Bossi Awards: Magic Memorial Day and USA Basketball
The days leading up to and through Memorial Day weekend were filled with action at the Magic Memorial Day Classic and USA Basketball's U16 team tryouts. It's time to hand out awards after traveling from one coast to another see some of the country's top players like five-star Makur Maker.
STILL THE ONE- Evan Mobley
The award: The competition for No. 1 is getting more and more heated in 2020 since Mobley took over the top spot in the winter. However, after my latest look at him I'm still rocking with him in the top spot. He's gotten stronger, he's expanding his offense and what I like most is that he's developed a bit of an edge to him and is an elite rim protector.
The recruitment: It will be shocking if he doesn't follow his older brother and father to USC.
FUTURE INTIMIDATOR- Jalen Duren
The award: I probably could have just left it at intimidator because the rising sophomore is already pretty darn intimidating. Looking at his already chiseled 6-foot-9 frame and how physically he plays, it's scary to think where he will be a few years from now. Good luck to anybody trying to check this guy or keep him off the glass in FIBA U16 play. He's looking like a potential top five player in his class.
THE MIND BENDER- Makur Maker
The award: Some guys just don't make sense and it's hard to wrap your mind around what they do and Maker fits into that category. The most logical spot for him is as a center because of his size and ability to protect the rim and rebound on the defensive end. But on offense you don't see centers who handle and shoot like is capable of doing so it messes with you. It's crazy to think a guy can be underrated (for the time being) at No. 10 nationally but I think we've got him too low.
FIVE-STAR BOOSTER- Jabari Smith
The award: I didn't see anybody during my five days of travel who made as clear and convincing of a case to move to five-star status as Smith did. He's a hybrid forward that can play the three or the four, he has skill, he has athleticism and he just appears to be scratching the surface. He's a lock to move to five-star status and is going to make a big rise in 2021.
REALIZING POTENTIAL- Dalen Terry
The award: For a while now, we've ranked Terry high based on what he could be down the road moreso than the player he currently was. Watching him during the high school season and again over the weekend with the Compton Magic, he's becoming that player. He's gotten stronger, he's playing harder and he's becoming consistently productive as a playmaker and scorer. Throw in his potential defensive versatility and you have a guy on the road to making his production meet his potential.
MR. PULL-UP JUMPER- Richard Isaacs
The award: It's pretty self explanatory, I didn't see a better pull-up jump shooter than Isaacs. Watching him play it's pretty clear that he's a gym rat who is obsessed with working on his game and his skill level is evident. He can pass the ball, is a good teammate and always plays hard.
BIGGEST SURPRISE- Ian Martinez
The award: Based off of what I had heard about him from during the season and the limited film I had seen, I expected Martinez to be good. However, the Costa Rican combo guard far exceeded my expectations. I expected an athletic scorer and got that. What I didn't expect to see was the overall skill and ability to make plays for others.
MOST SURPRISING CUT- Jarace Walker
The award: This is what I get for assuming, but I assumed there was no way that Walker wouldn't make the USA U16 team based off of what I knew about him and the others trying out. I also felt he deserved to make the team based off of what I saw during my two days at tryouts. However, USA Basketball does things a little differently and didn't see a role for him and I'm not going to criticize them because the track record they have speaks for itself. I love Walker's athleticism, ability to defend many positions and growing ability to handle the ball. I hope that getting cut motivates him to find out what he needs to work on and that he comes back better than ever.
TWO DOLLAR STEAK- Will McClendon
The award: This is all about toughness and there's no question in my mind that McClendon is as tough as a two dollar steak. He brings a strong safety mentality to the two guard position and he is always going to give a tremendous effort. Size, skill, effort and upside are all pretty good things to pair with his toughness.
ENERGY GIVER- Kijani Wright
The award: Wright is just finishing up his freshman year and has years ahead of him, but if he continues on his current path then others will love playing with him. I never saw him take a play, a drill or a second off while I watched him at the USA tryouts and his energy is the type that rubs off on others in a very positive way. I look at what Jordan Bell has been doing for Golden State lately and see a lot of that in Wright.