Bossi's Best: July stock boosters
July is annually the most important month of a high school basketball prospect's summer. Each year as coaches watch kids play in live evaluation events we see kids go from total unknowns with nothing on their plate to ranked players with high major offers. Some just increase the level of school that they were being recruited by. In this week's edition of Bossi's Best, national basketball analyst Eric Bossi takes a look at a dozen of his biggest class of 2019 stock boosters from the month of July.
Why did his stock rise? The most important factor with Allen was just getting a good, clean extended look at him in action. Once we were able to see him, his size, production and ability to make plays in all facets of the game stood out. He was unranked to start the month but Francis Okoro's announcement that he was moving to 2018 opened up a spot for Allen in the national top 50.
Who is involved? Auburn, Louisville, Clemson, Purdue, Oklahoma, Iowa State, Illinois, Pittsburgh, Vanderbilt, Florida, Western Kentucky and several others have offered while Kentucky appears to be close to offering. Allen is planning to take visits to Louisville and Kentucky early in August.
Why did his stock rise? Akok is no stranger to the national rankings and is the only player who was ranked headed into July that will make this list because of how high he is poised to jump. If he doesn't make five-star status, he's going to be close because after a few years of teasing with potential, he made the gigantic leap to stud player. He's a shot-blocking, three-point-shooting big man with athleticism similar to Chris Boucher who starred at Oregon a few years ago only he's got more overall game.
Why did his stock rise? Not only did Bajema look like one of the best shooters on the West Coast, he looked like one of the best shooters in the country. He's thin and will need some time in the weight room, but can put the ball on the floor to create shots and moves pretty well laterally as a defender. Lots of upside left with him.
Why did his stock rise? I think with Beran it was mostly about college coaches getting a good look. He's probably going to play the role of stretch forward in college but allows for the versatility of being a big three or floor spacing four man due to his size and good athleticism.
Who is involved? Just a month or so ago, Beran appeared to be close to picking Boston College, but now they've got competition from Nebraska, Dayton, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kansas State and Georgia Tech among many more.
Why did his stock rise? A few things worked out in Braun's favor. For one, he has grown to about 6-foot-6 and his game has taken a leap at all levels. He's athletic, he can shoot and he's tough. He also played with several other highly recruited players and the more high level coaches came back to watch them, they started focusing on Braun.
Why did his stock rise? I liked Freemantle a lot during the spring, but I absolutely loved what I saw from him at the Peach Jam and then the Fab 48. He's a big with touch, toughness and a dose of athleticism. He competes on both ends and is going to be a horse once he gets into a college weight room.
Who is involved? Boston College was the first high major to offer at the Peach Jam and since then Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Northwestern, Xavier, Minnesota and VCU are among those to join programs like St. Joseph's, Lehigh and Bucknell who were prioritizing him prior to July.
Why did his stock rise? Graham was one of the best stories of July. He seemingly came out of nowhere to blow up as one of the top defensive bigs on the West Coast. He can run, he has very long arms and he takes protecting the rim personally. He's still a bit rough around the edges but has big upside. I remember seeing current Oklahoma player Jamuni McNeace at the same age and he reminded me a lot of him.
Who is involved? Arizona State, Kansas State, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Illinois, Grand Canyon, Northern Arizona, Fresno State and others have now offered. Graham didn't hold a single scholarship offer prior to the Peach Jam.
Why did his stock rise? Jones is another who mostly benefited from the exposure of college coaches attending mega events, because I don't think his speed or confident scoring are recent developments with his game. But once we all got to see him it was clear that he's a high level talent and he'll likely enter the 2019 rankings as a four-star during the next update.
Who is involved? Auburn, Florida, Louisville, Minnesota, Virginia Tech, Georgia, Clemson, Oklahoma State, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Oklahoma State, Western Kentucky, Houston, Wichita State and VCU are among the 30 or so programs who have now offered scholarships.
Why did his stock rise? Last week in Las Vegas, I probably got asked more about No. 4 (McBride) of the Joe Johnson Hawks than any other player I came across. So, I settled in to figure out why and his tough and confident play were why. He can score it from deep, finishes at the rim and has a calming presence about him. Is he as good as Frank Mason was? I'm not sure, but he reminds a bit of what Mason looked like when he really started to take off and went to prep school to wait out a scholarship release from Towson.
Why did his stock rise? Because he can play either the point or shooting guard position and because he creates space to score via jumpers and floaters with ease, Mills really took off. He was pretty much off the radar until he started going to work at several Southeastern stops throughout the month of July.
Who is involved? Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Harvard, Wake Forest, Auburn, Marquette, Saint Louis, Kansas State, Pittsburgh, Florida State, Providence, Clemson, VCU, Mississippi State and a host of others jumped in during July and he may have landed more offers in the last three weeks than any other player in the country.
Why did his stock rise? I don't know what it is about the state of North Carolina, but it seems like they are good for a few sleepers each summer and Shedrick is another who really woke up in front of college coaches. A thin big man who runs the floor with long strides, he really started to come into his own. He finishes well with either hand and has good skill.
Why did his stock rise? At the Great American Shootout I was really able to lock in on Thorpe and I just loved his feel for low post play. He can bang with big bodies, he has skill attacking off the dribble or shooting from the elbow area of the free throw line and he plays with a motor.