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Adidas Invitational: To Victor goes the spoils

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INDIANAPOLIS -- The first full day of action at the Adidas Invitational brought some of the nation's elite college coaches to the suburbs of Indianapolis to watch three-, four- and five-star prospects.
With players such as Stephen Zimmerman, Kevon Looney and Goodluck Okonoboh drawing the biggest crowds, some lesser-known but almost as talented prospects gave colleges more reasons to move their name up the recruiting board.
Here are some story lines from Thursday at the Adidas Invitational.
Victor wants victory
After leading his team to a huge win over the Milwaukee Runnin' Rebels to open the event on Wednesday night, class of 2014 five-star power forward Craig Victor was back at it Thursday, leading New Orleans Elite to another impressive win, this time over Team Loaded NC.
The Findlay Prep (Nev.) rising senior simply dominated his opponent.
An athletic and strong power forward at 6-foot-8, the No. 21 player in the class showed an improved skill level from the same event a year ago, as he looked very comfortable on the perimeter shooting mid-range jumpers. Also capable of scoring inside, Victor finished passes with two-handed dunks, and showed some low-post game with his right-handed hook shot.
College coaches have certainly made the five-star a priority, as Louisville head coach Rick Pitino, Arizona boss Sean Miller, UCLA's Steve Alford and assistant coaches from Kansas, Kentucky and LSU all checked out Victor.
"Louisville, Kansas, Arizona, UCLA, LSU of course, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kentucky all called me a lot during June," Victor told Rivals.com.
Victor also talked about his decision to attend Findlay Prep -- leaving his native New Orleans -- next year, saying that the decision was based largely on exposure and an opportunity to practice against players his size and skill level on a daily basis.
While Kentucky is the only school on Victor's list which hasn't offered him a scholarship, many left the gym on Thursday believing that the Wildcats are the leader. Victor wouldn't confirm that rumor, but he did nothing to contest that report.
"Even though they haven't offered me yet, I'm looking forward to Coach Calipari coming to watch me play," said Victor, once considered an LSU lean. "He came to the school after my high school season and talked to me, so if they weren't interested he never would've visited. He actually said exactly that on the visit."
"It's every kid's dream to have the opportunity to go to a place like that and play," Victor said. "I just want to work hard and have that type of opportunity. Anyone that's playing this game that doesn't want to make it to the league one day, I mean, I don't even know why they're even playing."
Above it all
While his West Coast-based Dream Vision team struggled to adjust to a three-hour time change in an 8 a.m. start on Thursday morning, it took only a few athletic plays from Namon Wright to turn the tide.
Wright, a California native who attends Findlay Prep in the Las Vegas area, is a 6-foot-4, four-star wing who checks in at No. 60 in the latest 2014 Rivals150.
An explosive athlete who can get to the rim off the dribble, Wright showed an understanding of how to attack the basket in transition, as well as the aggressive mindset to make observers think that he can be a big scorer at the next level. While he isn't super-skilled on the perimeter, the shooting guard did knock down a pair of 3-pointers, and for the most part looked comfortable shooting the ball from deep.
One thing you can't teach as a coach is Wright's willingness to play at high speeds, which combined with his size and athleticism could make him a devastating wing matchup for opponents at the college level.
Pac-12 coaches and others have noticed that already, as coaches from Oregon, USC, UCLA and Arizona were among those on hand.
After his game, which resulted in a Dream Vision win over the Atlanta Celtics, Wright listed a similar school list, saying that the previously mentioned schools, as well as Gonzaga, UConn, Texas, Florida State and Vanderbilt had the most contact.
The rising senior does not have a top five, but Wright did say that of the schools on his list, UCLA, Oregon, USC, Gonzaga and Arizona stand out the most, adding that UConn is gaining favor with him as well. The four-star has not set a date, but does plan on visiting Storrs sometime in the fall, and will likely take an official visit to Gonzaga.
Three of a kind
At an event such as the Adidas Invitational, it's tough enough to be an effective player at the highest level of competition, the 17-and-under division, when you're a rising senior. However, the always talented Atlanta Celtics organization features a trio of players who are developed enough to not only be effective at the 17u level, but to do it two years early, as rising sophomores from the class of 2016.
Wings Braxton Blackwell and Joshua Langford, as well as point guard Kobi Simmons, all not only played up with Celtics on Thursday, they held their own in a narrow loss to Dream Vision.
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While the 6-foot-6 Blackwell was forced to man the paint against the bigger Stephen Zimmerman, Simmons did the majority of the ball-handling for the Celtics, attacking well off the dribble and unselfishly finding teammates every time down the court. However, it was Langford who stood out above the rest.
A strongly built 6-foot-4 shooting guard, Langford looked the part of early five-star in the Dream Vision matchup, dominating the game with his athleticism, penetrating ability and creative scoring. Langford was inconsistent with his jumper, but he was able to use the dribble to get wherever he wanted on the court.
He has an ability to consistently finish around the rim with a strong layup or some sort of acrobatic floater shot. Also a willing passer and defender, the Alabama native possesses an all-around game that has made him the recipient of several offers.
"Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, Mississippi State, Providence, Florida and Vanderbilt are some of the schools that have offered me," Langford said. "I have more, too, but those are the top ones that come to my head."
News and notes
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Matt Cimino had a big game on Thursday with Massachusetts Rivals in a win over Indiana Elite. The 2014 three-star Rivals150 forward showed deep range on his jumper, making him the prototypical next-level stretch power forward. At 6-foot-9, Cimino is a long post defender who isn't fearful of physical play, and has a diversified offensive skill-set which also allows him to make good passes out of the high post in the high-low game. Cimino listed Virginia, Stanford, Georgia Tech, Boston College, Northwestern and Vanderbilt as schools which have offered him and that he communicates with the most frequently.
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A prime-time post matchup between two highly ranked 2015 prospects occurred on Thursday night when Dream Vision, and four-star Chase Jeter, met up with five-star Carlton Bragg and his Ohio Basketball Club team. Bragg's group got the victory, but both performed exceptionally. At 6-foot-9, Bragg, the No. 12 prospect in the class, showed an excellent perimeter skill-set as he knocked in several long jumpers.
Also a solid athlete, Bragg was active around the rim, showing a lot of emotion. Jeter also shot the ball well from the perimeter, and while he isn't as mobile as Bragg he does make up for that with a bit more strength and a strong basketball IQ. Coaches from Ohio State, West Virginia, Michigan State, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois all attended the game.
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Another new name to watch from the 2015 class is Donavan HaleClick Rickey BriceClick Four-star Indianapolis combo guard Jalen Coleman had a strong showing in the afternoon games with his Indiana Elite 16-and-under squad, as the 2015 La Lumiere (Ind.) product put on a scoring performance. A bigger guard with a smooth handle and the ability to score from mid-range or at the rim, Coleman is beginning to look more like a scoring off-guard than a pure ball-handler, but clearly played up to his lofty No. 30 ranking in his class. The rising junior brought coaches from Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio State and several other Midwestern high-majors into the gym, adding after the game that Memphis and Arizona recently offered him. Here to view this Link. is a name that is coming out of the mouths of a lot of high-major coaches in Indianapolis. The class of 2015 center is on his way to blowing up in the first live event of the summer. A 6-foot-10 post from Urban DFW Elite and Pantego (Texas) Christian Academy, Bryce is a big body inside who can really disrupt the opposition from scoring in the paint. Also a solid floor-runner and rebounder, Bryce's offensive game is limited, but he is still able to score against competition a year older, tallying 16 points in the game. The Texas native claims no official offers, but along with his AAU coach, listed HoustonClick Four-star Indianapolis combo guard Jalen Coleman had a strong showing in the afternoon games with his Indiana Elite 16-and-under squad, as the 2015 La Lumiere (Ind.) product put on a scoring performance. A bigger guard with a smooth handle and the ability to score from mid-range or at the rim, Coleman is beginning to look more like a scoring off-guard than a pure ball-handler, but clearly played up to his lofty No. 30 ranking in his class. The rising junior brought coaches from Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio State and several other Midwestern high-majors into the gym, adding after the game that Memphis and Arizona recently offered him. Here to view this Link., BaylorClick Four-star Indianapolis combo guard Jalen Coleman had a strong showing in the afternoon games with his Indiana Elite 16-and-under squad, as the 2015 La Lumiere (Ind.) product put on a scoring performance. A bigger guard with a smooth handle and the ability to score from mid-range or at the rim, Coleman is beginning to look more like a scoring off-guard than a pure ball-handler, but clearly played up to his lofty No. 30 ranking in his class. The rising junior brought coaches from Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio State and several other Midwestern high-majors into the gym, adding after the game that Memphis and Arizona recently offered him. Here to view this Link., TexasClick Four-star Indianapolis combo guard Jalen Coleman had a strong showing in the afternoon games with his Indiana Elite 16-and-under squad, as the 2015 La Lumiere (Ind.) product put on a scoring performance. A bigger guard with a smooth handle and the ability to score from mid-range or at the rim, Coleman is beginning to look more like a scoring off-guard than a pure ball-handler, but clearly played up to his lofty No. 30 ranking in his class. The rising junior brought coaches from Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio State and several other Midwestern high-majors into the gym, adding after the game that Memphis and Arizona recently offered him. Here to view this Link., Texas TechClick Four-star Indianapolis combo guard Jalen Coleman had a strong showing in the afternoon games with his Indiana Elite 16-and-under squad, as the 2015 La Lumiere (Ind.) product put on a scoring performance. A bigger guard with a smooth handle and the ability to score from mid-range or at the rim, Coleman is beginning to look more like a scoring off-guard than a pure ball-handler, but clearly played up to his lofty No. 30 ranking in his class. The rising junior brought coaches from Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio State and several other Midwestern high-majors into the gym, adding after the game that Memphis and Arizona recently offered him. Here to view this Link., Texas A&MClick Four-star Indianapolis combo guard Jalen Coleman had a strong showing in the afternoon games with his Indiana Elite 16-and-under squad, as the 2015 La Lumiere (Ind.) product put on a scoring performance. A bigger guard with a smooth handle and the ability to score from mid-range or at the rim, Coleman is beginning to look more like a scoring off-guard than a pure ball-handler, but clearly played up to his lofty No. 30 ranking in his class. The rising junior brought coaches from Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio State and several other Midwestern high-majors into the gym, adding after the game that Memphis and Arizona recently offered him. Here to view this Link., TulsaClick Four-star Indianapolis combo guard Jalen Coleman had a strong showing in the afternoon games with his Indiana Elite 16-and-under squad, as the 2015 La Lumiere (Ind.) product put on a scoring performance. A bigger guard with a smooth handle and the ability to score from mid-range or at the rim, Coleman is beginning to look more like a scoring off-guard than a pure ball-handler, but clearly played up to his lofty No. 30 ranking in his class. The rising junior brought coaches from Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio State and several other Midwestern high-majors into the gym, adding after the game that Memphis and Arizona recently offered him. Here to view this Link., USCClick Four-star Indianapolis combo guard Jalen Coleman had a strong showing in the afternoon games with his Indiana Elite 16-and-under squad, as the 2015 La Lumiere (Ind.) product put on a scoring performance. A bigger guard with a smooth handle and the ability to score from mid-range or at the rim, Coleman is beginning to look more like a scoring off-guard than a pure ball-handler, but clearly played up to his lofty No. 30 ranking in his class. The rising junior brought coaches from Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio State and several other Midwestern high-majors into the gym, adding after the game that Memphis and Arizona recently offered him. Here to view this Link., MiamiClick Four-star Indianapolis combo guard Jalen Coleman had a strong showing in the afternoon games with his Indiana Elite 16-and-under squad, as the 2015 La Lumiere (Ind.) product put on a scoring performance. A bigger guard with a smooth handle and the ability to score from mid-range or at the rim, Coleman is beginning to look more like a scoring off-guard than a pure ball-handler, but clearly played up to his lofty No. 30 ranking in his class. The rising junior brought coaches from Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio State and several other Midwestern high-majors into the gym, adding after the game that Memphis and Arizona recently offered him. Here to view this Link. and TCUClick Four-star Indianapolis combo guard Jalen Coleman had a strong showing in the afternoon games with his Indiana Elite 16-and-under squad, as the 2015 La Lumiere (Ind.) product put on a scoring performance. A bigger guard with a smooth handle and the ability to score from mid-range or at the rim, Coleman is beginning to look more like a scoring off-guard than a pure ball-handler, but clearly played up to his lofty No. 30 ranking in his class. The rising junior brought coaches from Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio State and several other Midwestern high-majors into the gym, adding after the game that Memphis and Arizona recently offered him. Here to view this Link. as programs who are showing interest. Here to view this Link.. The 6-foot-4 wing guard out of Largo (Fla.) was the main aggressor for his Florida Elite 16-and-under team in a loss to Indiana Elite, as he attacked the basket just about every single time down the court. Hale still struggles with staying under control and finishing, but he has excellent size and athleticism and a knack for going by opponents. Also a big time football prospect where he's an athletic quarterback, look for Hale to make noise in both sports out of the Sunshine State sooner than later. Hale also claims no official offers to this point, but says that he has fielded calls from both Florida State and Florida Atlantic.
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