C
Fairfield, CT
7’2’’
210
Providence
12
Dusan Ristic
C
Serbia, EUR
7’0’’
240
Arizona
13
Chris Egi
C
Montverde, FL
6’9’’
200
Harvard
14
Quadri Moore
C
Linden, NJ
6’9’’
230
Cincinnati
15
Isaac Haas
C
Piedmont, AL
7’0’’
275
Wake Forest
16
Connor MacDougall
C
Tempe, AZ
6’8’’
220
Arizona St.
17
Matt Cimino
C
Worcester, MA
6’10’’
215
GWU
18
Jabari Craig
C
Tucker, GA
6’10’’
215
USC
19
Satchel Pierce
C
Saltsburg, PA
7’0’’
250
Virginia Tech
20
Isaiah Manderson
C
Alpharetta, GA
6’11’’
230
Oregon Sr.
21
Sean O’Mara
C
Lisle, IL
6’8’’
210
Xavier
22
Rokas Gustys
C
Mouth of Wilson, VA
6’9’’
245
Uncommitted
23
Kingsley Okoroh
C
Phoenix, AZ
7’1’’
250
California
24
Bakary Konate
C
Wichita, KS
6’11’’
202
Uncommitted
25
Dan Manzi
C
Tampa, FL
6’9’’
230
UT-PA
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Top 50 Power Forwards in the Class of 2014 Reply

There has been little to no movement in the updated Power Forward Rankings for the Class of 2014. A trio of Top 15 recruits sit atop the rankings, with Kansas signee Cliff Alexander (Chicago, IL/Curie HS) at No. 1, UCLA big man Kevon Looney (Milwaukee, WI/Hamilton HS) at No. 2, and future Syracuse Orange Chris McCullough (Bronx, NY/IMG Academy) at No. 3.
The biggest headline is the addition of Top 100 recruits Desi Rodriguez (Brooklyn, NY/Lincoln HS), who is headed to Seton Hall, and Xavier pledge Makine London (Montverde, FL/Montverde Academy). Rodriguez was switched from a small forward to a swingman, and debuted at No. 14 after being recategorized as a power forward. London entered the rankings at No. 21 after being listed as a center in the previous installment.
Here are the rankings:
RK
Name
POS
Hometown
HT
WT
School
1
Cliff Alexander
PF
Chicago, IL
6’9’’
235
Kansas
2
Kevon Looney
PF
Milwaukee, WI
6’8’’
205
UCLA
3
Chris McCullough
PF
Bronx, NY
6’9’’
205
Syracuse
4
Trey Lyles
PF
Indianapolis, IN
6’10’’
235
Kentucky
5
Craig Victor
PF
New Orleans, LA
6’8’’
200
Arizona
6
Leron Black
PF
Memphis, TN
6’7’’
215
Illinois
7
Keita Bates-Diop
PF
Normal, IL
6’7’’
190
Ohio St.
8
JaKeenan Gant
PF
Springfield, GA
6’8’’
200
Missouri
9
Reid Travis
PF
Minneapolis, MN
6’7’’
235
Stanford
10
Angel Delgado
PF
Troy, NY
6’9’’
215
Seton Hall
11
Brekkot Chapman
PF
Roy, UT
6’8’’
200
Utah
12
Abdul-Malik Abu
PF
Meriden, NH
6’7’’
230
NC State
13
Jaylen Johnson
PF
Ypsilanti, MI
6’8’’
210
Louisville
14
Desi Rodriguez
PF
Brooklyn, NY
6’5’’
200
Seton Hall
15
Zylan Cheatham
PF
Phoenix, AZ
6’7’’
200
San Diego St.
16
Malik Price-Martin
PF
Miami, FL
6’8’’
195
USC
17
Obi Enechionyia
PF
Sharpsburg, MD
6’9’’
205
Temple
18
Mitch Solomon
PF
Bixby, OH
6’9’’
225
Oklahoma St.
19
Michael Gilmore
PF
Tallahassee, FL
6’9’’
210
VCU
20
Michael Humphrey
PF
Phoenix, AZ
6’9’’
200
Stanford
21
Makinde London
PF
Montverde, FL
6’10’’
195
Xavier
22
Khadeem Lattin
PF
Houston, TX
6’9’’
190
Oklahoma
23
Kelan Martin
PF
Louisville, KY
6’6’’
210
Butler
24
Jeff Garrett
PF
Gadsden, AL
6’7’’
220
Uncommitted
25
Ben Bentil
PF
Middleton, DE
6’8’’
230
Providence
26
William Lee
PF
Plantersville, AL
6’8’’
185
UAB
27
Malek Harris
PF
Orland Park, IL
6’7’’
190
Uncommitted
28
Payton Dastrup
PF
Mesa, AZ
6’9’’
225
BYU
29
Gary Clark
PF
Clayton, NC
6’7’’
215
Cincinnati
30
Tariq Owens
PF
Laurel, MD
6’8’’
175
Uncommitted
31
Andre Adams
PF
Tolleson, AZ
6’8’’
200
Uncommitted
32
Justin Tillman
PF
Detroit, MI
6’7’’
190
VCU
33
Idrissa Diallo
PF
Los Angeles, CA
6’9’’
215
Uncommitted
34
Martin Geben
PF
Hagerstown, MD
6’9’’
230
Notre Dame
35
D.J. Foreman
PF
Tolleson, AZ
6’8’’
215
Rutgers
36
Shane Hall
PF
Paintsville, KY
6’8’’
200
Marshall
37
Melvin Swift
PF
Houston, TX
6’7’’
195
Uncommitted
38
Jordan Bell
PF
Long Beach, CA
6’8’’
225
Oregon
39
Andre Walker
PF
Potomoc, MD
6’10’’
195
Hofstra
40
Elijah Staley
PF
Marietta, GA
6’6’’
205
Mississippi St.
41
Phil Cofer
PF
Fayetteville, GA
6’8’’
205
Tennessee
42
Dave Bell
PF
Cleveland, OH
6’9’’
225
Ohio St.
43
Yante Maten
PF
Bloomfield Hills, MI
6’8’’
225
Georgia
44
Markell Lodge
PF
Creedmoor, NC
6’6’’
220
St. Joseph’s
45
C.J. Turman
PF
Madison, GA
6’9’’
235
Tennessee
46
Matz Stockman
PF
Norway, EUR
7’2’’
245
Louisville
47
Ray Kasongo
PF
Mouth of Wilson, VA
6’9’’
235
Oregon
48
Jacob Hammond
PF
Oklahoma City, OK
6’10’’
235
Nebraska
49
LaDamean Keys
PF
Bogalusa, LA
6’9’’
210
Uncommitted
50
Jackson Davis
PF
Lexington, KY
6’8’’
220
Uncommitted
531a94f2cf594.preview-620

Scouting Report: 2016 SG Frank Jackson (BYU) Reply

A lightning quick guard with a knack for getting to the rim, Frank Jackson is a Top 50 prospect in the class of 2016. He’s a scoring guard in every sense of the term, blending a scorer’s mentality with the ability to pour it in from mid-range. With his size, quickness, and scoring output, Jackson is a high school version of Louisville star Russ Smith, as you can put the ball in his hands and simply let him go to work.
Jackson broke onto the scene as a freshman at Lehi High School (UT), where he dropped 30 points against a Lone Peak (UT) squad that finished the year ranked No. 1 in the country. He transferred to the local power this summer, teaming with future BYU 2-guard T.J. Haws to lead Lone Peak to a 23-3 record, and a fourth consecutive state championship.
I got my first look at Jackson earlier today when I watched film of his 25-point outing against Redundo Union High School at the Tarkanian Classic, a national tournament that took place in Las Vegas last December. Check out my breakdown of his performance, skill-set, and recruitment, as well as a highlight tape of his scoring outburst against Redundo:

Evaluation:

Redundo Union (CA) vs. Lone Peak HS (UT) – 12/21/13
Frank Jackson is a high-energy, high-motor player who is beginning to round into a talented prospect. He’s labeled as a point guard, but Jackson is more of a pure athlete, impacting the game through his speed, quickness, and tenacity on both ends. Sharing the backcourt with BYU signee and future college teammate T.J. Haws, Jackson wasn’t a factor offensively during the early portion of the game, but he looked great in a supporting role, making good decisions with the rock, penetrating the lane, and flashing his potential as a two-way player. He began to take over in the second half by attacking the rim, getting to the free-throw line, and mixing in a couple of 15-foot floaters.
Jackson has a long way to go as a lead guard, but I was impressed with his poise and composure as Lone Point’s primary ball-handler . He constantly allowed his defender to get up in his grill, before hitting him with a devastating right-to-left crossover to set up a right-handed floater, which he can put up off either foot. The floater is his bread and butter, but the X-factor is his first step. He picks his spots well, and holds his dribble until he gets his man in prime position (usually a foot away from Jackson, angled to close off his right-hand), which allows Jackson to utilize his crossover and blow right by him. From 30 feet out, Jackson uses two dribbles to get to the free-throw line, where he stops on a dime and drops in a high-arcing floater.
Jackson is at his best when he’s probing the defense with his dribble. He uses the free-throw line as a yield sign, effectively controlling the pace of the game, and reading the defensive alignment before making his next move. He handles the rock for Lone Point, but Jackson is by no means a point guard. He penetrates to score, not to pass, and he ended up putting a shot up on 100 percent of his drives to the rim. This is evidenced by the fact that even with sharpshooting senior T.J. Haws spotting up on the perimeter, Jackson recorded just one assist the entire game. 
He showed good body control on pull-up jumpers, with decent lift, and a high release point. His efficiency wavers outside of 15-feet, as his shot is more arms than legs at this stage. Jackson went 1-5 from beyond the arc, with two shots coming on pull-up 20-footers in transition, one of which he made. He set up his make with a hesitation dribble, pulling up in rhythm, and twisting his hips, which allows him to more effectively straighten out his shooting arm. He missed wide right on a couple of his shot attempts, showing that he still needs to tighten his stroke, and solidify his release point.
In transition, Jackson gets up and down the court in a hurry, repeatedly beating his man to the basket for easy lay-ins. He makes a point of filling his lane, never taking his eye off the ball handler and setting up on the wing for the kick-out. Whether there’s a 5’10” point guard or a 6’8” forward standing under the rim, it makes no difference to Jackson, who takes it straight into defenders, and consistently finishes through contact. He converted a trio of and-1 lay ups, going up with two hands, drawing contact, and using his touch to finish the play.
Defensively, the potential is there, but there were more negatives than positives. Jackson struggled to fight through screens, and his lack of strength typically forces him to hedge, which leaves his man open for a clean look from deep. He bit on multiple shot fakes, and also has a tendency to ball-watch and lose his man as a result, which created open shots from the perimeter. My favorite part about his performance against Redundo Union was the leadership role he played at the top of Lone Peak’s zone. Jackson was constantly talking on the defensive end, signaling for his teammates to step up, and calling out defensive assignments. 
As a sophomore guard, it comes as no surprise that size and strength are two of Jackson’s biggest weaknesses, but his energy and tenacity more than make up for his physical shortcomings. Despite his lack of size, Jackson is a solid rebounder for his position, especially on the offensive end. He reads the flight of the ball, anticipates the angle and times his cut well, which leads him to an easy put-back. His relentlessness extends to the defensive glass, where he uses his length to hold box-outs. 

Skill Rating:

 

Screen Shot 2014-04-19 at 11.49.31 PM
In TCT’s Rating System, Jackson has been graded as a combo guard. He’s earned a future rating of 85, which places him as a Top 40 talent. Jackson is an interesting prospect. With progression as a facilitator, he has the foundation of a Top 25 prospect due to his handle, quickness, and innate scoring ability. However, his jumper is flawed, he’s a combo guard who doesn’t pass the rock, and his half-court defense is a mixed bag.
The fact that he’s only a sophomore is the key to Jackson’s stock, as his scoring attack is miles ahead of most point guards his age. He’s remarkably effective with the floater, and his fearlessness off the bounce is something that can’t be taught. With two years to develop, Jackson’s scoring ability will enhance his national reputation, but his development as a passer will ultimately decide his standing in the class of 2016.

Recruitment:

Frank Jackson received a single offer during his recruitment, and it took him just one day to accept it. “It just felt right being down there,” Jackson told Brandon Gurney of Deseret News. “It’s such a great opportunity and I love BYU’s program. I always have. I love coach Rose and he really reminds me of coach (Quincy) Lewis with how he runs things and how he treats his players. BYU is a great school as well, so it was sort of an easy decision.”
It’s no surprise that Jackson’s transfer to Lone Peak led to his commitment to BYU. A total of five former Lone Peak players have signed with BYU over the past six recruiting cycles, including Jackson’s current teammate T.J. Haws, the younger brother of former Cougars star Tyler Haws. Furthermore, Jackson is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and plans on serving a mission before starting his college career.

Highlights:

SG Charles Matthews Profile.jpg

2015 Player Profile: SG Charles Matthews Reply

A natural scorer on the wing, Charles Matthews is a dynamic player who can light it up from all three levels. Currently committed to John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats, Matthews is a five-star talent with the potential to crack the Top 10.
Coming off a productive junior summer in which he averaged 12.4 points and knocked down 41.9 percent of his shots from deep on the EYBL circuit, Matthews helped lead St. Rita to the state tournament, where they lost to a loaded Whitney Young squad in the first round.
Check out TCT’s comprehensive breakdown of Matthew’s game, which includes prior evaluations, a future skills rating, current comparison, analysis of his recruitment, and his highlight tape.

Evaluations:

Whitney Young HS (IL) vs. St. Rita HS (IL) – 3/14/14
Currently committed to play for John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats, St. Rita junior Charles Matthews is a knockdown shooter from three-point range who attacks the rim with a vengeance and contributes in every facet of the game. More efficient off the catch-and-shoot than he is off the dribble, Matthews showed the ability to hit shots coming off screens, and did an excellent job of getting his feet turned, hips squared, and stepping into his shot. With his size and length, Matthews can do some work in the post. He backed down a smaller Whitney Young defender, leaning into him with his right-shoulder before pulling up and draining a contested 10-footer.
Watching the tape, I was really impressed with his motor and energy, which gives him a level of versatility that is rare at the 2-guard position. He’s a reckless attacker off the bounce, consistently drawing contact, and getting to the free-throw line. He went straight into Jahlil Okafor’s body on a number of occasions, and while he took a couple of hits, he never backed down. His energy makes him a great rebounder for his size, and he showed the anticipation to time his cuts to the rim and get easy put-back buckets.
Matthews is a crafty scorer who mixes up his scoring attack with a heavy dose of drives, and pull-up jumpers. His jumper is smooth with a flawless release and a quick trigger. On drives to the rim, Matthews displayed a quick first step, with good body control on finishes and the ability to finish through traffic. Matthews broke out a euro-step in transition, which is clearly in the early stages of development, but was effective at freezing his defender for the easy lay-in. He’s more quick than fast, but Matthews had the most incredible play of the day, going coast-to-coast in three seconds for a buzzer-beating dunk, which gave St. Rita a 1-point edge heading into halftime.
As a scorer, Matthews’ biggest weakness is his off-ball movement. He made an effort to move without the ball when St. Rita went down in the first half, but he has a tendency to set up in the weak-side corner, which can cause him to disappear for stretches of time. His off-hand is a glaring weakness in his game, as he struggled to protect the ball on drives to his left, and was completely ineffective scoring with his off-hand. He needs to improve his left-handed floater, especially as he transitions to the next level.
He also has to work on his consistency shooting off the dribble. When he brought the ball up the floor, Matthews went full-speed, and was always looking to take the first shot available. If his defender sagged off of him, he’d pull the trigger from beyond the arc, which resulted in a rushed shot that produced little arc. He was much more productive in the half-court set, where has was able to get his feet underneath him and pull-up in rhythm. This shows that he has to do a better job of controlling the pace, and learn to more effectively dictate the flow of the game.
The next step in his progression is adding a couple more triple-threat moves on the perimeter. He uses a jab step to set up his pull-up jumper, but by better utilizing his pump-fake, he can create driving lanes and collapse the D. I’d like to see him add a two-dribble pull-up to his arsenal. This is where the development of his shot selection will be key. His reputation as a lethal shooter from downtown would force defenders to bite on a shot fake, creating room for Matthews to use his dribble and get a clean look from 15-feet.
Defensively, Matthews is a lockdown defender on the perimeter. He has a good center of gravity, gets in a low stance, and has the lateral quickness to prevent his man from turning the corner. He’s a constant presence in the passing lanes, using his length, anticipation, and quick feet to get a hand on errant passes. He needs to work on getting back in transition. Against Whitney Young, he was a little too aggressive pursuing offensive rebounds, allowing opposing guards to leak out and get easy baskets on the break. On a couple of possessions, Matthews tried for a quick steal instead of getting back, but ended up committing a foul, or getting left in the dust.
St. Rita (IL) vs. DeLaSalle (MN) – 1/4/14
Charles Matthews and St. Rita of Cascia went up against a loaded DeLaSalle squad in the Timberwolves Shootout. Even with DeLaSalle star and Stanford signee Reid Travis sitting out, St. Rita couldn’t get anything to go on the offensive end. Matthews never took over like I expected him to, but he used his all-around game to make his impact felt. He’s a good, not great, athlete with a fluid jumper, a lengthy frame, and a scorer’s mentality.
In transition, Matthews fills his lane, reads the defense well, and moves to the open spaces on the floor, which leads to clean looks off the drive and kick. On the catch, Matthews was able to beat his man off the dribble with a quick first step. He senses when his defender his off-balance, and does a great job of attacking the defense in mid-rotation, capitalizing on driving lanes by simply putting his head down and getting to the rim. When he puts it on the floor, Matthews drives to score about 80 percent of the time, using his length and athleticism to finish over or around interior defenders.
His shot wasn’t falling, but his mechanics are sound, with a smooth release, and decent lift. St. Rita runs a generic out-of-bounds set where Matthews inbounds the ball, and cuts to the weak-side corner for a wide-open three. He was 0-3 on these plays, but did a good job of setting his feet, and stepping into his shot. Unfortunately, the majority of Matthews’ off-ball movement came as a result of set plays, and he struggled to be proactive without the ball in his hands, and usually ended up waiting for a kick-out in the corner.
Even after missing his first six attempts from three-point range, Matthews never hesitated to capitalize on a wide open look from deep, which says a lot about his confidence. This is one of his biggest strengths, but it can also be his biggest weakness, as he can get a little three-happy, especially in transition. That wasn’t the case in the second half. With his inability to connect from beyond the arc, Matthews changed it up by putting the ball on the floor and making plays, instead of settling for deep jumpers.
Matthews is a phenomenal rebounder from the wing, displaying excellent anticipation, the length to hold his boxouts, and the athleticism to go up and get it. The Mustangs employed a man-on-man D for most the game, providing an opportunity to gauge Matthews’ progression as an on-ball defender. His lateral quickness and length are major strengths on the perimeter, giving Matthews a ton of range and allowing him to quickly close out on shooters.
Matthews has a habit of wandering as a perimeter defender, over-helping on dribble drives and leaving his man open for the wide open jumper. This is especially prevalent in transition, as Matthews will chase the ball instead of locating his man, who is typically spotting up on the wing.
Going forward, Matthews really needs to improve as a passer. He made a couple cross-court passes in transition that were scripted and almost picked off. In the half-court set, his inability to located his passes led to multiple turnovers, as he threw a pair of passes behind his teammates, who couldn’t react in time to stop the ball from going out of bounds.

Future Rating

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After pouring over game tape, I’ve given Matthews a future rating of 92, which highlights my belief in his mental and physical development. At this point in time, he’s probaly closer to an 89, but with improvement in his off-hand dribbling and finishing, I have Matthews pegged as a potential Top 10 recruit. While he’s not an elite athlete, Matthews uses his quick first-step and anticipation to penetrate the lane and finish at the basket. He’s a deadly shooter on interior jumpers who can work out of the post, and knockdown shots coming off a screen.
He’s made major strides as a perimeter marksman over the past 12 months, and is a true triple-threat with range out to 22-feet. Defensively, Matthews’ size, length and quickness gives him the foundation of a lockdown defender, but he needs to continue to work on his awareness. College coaching will do wonders for his game, as a premier basketball mind like John Calipari will enhance Matthews’ decision making on the offensive end, and help him solidify his play as a perimeter defender.
In order to improve his stock, I need to see progression in four different areas: decision making, defensive awareness, off-hand dribbling, and off-ball movement. Decision making and defensive awareness will improve as he transitions to the college level, but he needs to spend the summer months working on fine-tuning his finesse game, and becoming a more productive scorer without the ball in his hands. His left-hand is the most glaring weakness in his game, as he struggles to protect the ball on drives to his left, and has a tough time finishing at the rim.

Reminds Me Of:

Gary-Harris-Feature

SG Gary Harris (Michigan State)
Coming out of high school, Gary Harris was a Top 20 recruit known for his all-around scoring, and knack for getting to the rim with ease. He’s got a similar body-type to Matthews, possessing solid length and a lean frame. A projected lottery pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, Harris has been Michigan State’s most consistent scorer during his two-year career. As a sophomore, his offensive efficiency took a dip with an expanded role in the offense, but his production increased in every other areas of the game, including a significant jump in rebounding and steal percentage.
Aside from body-type, and reputation, the biggest reason for the comparison is the fact that both players are elite shot-makers, blending an excellent feel for the game with a smooth jumper and deep range. They aren’t the type of athletes that are going to jump over defenders on their way to the rim, but they attack the basket with ferocity, and have the ability to drain shots from mid-range. Harris’ all-around development was the icing on the cake, and gives him the type of versatility that makes Matthews so special.

Recruitment:

After narrowing his list down to five finalists, Matthews committed to Kentucky on February 26, choosing the Wildcats over offers from Illinois, Kansas, Marquette, and Michigan State. His decision was a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing, coming on the heels of an in-school visit by UK head coach John Calipari. Matthews scheduled his announcement that afternoon, and locked in his commitment two days later. The coaching staff proved to be the deciding factor, as well as the fact that Matthews’ former AAU teammate, Tyler Ulis, is projected to be a four-year player.
The lack of star-power in Kentucky’s 2014 recruiting class will open up a rotation spot for Matthews, allowing him to share the backcourt with Ulis, and Devin Brooker. Booker is a better long-range shooter, but the all-around scoring ability of Matthews will earn him immediate playing time, and allow him to compete for a starting job. Over the next 12 months Matthews will play a major role in forming the Wildcats’ 2015 recruiting class, serving as a secondary recruiter for some of UK’s top targets.

Highlights:

Stanley-Johnson-576

Top 50 Small Forwards in the Class of 2014 Reply

In the final rankings for the class of 2014, Arizona signee Stanley Johnson (Santa Ana, CA/Mater Dei HS) has retained the top spot, while Duke wing Justise Winslow (Houston, TX/St. John’s HS) moved up to No. 2. The biggest moves were twin brothers and future NC State teammates Caleb and Cody Martin (Mocksville, NC/Oak Hill), as well as uncommitted swingman Josh Cunningham (Chicago, IL/Morgan Park HS). Caleb moved from No. 21 to No. 15, Cody went from No. 29 to No. 19, and Cunningham rose 15 spots and landed at No. 31.
Towards the bottom of the rankings, a trio of prospects jumped 10 spots or more, including recent Baylor commit Kobe Eubanks (Miami, FL/Our Savior), Auburn pledge Sam Logwood (La Porte, IN/La Lumiere), and Boise State signee Chandler Hutchison (Mission Viejo, CA/Mission Viejo HS). A total of 56 small forwards are ranked among the Top 250 recruits in the class of 2014. Of the 56 players, only 4 are currently uncommitted.
Here are the rankings:
RK
Name
POS
Hometown
HT
WT
School
1
Stanley Johnson
SF
Santa Ana, CA
6’6’’
200
Arizona
2
Justise Winslow
SF
Houston, TX
6’5’’
205
Duke
3
Daniel Hamilton
SF
Bellflower, CA
6’6’’
180
UConn
4
Justin Jackson
SF
Tomball, TX
6’7’’
180
UNC
5
Theo Pinson
SF
High Point, NC
6’6’’
190
UNC
6
Devin Robinson
SF
Church View, VA
6’8’’
180
Florida
7
Shaqquan Aaron
SF
Seattle, WA
6’8’’
180
Louisville
8
Isaac Copeland
SF
Charlottesville, VA
6’9’’
205
Georgetown
9
Malik Pope
SF
Burbank, CA
6’8’’
185
San Diego St.
10
Terry Larrier
SF
Malvern, PA
6’8’’
205
VCU
11
Dwayne Morgan
SF
Baltimore, MD
6’7’’
180
UNLV
12
Kameron Chatman
SF
Long Beach, CA
6’7’’
190
Michigan
13
Jalen Lindsey
SF
Nashville, TN
6’6’’
180
Providence
14
Trevon Bluiett
SF
Indianapolis, IN
6’5’’
185
Xavier
15
Caleb Martin
SF
Mocksville, NC
6’7’’
190
NC State
16
Josh Cunningham
SF
Chicago, IL
6’7’’
185
Uncommitted
17
Donte Grantham
SF
Martinsburg, WV
6’8’’
200
Clemson
18
Victor Law
SF
Chicago, IL
6’7’’
195
Northwestern
19
Cody Martin
SF
Mocksville, NC
6’7’’
205
NC State
20
Jonah Bolden
SF
Melbourne, AUS
6’8’’
190
UCLA
21
Paul White
SF
Chicago, IL
6’9’’
195
Georgetown
22
D.J. Wilson
SF
Sacramento, CA
6’8’’
200
Michigan
23
Jae’sean Tate
SF
Pickerington, OH
6’5’’
200
Ohio St.
24
Jordan Barnett
SF
Saint Louis, MO
6’6’’
180
Texas
25
Kobe Eubanks
SF
Miami, FL
6’5’’
200
Baylor
26
Ronnie Harrell
SF
Denver, CO
6’6’’
170
Creighton
27
D’Angelo Allen
SF
Dallas, TX
6’6’’
185
Uncommitted
28
Joe Burton
SF
Houston, TX
6’5’’
195
Oklahoma St.
29
Bonzie Colson
SF
Barrington, RI
6’5’’
220
Notre Dame
30
Leon Gilmore
SF
Manvel, Texas
6’6’’
220
Creighton
31
Javon Bess
SF
Columbus, OH
6’5’’
185
Michigan St.
32
Sam Logwood
SF
La Porte, IN
6’6’’
200
Auburn
33
Chandler Hutchison
SF
Mission Viejo, CA
6’6’’
190
Boise St.
34
Riley Norris
SF
Albertville, AL
6’7’’
180
Alabama
35
Dante Buford
SF
Jacksonville, FL
6’7’’
215
Oklahoma
36
Isaiah Bailey
SF
Compton, CA
6-5
180
Fresno St.
37
Therence Mayimba
SF
Rockville, MD
6’5’’
200
George Mason
38
Mikal Bridges
SF
Malvern, PA
6’7’’
185
Villanova
39
Isaiah Wilkins
SF
Norcross, GA
6’7’’
190
Virginia
40
Djuan Piper
SF
Seattle, WA
6’6’’
180
Uncommitted
41
Vincent Edwards
SF
Middletown, OH
6’7’’
200
Purdue
42
Jared Nickens
SF
Norristown, PA
6’6’’
180
Maryland
43
Marcanvis Hymon
SF
Memphis, TN
6’7’’
195
Ole Miss
44
Ethan Happ
SF
Taylor Ridge, IL
6’7’’
175
Wisconsin
45
TeMarcus Blanton
SF
Locust Grove, GA
6’4’’
180
So. Carolina
46
Malik Marquetti
SF
Long Beach, CA
6’5’’
185
USC
47
Demetrius Houston
SF
Tuscaloosa, AL
6’5’’
180
Mississippi St.
48
Keondre Dew
SF
La Jolla, CA
6’7’’
195
Uncommitted
49
Harold Givens
SF
Brandon, FL
6’7’’
190
FIU
50
Jonathan Joseph
SF
Orlando, FL
6’5’’
185
Stetson
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Breaking Down the Best Available Wings Reply

With the spring signing period beginning this week, it’s time to take a look at the top prospects who have yet to make their college decisions. Over the next couple of days, I’ll breakdown the best available guards, wings, and big men, taking a look at their skill-sets, and potential fits at the next level.
Below is an analysis of the top swingmen left on the board (As a result of the recent release from his LOI, former Marquette signee Ahmed Hill has been included along with the Top 3 available small forwards):
SG Ahmed Hill –  Aquinas HS (GA) – 6’5” 190 Pounds
A wide-bodied 2-guard, Ahmed Hill is an aggressive scorer off the bounce who offers a high level of versatility, and a scorer’s mentality. His stock took a hit last summer due to streaky shooting and an inconsistent motor, but he bounced back during his senior year, and is currently ranked No. 56 in the TCT Top 250. He’s a tad undersized on the wing, but he makes up for his size with his explosive leaping ability. When his motor is on, Hill is one of the best two-way players in his class, but he has a tendency to take plays off and disappear for stretches of time. In addition to playing at a consistent level, the next step in Hill’s development is adding a relabile mid-range game to make him a more effective scorer from all three levels.
Before Buzz Williams left to take the head coaching job at Virginia Tech, Hill signed an LOI with Marquette, but he earned his release earlier this week. He’s heard from Florida Georgia, and Virginia Tech over the past several days, and is currently on an official visit to VT. With the hiring of Williams, and former Marquette assistant Isaac Chew, the Hokies now have both of Hill’s primary recruiters. Look for Hill to follow Buzz and wind up signing with Virginia Tech.
SF Josh Cunningham - Morgan Park HS (IL) – 6’7” 185 Pounds
Josh Cunningham is the ultimate glue-guy at the high-school level, and he possesses the athleticism and skill-set to be an absolute steal this late in the recruiting cycle. He is relentless in every area of the game, combining a limitless motor with the toughness to hold his own on the low-block. Always a threat to spring himself with a backdoor cut and slam home a lob pass, Cunningham has major bounce for a kid his size. His length, and quickness are his greatest assets, as he’ll be able to guard four positions at the next level, and even play a little small-ball 4. He needs to add lift to his jumper and improve his consistency from the perimeter, but Cunningham has made strides as a shooter, and can hit the occasional three in space.
After playing in the shadow of DePaul point guard Billy Gerrett Jr. for the majority of his high school career, Cunningham used a breakout summer to establish himself on the national stage. Cunningham currently holds offers from Creighton, Indiana, Iowa State, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and St. John’s, and he’s taken all five of his official visits, traveling to Creighton in September, Iowa State and Oklahoma in October, Bradley in November, and taking his last official to South Carolina earlier this month. As an Indiana native, look for Indiana’s effort to add an exclamation point to Tom Crean’s 2014 recruiting class.
SF D’Angelo Allen - Kimball HS (TX) – 6’6” 185 Pounds
A rangy wing who can rise up and throw it down, D’Angelo Allen is one of the most exciting players in the senior class, and his all-around game is beginning to take shape. He’s in his element in transition, where he gets to the rim at will, and shows excellent vision on the drive and kick. It will be interesting to see how Allen progresses at the college level. His jumper is shaky with a high release point that produces little to no arc, and he is markably streaky from outside of 15-feet. He also needs to improve his perimeter game, and tighten his off-hand dribbling.
Allen holds offers from a number of high-major programs, including: Arkansas, Georgetown, Marquette, Oklahoma, and Texas A&M. Georgetown already has Top 100 recruit Paul White, and I don’t see Arkansas, or Texas A&M having any chance of landing him. I’ve had Oklahoma as Allen’s projected destination for some time now, but that could change with a late push from Steve Wojciechowski of Marquette, or Bruce Pearl of Auburn. Marquette has lost Ahmed Hill and Marial Shayok in the past week, creating a need for a high-level wing prospect. I’m sticking with the Sooners as the eventual landing spot for Allen, but keep an eye out for a late push by a newly hired coach looking to make a big splash.
SF Djuan Piper - Rainier Beach HS (WA) – 6’6” 180 Pounds
I had a chance to see Piper and his Rainier Beach (WA) squad go up against a talented Bishop O’Connell team led by Maryland signee Melo Trimble. With his suffocating D on Trimble and a stat-line of 12 points, 4 rebounds and 4 blocks, Piper made a statement on high school basketball’s biggest stage. Piper locked down Trimble the entire game, forcing him into low-percentage, contested looks from downtown. Playing Robin to Shaqquan Aaron’s Batman, Piper made his mark in every facet of the game, shutting down the opposing team’s best player, creating shots off the dribble and making plays at the rim. 
Piper is being recruited by the likes of Gonzaga, Minnesota, Oregon, South Carolina, and Washington, but it’ll come down to UW and Minnesota. The Gophers have pulled out all the stops to land Piper, and Rich Pitino has built a strong relationship with the Seattle native. Unfortunately, I don’t see Lorenzo Romar letting Piper leave the state of Washington. Plus, Piper’s teammate David Crisp is a Top 150 recruit in the class of 2015 who is currently committed to the Huskies. I’d put the odds at 75 percent for Washington, and 25 percent for the Gophers.
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Analyzing the Analysts: How Well Can Draft Express’ Jonathan Givony Predict the NBA Draft? Reply

Over the past week I’ve taken a look at two of the biggest names in NBA Draft coverage, ESPN’s Chad Ford and Draft Express analyst Jonathan Givony. By dissecting their past predictions and analyzing their performance, it has allowed me to assess their ability to accurately and consistently predict where the the top prospects will end up being picked.
Today, the creator and lead NBA Draft analyst for DraftExpress, Jonathan Givony, is my focus. Founded in 2003, DraftExpress has built a reputation as the preeminent source for information and scouting reports on the top international prospects. Since 2007, Givony has created Mock Drafts, which are used to project fits for every selection.

Data/Methods Used

In order to craft a clear, concise analysis of Givony’s ability to predict the NBA Draft, I split the first round into seven different quadrants, which are made up of picks 1-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16-20, 21-25, and 26-30. I looked at all 210 first rounders over the last 6 NBA Drafts, while comparing Givony’s prediction to reality. Each first rounder was put into one of three categories according to Givony’s accuracy: pinpoint, range, and miss.
A pinpoint prediction means that Givony was on the money with the pick, and correctly matched the prospect with his future draft position (Draft-day trades were not taken into account, only the draft position). A range prediction means that Givony was within a three pick range for that draftee. For example, University of Arizona product Jordan Hill was selected by New York with the 8th pick of the 2009 Draft. Givony had Hill slotted at No. 7 in his mock, meaning that he was one pick off, which is within range (picks 7-9) of Hill’s actual place in the 2013 Draft. Had Givony projected him to be picked by the Bucks at No. 10, it would have been recorded as a miss.

What I Found

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Overall, Jonathan Givony correctly predicted 25.2 percent (53/210) of all first round picks over the last 7 years. He was within a three-pick radius of 40.4 percent (85/210), and missed on 59.5 percent (125/210). His most successful year was the 2009 Draft when Givony forecasted the Draft position of 13 prospects, and was within a three-pick range on a total of 16 picks. Givony’s worst year was last year’s Draft, in which he missed on 73.3 percent (22/30) of his projections, and only pinpointed 4 out of 30 picks.
As you can see from the graph above, Givony’s accuracy has steadily regressed over the past four Drafts. After pinpointing 34.1 percent (41/120) of Draft picks from 2007-2010, his pinpoint percentage plummeted to 13.3 (12/90) during the last three years. There was a similar drop in his ability to guess within range of a prospect’s actual Draft position. His range percentage fell from 50 percent (60/120) during the first four years to 27.7 percent (25/90) over the past three Drafts. There was a similar decline in Chad Ford’s accuracy, which is demonstrated by the following graph.

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The most impressive aspect of Givony’s predictions is that in comparison to Chad Ford, his accuracy rarely fluctuates, even if his effectiveness is trending downwards. Ford’s year-to-year pinpoint percentage has shifted more than 15 percent on 3 different occasions over the past 11 Drafts, whereas, Givony’s accuracy has never changed by more than 13.4 percent. Ford has experienced a similar regression in his own predictions, as his pinpoint percentage hasn’t reached 25 percent since 2008, and his range percentage has fallen below 30 percent in two of the last five Drafts.
The biggest reason for the decline in Givony’s accuracy is his inability to correctly predict Top 5 picks. He correctly projected 19 of 20 Top 5 picks during the first four years of making Mock Drafts, however, since then he has only pinpointed 6 of 15 Top 5 selections. Another catalyst is the amount Givony has been missing on late-round prospects. On average, he usually struggles to predict non-lottery picks, but this has been especially prevalent during the past three years, in which he’s been correct on just 4.4 percent (2/45) of his projections in the 15-30 range.

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In the Top 5, Givony is almost automatic, and has correctly predicted 71.4 percent (71.4) of picks over the last 7 Drafts, while getting within a 3-pick range of 80 percent (28/35) of selections. Overall, he is lights-out at projecting lottery picks, as he pinpointed 40 percent (42/105) of picks in the first-half of the Draft, and got within a 3-pick range on 56.1 percent (59/105). Givony’s accuracy in relation to Draft position is a mirror image of Ford’s, as his effectiveness drops significantly after the first 5 picks, and essentially bottoms out towards the tail end of the first round.

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The most surprising element of these graphs is how Ford’s accuracy constantly declines, but Givony’s graph shows that he is actually better at predicting picks in the 21-25 range than picks 16 through 20. By looking at the range percentage for both analysts, it’s clear that Givony is slightly better than Ford at predicting non-lottery picks. His range percentage is 31.4 percent (11/35) in the 16-20 range, while Ford hit on 25.5 (14/55) percent of his projections.
This trend continues throughout the rest of the Draft, as Givony’s pinpoint and range percentages are higher than Ford in every range, with the exception of pinpoint percentage in the span of picks from 25-30. In all, Givony was successful in forecasting 10.4 percent (11/105) of selections in the latter part of the Draft, and was within range on 24.7 percent (26/105) of picks. In comparison, Ford had a pinpoint percentage of 11.5 (19/165) in the 16-30 range, with a range percentage of 20 percent (33/165).
As I wrote in my breakdown of Chad Ford, the last 15 picks of the Draft usually consist of a mixture of foreign prospects, underrated seniors, and one-and-done prospects who came out too early. There is little to no consensus opinion on these mid-to-late round prospects, which is evidenced by the fact that Givony missed on 68.5 percent (24/35) of picks in the 16-20 range, 74.2 percent (26/35) in the 21-25 range, and 82.8 percent (29/53) in the 26-30 range.

What It Means

With an overall pinpoint percentage of 25.2 (53/210), a range percentage of 40.4 (85/210), and a miss percentage of 59.5 (125/210), Givony’s statistics are marginally better than Chad Ford’s (pinpoint% of 24.4, range% of 36.3 and a miss% of 63.7) in every area. The area of expertise for Ford and Givony is the first 5 picks. Ford has been correct on 67.3 percent (37/55) of his Top 5 projections over the last 11 years, with a range percentage of 76.4. Givony has been correct on 71.4 percent (71.4) of picks over the last 7 Drafts, and has been within range of 80 percent (28/35) of selections.
In the rest of the Draft, Ford has proven to be wholly inconsistent, correctly predicting 16.4 percent (45/273) of picks and getting within a 3-pick range of 28.2 percent (77/273) of prospects. Givony’s accuracy throughout the rest of the Draft is similarly unpredictable as he pinpoints an average of 16 percent (28/175) of picks within the 6-30 range, and has gotten within a 3-pick range on 32.5 percent (57/175).
As you can see from the graphs depicting Givony’s and Ford’s ability to predict the Draft, it is becoming increasingly difficult to pinpoint future Draft picks. The inconsistency of the leading Draft analysts makes Mock Drafts more unreliable than ever, as they are excellent at projecting the first 5 picks, and competent at forecasting the lottery, but completely incompetent at predicting picks within the range of 15-30. The stats show that unless your team has a Top 5 pick, your guess is likely as good as theirs.