Bossi's Best: Underclass standouts from USA Basketball
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Which players from the 2022 and 2023 classes stood out at the USA Basketball October Minicamp? In this week's edition of Bossi's Best, National Analyst Eric Bossi takes a look at 10 who caught his eye as he wraps up our coverage of camp.
This was our first chance to see the heralded freshman from California and he definitely looks like one that we'll be tracking closely down the road. Courtney Anderson Jr. has long arms, is a good athlete and shows impressive tools and instincts as a scorer. He's yet to play a high school game but looks as much like a high major prospect as a player his age can.
I like the edge he plays with and that he is an athletic finisher who can knock down shots from deep. He didn't exactly need to put himself on the map so he took a big chance to enhance his standing in the class of 2022.
I know that it isn't the way they run things and that Jalen Duren needs to play with his classmates for USA Basketball to keep evaluating for next summer's 17U National Team, but he was a pretty clear cut above the other big men from 2022 and 2023.
A total monster in the low post, Duren is more physical, athletic and bigger than his peers and would have benefited from battling older players. That said, he did what he was supposed to do against the sophomores and freshmen. He's ranked No. 2 nationally behind Emoni Bates and there's no current threat for him to lose that spot.
Duren does hold offers from Maryland, Miami and Penn State but his recruitment has been surprisingly light because many programs are worried he could be a candidate to go directly to the NBA if early entry rules change.
Scoota Henderson made a name for himself late in the summer and at USA Basketball he looked as if he may have a claim to being the top point guard in the 2022 class.
I'd look for pretty much every high-level program in America to try and get involved.
A member of the National U16 team last summer, Richard Isaacs is already a USA camp veteran. Even so, I thought he played as well as I have ever seen him during the spots I was able to watch.
At heart he's a scorer and he's always going to be aggressive. What caught my eye most was that he managed to say aggressive while being under control and did a great job of setting up teammates in the process.
An athletic forward with a strong body, Mark Mitchell missed much of the spring and summer while recovering from a knee injury. He showed no signs of rust in Colorado Springs.
He was one of the most physical underclass wings, picked spots to be aggressive with his offense and didn't take any plays off.
M.J. Rice has the strength and physical nature to have easily hung with the older players in camp. So, against his peers he did what he should have done and punished them with his ability to finish at the rim and make enough jumpers to keep defenders mindful of his ability as a shooter.
I always appreciate the way he brings it on both ends and I'm a little surprised that in-state programs Duke, North Carolina, NC State and Wake Forest haven't yet made him more of a priority. However, Boston College, Mississippi, Pittsburgh and Providence have tendered offers and he'll have many more soon enough.
To this day, Dajuan Wagner Jr.'s father Dajuan Wagner is one of the most explosive and impossible-to-stop guards that I have ever seen. He was ahead of his time. So, it's going to be unavoidable that he gets compared to his father.
Jr. looks to be well on his way to stardom at the same school his father starred at in the late 90s and early 2000s. He's fluid with the ball, can score and dish, and while he's very skinny at this stage, he's surely going to fill out and looks like he'll be a big-time athlete.
Something about the way he carries himself says that he's going to handle all of the comparisons and pressure having a famous dad will bring and I won't be surprised to see him develop into an elite player in his own right.
I first saw Jalen Washington back in April playing 15U grassroots ball for Chicago-based Meanstreets and was struck by his size, length and the skill he had. Since then he's looking like he has grown a couple of inches and he's more aggressive and has some confidence from added strength.
Speaking to him he has a good understanding of what is ahead of him and he's not concerned with rankings or having the biggest offer list and that will all serve him well. He's headed to Michigan State for an unofficial visit soon and listed offers from DePaul, Indiana and Purdue. All signs point to him being a prime Big Ten target for the next few years.
Just like when I saw him a few weeks ago in Southern California, Kijani Wright was looking to punish his opponents physically. He's that guy who none of his peers are likely to test because they already know it won't end well for them if he wants to throw down.
As big and strong as he is, Wright has suffered from some poor finishing around the rim in the past but that wasn't an issue through the weekend. He's also showing more ability as a ball-handler and facing the rim to 15 feet. I love his approach and so do college coaches considering he already lists offers from Arizona, California, UCLA, USC, Stanford and Vanderbilt.