NBE Basketball Report
Texas Recruiting

NIKE GLOBAL CHALLENGE: USA WEST EDGES USA SOUTH FOR TITLE

July 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

by Alex Schwartz
WASHINGTON – The Nike Global Challenge came to a close on Saturday, with USA West winning 98-95 over USA South to take the crown.

NBE Sports was in the house to take in the action from three of the day’s four games. While there, we put together some observations of players in attendance, tracked what coaches were in the gym and talked to a few players for recruiting updates.

Due to his religious beliefs and practices, Abdul-Malik Abu is fasting from sunrise to sunset during the July Live Periods for Ramadan. Despite playing without eating or drinking, the 6-foot-8 power forward was productive and showed off a quality motor. A class of 2014 recruit from Kimball Union Academy (NH), Abu has a good build and is tough in the post. Abu, who was playing for Team Pan-Africa, also showed that he has some ability to step out and shoot the ball, even if that is not his forte.

Indiana-commit James Blackmon of Bishop Luers (IN) was easily one of the best shooters at the entire event. An elite marksman from beyond the arc, the 6-foot-2 shooting guard is lethal when left open. Blackmon, a class of 2014 prospect, can get hot in a hurry and is capable of putting on a show when he is in the groove, as he was on Saturday for Team USA Midwest.

Bonzie Colson of St. Andrew’s (RI) is an undersized power forward at 6-foot-5, but he can flat our produce. The class of 2014 recruit was pretty productive for Team USA East and displayed the ability to score down low. His thick build helps him make up for what he lacks in height and he can use his frame to his advantage.

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2013 NBPA TOP 100 HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL CAMP — FINAL RECRUITING NOTES

June 17, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Whitfield, Mid-Atlantic Recruiting Analyst

The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA)’s 20th Anniversary of the NBPA Top 100 High School Basketball Camp kicked off Wednesday at the University of Virginia’s John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville and concluded over the weekend. Media was allowed to begin attending sessions on Thursday and NBE was back on the road and in attendence.

The NBPA Top 100 High School Basketball Camp was created by the NBPA in 1994 to assist elite high school student-athletes in the development of their basketball and life skills. Throughout the last 20 years, the Camp has grown into one of the most highly touted and renowned camps of its kind and has seen hundreds of its participants go on to successful NBA careers. You can follow the camp on Twitter @Top100Camp and be sure to follow @NBESports for all of our updates as well.

To close our recruiting updates, NBE caught up with Craig Victor, Satchel Pierce, Khadeem Lattin, Abdul-Malik Abu, Brandone Francis, Skal Labissiere, Chinanu Onuaku, Kevon Looney, Trevon Blueitt and Trayvon Reed, which you can see below…

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2013 NBPA TOP 100 HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL CAMP — RECRUITING NOTES (PART I)

June 13, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Whitfield, Mid-Atlantic Recruiting Analyst

The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA)’s 20th Anniversary of the NBPA Top 100 High School Basketball Camp kicked off Wednesday at the University of Virginia’s John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville. Media was allowed to begin attending sessions on Thursday and NBE was back on the road and in attendence.

The NBPA Top 100 High School Basketball Camp was created by the NBPA in 1994 to assist elite high school student-athletes in the development of their basketball and life skills. Throughout the last 20 years, the Camp has grown into one of the most highly touted and renowned camps of its kind and has seen hundreds of its participants go on to successful NBA careers. You can follow the camp on Twitter @Top100Camp and be sure to follow @NBESports for all of our updates as well.

IN our first recruiting notebook we take a look at the latest from

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RECRUITING NOTEBOOK (4/1/2013): RECRUITING TRAIL HEATING UP ONCE AGAIN

April 1, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

by Alex Schwartz

There has been a lot of news in the world of high school hoops in the past few weeks, including a few talented juniors making early commitments, an elite senior ending his recruitment and some high-profile players in setting announcement dates.

One of the best players in the nation, Julius Randle, declared his intentions to attend Kentucky. The 6-foot-9 power forward from Prestonwood Christian (TX) opted for the Wildcats over Florida, Kansas and Texas. Randle joins an absolutely loaded seven-man 2013 recruiting class for UK that many are calling the greatest group ever assembled.

Also, according to Jason Jordan of USA Today, Julius Randle has been added to the McDonald’s All-American game. He was initially ineligible since he missed more than half the season—he was injured—yet has been added anyway. Randle is one of six players in the game headed to Kentucky next year.

One-time Murray State commit Demarcus Croaker is now headed to Texas for his college ball, per Reggie Rankin. He also noted that the class of 2013 prospect selected Texas over Murray State this time around. Croaker is a 6-foot-3 shooting guard from Jones (FL).

Gavin Schilling of Findlay Prep (NV) became the first member of Michigan State’s 2013 recruiting class. The 6-foot-9 power forward tweeted his commitment to the Spartans. He selected MSU over Minnesota, UCLA and Villanova.

Rutgers landed a pledge from JuCo prospect Chris Griffin of Wabash Valley College (IL), according to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com. Griffin is a 6-foot-7 small forward in the class of 2013.

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RECRUITING NOTEBOOK (3/1/2013): RIP JOSH LEVEL

March 1, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

by Alex Schwartz

Before getting into the recruiting news, we want to send our condolences to the family and friends of Josh Level. A standout basketball player from North Carolina in the junior class, Level sadly passed away last week, far too young. The guys over at Ball is Life put together a nice “Josh Level Tribute Mix,” which can be found Here.

On the trail, one of the biggest pieces of news involved a star dual-sport athlete. Derrick Griffin of Terry (TX) committed to Miami for football, in news that looks to have been broken by Peter Ariz of Canesooks to have been broken by Peter Ariz of CanesInSight.com. The class of 2013 prospect, who has signed a Letter of Intent, is expected to play basketball at Miami as well.

Griffin, who checks in at 6-foot-6, is a wide receiver/tight end on the gridiron and a power forward on the hardwood. He had been committed to Texas A&M for a long time, but did not sign with the Aggies due to reported academic issues.

Tyrek Coger of Word of God Christian Academy (NC) tweeted that he pledged to Middle Tennessee State. Coger is a 6-foot-8 center in the class of 2013 and he is a former Missouri commit.

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RECRUITING NOTEBOOK (1/14/2013): ACTION HEATING UP ON RECRUITING TRAIL

January 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

by Alex Schwartz

After a long swoon during the holiday season, things have picked back up in a hurry on the recruiting trail. One of the nation’s best big men made his pledge and several, as did a top-notch junior guard and several other players.

Dakari Johnson of Montverde Academy (FL) became yet another part of the star-studded Kentucky recruiting class. The 6-foot-10 class of 2013 center picked the Wildcats over Georgetown and Syracuse.

Johnson had been ranked No. 3 in the NBE Sports Class of 2014 Post-July Top 75, but he has since reclassified up to 2013. UK already has four additional top-15 commits in the NBE Sports Class of 2013 Post-July Top 125, as John Calipari is putting together his, if not the­ best class yet.

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RECRUITING NOTEBOOK (11/9/2012): ORANGE CONTINUE TO SIZZLE ON RECRUITING TRAIL AHEAD OF ACC MOVE

November 9, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

by Alex Schwartz

The two biggest high school hoops stories to come since our last Recruiting Notebook are both out of the class of 2014.

First off, Chris McCullough became just the second player in the top 25 of the NBE Sports Class of 2014 Post-July Top 75 to make a college decision. The 6-foot-9 power forward from Brewster Academy (NH) pledged to Syracuse, in news that looks to have been first reported by CuseNation.com.

McCullough is a native New Yorker and a high school teammate of recent 2013 Syracuse pledge Ron Patterson. McCullough is ranked No. 22 in the NBE Sports 2014 Top 75.

The Orange may not be done in 2014 as NBE’s 19th best player in the class, Isaiah Whitehead, has narrowed his list to 10, per ESPN, and the Orange remain one of the leaders.  The final 10 for the NYC guard are:  Syracuse, St. John’s, Rutgers, Kentucky, Louisville, Arizona, Maryland, Florida, Kansas and UCLA.

Dakari Johnson was the other 2014 stud to make news this week, except, well, Johnson is no longer a member of that class. Johnson has made the decision to reclassify to 2013, per Garrett Tucker of Future150.com.

The 6-foot-10 center from Montverde Academy (FL) was ranked No. 3 in the NBE Sports 2014 Top 75. He is the third top-20 player to reclassify from 2014 to 2013 in the past few months, following Andrew Wiggins, Noah Vonleh and Wayne Selden.

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RECRUITING NOTEBOOK (10/4/2012) — HARRISON TWINS DECISION DUE TODAY

October 4, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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by Alex Schwartz

Quite possibly the best package deal in high school basketball history will have a destination today. Top-four ranked twin brothers Andrew and Aaron Harrison are set to announce their college intentions and will be choosing between Kentucky, Maryland and SMU.

The 6-foot-5 guards from Travis (TX) had long been working with a top five that also included Baylor and Villanova, but they have narrowed it down to a final trio. The general belief though, is that it is truly a two-horse race between Kentucky and Maryland.

UK is on a roll under John Calipari, as he is four for four in Lexington, Ky. in signing the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation. He has led Kentucky to two Final Fours and the Wildcats are the reigning national champion. UK has also churned out a plethora of first round picks under Cal and it is the winningest program in NCAA basketball history.
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THE HOOP GROUP’S FUTURE ALL-AMERICA CAMP – WEDNESDAY RECAP

August 9, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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by Alex Schwartz

READING, Pa. — The Hoop Group Future All-American Camp came to a close on Wednesday and NBE Sports was back at Albright College. Yesterday’s action included the playoffs and the Super Soph All-Star Game. Throughout the course of the day there were several lesser known prospects who impressed. Additionally, awards were handed out, and the recipients are listed below. Also, find out here which point guard from the City of Brotherly Love shined on the final day of the camp.

TOP PERFORMER

Lamarr Kimble is a player who it is tough to not enjoy watching. A 5’11 point guard from Nemann-Goretti (PA), a Philadelphia powerhouse, Kimble has silky smooth game and is the consummate floor general. The best part of the 2015 prospect’s game is his ability to set up his teammates in positions to score as well as the fact that regularly looks to do that. Kimble has superb court vision and a very nice feel for the game. He is adept at making plays in transition and is faster than one would expect him to be. Kimble plays the game under control and always seems to know what he wants to do with the ball. Although much of his game is about facilitating for others, he is also quite a capable scorer. Kimble can connect from outside the 3-point line and his midrange pull-up jumper is quite good. All said, Kimble is a winning player who has a game well beyond his years.
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ORLANDO AAU REPORT – SATURDAY

July 30, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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By Alex Schwartz

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Saturday was the final full day of the last Live period this month. Coaches will be back in the gym on Sunday, but must leave at 5:00 p.m. There were quite a few players who excelled on Saturday and it looked like one player had the Top Performer spot wrapped up–until one 2013 wing went bonkers from long range in the nightcap. Also, a trio of big men originally from Africa were quite impressive, two top-five players shined again and a top-100 prospect in 2013 listed a favorite.

TOP PERFORMER

Omar Prewitt needs to be in the discussion of the best shooter in the United States at the high school level. A 6’5 shooting guard out of Montgomery (KY) put on an absolute SHOW for The Ville in the final game of the night. In the first half alone, Prewitt had 22 points and knocked in six 3-pointers. The final stats sheet was swooped away before we could take a look at it, but one of The Ville coaches said Prewitt had 33 points and a D1 assistant told us he hd 34. He finished with eight or nine 3-pointers and was simply unstoppable off the catch. Prewitt is not just a one-dimensional shooter, though. He has a smooth game and is more than capable of knifing through a defense and getting to the rim. Prewitt handles the ball pretty well and he can block shots at the defensive end. His Saturday night performance was one of the best that this writer has seen all month.
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‘LIVE IN AC’ REPORT – DAY I

July 26, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst

While “Live in AC” is only in its inaugural year that didn’t stop New Jersey Playaz director Jimmy Salmon from putting together quite an impressive field of talent. I’ll be camped out at the main Stockton College site throughout the tournament which features most of the 17U action with some of the younger guys sprinkled in. Here’s who caught my eye on Wednesday night.

Top Performance of the Day:

Rysheed Jordan (Philly Pride 2013) – An electric scoring combo guard, Jordan played in two games on Wednesday night and was the best player on the floor in both including a matchup with Team Final that featured a bunch of high major talent. While Jordan refers to himself as a combo guard it’s his ability at the point that stands out to me. He has unique athleticism for someone running the show and is able to use his physical advantages to explode past defenders and work his way into the paint. Jordan is best in the open floor when his physical tools can shine and his vision in high paced action also stands out. He has a great feel for the action in an up and down game and has a way of gliding through traffic and creating angles with his speed. In half court sets, Jordan punished defenders for playing off him by knocking down deep jumpers and then blew past them when they tried to press up on him. His decision making and knowledge of how to efficiently run a team still need work but Jordan’s physical tools already make him a high major priority.
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PHIL BOOTH HAS SCHOOLS IN HOT PURSUIT AS ’14 G IMPRESSES IN JULY

July 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Phil Booth entered July already with a pretty big reputation and his game has been living up to that rep. As a member of the NBE Class of 2014 Pre-July Live Period Top 40 at #34, Booth solidified his position as one of the elite players nationally in the rising junior high school class with his play on the AAU circuit with Team Takeover DC.

The 6-foot-2 guard who attends Baltimore’s Mount St. Joseph High School has a reputation as a shot maker and while he certainly lived up to that at the recent Peach Jam on the Nike Elite Youth Basketball Circuit, NBE’s National Recruiting Analyst Brian Bosworth noted that Booth also showed a more complete game than what he has witnessed from him before. He played at the point for long stretches and did a great job of running offense and finding shots for others. If Booth can fully transition to the point his ceiling becomes quite a bit higher as his size and shot-making ability can seperate himself from other floor generals in the class.

His strong play has led to plenty of college attention and Booth was kind enough to participate in a Question and Answer session on his recruitment and how he feels about the new rule where college coaches, beginning back on June 15th, where allowed to be able to have unlimited contact with recruits via phone, text messaging or social media messaging. Read on below for the details…

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NIKE ELITE INVITATIONAL 15U SEMIFINAL RECAP

July 22, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst

While the Peach Jam took a long break during the afternoon on Saturday, 15U semifinal action at the Nike Elite Invitational more than filled the void. Elite talents both known and unknown had a chance to shine and here’s a sample of who impressed.

Top Performer of the Afternoon:

Thomas Bryant (Team Scan 2015) – Bryant is still far more prospect than player but his ceiling is enormous and all his incredible tools were on full display on Saturday. Growing rapidly and nearly 6-foot-10, the Rochester (NY) native who attends Bishop Kearney High School moves like a guard and possesses some guard skills on the offensive end. He is very comfortable shooting the ball out to 18 feet, and can handle and attack off the dribble. Bryant also backed his man down in the post but needs major work on his footwork when navigating on the block. Perhaps his most impressive offensive move came as a ball handler in a pick and roll when he turned the corner and dropped off a pretty bounce pass to his rolling teammate. Very few pros at Bryant’s size have that level of skill so for a 15 year old to flash it is borderline ridiculous. He also protects the rim and projects as an elite shot blocker but does need to become much more physical. Bryant can be bullied for position and doesn’t rebound as well as he should because of that but added strength and a better understanding of how to use that strength should clean that up.
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2012 PEACH JAM REPORT – DAY III (PART A)

July 21, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst

With pool play in full swing, Friday at the Peach Jam featured high profile games with star power all over the place. The morning set of games was highlighted by a standout point guard who doesn’t always receive the recognition he deserves.

Top Performer of the Morning:

Rene Castro (BABC 2013) – BABC trailed by as many as 16 points in the second half of a morning game against Wisconsin Playground but Castro simply refused to lose. He showed incredible toughness in keeping his team together and attacking the rim relentlessly to fuel a comeback. While more effective off the dribble, Castro also made perimeter shots on his way to 10-14 shooting for 24 points. The numbers he put up and shots he made were impressive but it was the intangibles that stuck out to me. Castro’s ferocity and intensity only got stronger with his team behind and the entire BABC squad seemed inspired by their leader. He acknowledged after the game that with the team shorthanded here at Peach Jam (Wayne Selden and Goodluck Okonoboh didn’t make the trip) it was his responsibility to step up and be more of a scorer. Castro played that role brilliantly and showed the character and winning ways that are such strengths of his.
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2012 PEACH JAM REPORT – DAY II (PART C)

July 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst

Thursday evening brought more 17U EYBL action to North Augusta with star players on every court in the facility. NBE had the chance to see its share of the action and here is who stood out to us.

Top Performer of the Night:

Moses Kingsley (Arkansas Wings 2013) – While already a well known name nationally, Kingsley outperformed his reputation in a victory over Cal Supreme. The 6’9” center was an absolute monster on the backboard and protecting the rim. Credited with 11 rebounds and 3 blocked shots, my eyes tell me that both of those numbers are a little bit low. In a game featuring highly touted big men like Marcus Lee, Torren Jones, and his teammate Bobby Portis, Kingsley was unquestionably the best big on the court. His defense has remained consistent but offensively is where he has really taken strides since the April live period. Kingsley was able to finish through contact, flashed good footwork on the block, and even showed a developing off the dribble game. If his offense is ever able to catch up to his prowess on the defensive end, Kingsley could challenge for top center in the 2013 class.
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2012 PEACH JAM REPORT – DAY II (PART B)

July 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst

Thursday afternoon I had the chance to watch elite 16U action at the Peach Jam while also skipping over to the Elite Youth Invitational to catch one game between the Jackson Tigers and the Carolina Hurricanes. Here’s who managed to impress.

Top Performer of the Afternoon:

Mickey Mitchell (Texas Titans 2015) – Mitchell solidified his status as the #1 ranked player in my 2015 top 15. At 6’7” the guard has a combination of skills rarely seen among players his age. He is an excellent athlete most noticeable today with an explosive first step in either direction. While Mitchell is a more than capable scorer once he beats his man, he truly loves to pass and has a unique talent for it. His vision and ability to whip the ball into tight windows are extraordinary and are what separates Mitchell from other wing players. While he does have a tendency to try for the outstanding play when a simple one will do, this is something that he should clean up as he gets older. I’d also like to see him be a little bit more selfish at times because Mitchell could be an elite scorer as well as an elite passer if he chose to be that. Learning to balance getting his own offense with getting offense for his teammates will fuel Mitchell’s development over the next few years.
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2012 PEACH JAM REPORT — DAY I

July 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst

While the 17U action for the EYBL crown will have to wait until Thursday, the 16U play kicked off Wednesday night. NBE was focused on Pool D for the night and had the chance to watch all four teams in the pool. The early game featured Southern Stampede defeating Each 1 Teach 1 while the night cap was a Texas Elite victory over The Family. A bunch of players managed to shine in the double dip led by a 2015 big man from Texas.

Top Performer of the Night:

Elijah Thomas (Texas Elite 2015) – In a head to head matchup with highly touted big man Diamond Stone, Thomas got the best of his friend who runs with The Family. He made a point to mention after the game that he was looking forward to the contest with Stone because he felt Stone had outplayed him earlier in the season at the Nike Elite 100 camp in St Louis. Thomas wanted another opportunity to prove that he was every bit the player and prospect that Stone is and did just that on Wednesday night. He’s an ambidextrous player who I legitimately thought was left handed for the entire first half until I watched him shoot his free throws right handed. Thomas is big, strong, and finishes everything in the paint with his left (off) hand. He welcomes and often initiates contact in the lane showing an ability to draw a foul and then finish anyway. Thomas can continue developing his game by expanding his range and furthering his set of moves on the low block but is already a very effective big man on strength alone.
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JULY EVALUATION PERIOD RECRUITING NOTEBOOK – PART I

July 17, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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The opening July evaluation period has come to a close, ending on Sunday, giving players, coaches and media a short little break to catch their breath before doing it all again this week. NBE Sports spent time at the Lebron James Skills Academy (prior to the official opening of the evaluation period), Reebok Breakout Challenge, Hoop Group Elite Session II, Adidas Invitational, Reebok Showdown Championship, Nike Global Challenge and Nike Skills U in the past week. Hopefully everyone has enjoyed our coverage and we have greatly enjoyed bringing you news and notes from all the action.

Next up this week will be the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League Championship at the Peach Jam. NBE will also be getting coverage of the Under Armour Summer Jam in Milwaukee (WI). In the meantime, here are some additional recruiting notes gathered by Matt Whitfield from his time bouncing back and forth between the Nike Global Challenge and Nike Skills U last weekend…

Kuran Iverson has had a fantastic spring and early summer, pushing his recruitment higher and higher as his stock has soared. Read more

REEBOK SHOWDOWN CHAMPIONSHIP RECAP – SATURDAY

July 15, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Alex Schwartz

PHILADELPHIA – With the Reebok Breakout Challenge complete, the Reebok Showdown Series Championship took center stage on Saturday at Philadelphia University. Featuring numerous superb AAU teams from coast to coast up into Canada, there was talent all over the gym.

NBE Sports was on hand to take in the action, as well as speak with a few players about their recruitment.

TOP PERFORMER

Jarrel Marshall is not a huge name in recruiting circles and he is not a high-major prospect, but that does not detract from his performance in the first game of the day NBE Sports saw. A 6’6 combo forward for the NY Panthers, Marshall poured in a game-high 26 points in his team’s loss to M33M. Although Marshall, who is going to South Kent (CT) for a post-grad year, was unable to lead his team to a win, he certainly did all he could. He seems to have really improved his perimeter game and was consistently knocking down shots from mid to long range. Additionally, he can bang down low at both ends of the court and is a productive overall player.

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2012 ADIDAS INVITATIONAL – FRIDAY RECAP

July 14, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst

Friday at the Adidas Invitational brought pool play to a close and marked the start of playoff action. It also allowed a chance to view some of the tournaments younger talent as the 15U pools wrapped up at the main site I’ve been stationed at. Star performances became the norm with one Texas big man standing out as top dog on the day.

Top Performer of the Day:

Jordan Mickey (Urban DFW Elite 2013) – The 6’9” post player was unstoppable in an afternoon playoff victory dominating the paint from start to finish. Mickey has outstanding footwork on the block and can score over either shoulder with either hand. He uses spins, drop steps, and a host of other moves keeping the defense on its heels all the time with his wide array of options down low. Mickey also succeeded from the high post where his 15 foot jumper is deadly and he can use 1 dribble to attack the rim. Still a bit on the slender side, a college weight room will do wonders for Mickey’s development and he projects as a go to low post scoring option within his first couple years on a high major college campus.
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