Corey Evans' Under Armour Blog: Friday
CARTERSVILLE, Ga. -- Check back in here as we update the happenings from Under Armour on Friday.
ANTHONY EDWARDS IS OF A DIFFERENT KIND
Not many can score the ball quite like Anthony Edwards. One of the best that there is in the 2020 class, Edwards may not have recorded the over 30 points per game average that I had predicted earlier in the week but he also has not disappoint during his time in his home state this week.
A 6-foot-4 guard that has become a much better playmaker and defender within recent months, transforming from just a scorer and into a complete ballplayer, the star potential out of Edwards is among the best that the high school ranks can provide. He has a presence about him on the floor each time out and the ability to take over any given game with his scoring prowess thanks to the range on his jumper that extends to beyond the NBA 3-point stripe.
Whether it was on putback dunks, long range bombs, pick and roll dishes or shutdown defens applied on the perimeter, Edwards did not fail to contribute within every facet of the game on Friday. There is a special crop of guard prospects in the 2020 class bolstered by Jalen Green, RJ Hampton and Jalen Suggs, yet Edwards more than deserves a spot within the conversation of who the next greats could be.
Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton, UNC’s Roy Williams, Georgia Tech’s Josh Pastner and a slew of others sat courtside for his Friday affair.
BLUE COLLARED BATTLE
While the contest was being held on the outskirts of Atlanta, it was a northeast, blue-collared battle taking place between We R1 and Mid-Atlantic Select. Eric Dixon and Qudus Wahab create a mind-numbing frontline that should scare opponents at night but too bad opposing them was Abdou Tsimbilia, one of the more intimidating centers that you’re going to come across within the high school stratosphere.
Dixon, headed to Villanova, is best known for his rebounding, IQ for the game and broad ranging contributing skills makes him a more than capable day one producer for the Wildcats. The lefty snatches everything within his area on the glass but is more than willing and able to stretch the defense with the perimeter jumper.
Wahab comes in a different variety where he is a rim running maverick that changes shots thanks to his length, instincts and well-oiled motor. He can score in the post via the drop step move into the righty hook but his greatest value comes through the energy that he provides. Finding bigs in his ilk are difficult to find in the 2019 class, reflecting the recent uptick within his recruitment.
Opposing the We R1 duo was Abdou Tsimbilia, a recent Penn State pledge that has improved exponentially since March. Seeing that Mike Watkins is now in his upperclassman years, Tsimbilia is the perfect replacement for the rim presence in Happy Valley. He already sports a college ready frame and a tenacity about him that only betters his effectiveness near the basket. Not much pub was given to his commitment a few days ago but by the looks of him, Tsimbilia is the type of guy that should and will uphold the strong culture that Pat Chambers has worked so diligently to establish at PSU.
BRADLEY IS NEXT MAN UP
There is special and then there is Jaden Bradley, arguably one of the very best guard prospects in the 2022 class. I have not had many chances to watch prospects in his respective grade level but just getting a full hour viewing of what Bradley can do and pondering what he can become, it would be difficult for me to believe that there are ten others better than him nationally.
A 6-foot-4 guard out of North Carolina playing two levels up with the BMaze Elite 16-under unit, Bradley’s size, feel, pace, passing and scoring skills create for one unique ballplayer. He never seems to play out of his comfort zone and his talent is easily defined as elite.
Wake Forest and Auburn have already offered Bradley and there are more on the horizon. You never want to put heavy expectations on any prospect, especially one that has not even taken a high school class, but the Tar Heel State has become known for producing some of the best that the nation has come to provide and Bradley looks like the next man up to represent the state as an elite level prospect that the blue bloods will salivate over in the coming years
THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA SHOWS STAYING POWER
The state of Oklahoma is not one known first and foremost for its basketball scene but after the ascension of Trae Young last year and a budding group on the way, that sentiment could be about to change. Kalib Boone, an early pledge to Oklahoma State, looks to be a solid building block for head coach Mike Boynton in Stillwater but he isn’t just the only of the new wave of prospects that will be heavily recruited.
Bryce Thompson, already slotted as a strong four-star guard in the 2020 class, has become valued for his shooting abilities and competitive mentality as he currently holds offers from over half of the Big 12 Conference. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas each watched Thompson on Friday morning as the trio of schools should be thought of as strong contenders for his commitment at the end of the day.
A classmate of Thompson’s within the state is Dayten Holman, another four-star guard that is of a different variety. Standing over 6-foot-4 and with tremendous poise and pace in the backcourt, the upside with Holman is beyond intriguing. While he is not a tremendous athlete, he is a more than solid playmaker, facilitator and decision-maker as he was watched on Friday by Boynton and Arizona’s Sean Miller, to go along with assistants from Oklahoma and Colorado.
GREEN & MANNION DRAW A CROWD
For the third straight day, the bleachers were packed to see the five-star bunch with the West Coast Elite program. Their chemistry in the backcourt is second to none and it clearly shows in each contest that they pair up in. Not only are they talented prospects and two of the best in their respective classes, but they’re also unselfish playmakers that can be used in a variety of roles which reflects their strong set of intangibles and winning background.
On Friday morning, in a close win, Arizona’s Sean Miller, Villanova’s Jay Wright, and Marquette’s Steve Wojciechowski were each in attendance, to go along with assistants from Oregon, UCLA, Duke, UNC, Michigan, Kansas and Villanova.
Neither of the two are anywhere near a college commitment which makes it the perfect time for basketball’s goliaths to take a seat in enjoy the Green and Mannion show as the race remains wide open for either of the two's pledge.
NEW HEIGHTS BREEZES THROUGH THE MORNING
Achiuwa, a five-star forward in the 2019 class, is sensational whenever he is aggressive and unfortunately for his competition in Atlanta, he has been just that.
Whether it is knifing his way through the defense with the powerful score or leading the break off of the defensive rebound, it has been attack, attack, attack all three days in Georgia. Pound for pound, there are not many as talented as Achiuwa in the 2019 class as St. Johns’ Chris Mullin and Georgetown’s Pat Ewing, along with an assistant from Pitt and Kansas were on hand.
Alongside him is one of the more underrated wings in America, Lester Quinones. Too put it lightly, I just don’t get why practically all of the nation isn’t prioritizing him. He is a 6-foot-5 wing that can defend and make shots at a more than solid clip, a combo that is valued greatly in today’s game. Mullin, Ewing and Seton Hall’s Kevin Willard were on hand for Quinones, as was WVU and Maryland, as the Terps offered him last night.
CURTIS ENDS ON A HIGH NOTE
The first round of bracket play began on Friday morning and while C2K Elite started out of the gates slow, Samari Curtis had a more than solid ending to his game. The 6-foot-3 guard out of Ohio is more of a scoring lead guard but he did show the ability to facilitate just a tad in the half-court setting. However, he is at his best getting downhill with the basketball, of which he did just that towards the latter part of his team’s win.
A lefty that is ingrained to compete, Curtis finished things out with a game high 18 points. He is a capable scorer out of the mid-range and has a toughness about him that allows for Curtis to score through contact.
Formerly committed to Xavier, Curtis backed off his pledge earlier in the spring. He remains fairly open with his recruitment and while the Musketeers remain a heavy presence, so too does Cincinnati, Louisville, Missouri, Dayton and Indiana.