basketball Edit

ARS Rescue Rooter National Hoopfest: Stock up and help on the way

Cade Cunningham
Cade Cunningham (Jon Lopez/Nike @NikeEYB)

TAMPA -- Five-star junior Cade Cunningham stole the show on Saturday at the ARS Rescue Rooter National Hoopfest during a highly anticipated matchup between a pair of high school powers. Who else's stock was on the rise and who can provide immediate help for the programs they are committed to?

THE CULTURE OF CADE

Montverde (Fla.) Academy and Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill locked up for a nationally televised game between two of the country's top programs. Montverde's five-star junior Cade Cunningham stole the show.

A 6-foot-7 do-it-all wing who spent much of the game playing point guard, Cunningham set the tone on both ends of the floor as he scored at will (26 points) got teammates involved (nine assists) and spearheaded a defense that totally locked up 2019's top ranked point guard, Cole Anthony.

College coaches talk often about culture within their program. Cunningham is a culture creator. He's selfless, hard working and a leader who for all of his talent, size and athletic ability is even better as a teammate. He recently discussed his wide open recruitment with us and has the likes of Florida, Kansas, Michigan, Kentucky, Duke, Texas, TCU and many others involved.

STOCK ON THE RISE

.... This was by far the best performance we have seen from five-star power forward Precious Achiuwa this season. The five-star senior recently dropped out of the national top 10 and responded with a big time performance. He played hard, used his elite athleticism and was living on the rim. Kansas, North Carolina, UConn (had an assistant on hand), St. John's and others remain heavily involved and he's still not set any visits.

.... A face-up four man who can stretch defenses, Jaemyn Brakefield likes to play a skill based game. The top 35 junior stuck his nose into the action a little bit on Saturday and helped Huntington (W.V.) Prep to a hard fought win. When he's not settling, he can be quite dynamic. There has been some talk that he could come out as a class of 2019 prospect and Duke and Kentucky have had some interest there, but for now it looks like Brakefield is leaning towards staying in 2020.

.... The younger brother of NBA rookie and former five-star prospect Kevin Knoxk, shooting guard Kobe Knox is coming into his own. A recent growth spurt has the long armed wing up to about 6-foot-4 and he's a sleek transition athlete with a tremendous first step. Georgia Southern and North Florida are his first two offers but this kid is one to keep a close eye on as he continues to grow and gain confidence. Watch his recruitment take off this spring.

.... A member of the 2020 Rivals150 Selton Miguel is one tough customer. A physically tough wing, I loved the way he imposed his will on both ends of the floor without having to force the action. He could be a stud defender and eventually live at the free throw line with his strength. He certainly backed up his No. 135 ranking in the class of 2020. USF, Kansas State and Iowa State have all offered and there is plenty of other interest.

.... We've been bullish all winter long on the development of four-star shooting guard Harlond Beverly and he made a nice leap in the national rankings last week. His next push could be for the top 50 as he continues to blossom as an athletic shot maker who plays with confidence. He'll need a little strength when he arrives on a campus, but his upside is huge. Kansas is the most recent program to make contact with one of 2019's top remaining players who recently discussed others like Indiana, Georgia, Baylor, Miami and Xavier with us.

HELP IS ON THE WAY

Vernon Carey Jr.
Vernon Carey Jr. (https://usatodayhss.com)

.... Duke will say goodbye to some seriously talented freshman and replace them with another one in 2019's top ranked player, Vernon Carey Jr. . Will Carey finish out ranked No. 1? We'll see but he's talented enough offensively that he can walk right in and be the Blue Devils No. 1 scoring option. He can shoot, showed some sneaky burst on a drive and dunk and I think he could have an impact similar to the one Jahlil Okafor had during his lone season in Durham.

.... When it comes to fitting a program, few match the place they are headed as well as five-star combo forward C.J. Walker will match Oregon. He's a long and versatile athlete who can defend multiple positions and he fits the way the Ducks like to roll out multiple athletes. His best days are ahead of him.

.... Finally, Omar Payne can really change the way a team plays the game. A fleet footed and bouncy big man, he outran the Oak Hill bigs for dunks and protected the rim. Mike White and Florida want to play fast and he'll be a big fit for that without demanding a bunch of offensive touches.