Five-star Bamba among standouts in Kansas
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- From the Jayhawk Summer Finale in the morning and afternoon to the KC Hardwood Classic at night, Thursday was filled with hoops, including games that featured several Rivals150 prospects for 2016 and 2017, and ones that attracted coaches from all levels across the country.
Bamba's big half
Following the first half between PSA Cardinal 16's and Kingdom Hoops 16's on Thursday night, one of the top players in the country took off the red t-shirt underneath his jersey, signaling he was ready to get down to business. Yes, 2017 five-star center Mohamed Bamba felt a change was needed and it's safe to say it worked.
"I just want to show how much I want to win, how much I like winning, and how much I love winning," said Bamba, the No. 4-ranked prospect, "I have a competitive nature."
Of course, the first half wasn't exactly bad, either. Bamba still blocked several shots off the glass and even threw down a dunk so hard that it shook the goal at Shawnee Mission South High School. Yet, with assistant coaches from Duke, Syracuse and Virginia, among others, present, there was something about the final frame that was different. The 6-foot-11 center was more himself, running the floor, finishing stronger and being a rim protector.
For everything Bamba was set out to show, it seemed to gradually improve as the game went on. And in one of the final contests before he stops taking a number of offers, which has been his plan all along, the Weston School (NY) prospect gave several programs something to think about as he prepares to take it all in.
"All schools are standing at a stalemate right now because it's so early in my recruitment," Bamba said. "It's pretty much like organized chaos because there's so much at once but it's all in one room. It's all organized."
It's an equal playing field at the moment, and the plan is to ride it out with the hope of building strong relationships with several programs over his junior year. Bamba is in a confident state of mind, and if he continues to develop his strength and dominates each game he plays, those schools that have offered him are going to be glad they did.
Young enjoying the process
Trae Young is trying to live in the moment and have as much fun as possible. In the world of recruiting, especially right now, it's not an easy task, but it doesn't appear the 6-foot-1, 170-pound point guard is having any trouble with it at all judging by the way he played Thursday night.
Whether it was slicing through the defense with crafty handles and finishing at the rim or using his good vision to find open teammates, the four-star and No. 28-ranked prospect for 2017 looked like he was having a great time in Mokan Elite 17's rout of Kingdom Hoops 17's.
Not to mention, with a good number of coaches on his extensive offer list sitting courtside, Young's recruitment is going just as well.
"I'm just looking at everything carefully," the Norman, Okla., native said. "I'm enjoying the process. I know this only happens once. I'm enjoying it and I've been blessed with being able to speak to who I have been speaking to - legendary coaches."
Young's game was far from perfect at the KC Hardwood Classic, but the good certainly outweighed the bad. He was a sound floor general, and made his teammates better because of it.
However, it's not all fun and games for Young. Although he is only entering his junior year next month, some important decisions regarding his recruitment will be made.
"I'm planning on cutting my list down sometime right before basketball season starts," said Young, who plays Norman (Okla.) North High School. "I don't know to how many but I'm going to cut it down a little bit. I still have more schools out there that I haven't received an offer from."
As it stands, Young lists Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, UCLA, Virginia and Texas as just a few of the many schools that are in constant contact with him. But at the end of the day, he will use the upcoming months to give absolutely every program a fair shake, a list well over 20, before narrowing down his options.
Young will likely have fun doing that, too.
Weathers planning trips
2016 point guard Michael Weathers is very matter of fact. He understands what he's good at on the court, knows what he wants, and senses it all might get a little more hectic down the road. The Shawnee Mission North (Kan.) and JC Hoops prospect is aware of everything.
Right now, though, nothing is too crazy. The skinny 6-foot-3 athlete has offers from Arkansas-Little Rock and Southern Utah, with interest from Missouri, SMU, Kansas State, and Creighton, among others, and more offers could potentially surface in the near future.
"I like Missouri, K-State and Creighton because they are closest," Weathers said," but I also like Arkansas-Little Rock and Southern Utah because they want to develop me as a point guard."
On the court, Weathers is an explosive athlete who might not be done growing. He gets everywhere he wants to be on the court, including the lane despite his 180-pound frame, and can finish above the rim, but he struggled finishing at times on Thursday at the Jayhawk Summer Finale with several of those interested programs in attendance at the Drive5 Sports Center.
"I did not play great at all," he admitted after the loss to the Nebraska Express 17's. "I could have done more things to help the team win, like control the offense better and run the team better overall."
Regardless, there were several instances that Weathers showed why he has garnered more attention as of late with his ability to get to the basket off the bounce.
Weathers will visit Creighton on August 3 and plans to take officials to Missouri and K-State in September. He wants to play at a program close to home so his family can travel to games and attend a school where he can get his teaching degree.
There was a lot to like from Jontay PorterClick The game was never close or competitive for Darien JacksonClick With three notable Rivals150 players for 2016 -- five-star Omari Spellman and four-stars Ty Jerome and Kassoume Yawke -- not playing for PSA Cardinals 17's, one would think five-star shooting guard Gary Trent Jr.Click Jordan BarnesClick Bol BolClick It didn't take long for Michael PorterClick News and notesHere to view this Link. to make his mark at the KC Hardwood Classic. Actually, it took one play. A five-star wing and No. 2 player in the 2017 class, Porter started the game by scoring and drawing the foul on the first possession. He went on to completely dominate the rest of the game, producing the most impressive individual performance of the night. The 6-foot-8 forward scored at will and in every way thinkable. Porter had high-flying dunks in each half, he sank pull-up three-pointers with ease, and used his premium athleticism to score in the paint. Basically, he showed the packed gymnasium why several big-name programs are after him by dropping over 30 points. It's no secret Porter has the game to stack up with anyone and his commanding production in Mokan Elite 17's blowout victory over Kingdom Hoops 17's was simply one more example. Porter also confirmed with reporters following the game that he will attend KansasClick News and notesHere to view this Link.' Late Night in the Phog this fall.Here to view this Link. was as talented as he is tall and long on Thursday at the Jayhawk Summer Finale. The true 6-foot-10-and-growing center for 2018 had a quality game for KC Run GMC 15's and made everything look easy in a comfortable win over the 15U Illinois Irish-Elite. From running the floor well to tipping and snatching rebounds to swatting a shot off the backboard to a smooth two-dribble fade-away runner across the lane, the Bishop Miege (Kan.) product showed a good portion of his arsenal with a plethora of high-major coaches on hand. It was undoubtedly a solid outing for the young big man.Here to view this Link. did it again. Just call him the buzzer-beater king of the summer. Time and time again over these last few events, the new Indiana State commit had made timely and clutch shots for the St. Louis Eagles. With under three seconds remaining in a battle with KC Run GMC 17's, the 5-foot-11 point guard who was relatively quiet all game suddenly made the loudest splash by swishing a three-pointer from the corner that won the game. What's even more impressive about Barnes stealing the show is that he completely overshadowed great plays made by notables Mitchell Ballock, Tyler Cook, Jeriah Horne and Xavier Sneed in the final 1:20. It was easily the highlight game of the day at the Jayhawk Summer Finale and over 30 college coaches saw it all go down.Here to view this Link. would dominate the game for Howard Pulley 17's on Thursday night at the KC Hardwood Classic. That wasn't necessary the case, though. The No. 10-ranked prospect in 2017 didn't have one of his normal scoring outings as he certainly left some points off the board, but it didn't stop him from lighting it up from 3-point range early and then having a crucial bucket late. This might have been one of those rare off-nights, but in a game that didn't have a lot of fire, Trent showed up and performed when his team needed it the most.Here to view this Link. to completely turn on the jets the entire time, but the local 2017 product sure looked pretty good in the several moments it happened. At 6-foot-1 with long arms and good athleticism, Jackson showed the ability to catch and shoot quickly, and had a nice shooting touch from long range. He also had a strong burst of speed in the open floor and can explode to get above the rim. The three-star prospect did all of this in front of Kansas State, who recently became the first high-major program to offer the Blue Valley Northwest (Kan.) and KC Run GMC 16's guard to go along with other offers from Illinois State, LIU Brooklyn, Stephen F. Austin and Tulsa.Here to view this Link. at the KC Hardwood Classic. Well, from the first half of his Mokan Elite 16U game against Illinois Wolves U16, anyway. The entire first part of the game belonged to the big 6-foot-8 prospect for 2018. He was smooth, being strong on the block with a sweet left hook as well as knocking down a face-up jumper. Additionally, his long arms were able to alter several shots all over the floor. Porter was very quiet in the second half in the loss, but if he plays like he did in the first half, more high-major programs will join Missouri and Washington with offers to the Columbia, Mo., native.
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