Eric Bossi's Adidas Gauntlet Finale Blog: Sunday
NEW YORK CITY - It's the final day of July's first live period and national basketball analyst Eric Bossi is in New York City for the Adidas Gauntlet Finale. Follow along for all of the action and who is watching whom.
FIVE STAR OKONGWU RETURNS TO HELP COMPTON MAGIC WIN TITLE
When the Adidas Gauntlet Finale field was announced there was one game and one game only that I hoped would end up being the 17U Championship game. It happened. Then Delta canceled my flight home and I had to leave a few minutes into the second half of what turned out to be an epic -- according to multiple coaches who texted me as I made my way to the airport to find a new flight -- title game won by the Magic 87-83. I have no reason not to believe them either. Because before I left things were really getting good and the game was as high level as any I saw in the first live period, whether in New York or at my first stop of the week for Nike's Peach Jam.
Anyway, enough about that. I wanted to offer up some quick thoughts.
USC has to be elated. They've got a shot blocking rim runner in Onyeka Okongwu who backed up his five-star status after missing April, May and June due to injury. His timing and quickness off the floor are uncanny and he continues to develop his skill. Also committed to USC, top 30 power forward Isaiah Mobley was terrific as well. I've written plenty of times about his skill as a scorer, but at this time I'd like to point out that he is also as good a passing big man as there is in 2019. Then there's Mobley's younger brother Evan Mobley. No, the No. 3 player in 2020 isn't committed to USC yet, but with his brother on board and his father working there as an assistant coach, it's only a matter of time before he is a Trojan and he's the best prospect of the three. Smooth athlete, great touch, flies up and down the floor and only needs strength. He remains very much in the competition for top overall prospect in 2020.
D1 MINNESOTA WINS 16U TITLE
In the 16U division of the Adidas Gauntlet Finale, D1 Minnesota made pretty easy work of the field and finished things off with a workmanlike win 53-37 win over Indiana Elite in the finals.
Last week I worried that we may not have moved Garcia high enough in our 2020 rankings update and after watching him a few more times in New York, he certainly has some room for upward movement. At 6-foot-9 he's a smooth athlete with inside/out skill and he's getting better in a hurry. If he keeps up at this rate, he's knocking on the door of being an elite level prospect and his ceiling for improvement is still tremendous. Minnesota, Marquette and Baylor have offered all had assistants watching as were many other Big Ten programs like Indiana, Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, Wisconsin and Purdue. The Buckeyes, Badgers, Hawkeyes and Boilermakers each had head coaches check in. Garcia said he's got an unofficial visit planned to Texas in late September.
Carlson is a bit stronger than Garcia and maybe not quite the same athlete, but he's skilled and tough. The guy has already put a lot into his recruitment having already seen Nebraska, Stanford, Minnesota, Iowa State, Creighton, Northwestern Purdue and Wisconsin. They've all offered as has Davidson while Indiana, Notre Dame, Michigan, Iowa and Butler are getting in the mix.
Finally there's Walton who I thought was one of the best finds of the weekend in New York City. He's a good sized combo guard at 6-foot-4 with a baby face and lots of upside. His shot looks good, he initiated the offense at times and he looked to have good ability as a two way player. Purdue recently offered and he said he'll try to trip there after the summer while Minnesota, Creighton, Wisconsin and Baylor have all showed interest.
PROGRAMS MAKING LAST DITCH EFFORT TO GET IN ON OMAR PAYNE
One of the best combinations of athlete, rebounder, rim protector and long term prospect in the class of 2019 is power forward Omar Payne. With plans to cut his list in early August and start setting up visits, schools are hustling to make a last ditch effort to crack his top schools.
Among those trying to get involved in New York City to see Payne on Sunday were Pittsburgh's Jeff Capel, Ohio State's Chris Holtmann and Arizona who had an assistant coach on hand.
If you are asking me, I think that others like UCF (assistant watching), Florida (Mike White watching), Florida State, Texas, and Wake Forest are pretty solidly entrenched in his recruitment while others like Clemson and Louisville are trying to be involved.
UNC GOT A GOOD ONE EARLY IN DAY'RON SHARPE
It's always nice when you can land a Plan A level recruit early and without expending too much energy, that's exactly what Roy Williams and North Carolina have done with top 35 class of 2020 power forward Day'Ron Sharpe.
Sharpe committed to his home state school in June fairly quickly after getting an offer and he will fit right in with the Tar Heels. Sharpe's best attribute are his hands. They are strong but he has soft touch with them and when combined with his vision and basketball IQ they allow him to be a skilled post. Yes, he's plenty big but his passing out of double teams, soft touch to 15 feet and patience are well beyond his years and that of what you would expect from a big man that doesn't get exposed to that much high level competition.
There should be no questions about whether or not the Garner Roads 16U standout deserves his lofty national ranking.
TOP FIVE MATTHEW HURT LIVES UP TO BILLING
An efficient run during June with USA Basketball's 18U team has led to a hot start to July for top five ranked Matthew Hurt.
The skilled 6-foot-9 forward was sizzling again on Sunday has his 22 points -- including a key three pointer in the final minute to take the lead -- led the way for D1 Minnesota over a very tough ITPS Wildcats team. Next up for Hurt, the Compton Magic and their loaded frontline of five-stars Onyeka Okongwu, Evan Mobley and top 30 Isaiah Mobley in the finals of the event.
In terms of his recruitment, Hurt hasn't yet locked in any visits. He's going to get through the month of July and then take a family vacation to decompress. After that, he'll look to start setting up visits and could start taking them by September.
On Sunday, Mike Krzyzewski, John Calipari and Bill Self were all on hand along with assistants from North Carolina, Indiana, Minnesota and Memphis. Though Hurt has never announced a true list, those seven plus UCLA are likely the most viable competitors for his services at this point.
GUERRIER WILL ENROLL AT SEMESTER
Somebody is going to be getting a big time player in the middle of the winter. High scoring, tough and athletic wing Quincy Guerrier confirmed that his plan is to enroll in college this winter.
On Sunday, Guerrier was a man on fire on the offensive end. He's impressed in the past with his ability to get to the rim, rebound and finish in transition but on Sunday it was his lights out jump shooting from deep that had the gym buzzing. Guerrier hit eight of 11 from deep and was simply unstoppable.
Syracuse has been mentioned prominently in his recruitment so it wasn't a surprise to see Jim Boeheim sitting courtside with an assistant. Guerrier took an unofficial there last summer. However, Guerrier maintains that he is still open and listed Oregon, Illinois, Creighton, Vanderbilt, N.C. State, Baylor and some more as possibilities. He says that he'll lock in on either five or seven for his final list in August, take visits and then enroll for winter.
Some schools want him to play right away in second semester but at this time Guerrier says he's leaning towards redshirting once he arrives on campus.
BIG CROWD FOR D1 MINNESOTA AND ITPS
The biggest crowd of coaches I've seen for a game thus far has showed up for a semifinal battle between D1 Minnesota and the ITPS WIldcats.
It's no surprise, though, because there is some serious talent on the floor. D1 has top five 2019 forward Matthew Hurt, top 40 big man Zeke Nnaji, Iowa bound Patrick McCaffery, four-star Stanford bound point guard Tyrell Terry and Wisconsin committed Tyler Wahl. ITPS has one of the most physically intimidating big men in the country in top 45 Oscar Tshiebwe and a potential high major shooting guard in Maceo Austin.
It's a crowded affair with the head coaches of Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio State, Purdue, Iowa, Stanford, Nebraska, UConn, Stony Brook, College of Charleston and Colorado State plus assistants from North Carolina, Milwaukee, Memphis, Indiana, North Dakota, Northern Iowa, Omaha, James Madison, Minnesota, Baylor, N.C. State, South Dakota, Tulane, Ball State, Drake and Vermont among those that I've spotted.
DAJUAN GORDON IS UNDER APPRECIATED
I'm glad that we managed to slide Team Rose shooting guard Dajuan Gordon into our latest update to the Rivals150. He belongs there.
Though skinny, Gordon is tough, has athleticism and can play on or off the ball as a scorer or playmaker. You know what else he can do, defend. Gordon is among the better perimeter defenders I've seen during the grassroots season and it's clear that he takes pride on that side of the ball.
"I want to try and play at the highest level," Gordon told Rivals.com. "I feel I can lead the team, play with anybody in any type of style and I can be a lock down defender."
Gordon told me that the likes of New Mexico, Loyola (Chicago), UIC, Colorado State, Tulsa, DePaul, Kent State, Ole Miss, UAB and some others have offered while Iowa State, Wake Forest and Xavier are showing interest. He's seen Loyola and UIC unofficially and mentioned that if Xavier were to offer he would definitely take an official visit there. He's looking to start setting visits in August.
COACH WATCHING IN ROUND TWO OF GAMES
For the second round of Sunday games I'm splitting my time between the Indiana Elite and Carroll Premier 16s and the Bradley Northwest Panthers and Team Rose 17s. Many coaches are doing the same thing (D1 Minnesota 16s and Upward Stars is another popular game).
Among those watching the Indiana Elite and Team Carroll game featuring four-star shooting guard Trey Galloway of IE and potential Rivals150 combo guard Jayden Stone of Team Carroll have been head coaches from Ohio State, Wisconsin, UAB and Purdue, to go along with assistants from Clemson, Nebraska, Omaha, Iowa, Michigan, Indiana, Murray State, Auburn, La Salle and Missouri.
On the court behind it, the Bradley Northwest Panthers have a group headlined by top 30 2020 shooting guard Marjon Beauchamp, top 55 shooting guard P.J. Fuller and potential high-major wing Jamon Kemp. Team Rose counters with Rivals150 guard Dajuan Gordon, who I feel is still one of the best-kept secrets in the country.
In and out of the crowd for them are head coaches from Montana, Colorado State and UNLV, along with assistants from South Dakota, South Dakota State, Bradley, Oregon State, Gonzaga, Vermont, Milwaukee, Arizona State, Seton Hall, Memphis, Loyola (Md.), Arizona, Marquette and Buffalo.
RIVALS150 GUARD JAMIR CHAPLIN IS AN ENERGY GIVER
When you get up for an 8 a.m. consolation game with no real implications, your only hope is that you get to see some players who give energy. Rivals150 shooting guard Jamir Chaplin is an energy giver, thankfully.
In a quiet Basketball City gym, I was impressed by how hard the 6-foot-4 shooting guard for Stackhouse Elite played and I also appreciated his toughness and solid overall game. My co-worker, Dan McDonald, has compared Chaplin to Josh Okogie in the past and I can see where he's coming from.
But, where did Chaplin find his energy on a slow Sunday morning?
"I went to bed early last night and got a good night's sleep," said Chaplin. "I came out here with the mentality that I wanted to win. We only went 2-2 this weekend, so I wanted to make sure we finished strong.
Chaplin mentioned that he has offers from College of Charleston, Georgia Tech, UAB, Florida Gulf Coast and South Florida, among others, while Auburn is among those showing interest. Earl Grant from Charleston and Rob Ehsan from UAB were among those watching him Sunday morning.
GAME ELITE AND STACKHOUSE ELITE TO START THE DAY
It's the last day of the first July live period, and I'm starting my day off with Game Elite and Stackouse Elite. Game Elite features Louisville-committed shooting guard Josh Nickelberry and four-star forward Jaylin Williams, while Stackhouse Elite is led by Rivals150 shooting guard Jamir Chaplin.
The coaching crowd isn't quite as deep as it has been in past days, but so far some of the coaches I've spotted include Florida (Mike White), College of Charleston (Early Grant), UAB, Princeton, Missouri, Boston, Clemson, Auburn, Temple, Louisville, Xavier, Michigan and Buffalo, among others.