Central Michigan Recruiting
By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst
Thursday at “Live in AC” featured a few big names playing up to their reputations but was mostly about under the radar guys getting a chance to shine. Here’s who caught NBE’s eye on the day.
Top Performance of the Day:
Abdul-Malik Abu (Expressions Elite 2014) – Abu is a big name in New England who deserves to be a big name on the national level. He was a physical force on the 16U level dominating the paint in both games I watched on Thursday. A strongly built 6’8” and 225 pounds, Abu can both post up and blow by defenders off the dribble. He loves contact once around the rim and finished while drawing fouls on multiple plays throughout the day. While Abu is a wide bodied post player, that doesn’t take away from his elite athleticism as both his first step off the dribble and explosion at the rim are of the highest level. He had some of the fiercest and most powerful dunks of the day both rising over defenders and finishing through them. Abu can play anywhere in the country at the college level and his recruitment is starting to show that.
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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While already well known in the Midwest, Detroit (MI) Community High’s Byron ‘Bo’ Zeigler is poised to make a big name for himself nationally this spring and summer on the recruiting trail. The 6-foot-6, 191-pound small forward, according to our friends at Hoops Window, is a rubberband man on the floor, offensively and defensively and utilizes a speed burst dribble and glide towards the hoop with ease, it doesn’t matter from which side of the court, Zeigler is effective with both hands. On defense, Hoops Window compares Zeigler to a smaller Hakim Warrick when he throws up his long arms to block a shot.
Zeigler told NBE this weekend that he is continuing to work on his ball-handling as well as his on-ball defense this season. With the spring AAU season approaching quickly, he is also looking forward to hitting the circuit with his Michigan Hurricane teammates.
By Ray Mernagh
LaMonta Stone II is the son of a coach — his father LaMonta is a long-time assistant coach at Bowling Green.
The younger Stone has shown this summer that he probably isn’t going to get overlooked the way some coaching offspring tend to.
Stone, who will enter Bowling Green High School this fall, is a traditional point guard according to those that have seen him this summer.
Stone did work at the Jr. Phenom Camp in San Diego at the start of the summer where he was ranked the #1 point guard in the camp, and continued to impress throughout the July period. So much so that he’s already garnered his first two D-1 scholarship offers from Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan. Stone is also getting interest from Michigan State, Iowa State, Michigan, Cincinnati and Duquesne.
Young Stone is definitely a player NBE will track over the next few years as he matures physically and will no doubt receive intense looks from even more programs nation-wide as he steps right into the Varsity level as a 9th grader.
For now here’s a little taste of his skills in the open court.
Let me be the first to dub the move the “Stone Cold” crossover.
By Alex Schwartz
The second July live evaluation period kicked off on Friday and the place to be over the 10-day period looks to be Orlando (FL). With AAU Super Showcases along with AAU National Championships being at the top age groups the action will be heating up like much of the summer weather our nation is currently seeing. In this first notebook, NBE chats with elite 2014 prospect Wayne Selden about his recruitment and covers the play and recruitment of Nigel Hayes, Mitchell Wilbekin while also getting a look at Marial Shayok, Che Bop and Jeremy Miller as well with the younger age groups taking center stage first. Read on below for the details…
Wayne Selden said he has offers from Kentucky, Boston College, Connecticut, West Virginia and Pittsburgh. He has interest from Ohio State, Arizona and Providence. He noted, “A lot more other schools in the Big East, ACC.”
Despite only entering his junior season next fall, R.J. Curington has been a player many have kept an eye on for a couple years around the country. After terrorizing local players around Dyer (IN) in junior high school Curington made the move to Oak Hill Academy as an 8th grader, spending two years on the ‘Red’ squad at the elite basketball powerhouse. This past season Curington moved up to the ‘Gold’ squad as a sophomore and he has had a huge spring on the AAU circuit with CIA Bounce and is beginning to fulfill the potential many saw in him early on.
Standing at 6-foot-5 and weighing in at 195 pounds Curington combines excellent size for a young wing with tremendous athletic ability. He has become a lethal scorer this spring and early summer as his skill development has been right on schedule and his confidence in his improved perimeter scoring skills is evident. Those traits have quickly raised his recruiting profile into one of the top targets for many schools in the Class of 2013.
Motivated by the shooting deaths of two older siblings, JaVontae Hawkins keeps his eyes on the prize in life
One of the more impressive players on the spring AAU circuit that has cemented his name among the top players in the Class of 2012 has been JaVontae Hawkins. The 6-foot-5, 202-lb shooting guard has turned in some very impressive performances with the Michigan Mustangs, officially breaking out in a big way back in April at the King James Shooting Stars event in Akron.
“This spring I just showed everyone that I can play against top talent and broke [out of] my shell by making athletic plays on both ends of the court and playing the shooting guard position at my best,” Hawkins told NBE earlier this week.
College coaches on the road in July will get a chance to see Hawkins at events such as the ScoutsFocus International Elite 80 Showcase July 10th and 11th in Greensboro (NC) and during AAU basketball’s Vegas week to close the live evaluation period. In the meantime Hawkins will continue to hone his skills for his moment to shine.