Basketball Recruiting - Cassidy's Takeaways: Philly Live
basketball Edit

Cassidy's Takeaways: Philly Live

DJ Wagner
DJ Wagner (Rivals.com)

PHILADELPHIA -- College coaches hit the road for the first time in more than a year and a cluster of them took in the action at the Philly Live event over the weekend. Rivals.com’s Rob Cassidy was also on hand for the showcase and shares his main takeaways below.

*****

More: Predicting where five top prospects will land

2021 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2022 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2023 Rankings: Top 30

*****

Wagner backs up billing, talks possible options 

The statement DJ Wagner made on the floor Friday night was a loud one. The No. 1 prospect in the 2023 class shined as a facilitator and a three-level scorer. He impressed with his elite quickness and tight handle and shot well from long-range. The five-star point guard left absolutely no room for anyone to question his lofty ranking.

The statements he made following leading his team to a victory were decidedly less emphatic. Wagner doesn’t have much to say about his basketball future. He’d prefer to leave things muted and play close to the vest on that front. It’s why it was a bit surprising when the star casually discussed the schools with which he’s in regular contact.

Arkansas, Duke, Villanova, Kentucky are just a couple that I’ve talked to,” Wagner said on Friday. “There are others, but those are the ones I remember.”

The prevailing thought is that Wagner will eventually choose the professional route, but his family’s close relationship with Kentucky head coach John Calipari is enough to suggest the Wildcats might be a serious player. And while Wagner doesn’t name anything resembling a lead, most see the Wildcats as the most obvious landing spot should the star guard elect to attend college.

“Kentucky is a great school and I love Kentucky,” he said. “I love them, but I want everyone to know I’m open to every school. I’d like to hear from every college.”

*****  

Fermin stuff box score, names leader

Rivals150 power forward Christian Fermin spent Saturday scoring 24 points in a double-double performance. The 6-foot-9 standout showed off a bit of range in the effort, knocking down a handful of 3-pointers to go along with the buckets he got on second-chance efforts and in the high post.

Firman should see his offer list grow, as Saturday's well-rounded outing came in front of a gaggle of college coaches. As things stand now, however, it seems his recruitment has a clear frontrunner.

“VCU is standing out the most,” Fermin said following the game. “My [official] visit there was great. I’ve seen everything on zoom before but it’s different when you see it in person.

Temple and St. Joseph’s are also in the mix, ranking second and third respectively according to the versatile forward. Fermin is also in close contact with Georgetown, however, and it seems as though the Hoyas could change the feel of his recruitment in a hurry.

“Yeah, I really want the offer,” Fermin said. “I’ve been talking to the assistant. I haven’t talked to [head coach] Patrick Ewing yet, though. They are watching me and they want to get me on a visit maybe in August.”

*****  

Skillings becoming one to watch

Daniel Skillings functioned as one of the most pleasant surprises of the event’s first day, as the class of 2022 wing finished a Friday game with 23 points in a victory for his Philadelphia Roman Catholic High School squad. He followed that up with a 17-point effort on Saturday in front of a group of college coaches gathered on the track above the court.

Skillings showed some solid range to go along with his length and athleticism in the performance and should see his options expand as the live period progresses. He currently holds offers from Albany, Temple, La Salle, Drexel and Robert Morris.

*****  

Miami, Oklahoma State, LSU prioritizing Bradshaw

Seven-footer Aaron Bradshaw has options. He’s long had offers and more seem to be arriving by the month. When the contact period officially opened at Midnight on June 15, however, certain schools made calling Bradshaw a priority.

“I heard from Oklahoma State, Miami and LSU … a few others too but I heard from those at midnight for sure,” Bradshaw said. Bradshaw declines to name anything resembling a favorite at this early juncture, and it’s difficult to get a read on which way, if any, he may be leaning.

“It’s really nice to get those midnight calls,” Bradshaw said. “It was nice because it was like a reward for all my hard work. I’m not even looking at favorites yet, though, I’m just focused on high school.”

*****  

Denver Anglin
Denver Anglin (Rivals.com)

Sharp-shooting guard prepares for Georgetown visit 

A potential summer stock riser in the class of 2022, point guard Denver Anglin is building the reputation of one of the best shooters in the region. He showed off his range in a 21-point performance that also saw him play with impressive pace and flash solid court vision while limiting turnovers.

The New Jersey-born standout has been on a recent run of visits that included officials to Stanford, Providence and Northwestern and an unofficial to UConn. Anglin is set to tour Georgetown on a Monday official visit that has the feel of a pivotal trip.

“They offered early in my career and I’ve been talking to [Patrick Ewing] and the other coaches forever,” Anglin said of Georgetown. It’s been a great process with them. I’m excited to get out there and check out the campus and all that.”

Anglin has set no timetable for a decision and doesn’t intend to make one prior to his senior season.

*****  

Brown has high-major tools

Class of 2023 point guard Xzayvier Brown is as aggressive off the bounce and point guards come and can shoot the ball from deep. But while Friday wasn’t a banner day for him from a scoring standpoint (eight points) also showed a knack for facilitating on Friday. It was encouraging to see the young guard impact a game despite a light scoring performance, as his defense was as impressive as his court vision.

Brown is at his best when he’s scoring at a higher clip, but he certainly used Friday to suggest he’s more than a scorer. He managed 12 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, in a win on Saturday and dictated the game’s pace in the process. The Philly-area guard holds offers from Fordham, St Joe’s, VCU and Drexel.

*****  

Mgbako returns from injury, mulls future visits

Five-star wing Mackenzie Mgbako returned from an ankle injury that sidelined him for an extended period and scored 19 points in a double-double performance that saw him showcase a quick-release pull up jumper and his ability to get to the rim using a rare blend of quickness and strength.

Mgbako, who was also a force on the offensive glass on Saturday, mentioned Villanova, Maryland, Duke, Kentucky and LSU as programs of interest and possible visit destinations.

“LSU has been recruiting me really hard lately,” Mgbako said. “We’re supposed to go more in-depth with the coaches and talk more about the school next week.”

*****

Moses Hipps introduces himself 

One of the weekend’s top scoring efforts came at the hands of freshman, as class of 2024 guard Moses Hipps poured in 31 points in a winning effort that saw the New Jersey-born standout score at all three levels and prove himself to be a willing defender.

Hipps has the ability to create his own shot and to finish with either hand at the basket. On Saturday, he scored a handful of contested layups through contact in addition to flashing his range. La Salle was the first program to offer Hipps, but others are likely to follow in the year ahead.