Evans' Takeaways: Talent shines at Southern Jam Fest
STARTING FIVE: Big-time juniors cutting their lists
HAMPTON, Va. — The Hoop Group Southern Jam Fest has become a must-stop during the travel season as a number of various sponsored and non-sponsored teams consistently compete. Here are the 10 biggest takeaways from the event, including the dominance of DayRon Sharpe, Kam Farris’ breakout and an emerging high-major guard out of the Hampton Roads’ area.
NORTH CAROLINA WILL EXTEND ITS FIVE-STAR STREAK
You have to go back to the 2016 recruiting cycle to find the last time that North Carolina failed to secure a five-star talent. The Tar Heels will add another year to their streak thanks to Sharpe's progression. Much fitter, more skilled and just as dominant on the interior, Sharpe was the best player in Hampton. He can snag 10 rebounds in his sleep and is the perfect center for Roy Williams’ big-man reliant system.
KAM FARRIS HAS A STATEMENT WEEKEND
I knew literally nothing about Farris before Friday. Whispers began to circulate following his 30-point outing to begin the event but it wasn’t until his 28-point performance the following day that I had to jump onto the bandwagon. A giant but skilled lead guard, Ferris can make shots to 25 feet like it is nothing. He is savvy, tough and deceptively athletic. Hidden in Vermont, Farris has the chance to enroll in college this fall, which could only enhance his recruitment, but for the 2020 class, he holds offers from Boston University, Canisius, Easy Carolina, Fairfield, NJIT and Old Dominion. More will certainly follow.
A.J. JAMES IS ON THE VERGE OF A HIGH-MAJOR RECRUITMENT
Now standing close to 6-foot-4 and with extra length to him, not many from the Mid-Atlantic region have taken a bigger year-to-year jump than James. The three-star's explosiveness is just the start to all that he brings to the court. A catalyst for his team’s 17-under championship this weekend, James counts recent offers from ETSU, Fresno State, Murray State, St. Louis and VCU. He is expected to visit NC State next month and an offer would not be a surprise. James will enroll in the 2020 class and attend Hargrave Military Academy this fall.
HENRY COLEMAN REMAINS ONE OF NATION'S BEST REBOUNDERS
There are not many more sure-fire producers or competitors in America than Coleman. While he finds himself in between positions in the frontcourt, he plays extremely hard and is a plus rebounder. He’s going to put up steady numbers throughout his college career as Virginia is thought to be a top leader, though Duke could change things with an offer.
JULIAN REESE IS NEXT MAN UP OUT OF THE CHARM CITY
The lefty was superb throughout his stay in Hampton, making shots out of the mid-range, finishing with efficiency in the lane and providing for further production out in the open floor. He has to get stronger and continue to round out his game, but the foundation is there for Reese to be a regional high major target over the next two years. Virginia Tech has already offered and he has been to Maryland and Tennessee. Don’t be surprised if one or both do offer.
CARSON MCCORKLE DRAWING KYLE GUY COMPARISONS
It will be difficult for anyone to fill Kyle Guy's shoes at Virginia but McCorkle does sport dimensions of the now former Cavaliers’ standout with his skill set. A much-improved athlete that has always and will always make shots, McCorkle even has some of the swagger that Guy first became known for nationally. He might not be of Guy’s status but McCorkle has a chance to leave an imprint at Virginia in the shot-making department.
JUSTIN THOMAS WAS THE BEST FIND OF THE WEEKEND
The 6-foot-5 wing out of Baton Rouge did it all weekend long. Failing to get the start for his talented Garner Road bunch, Thomas was the perfect injection of versatility, athleticism and energy off of the bench. While he has to become a much better shooter, he can be used as a secondary playmaker because of his ability to pass. He's instinctive and someone that can guard many positions. East Carolina, George Mason and St. Bonaventure have offered.
KHYREE TEMPLE WILL BE AN ELITE JUCO TARGET
He doesn’t have the grades to make it this spring, so Temple will head to junior college in the fall. Don’t forget his name, though. It might slip out of the public consciousness but in a year or two, whenever Temple gets things straight in the classroom, he will be as heavily of a coveted prospect that the junior college level can offer.
The lefty is close to an elite level athlete that boasts a college-ready body and a tremendous feel that is seen with how he plays the passing lanes but also distributes on the offensive end. He will leave a giant imprint at the highest level before his college days are complete.
FAVOURS AIRE IS A DEFENSIVE GAME-CHANGER
If there are 10 better freshman big men on the East Coast, then we are in for a tremendous 2022 class. Aire is a new name to most, myself included, but after watching him in three separate games over the weekend, it is clear just how good he is now how and great he can be in the future. Long but with a solid basketball frame to fill out, Aire can score in the post, rebound his area and run the floor. However, what sets him apart from is just how great of a rim protector he is. Aire is an elite shot blocker and will be recruited heavily from here on out. Rutgers was the first to offer nearly a year ago.
MALIK MISSOURI SHOWS 3-AND-D TRAITS
The sophomore wing out of Baltimore had a good showing in Hampton but the biggest thing with Missouri is where he can be once he fine tunes certain aspects of his game. Boasting over a 6-foot-10 wingspan, Missouri is a capable shot maker from all three levels and is a more than willing and proficient defender on the perimeter. He oozes potential and versatility. The new staff at St. John’s recently reaffirmed the old staff’s offer and he has been on the campuses of Oklahoma State, Princeton, Richmond and VCU.