Phenom National Showcase: What we learned
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Last weekend's Phenom National High School Showcase played host to some of the best teams from North Carolina and a few from outside its borders. After enjoying two days in the Tar Heel State, we address the 10 things we learned in Greensboro.
1. JALEN LECQUE IS A TOP-FIVE ATHLETE IN HIGH SCHOOL BALL
It is still mind-numbing that Jalen Lecque, at this time last year, failed to boast one high-major offer. After reclassifying a year and transferring into The Christ School this fall, Lecque has grown to 6-foot-4 and is on the cusp of a blueblood recruitment. Kansas has already offered and I don't understand why Kentucky, Duke or UNC wouldn’t begin to recruit. He is an elite athlete that is a Pogo stick at the basket. Lecque is just growing into the point guard position, but there is no denying the kid’s upside and talent level. UConn coach Kevin Ollie and assistants from N.C. State and Wake Forest were each courtside for his contest Saturday.
2. GREG GANTT IS CAROLINA’S NEXT BREAKOUT STAR
Talk about intriguing. Greg Gantt has everything that a college coach would love in a frontcourt prospect. Now standing close to 6-foot-8, the Jacksonville, N.C., native looks the part of the best player not seen within the Rivals150. The junior forward plays his tail off, is an elite passer and is a problem at the basket (watch for highlight-reel dunks). He also sports the grades to be pursued by the Ivy League realm. Providence is out in front for the intriguing talent, a prospect that picked up an offer from UConn over the weekend.
3. JOEY BAKER IS DUKE’S NEXT SMALL-BALL 4-MAN
Duke is going big this year, like really big, throwing out three 6-foot-9 or taller forwards onto the floor at the same time, masked by a new zone scheme that is unlike Coach K’s teams in recent years. However, during their 2015 national championship, the Blue Devils decided to use Justice Winslow as a small-ball power forward. Joey Baker might be the next in line for such a role. The 6-foot-7 forward has some shades of Chandler Parsons to him. And he has improved his handles and jumper, so he could be a major weapon in Durham beginning in the fall of 2019, thanks to his athleticism, motor and improving skill set.
4. IGNAS BRAZDEIKIS IS AN ELITE BUCKET-GETTER
I am not sure if there is a better scorer in the 2018 class - or better yet, in high school basketball - than Ignas Brazdeikis. Since the Canadian does not play his high school ball in the United States, we here at Rivals do not rank such prospects. If we were to, he would be an easy top-40 guy, as he is on the cusp of a five-star rating. The lefty is ambidextrous in the lane, a much-improved athlete at the rim and can create for himself and others without an efficiency drop-off. Signed with Michigan, Brazdeikis will average more than 20 points at least one season during his tenure in Ann Arbor.
5. JOHN NEWMAN III IS UNDERRATED
The lefty has been a well-known name, thanks to his play with a nationally ranked high school program at Greensboro Day School and due to his time on the Nike circuit with the Team CP3 bunch. Seen primarily as a complementary piece in the past, Newman showed that he can be a go-to scorer in Greensboro. Signed with Clemson, the Tigers are battling some of the brand-name programs within the ACC each year, and the only way they can defeat such powers is with competitive players who can do a variety of things. Newman fits the bill, as the 6-foot-4 guard can score, rebound, defend and pass - assets that should make him an immediate producer for Brad Brownell.
6. ADDISON PATTERSON IS CANADA’S NEXT GREAT PROSPECT
While No. 1 prospect R.J. Barrett was making noise by committing to Duke on Friday, fellow Canadian Addison Patterson was adding another reason why he should be just as coveted. A 6-foot-6 two-guard who is best used on the ball, Patterson is smooth, skilled, talented and full of upside. He's not an explosive athlete, but Patterson is a major weapon who can make plays and score where he shows tremendous five-star abilities. That's why Florida, Georgia Tech and Arizona State have already offered.
7. MATTHEW ALEXANDER-MONCRIEF ISN’T TOO FAR BEHIND
While Addison Patterson is one of the more polished recruits in the class of 2020, Matthew Alexander-Moncrief, though he is a bit less developed, could be just as good of a prospect as his fellow Canadian. Alexander-Moncrief brings tremendous size and length to the small forward position and could be a major mismatch option as a small-ball power forward. He is not a great shooter or ball-handler, but he is long and active; he defends and rebounds. Alexander-Moncrief recently visited Florida, and the Gators offered on the visit. Expect for many more to follow with this potential five-star recruit.
8. JAIRUS HAMILTON IS A TOP-10 UNSIGNED SENIOR
Duke, N.C. State, UNC and Wake Forest - the top four in-state programs - were the schools atop Hamilton’s college list heading into the summer. For one reason or another, none are involved as much as Mississippi State, Boston College and Maryland are the three schools to have hosted the Rivals150 forward to date. Hamilton showed an improving passing game and motor in Carolina, as he told Rivals that he would likely not sign this week. The program that has begun to gain some traction in his recruitment? Villanova.
9. DONOVAN GREGORY IS THE 2019 VERSION OF JORDAN GOODWIN
Jordan Goodwin, who is now a freshman at St. Louis for Travis Ford’s program, was a heavily prioritized prospect because of his toughness, do-it-all abilities and complete stat lines. Donovan Gregory fits a similar mold, and while he may not do anything elite, he also doesn’t do anything poorly. Charlotte, Appalachian State and Winthrop have offered, and further evaluations could give way to a high-major recruitment.
10. CLASS OF 2018 FROM NORTH CAROLINA DISPLAYS READY-MADE PRODUCERS
Providence Day School should compete for a state title this fall, thanks to the play of Devon Dotson and Trey Wertz. Headed to Kansas and Santa Clara respectively, the duo should earn immediate praise. We already talked about John Newman III and what he could mean for Clemson, but his teammate, Will Dillard – who has yet to make his college decision – displayed all of the traits of an immediate, lockdown defender in college. College of Charleston and Georgia Southern stand the best shot with him.
Danny Manning has become known for his success with jumbo guards, as Sharone Wright Jr. looks to be next in line. The Wake Forest signee should be a potent offensive weapon in Winston-Salem. Lastly, East Carolina has been looking for star talent, and while he does have to work on some of his deficiencies, Michael Wynn should have the opportunity to produce from Day One. The ECU signee brings good size, strength and scoring to the perimeter, and he is a prospect that Jeff Lebo will likely use often during his freshman campaign.