Adidas Gauntlet Finale: Friday Observations
The second full day of basketball of the Adidas Gauntlet Finale hit center stage on Friday, as a handful of the top 2018 prospects impressed. Nassir Little and Quentin Grimes continued to show just how high their ceiling is, while Joey Hauser may be nearing the end to his college recruitment.
PERFORMANCE OF JULY
The month of July is still young, but it is going to be difficult to top the performance of Quentin Grimes on Friday. A 6-foot-5 scoring guard who can play on the ball within the half-court offense, the Basketball University product went absolutely bonkers as he knocked down 16 of his 23 field goal tries, converted seven three-point jumpers, and finished with 41 points in his team's morning session win.
There have never been any questions about the raw abilities of Grimes. A more athletic Tyler Dorsey comparison is one to keep in mind. Finding his shot is never an issue, and Grimes' immense upside as a versatile guard that can defend multiple positions is not in question. However, the dilemma in the past has surrounded his inconsistent production and just how tough he really is. If he can play the way that he did on Friday more often, each of those questions should be null and void. He was watched by head coaches from Texas A&M, Kansas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
JOEY HAUSER NEARS A DECISION
After missing most of his senior summer due to an injury, Joey Hauser looked his best yet on Friday afternoon as he and his Iowa Barnstormers program took good care of its opposition. A top-50 forward that has become lighter of foot, more skilled and capable of extending the defense with the perimeter jump shot, Hauser has the chance to become one of the most difficult matchup issues at the college level in the coming years.
Watched by head coaches from Oklahoma, Virginia, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Marquette, Hauser, the younger brother of Marquette rising sophomore Sam Hauser, may be ready to call it a day with his college recruitment. He talked highly about a top-four of Michigan State, Wisconsin, Marquette and Notre Dame and indicated that a commitment could take place before the end of July. Stay tuned.
ZION WILLIAMSON'S ANSWER
The crowds continued to trickle in for Zion Williamson, and just like we had touched on Thursday with the ticket selling abilities of the five-star forward, these eyes have never seen a high school prospect draw so much attention. Watching him go through multiple 20-minute postgame interviews with poise and focus, Williamson's maturity proves that he will be able to navigate some of the adversity and criticism that is going to come his way.
For as much love that there is given to Williamson at this stage, there are that many questions about where he fits and how his game translates to the next level. He has to get into shape and must shoot it better. Plus, how does he handle and can he play in the half-court offense? These are all the slights heard regarding Williamson. However, if there is one thing that is already known, the work ethic, drive and continued improvements of the super explosive forward have remained intact throughout, where Williamson is not just a sideshow but rather the type of prospect that anyone program can build around, at least for one year.
Kansas head coach Bill Self, Clemson head coach Brad Brownell and Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, along with assistants from Arizona, UCLA, UNC, South Carolina and Kentucky, were on hand during Williamson's two outings on Friday. Official visits to the West Coast schools and unofficial visits to the programs closer to home could take place in the fall, followed by a potential commitment in November.
VISIT AHEAD FOR NASSIR LITTLE
This time last year, Nassir Little was an intriguing college prospect who was more of a regional based recruit. Fast forward 12 months and it is night and day with the 1Family product. Blessed with great sized and athleticism, it is easy to take for granted the physical makeup of the top-30 wing. However, it is his skill development and ability to make a jump shot out of isolation sets that has really drawn not only my eyes, but the attention of some of the top schools in America over the past few days.
A true 6-foot-7 small forward who can defend more than two positions on the floor, play in a similar manner on the offensive end and is bolstered by his quality intangibles, Little has everything that you want in a college prospect. With this in mind, expect the top programs nationally to not just offer him, but also prioritize.
Head coaches from Georgia Tech, Florida State, Arizona State, Miami and Wichita State watched Little on Friday, as did assistants from UNC, Kansas, St. John's and Arizona. His first official visit will take place on August 24 to Georgia Tech, which has developed a great relationship with him, Little stated. After that, look for Miami, Florida and Florida State to do all that they can to keep the local product at home for college.
BLUE-BLOOD BATTLE FOR IMMANUEL QUICKLEY
The debate over the best point guard prospect in the 2018 class has continued to rage on, but after Friday's games, do not expect Immanuel Quickley to ease his way out of the conversation without a fight. A 6-foot-4 point guard who is impeccably gifted as a playmaker and distributor off of the high ball screen, Quickley has continued to cement his standing as a five-star prospect this summer.
The face of the Team BBC travel program, Quickley recently returned to the United States last week after his bronze medal winning run at the FIBA Under-19 World Cup in Cairo, Egypt. There have been knocks in the past surrounding his explosiveness and ability to shoot the ball outside of 20 feet, but each of those were put to rest as he nearly finished with a triple-double in an epic battle against Zion Williamson.
Kansas' Bill Self and assistants from Kentucky, Miami and Maryland were each on hand; those four schools comprise his final list. However, it says here that Quickley is likely Kentucky bound. The other three pursuers do have a chance, yes, but a visit to Lexington is likely take place shortly after July, and Quickley could become one of the first five-star prospects to come off the board this summer.