WICHITA FALLS, Tex. -- The high school basketball season is just around the corner. In preparation for the regular season, some of the top programs and players from Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas met on the campus of Wichita Falls (Texas) Hirschi for the annual Elite 14. While senior five-star prospects like Emmanuel Mudiay and Myles Turner -- whose performance will be covered in another article from the Elite 14 -- were doing their thing, 2015 four-star D.J. Hogg stole the show with a big-time outing.
Hogg elevates game
The No. 49 player overall in the class of 2015, Hogg should have looked good at the Elite 14. But, the 6-foot-7 small forward from Plano (Texas) West looked much better than good on Saturday. Hogg was the talk of the assembled college coaches -- at least 20 D1 programs were on hand -- and scouts as he put together a huge outing on Saturday.
The format featured each team playing three 20 minute games/scrimmages and the four-star was flat out dominant offensively in the two games he played. Known as a guy with size who can stretch defenses with his jump shooting, Hogg was totally locked in from deep. He hit with ease from beyond the three-point line, but showed much more than jump shooting. Hogg posted up, drove the baseline, hit pull-up jumpers and showed a totally complete offensive game. Smaller, quick players give him some problems when he has to defend, but he's improving his lateral movement on that end.
If what he showed on Saturday is any kind of preview of what to expect down the road, then Hogg is somebody who will move into serious contention for five-star status. The skilled scorer is in no hurry with his recruitment and mentioned that Baylor was the latest school to offer. Others that have been in to see him this fall include SMU, Texas, Texas A&M, TCU, Houston, UCLA, Iowa and Ohio State. Hogg also mentioned being interested in playing with fellow highly rated Texans like high school/summer teammates Mickey Mitchell and Tyler Davis or former summer teammate Elijah Thomas.
McClure working back into shape
During the summer, the only event that King McClure was able to play in due to a knee injury was the Peach Jam. The five-star from Dallas AAA Academy was only playing at about 75 percent at the July event, but put on a show. While getting back into shape, the 6-foot-3 combo guard recently suffered a minor injury to his other knee. Saturday, he was back on the floor as he tries to work himself back to 100 percent.
Playing at about 80-85 percent of full strength, McClure certainly had his moments. One of the most powerful guards in the class of 2015, McClure loves contact and is so effective playing through it and scoring that referees often miss out on giving him deserved trips to the free throw line. McClure is a communicator, passes well enough and does a good job of balancing his jump shooting and driving. Late in the day, his legs looked to be gone and it clearly had an impact on his jumper during his last game. He also had some difficulty at times getting around quick defenders and it will be interesting to see how much that changes once he's got his explosiveness back.
McClure has been to both Baylor and Kansas for unofficial visits this fall and said that the Bears and Jayhawks along with Arkansas have been showing him the most attention. UCLA recently offered and Stanford, Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M have also been in. The No. 14 player in 2015 also mentioned Duke and North Carolina have called, but he's not considering them to be recruiting him until they make trips out to watch him in person.
Move agrees with Evans
The No. 59 player overall in the class of 2015, six-foot point guard Jawun Evans moved with his family from South Carolina to Texas. The four-star floor general landed at Dallas Kimball and he cemented his status with his play on Saturday.
Kimball was making sure to give several young players as much game experience as possible, but when the junior was in the game he was making his presence felt. If he's not the quickest point guard in his class, he's way up near the top and he can really make things happen for himself and others off the dribble. Evans is a pest on defense and makes enough jumpers that defenders must respect him from deep.
The state of Texas has firmly established itself as one of the top states for producing high-end basketball talent. On Saturday, several young players with loads of potential were on display. In fact, there were several freshmen from the Lone Star state that stood out as players to watch down the road.
We'll start at the top with 6-foot-7 wing Jarred Vanderbilt out of Houston's Victory Prep. Given that he hasn't played a high school game yet, we want to be somewhat conservative, but the rangy southpaw has all of the tools to be a nationally elite prospect. He can handle the ball, he has athleticism, he is a thoroughbred in transition and he looks to have a very workable jumper. Saturday was Rivals.com's first look at the precocious talent and he and his team had some struggles, but the raw, physical tools are all in place. He is likely going to be watched closely by college hoops' elite moving forward.
Vanderbilt wasn't the only freshman making noise. Another who looks to have pretty significant potential is 6-foot-7 combo forward Ibrahim Doumbia, of Houston Trent Internationale. A native of Mali who arrived shortly before the start of the school year, Dumbria is a long, lean and a big-time athlete. He's explosive to the rim, can really run the floor and looks to have pretty decent mechanics on his shot. According to his coaches, Dumbria has already received offers from Baylor and UTEP.
Two other freshman that made some noise were point guard Chris Giles, and forward P.J. Washington. A 6-foot-2 point guard at Plano West, Giles looks to be a shifty ball handler, has a nice looking jumper and is quick. He's playing behind a senior point guard, but looks like he has the goods. A 6-foot-7 forward at Prime Prep in Dallas, Williams is a long freshman who has some ball skills. He will stick his nose into a crowd to try and grab a rebound and looks like he will be able to play from the high post and attack off the dribble.