LAS VEGAS, Nev.- There hasn't been much of a wow factor on the travel circuit this year, but the emerging prospect to provide that wow factor next year is Isaiah Austin.
When a 7-footer headed into his junior year blows by Cody Zeller with a between the legs move at the top of the key in the half court offense and then veers back to the other side of the rim for a semi-reverse lay up, it catches your attention.
Then a strong left hand rip drive to the middle that ends with a made left handed jump hook from 10-feet. Then a sweeping pivot from the mid-post into a couple strong dribbles to the paint with a fake to the right shoulder and then a swished jump hook. Then he faces the double team in the low post and bypasses the easy pass out and finds the diagonal cutter opposite for a lay up.
These are the type of plays that you don't often if at all see from high school post players. But these are the moves that Austin comfortably makes.
He does have a ways to go in terms of building up his body and learning to consistently compete, but he has gifts that make him the most unique prospect on the circuit regardless of class.
Jahii Carson (The Magic, 2011)- He struggled from the floor against Indiana Elite, but he is one of the more dynamic scoring guards in his class.
Kevin Ferrell (Indiana Elite, 2012)- A player with similar size and athleticism as Carson, Ferrell has a chance to establish himself as one of the top point guards in his class. He has a nice feel for balancing his ability to score with distributing the ball, and his ability to change speeds on a dime make him a nightmare to defend.
Cody Zeller (Indiana Elite, 2011)- It isn't easy scoring over Isaiah Austin in the post, so Zeller took him outside and drained some jumpers. He also picked up points with some high level finishes in transition.
Damiene Cain (Compton Magic, 2011)- His team is playing well in Vegas, and Cain is one of the big reasons why. Similar to Chane Behanan, Cain controls space around him and slows the game down with the ball in his hands. Cain is an under the radar recruit who specialize in producing positive plays that helps a team win.
Rodney Hood (MBA Hoops Elite, 2011)- This 6-foot-8 point forward has continued to improve throughout the summer. On Friday he drained three three-pointers in the first half against the Michigan Mustangs while also spending a good amount of time running the point. His length, skill level and feel for the game make him one of the more intriguing long term prospects in his class.
LaQuinton Ross (MBA Hoops Elite, 2011)- Also at 6-foot-8, Ross has one of the better shooting strokes in his class. Friday he drove the ball hard to the basket and repeatedly got to the free throw line. He is developing into a face up four man who will have the ability to both stretch the defense and also make plays in the middle of the floor.
Trey Bolden (MBA Hoops Elite, 2013)- A powerful post prospect at 6-foot-7, 205-pounds, Bolden can hang with the older prospects in the paint. On Friday he looked great attacking the basket with the dribble from the perimeter.
LaDontae Henton (Michigan Mustangs, 2011)- There is nothing glamorous about this 6-foot-5 left handed wing's game, but he has a knack for grinding out buckets with his physical and determined play.
2012 prospect Alex Poythress is receiving heavy recruiting attention from a number of schools, but he named Miami, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia and Georgia Tech as the school that are recruiting him the hardest. Head coaches from Vanderbilt and Tennessee were on hand to watch him Friday.
Andre Hollins of the Memphis Magic continues to play well. He put up a game high 21 points in a win over the Nashville Celtics. Adonis Thomas had 19 points in the win.
Michigan State commitment Dwaun Anderson is a dangerous athlete along the baseline.
One of Shabazz Muhammad's greatest attributes is his ability to attack the offensive glass. When points aren't coming easy in the flow of the game, he will grind them out as a rebounder.
2012 five-star center Kaleb Tarczewski removed any doubts that might have been out there about his toughness. After having a couple teeth knocked out against the Franchize All Stars, Tarczewski shrugged it off and came back into the game and didn't miss a beat.
Love the way 2012 wing Alex Murphy efficiently and explosively attacks the basket off the dribble.
Head coaches from Georgia Tech, Louisville, Mississippi State and Purdue were on hand for the MBA Hoops Elite vs. Michigan Mustangs game.
Head coaches from North Carolina, Arizona, Indiana and Baylor watched the Indiana Elite vs. The Magic game.
Head coaches from North Carolina, Notre Dame, Memphis, UCLA and Arizona took in the Dream Vision vs. Compton Magic game.
Head coaches from North Carolina, Providence and Virginia watched the Franchize All Stars play the New England Playaz.
The DC Assault vs. Ohio Basketball Club match up drew head coaches from Arizona, UCLA, North Carolina, Louisville and Virginia. Duke had an assistant watching Quinn Cook.
Coach K watched 2012 wing prospect J.P. Tokoto's last game of the day.