The CSG National Prep Showcase featured a number of outstanding prospects who've signed with Division I schools this month. However, there were also a good number of still available seniors who were equally impressive throughout the weekend. Rivals.com takes a look at a handful of prime time players who are likely major spring targets.
Appleton, a 6-foot-3 190 pound combo-guard from Indiana, is prepping this season at Bridgton Academy. Very quick and strong, Appleton is a relentless defender. Scores mostly in transition and on drives to the basket. Can pull-up and hit the 15-footer, but is not a superb perimeter shooter. Makes good decisions at the point guard spot, though he spends most of his time for Bridgton on the wing. Would be a steal at the Atlantic 10 level. Has received attention from the likes of Purdue, Indiana, and Miami, but needs to get his grades in order first.
Banogle is a 6-foot-7 235 pound load in the paint. Originally from Cameroon, he is prepping at Coastal Christian this season. Active on the glass, and aggressive around the basket. Needs to improve his all around skills, but has a great hoops body. Utah, New Mexico St., and Fresno have shown some interest.
Beasley helped Butler HS from Huntsville, AL win the state championship last year, and is at Bridgton this season getting his academic house in order. He's a 6-foot-2 210 pound big guard in the Brian Oliver mold who's very physical, and has an impressive inside/outside scoring package. The lefty told us that he averaged 23 points, 8 rebounds, and 9 assists last season for Butler. Auburn, Mississippi, Mississippi St., Miami, Wofford, and College of Charleston are involved. He will take the SAT in December.
There was little doubt among those in attendance at the CSG National Prep Showcase that Andray Blatche is headed to the NBA next year. More than a dozen pro teams had representatives on hand to check out the skilled big man from South Kent Prep, and for the most part he didn't disappoint. It is absolutely amazing how far Blatche has come in the last year and a half. He has transformed himself from a mobile center with upside into a wing player capable of handling the ball on the perimeter and making shots from 20-feet and in, and all of this wrapped in a 6-foot-11 225 pound body. Questions about Blatche are more about his head and his heart at this point, than his skill level.
Cornelius is the first guy off the bench for coach Jason Smith's talent-laden Brewster Academy Bobcats. Originally from River Forest, IL, Corenelius came very close to committing to Illinois State this past fall. However, he still had some doubts so he has decided to wait until spring to make his college choice, and remains open. At 6-foot-7 and 200 pounds, Cornelius is effective on the glass and in transition. He'll need to improve his perimeter skills if he wants to be a wing player at the high major level, as right now he's more of a comb-forward. Southern Illinois, Boston University, and Wisconsin-Milwaukee were also in hot pursuit this fall. He's a good student who's already qualified academically.
Cruz has excellent size and athleticism for a wing forward at the college level. The 6-foot-6 205 pound Life Center Academy scorer is originally from Puerto Rico. Terrific slasher and mid-range shooter, but is not very consistent from outside 15 feet. Aggressive driving to the basket, but doesn't always finish strong. Intriguing because of his size, athleticism, and ballhandling ability.
Diakate is a 6-foot-9 225 pound native of Mali who is at Bridgton Academy this season. Diakate showed us an aggressive streak as well as the ability to face the basket and make shots from 14 feet and in. Since there aren't many players with his size and skill level on the board, he's bound to be a hot prospect this winter. Bridgton Academy coach Whit Lesure told us that George Washington, Virginia Tech, and St. John's have shown interest, as well as other Big East and Atlantic 10 programs.
This 6-foot-8 215 pound shooter from South Kent School is a mid-major gem. Probably doesn't have the athletic ability to defend at the high major level, and seems more comfortable on the wing, rather than mixing it up in the paint. buried several shots in the 16-20 foot range throughout the weekend. Ivies and CAA schools should be all over him.
Jerome struggled at the offensive end most of the weekend, but the well traveled 6-foot-9 big man was superb on the glass and a disruptive force defensively. "Stretch" is deceptively quick, though he isn't and probably never will be a fluid athlete. His length and timing as a shot-blocker will always make him a hot commodity among college coaches. Hargrave Military Academy coach Kevin Keats told Rivals.com that St. John's and Penn State have offered, and UNLV, Kentucky, Illinois, and Ohio State are also involved.
Matthews, a 6-foot-4 DC native, is at Lutheran Christian Academy in Philadelphia, PA this season. He doesn't get a lot of extended playing time on the deep talented LCA squad, but he got just enough this weekend to show scouts in attenedance that he still has his reliable shooting touch. Matthews is a mid-major special and should get a ton of interest from schools at that level looking for a 2G with decent size.
McThay was the guy who kept the trains running on time for Fork Union Military Academy this weekend. For McThay it all starts at the defensive end, where despite his 5-foot-10 165 pound frame, he is not afraid to get physical. Ultra-quick and a great decision maker. Runs the meticulous Fork Union offense flawlessly and scores when they need him to. The Florida native will make some mid-major coach a very happy man over the next four years.