Big Shots Nationals: Takeaways from day one
ROCK HILL, S.C. – Day one of the Big Shots Nationals has come and gone, and the gym was buzzing all day. Tipping off at 11:30 a.m., and continuing through the day until around 9:30 p.m., we saw teams from Ohio, Texas, North Carolina, Florida and even Canada take the floor. Rivals analyst Jamie Shaw was courtside from start to finish. Here are his take-aways from the slate of games.
2023 Rankings: Top 30
Keyonte George is focused on four colleges, but going pro is an option
The iSchool needed all 32-point points from five-star guard Keyonte George to win in overtime against Winston Salem Christian on the first day of the Big Shots Nationals.
After the game, the No. 6-ranked player in the 2022 Rivals150 spoke about four schools in particular - Texas Tech, Texas, Kansas and Kentucky - but he also acknowledged there is another possible path.
“Jalen Green is changing the game for us younger people. You know, at the end of the day, that is the ultimate goal, playing pro,” George said. “Right now, I am focusing on college. Now, if that opportunity comes, of course we are going to listen. We are going to sit down as a family and strongly consider it, but as of right now I am looking at colleges.”
In speaking with George, he was adamant about the college route, but you could see a twinkle in his eye when the topic of going the professional route was brought up.
DePaul is latest to offer LJ Thomas
Since I sat courtside to watch his 36-point performance against a top-ranked IMG Academy Post Graduate team two weeks ago, LJ Thomas had picked up offers from Virginia Tech, Maryland, Wichita State and Houston. After his performance on the first day of Big Shots Nationals, he added a DePaul offer later that night. Thomas said Clemson, St John’s, Cincinnati, Xavier, Ole Miss, Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech are also in contact with him.
Thomas finished with 16 points in his game against Legacy School (Houston). He showcased the full arsenal of his game, from his patented pull-up jumper from the elbow to the catch-and-shoot three ball from the wing. Thomas should continue to see his recruitment fully blossom as the season winds down and the summer picks up.
One small twist: Thomas, who is classified as a 2022 prospect, suggests there is a possibility of him coming out as part of the 2021 class.
“I would like to make that decision after I play on the circuit," he said. "It (2022) is a possibility. Right now, I just need to stay locked in on the season and then, when the time comes, choose the best situation for me.”
Bluebloods recruiting Robert Dillingham
Robert Dillingham, the No. 12-ranked player in the 2023 Rivals150, needed around 20 minutes to finish with 18 points, five assists and four rebounds in an opening-round win for Combine Academy (N.C). The sophomore guard can most easily be described as “shifty” with the ball in his hands.
“The North Carolina offer meant a lot to me, Dillingham said. "He (Roy Williams) doesn’t usually offer sophomores, and it’s my home state. It was a dream come true.
“The Kansas offer was the same feeling, you know. It came before the UNC one. To know I came this far, and this is how God has blessed me, it feels great.”
Dillingham now carries 14 offers and has numerous other schools across the country who are checking in with him regularly.
Dellquan Warren makes a splash
Maryland may be on the forefront of something big, and that something is freshman Dellquan Warren. Well, technically Youngstown State was the first offer, but Maryland was the first - and still the only - power five program to jump in the mix.
Warren, who said he will play this summer with the Adidas-based Wildcats Select program, showcased the full arsenal of his talents at the showcase. The lefty is explosive in the paint, he has a strong frame, great length and a natural feel that is off the charts. Expect to see Warren’s recruitment take off sooner rather than later as he has the look of someone who could track among the top guards in his class.
Jerome Beya strives to be a rebounding machine
Jerome Beya hosted a block party at the showcase and he invited everyone on the Virginia Prep roster to attend. Beya finished his game with 11 blocked shots, 12 rebounds and eight points. He carries 15 offers, with the most recent ones coming from Ole Miss, St John’s, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and NC State.
Beya has a unique ability to move his feet and protect the rim.
“I want to play like Dennis Rodman," Beya said. "His motor, phew.”
With his natural tools and the mentality to have the motor of Rodman, it is easy to see why power fives across the country have taken notice.