April 10, 2013

Ten to keep an eye on in summer

The high school season is finished and the grassroots travel circuit is already in full effect. We'll be on the road pretty much every week between now and the end of July and we'll be covering a lot of ground.

As we get set to hit the road, Minnesota scoring machine Rashad Vaughn leads a group of 10 players ranked in the 2014 Rivals150 who we want to get a look at this spring and summer.

1. SG Rashad Vaughn, New Hope (Minn.) Robbinsdale Cooper Rivals rank: No. 6
We didn't get to see the explosive shooting guard in person during the winter, but we were able to watch several of his games on tape. His ability to shoot with range, his above-average athleticism and ability to score in bunches jumped out at us. If that all translates against strong summer competition, Vaughn could still be climbing.

2. SF Malik Pope, Elk Grove (Calif.) Laguna Creek Rivals rank: No. 7
The near 6-foot-9 small forward was really starting to get it going before his junior season was cut short by a broken leg. He should be back sometime in late April or early May and while it might take a little while for him to get in shape, we expect Pope to explode a bit nationally. It's hard not to see some baby Paul George in him.

3. PG Joel Berry, PG, Apopka (Fla.) Lake Highland Prep RR: No. 21 (North Carolina)
The future Tar Heel has already put together a pretty impressive body of work on the high school level. Unfortunately he was out with injury when we had a chance to see him live during the winter. Last summer he played a more complimentary role on Each 1 Teach 1, but this year he'll be the man. Should he be a five-star? We'll know soon enough.

4. SG B.J. Stith, Lawrenceville (Va.) Brunswick RR: No. 36 (Virginia)
So far, it has been our contention that people are missing the boat on Stith. We like his size, length, ability to score and pedigree. There's a pretty vocal group who thinks he gets by on his name because his father was a star at UVA and played in the NBA. Obviously, his play this spring and summer will tell a lot.

5. SG James Blackmon, Fort Wayne (Ind.) Bishop Luers RR: No. 47 (Indiana)
The future Hoosier's summer was cut short last year and then he came back to put up huge numbers as a junior. Does that translate to big numbers in Nike's EYBL this spring?

6. C Isaac Haas, Piedmont (Ala.) Hokes Bluff RR: No. 58
When the near seven-footer first broke onto the scene late last summer with the Atlanta Celtics, he looked totally out of place. Then, we saw him again in October at a camp and he had made huge strides. He's physical, he rebounds and he has bulk and touch to go along with his height. Reviews from those who saw him during the winter were quite favorable.

7. C Myles Turner, Euless (Texas) Trinity RR: No. 78
We're calling it right now: this guy is going to blow up during the last two weekends of April. Pretty much the entire Big 12 has offered him at this point and his ability to run the floor, score and overall game should really put him on the map this spring. He should be on the circuit with Texas Select.

8. SF Donaven Dorsey, Lacey (Wash.) Timberline RR: No. 92
Coaches in the Pacific Northwest have figured out the deal on Dorsey. He's a long and lean slasher with a developing jump shot. Washington and Gonzaga have been prioritizing him and he's made a big impression on the author of this article's father, who lives just down the street from Dorsey's high school.

9. PF LaDamean Keys, Bogalusa (La.) High RR: No. 105
We saw Keys in April and July last year and he was very intriguing. Not the tallest power forward at about 6-foot-7, but he had tremendous length and was ridiculously quick off the floor. Keys looked to have the tools to develop into a big time finisher but we've not seen anything since last summer. Has he grown? Has he developed?

10. PF Philip Cofer, Fayetteville (Ga.) Whitewater RR: No. 141
Could Cofer be the Kenneth Faried of the class of 2014? The 6-foot-7 jumping-jack is explosive off the floor, tries to dunk everything and seems to have a low profile. He might have a low profile because his game is limited, or his exposure has been limited. The next few months will give us an answer.


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