The NBA Draft showed how silly it can be by leaving a lot of very good college players off the board, including Bryce Cotton. But one thing that stuck out to me was the number of guys that got drafted who were top 100 recruits coming out of high school. It goes to show you just how important recruiting high level talent really is for programs. Obviously not every top 100 guy is going to pan out but it’s a numbers game and the more talent you acquire, the more likely it is that talent will develop and translate to on-court success. As an example, using ESPN’s top 100 high school player rankings, of the 24 non-international players drafted in the 1st round last night, 19 were in the top 100 in their class coming out of high school. Of those 19, 8 were ranked in the top 10. The 5 unranked guys were Nik Stauskas, Elfrid Payton, Doug McDermott, C.J. Wilcox and Josh Huestis.
Ed Cooley has upped the talent level at PC in his time in Friartown and this weekend he will be hosting a lot of talented recruits. 2015 recruits Donovan Mitchell and Steve Enoch will be on campus this weekend with Mitchell already at PC today and Enoch heading to URI and PC tomorrow.
With the news that Tramaine Isabell committed to Missouri on Thursday, Ed Cooley and his staff are going to have to weigh the available options against standing pat and going into the season with what they have right now. The only two names I have heard PC interested in at this point are Armel Potter and Ricky Council. I’ll profile both guys individually early next week.
We learned last week at this time that Wake Forest transfer, Tyler Cavanaugh, had received a call from Ed Cooley. Cavanaugh visited George Washington on Tuesday, per Adam Zagoria. Syracuse.com’s Donna Ditota reported last week that Cavanaugh plans to take 3 to 4 visits before deciding. CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein had this to say today:
Wake Forest transfer Tyler Cavanaugh visited George Washington this past week and is also considering Butler and Dayton. The 6-9 forward averaged 8.8 points and 3.8 rebounds last season and has two years of remaining eligibility.
Last week I reported on the beginnings of the NBPA Top 100 Camp at the University of Virginia. The rest of the camp happened Saturday and Sunday. Here are some reports from those two days:
Class of 2015
Cheick Diallo, PF: It shouldn’t be a major surprise to see Diallo in this space and if you read Scout.com quite often you probably already know that I’m going to rave about his effort and energy. As usual, Diallo was the hardest playing guy on the floor. He ran the floor with purpose and scored nearly all his seven field goals in transition. Diallo finished with 16 points and seven rebounds in his morning game.
Antonio Blakeney, SG: Blakeney put together his best and most efficient outing of camp on Friday night. He finished 5-for-7 from the field and made his way to the free throw line 17 times. He hit 12 of the attempts. The first two days of camp, Blakeney settled for long, contested jump shots. In this one he was aggressive off the dribble and repeatedly broke down his defenders and got into the lane. He finished with 22 points.
Class of 2016
Kobi Simmons, SG/PG: It’s been a successful spring for Simmons. I’ve seen him at four events and he’s played at a high-level at all four. NBPA Top 100 camp has been no different. In his morning game, Simmons was aggressively looking to get to the basket. He scored five buckets at the rim and also hit a catch and shoot three-pointer. He finished 6-for-9 from three for 13 points.
After a slow start in a non-natural element, 2015 La Lumiere (IN)/All-Ohio Red (OH) shooting guard Jalen Coleman showed his ability to play the combo guard, and did it quite well. As he brought the ball up at times and handled it fairly well, that wasn’t the best part. His shot began to fall and he converted time after time. Coleman worked hard on the court, but once his shot started falling it all came together. Not much is new for the four-star recruit, who is finally back home after his first year at boarding school. Hoping to get some time off in the next few weeks, he hopes to discuss some college programs with his parents and the recruiting process as a whole. Michigan State, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Michigan and others remain at a constant steady for one of the better jump shooters nationally.
All spring Alex Illikainen – the No. 83 player nationally – has been very impressive with Howard Pulley (MN) this spring. Once he finally got his form down the newest Brewster Academy (NH) transfer began stretching the floor by hitting his outside shot. As he will leave Grand Rapids (MN) for his senior year in order to go prep, it will be a good opportunity to further pad his resume and improve prior to college. While his post moves and handle are still a work in progress, as well as getting stronger, Illikainen does a good job of working in the post to bring his defender out to the perimeter and creating a mismatch in his favor. Once he gains the ability to drive past them, his game will be that much better. Minnesota, Providence, Oregon, Creighton, Nebraska and Indiana are fairly involved in his situation. He recently visited the Friars, Jays and Cornhuskers’ campuses and enjoyed them all. The plan going forward is to cut his list and take visits after the July Live Period. There are no leaders at this point, but if he doesn’t decided prior to heading to prep school, it could help Providence out a bit due to location. No one leads at this point, he says.
From top to bottom, there wasn’t a better team in camp and their top two performers all week and Saturday were 2015 five-star Cheick Diallo and soon to be 2016 five-star Derryck Thornton. Both Diallo and Thornton cemented themselves on Rivals.com’s five man All-NBPA camp team — more on that later — and helped make sure their team finished the job.
While the majority of the big men were running out of energy, Diallo seemed to be finding more. He continued to outrun opponents and showed some real emotion on the floor. Thornton seemingly made the right decision all week long and in the playoff run. He is finding the balance between his offensive game and getting others involved, and that makes him really tough to handle.
Pretty much just as good as Diallo and Thornton on Saturday were Derrick Jones, Kobi Simmons and Malik Monk. Jones played some stretches as a small four man, but was all over the rim, finishing in transition and playing with a great activity level. Like Thornton, Simmons is a safe bet to ascend to five-star status in the class of 2016. He is a tall floor general with outstanding quickness who can also slide off the ball and become a playmaking scorer. Monk looks to have found a perfect balance between his jump shooting and using his athleticism to attack off the dribble.
It would be fair to say Antonio Blakeney could improve his shot selection a little. But, it wouldn’t be prudent to put too many restrictions on him. One of the best pure scorers in the class of 2015, Blakeney has pop in his legs, gets to his spots quickly and is a very confident shot maker. He just missed making the USA Basketaball 18U team in Colorado Springs last week but bounced back in impressive fashion in Charlottesville.
Best point guards
Kobi Jordan-Simmons (Alpharetta, Georgia/St. Francis)
PG, 2016, 6-4, 177
Jordan-Simmons has great size for his position. He can run a team, create for himself and others. He had a great camp and was the other top-level point guard on the camp’s championship team. He has great vision and can see over most of the point guards defending him. He averaged 7.0 points per game but did a great job of picking his spots of when to pass and when to score. Jordan-Simmons proved he is one of the top point guards in the 2016 class.
Antonio Blakeney (Orlando, Florida/Oakridge)
SG, 2015, 6-3, 185
Blakeney is the best scoring wing in the class and has has the entire package offensively. He is very good off the dribble and can finish above the rim when driving to the basket. He can score at all three levels on the court and is arguably the best shooting guard in the country. Blakeney was second in the camp in scoring with 14.7 ppg. He is also an above-average defender. Blakeney is an elite level competitor who hates to lose. He is a weapon.
Cheick Diallo (Centereach, New York/Our Savior)
PF, 2015, 6-8, 220
Diallo has one of the strongest motors I have ever seen from a high school player. He is long and athletic, but his effort is what separates him from other players. Diallo finished second in scoring (14.7 ppg) and first in rebounding (7.5) at the camp. He is already a top-10 player in the class, and that ranking might be too low.
Here is a video of PC target Cheick Diallo going head to head with LSU commit Ben Simmons during NBPA Camp:
More from Cheick Diallo who is visiting Kentucky this weekend:
Eric Davis mixtape from NBPA Camp:
TheDevilsDen.com’s (a Duke Scout.com site) Steve Clark interviewed 2016 Kobi Simmons last weekend at the NBPA Camp. Here are some tidbits:
How’s the camp been going for you?
Kobi Simmons: It’s been going good, competition is actually really good and everybody is playing hard on defense and all around games.
When it comes to role in college, are you going in to be the point guard or the scoring guard off the ball?
I’m going in to be the point but if i have to play off the ball i can do that, but mainly I’m hoping to go in as the point.
How was the Europe experience for you?
It was really good, very nice over there. It was very physical over there and the court was different, more spaced out and they are more aggressive with the ball and tough.
How did the recruiting calls go for you from the 15th?
It was crazy actually, i had calls right at 12 in the morning. I didn’t even notice at first because i was with my family and then i started getting calls. I wasn’t going to take the call because I didn’t recognize the number but then i looked at the clock and I saw it was 12 and I realized I had forgot that coaches could start calling me.
I answered my first call and it was California. The rest of the day I had California,Alabama, Duke, Kansas, Coach Cal called me that day. NC State called and offered me, Missouri offered me, Providence, Tennessee, Auburn, Georgia, schools like that.
Braxton Blackwell was interviewed at the NBPA Camp as well. He indicated that Providence is one of the schools he “really want[s] to visit right now.”
To watch the full interview, click here ($).
This past Wednesday was the Nike Skills Academy which features NBA players coaching high school and college players. The camp is broken up into Point Guard Camp and Big Man Camp. A number of PC recruits were in attendance in New Jersey:
Best Big Man
Cheick Diallo — Diallo’s athleticism and high motor are his calling cards, while his skill set is his Achilles’ heel and the only thing keeping him from challenging the top tier of prospects in the ESPN 100. Ironically, his motor transcended even this environment, especially in ball-screen action. His mobility and energy level allowed him to create separation from the “hedge” defender while setting the initial screen and then quickly stretch out the defensive tandem by immediately running to the rim, giving his ball-handler maximum room to make his read.
Best Lead Guard
Jalen Adams — He has been known as an undersized scoring guard throughout his career, and while he might never be a pure point, Adams used this setting as his latest opportunity to show he can be an effective lead guard. His change-of-pace game is top notch as he attacks, and he’s a guy who can create space and shots alike at virtually anytime. He was particularly impressive making instinctive reads off the ball screen. Combine that with a 6-6 wingspan and there’s lots to like about this guy.
Best Scoring Guard
Jalen Coleman — They might have called this The Ones Skills Academy, but it has been Coleman’s recognition of how to play to his strengths that has allowed him to surge back up the ESPN 100. In other words, he has embraced being the best 2-guard he can be and benefited as a result. He’s a shot-maker first and foremost but far from one dimensional. This week he showed his ability to play off screens and attack closeouts, all while showing a strong feel for the game — making him uniquely prepared to play in offensive structure at the next level.
Jalen Adams of Cushing Academy (MA)/Mass Rivals (MA) – Adams did an excellent job of running an offense, getting by defenders with his quickness and either finding the open man when on the drive, or creating his own shot to take. While he isn’t always the most efficient player on the court, he is one of the more talented and smarter lead guards. Adams did a great job of creating space in order to knock down shots and use his long wingspan to his advantage – despite being an inch smaller than he needs to be. The No. 27 player in the 2015 class proved to be one of the best lead guards nationally based on how he can put points on the board, directly or indirectly. Still open in the process, he has UConn, Kansas, Louisville, Providence and many more involved.
Levan Alston of Haverford School (PA)/Team Final (PA) – Alston is still working on becoming a true combo guard as his best trait is when he is set. From a set position, Alston can either shoot it from deep or pump fake and get to the basket. While he is slender, the top-100 rising senior is smart with the ball in his hands and does a good job of finishing around defenders. His handle was solid on Wednesday’s action as he was able to run the offense a bit, but did it marginally well. After a big spring, he is now one of the hotter names on the market following many new offers. VCU has had him on campus twice in the past 30-day span, but Temple is now in a very strong position to land him following the hiring of Rick Brunson as an assistant coach. Alston’s father and Brunson – whose son, Jalen, could follow to Philadelphia – played together in college at Temple.
Jalen Coleman of La Lumiere (IN)/All-Ohio Red (OH) – Coleman continues to establish himself as one of the top scoring guards in the nation. A big-game performer, Coleman continues to improve his handle and can run an offense with ease. The four-star prospect played well off of screens and used them to his advantage by either getting to the basket, shooting the mid-range or setting up for a shot outside the arc. He is a versatile scorer, and continues to play to his strengths without putting himself in a tough position. Still unclear on his recruitment, Michigan State and Michigan seems to be in the best shape for Coleman with Illinois, Indiana, Cincinnati, Notre Dame and others around.
Cheick Diallo of Our Savior New American (NY)/Team Scan (NY) – After nearly earning back to back MVP honors at NBPA Top-100 Camp, Diallo stood tall going against the top big men in campus, and even Sacramento Kings star Demarcus Cousins. Obviously, Diallo has to get stronger and expand his offensive artillery when it comes to shooting the ball. His activeness in the paint on both offense and defense is where Diallo is most comfortable. He blocked a number of shots in scrimmages, and finished at the rim in transition. He can create second and third opportunities on offense because he is such a prolific rebounder with an advance low post game. Diallo – who was most recently offered by Kentucky – will visit this weekend.
New highlight tape of Jalen Coleman:
New interest this week is in 6’6 SF Derrick Jones who plays for Archbishop Carroll HS in Philly. The 2015 lefty wing is the 27th player in his class per ESPN’s rankings and runs with We-R-1 on the AAU circuit. Jones has offers from Cincinnati, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Penn State, Rutgers, St. Joseph’s, Syracuse, Villanova and Xavier with Kentucky lurking with interest.
Here is the ESPN Scouting Report on Jones:
Jones is a gifted physical prospect with good size, tremendous length, and athleticism. His ability to play above the rim is almost unmatched in the open floor as he excels at running lanes and catching lobs. He’s as smooth as he is explosive, able to virtual glide through and above defenders in transition. He’s also plenty quick and agile for a guy his size, giving him tremendous value on the defensive end of the floor as well. He’s shown the learning curve to match his obvious talent as his skills and overall impact continue to evolve at a consistent rate.
His talent level is undeniable, but like any young players, there are still plenty of holes in his game. He has a habit of searching out the high level play at the sake of efficiency and will consequently need his floor game to mature. As his frame fills out and he gets stronger he’ll start to go right at defenders, as opposed to relying on his athleticism to go around them. He’ll also need to continue to develop his overall ball skills on the perimeter to become a more consistent shooter and ball-handler.
He has an incredible amount of natural talent and is only just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential. As he continues to mature and develop, he’ll have a chance to be one of the best in the class of 2015.
Here’s some video of Jones:
Another new name this week was Maryland native, CJ Keyser who visited URI and Providence on June 21st. Keyser is a 6’4 athletic wing player who is just now starting to play more with the ball in his hands. Previously on his high school team he played mostly power forward. His Twitter name is “Baby Westbrook” and FriarBasketball.com’s Craig Leighton described him as “Gerard Coleman redux.” It looks like he is more of an athlete than a basketball player at the moment and PC will likely be monitoring his development during the July live period and his upcoming high school season. To read more about him, check out the New England Recruiting Report look at Keyser that they did for CoxSportsOnline.com. He did seem to enjoy his visit to PC though:
Kevin Farrahar and Craig Leighton from FriarBasketball.com will release their newest edition of their feature, “Elite 8 Recruiting Rankings” on Sunday due to the NBA Draft last night.
The new NERR Elite 75 rankings came out earlier this week. The list is littered with PC targets and it’s worth checking out.
2015 Justin Robinson visited Maryland last week. He was interviewed following the visit by TerrapinTimes.com’s Dave Lomonico. Here are some nuggets:
By Maryland coaches, Robinson meant the whole staff. That’s right, not only was head coach Mark Turgeon and assistant Dustin Clark present, but Bino Ranson, Cliff Warren and DBO Nima Omidvar all made sure the Robinsons were having a good time.
“We talked to all of those guys, and that’s what we spent the majority of the time doing, just sitting in Coach Turgeon’s office and talking recruiting and my future,” Robinson said. “The message was that they need a point guard in 2015, and I was their priority. I’m their guy.
“As a coaching staff, they believe with the guys they’re bringing in, and recruiting now, they’re going to be very successful very soon. They want me to be apart of that and think I can help take them to another level. I don’t think they want the expectations to be too high next year, in my opinion, but the feeling I get is that they’re encouraged. I think once they get the right pieces in place and gelling, Maryland is going to be back on top.”
Again, Robinson didn’t want to tip his hand, but he admitted Maryland has plenty going for it. He lauded the Big Ten move, the school’s academics and also Turgeon’s ability to coach. Robinson also mentioned that his parents would like him to stay close to home, though they’re not going to stop him from venturing further away if he so chooses.
“Honestly, I feel good about Maryland, but I think I feel good about all my offers,” Robinson said. “I’ve been blessed with many opportunities, and I have many great coaches reaching out to me. I have mutually good feelings about a lot of schools, so I don’t have favorites yet or anything. It’s a process, and I’ll start looking more into narrowing things down at the end of July. I’ll sit down with my parents and coaches and sort all that out.”
The Manassas, Va., native said he likely won’t make his college decision until the winter. He wants to take plenty of visits before making any kind of definitive statement, though he’s unsure which schools he’ll be checking out.
“I want to find the program that will fit me best academically, athletically and is just the school that suits my needs best,” Robinson said. “How I fit into the system, the relationship I have with the coaches, the family environment, and the place where I can excel the most – I’ll be looking at all of that.”
Video of 2017 Tomas Murphy from a recent pickup game:
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