GARDNER, Kan. -- Fresh for the 2013 travel season, Under Armour has unveiled its "Association." It has split its teams into Eastern and Western conferences and has them playing in events across the country to determine seeding for its July event, the Summer Jam. This weekend, the Western teams are in suburban Kansas City for the Jayhawk Invitational. On opening night, 2014 big man Myles Turner drew a big crowd.
A long-term stock
To understand all of the fuss about Turner -- from Euless (Texas) Trinity -- you really need to have seen him at this time last year. At the time, the Texas Select pivot was gangly, a little uncoordinated and mostly bristling with potential. Now, he's still a little gangly, a little raw, but he's grown to about 6-foot-11 and is starting to flash serious skill.
Ranked No. 78 in the 2014 Rivals150, Turner has a chance to make a rapid rise. Even though he didn't have a dominant night on Friday, it is easy to see what the coaches see in him. He has good hands, he can shoot with legitimate 18-foot range and finishes with either hand around the basket. Think of him as a young colt just trying to find his legs or as a long-term stock.
The No. 61 player in the class of 2014, 6-foot-1 point guard Dominique Collier of Denver (Colo.) East is in town with host club KC Run GMC. A lean and slender lead guard, Collier has a game that is about attacking off of the bounce and making things happen in the paint. Quick and slippery with the ball, he looks like he has developed a nice floater and he's become much more confident as a jump shooter.
On the recruiting trail, Collier said there are three schools emerging for him. Colorado is heavily involved. The Buffaloes did an in-home earlier in the week, and head coach Tad Boyle is spending time in Kansas City, where Collier can see him. Before the Buffaloes made it in home, Iowa laid out its plans for him. Like Boyle, Hawkeyes boss Fran McCaffery was in Kansas City watching Collier on Friday night. The third program emerging looks to be Kansas State. Collier should be making a visit to Manhattan soon. The Wildcats had an assistant in the building on Friday night, while Bruce Weber is expected in later this weekend.
More Friday notes and news
With all of the big boys lined up to watch Turner, 2016 big man Marquis Bolden of Texas Select put himself on the map. A 6-foot-9 freshman from DeSoto (Texas) High, Bolden has a solid frame and long legs, and he can move well for a young kid with his size. He shows willingness to fight for position, and he is one to watch down the road.
Texas Select had the intriguing big men, but it was the Wisconsin Swing that emerged victorious in their Friday night game. Leading the way was point guard Lamonte Bearden. The 6-foot-1 floor general picked up where he left off when we saw him recently in Milwaukee. That means he was using quickness to get into the lane and setting up teammates. More impressive than his speed is his ability to change it mid-dribble and catch defenders off guard with changes of direction to go with it. Earlier this week Bearden picked up an offer from Oregon State, and the Beavers had an assistant on hand to see him.
Also having some nice moments for the Swing was a high school teammate of Bearden's. Evan Wessenberg, a 6-foot-7 combo forward from Germantown (Wis.) High, did a little of this and a little of that. He hit 3-pointers, scored on a jump hook in the lane and showed toughness on both sides of the ball.
New Mexico is getting a solid wing in 6-foot-4 Xavier Adams. In town with Texas the Dream, Adams proved to be a hardworking and versatile wing. He's got toughness on drives, will share the ball with teammates, makes enough jumpers to keep you honest and is a solid all-around player. The three-star wing says that he's still onboard with the Lobos after Noodles Neal took over for Steve Alford.
Four-star power forward Brekkott Chapman didn't have quite the same showing on Friday night against Team Yobo that he did last weekend in Las Vegas. The skilled lefty still drained a few deep jumpers, made excellent passes and was solid on the glass. Earlier in the week, he hosted UCLA for an in-home visit. Kansas inquired and told him that it would be monitoring him at the Jayhawk.
The Illinois Wolves are deep and seem to have a new guy step up every night. Malek Harris has been the hot name, and the 6-foot-7 forward played like the double-double machine he usually is. He hosted Iowa this week and picked up offers from Oregon State and Kansas State. He and Ohio State-bound Keita Bates-Diop justifiably get a lot of love. However, they weren't the Wolves' best players on Friday night.
Leading the way on Friday was the guard combination of Ore Arogundade and Erick Locke. Standing about 6-foot-3, Arogundade has terrific end-to-end speed and is capable of playing either the point or the two, depending on the lineup the Wolves use. Friday night, he was knocking down shots and playing a complete game while filling the stat sheet. Locke chipped in heavily, a 6-footer with a strong frame. One college coach put it perfectly when he said that Locke had "old man game." What he meant was that he's all about skill, being in the right place at the right time and making the right play. Locke passed willingly and well to open teammates, did scoring of his own and had guys taking notes. Locke said he's gotten offers from Valparaiso, Illinois-Chicago (where his father played) and Chicago State. Detroit, Bradley, Illinois State, Northern Illinois, Wright State and others are involved.
The New Mexico Force weren't playing on the court that we were focused on Friday night. However, we couldn't help but notice their 6-foot-5 wing, Jordan Jones from Albuquerque (N.M.) Sandia, making plays every time we checked their game against Dallas Showtyme. A slasher with quickness, Jones looked like he knows how to get to the rim and what to do once he gets there. We'll be looking forward to a better look at him on Saturday.