FT. WAYNE, Ind. -- Each year, Saturday at the Bill Hensley Memorial Run-N-Slam is arguably the longest day of the spring and summer travel season. Games begin at 8 a.m. and don't finish up until nearly midnight. During the day, Detroit's The Family and Chicago's Mac Irvin Fire dueled in an exciting pool-play game, Seattle freshman Jaylen Nowell put himself on the national map and Wisconsin native Brevin Pritzl went off.
Family outlasts Fire
The nation's top point guard in the class of 2015, Jalen Brunson, took the weekend off and was unavailable to the Mac Irvin Fire in their final pool play game against The Family. Even without Brunson, the Fire are loaded with Rivals150 prospects Davon Dillard, Luwane Pipkins and Edward Morrow, as well as fast-rising combo guard Connor Cashaw. Missing a high-end prospect as well in four-star big man Trevor Manuel, The Family was able to counter with 2015 four-star combo guard Eric Davis, Rivals150 shooting guard A.J. Turner and class of 2016 four-star Miles Bridges.
Chicago vs. Detroit, talent all over the floor and a strong crowd all led to a great atmosphere for grassroots hoops and the Fire and Family rewarded everybody with a great game. Led by Turner's game-high 31 points, the Family outlasted the Fire, 84-83, in an up and down and exciting affair.
Currently ranked No. 141 in the class of 2015, Turner will be on the rise if he comes close to replicating his Saturday performance in other venues this spring. The New Hampton (N.H.) Prep product was simply on fire from deep. He hit one three after another and that set up his game off the dribble and the slender wing did a great job of getting on the glass and playing with more toughness -- something that he admitted he needs to do more of. Turner listed offers from Boston College, Iowa State, Wake Forest, Stanford, Harvard, Tulsa and Robert Morris along with "several MAC programs". He said that he's been speaking with Tom Izzo recently and feels like Michigan State is close to offering while Michigan, VCU, Wisconsin, Indiana and Gonzaga are also tracking his progress.
One player that Michigan State has offered is Eric Davis. The 6-foot-3 combo guard who ranks No. 34 struggled with his shot at times but came up big down the stretch. He likes to probe defenses off the dribble and is a streaky deep shooter whose strength is his mid-range game. He added 16 of his own and gave an honest assessment of where he is at with his game and what he must improve going forward.
"Right now, I'm a combo guard and I've got to be comfortable with that," Davis told Rivals.com. "My big thing is getting stronger and I've got to get more athletic so that I can do a better job of finishing over defenders."
Currently ranked No. 33 in the class of 2016, Bridges is a big time athlete who plays with toughness and has a strong frame. At around 6-foot-6, he is probably more of a natural power forward at this stage in his development and is happy to grind in the post, attack the glass and give a hard foul here and there. Bridges only finished with nine points, but his efforts on the glass were helpful in the win.
Over on the Fire side, Dillard led the way with 21 points. A powerful and extremely athletic 6-foot-5 wing from Gary (Ind.), Dillard set the gym on fire early with a massive dunk down the lane in transition. He had a few more big dunks, made strong drives and played with physicality on both ends of the floor. Dillard listed offers from Iowa, Creighton, Purdue and Northern Illinois.
In the backcourt, Pipkins (No. 122) and Cashaw chipped in with 21 and 15, respectfully. A sub six-footer who isn't afraid to let it fly from deep, Pipkins is extremely quick and plays with zero fear. So far, some high majors have been hesitant to offer because of his shot selection and lack of size. However, the kid plays with tremendous heart, is a vocal leader and is a better passer than many have given him credit for. Cashaw could be a nice sleeper prospect. Pushing 6-foot-4, he is sometimes in the shadow of the previously mentioned Brunson (who ranks No. 14 overall nationally). But, Cashaw can play. He is a very good pull-up jump shooter, has range past the three-point line and is a pretty good ball handler and decision maker. He listed offers from Temple, Boston College, Dartmouth, Penn, Lehigh, Detroit, Wright State, Toledo, Loyola and UIC.
Pritzl goes off
Currently, Brevin Pritzl is an unranked three-star prospect in the class of 2015. That will change the next time rankings get updated. When that happens, the 6-foot-4 shooting guard from De Pere (Wisc.) High will move into the four-star range. Playing in Ft. Wayne with the Wisconsin Playground Warriors, Pritzl had the performance of the day when he dropped 41 on Seattle Rotary Select to move his team out of the first round of playoff action.
One of the toughest players we saw all day, Pritzl has game. He hit jumpers, he grabbed rebounds, he drove right and left for hoops and he always seemed to come up with a big play when his team needed it. Pritzl plays like a leader, carries himself with confidence and has some personality too.
"How many did I have?" Pritzl asked after the game. "41? I think that's only like the third time in my life I've scored over 40 points. The other two times I was in the seventh grade."
So far, Pritzl has yet to receive a high major offer. He does hold offers from UW Milwaukee, Davidson, Toledo, Drake, Lehigh, Bucknell, South Dakota State, North Dakota State and Northern Illinois. Watching him closely are Wisconsin, Minnesota, Creighton, Xavier (where he has visited) and Marquette (where Pritzl said he will visit soon).
To his credit, Pritzl said that he isn't worried about who does or doesn't offer right now and that he's just trying to help his team win.
"I just try to do whatever I can to help us win," said Pritzl. "If I have to hit a three, hit a pull-up make a drive or get a rebound, I'm going to try and do it."
Seattle freshman one to watch
Given that he is only a member of the class of 2017 and won't turn 15 until July, it is important not to expect too much out of Jaylen Nowell. But, the 6-foot-2 combo guard from Seattle (Wash.) Garfield's performance with Seattle Rotary Select on Saturday is worthy of high praise.
Extremely quick and aggressive, Nowell is a machine on the offensive end. He can shoot with range beyond the three point line, he is comfortable driving to his right or left, he loves to operate out of the high post and he can already drop home off (left) handed floaters like a vet.
Clearly, he has a bright future and earlier in the week he earned his first college offer.
"Washington offered me this week and that's my first offer," said Nowell. "I've got a lot of attention from other schools but they were the first."
Also impressing for the Rotary Select 16U team was another freshman guard. A 6-foot-2 point guard, Daejon Davis from Seattle (Wash.) Lakeside, was an honorable mention all-league player during his first year of high school and shows plenty of promise. He can get into the lane, defends on the ball and will be a good athlete.
More Saturday notes
Team Philly is a lot of fun to watch. With only seven players available due to prom weekend, the Philadelphia crew played with lots of toughness and heart on Saturday. Several players had their moments throughout the day. Setting the tone in the middle is Penn State bound big man Mike Watkins. A physically strong and athletic 6-foot-9 big man, Watkins controls the glass, blocks shots and plays tough around the rim. Ranked No. 134 in the 2014 Rivals150, Watkins not only looks the part of a Big Ten post player, he plays like a Big Ten post player. Just ahead of him at No. 132, wing Sean Lloyd is an aggressive player as well. He is a very good rebounder for his size, gets out in transition and can make things happen off the dribble when he's attacking the rim. Lloyd listed offers from Western Kentucky, Robert Morris, Bowling Green, Temple, Delaware and Drexel to go along with interest from VCU, Michigan, USF, Rutgers and West Virginia.
Shooting guard Samir Doughty also had a good day. He showed confidence with his jumper, ran the point for stretches and the three-star prospect made good decisions and played with confidence. We also liked what we saw out of point guard Kimar Williams. The six-footer can score off the dribble, makes jumpers and like the rest of his teammates he plays with plenty of toughness.
For the second day in a row, combo guard Devin Cannady was solid for the Spiece Indy Heat. The six-footer is very athletic, strips the net from deep and plays a balanced game. The three-star guard should emerge as a prime prospect of Missouri Valley and MAC programs this summer.
Saturday was Rivals.com's first look at highly regarded 2017 wing Brian Bowen. A lengthy 6-foot-6 wing that can handle, shoot and play with athleticism, Bowen didn't have a huge game while we watched but he showed plenty of potential. The game looks to come easy to him and he has a chance to be one of the premier players in the country in the freshman class.
Also showing flashes for The Family's 16U team was 2016 four-star Cassius Winston. The No. 30 player in his class, Winston has quickness, command of the ball and makes good decisions. In particular, he looks comfortable in pick and roll situations or pushing the tempo in transition.
The Albany City Rocks squad defeated Seattle Rotary Select in a 16U game, and part of the credit goes to small forward Anthony Gaines. A pretty athletic 6-foot-4 kid, Gaines was very good creating off the dribble, did a nice job of crashing the glass and played with good effort on both ends of the floor.