Rival Views: Who impressed most at Monday's Hoophall Classic
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. –The Hoophall Classic came to a conclusion on Monday as five-star and highly ranked prospects took the court throughout the day. Who impressed the most? Who needs to be recruited harder? Where does Jaden McDaniels land? Which remaining senior's recruitment is most important?
National analysts Eric Bossi and Corey Evans have Rival Views when it comes to the answers.
WHO HAD THE MOST EYE-OPENING PERFORMANCE?
Bossi's view: I'm taking Sharife Cooper and it isn't just based on the 27 points he dropped on Temecula (Calif.) Rancho Christian in Powder Springs (Ga.) McEachern. Yes, he was terrific on Monday getting to the basket, hitting timely jumpers and causing all sorts of problems off the dribble. But, consider that he and McEachern spent all day traveling from the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions -- which they won -- on Sunday and didn't miss a beat playing their fourth high-level game in five days. They also won the City of Palms in December and Cooper is a major reason for it all. He's a big-time competitor.
Evans' view: Scottie Lewis has always been known for his high-wire acts around the basket, energy-giving abilities and shutdown defensive prowess on the perimeter but what he did in the skill department on Monday was more than impressive. Finishing with game-high honors of 26 points while knocking down nine of his 13 shots from the field, in every way possible, the ceiling continues to raise for the product out of Jersey. Headed to Florida next fall, Lewis is going to be one of the most entertaining first-year guys in college but if he can coalesce this new and improved skillset with his already sturdy competitive edge, watch out. Florida should have its fair share of backcourt firepower a year from now but Lewis gives Mike White’s bunch an entirely different dynamic.
WHO IS THE MOST UNDER-RECRUITED PLAYER YOU SAW?
Bossi's view: It's more than surprising to me that Tari Eason only has an offer from Washington State. The 6-foot-7 junior combo forward at Federal Way (Wash.) High seems to be a perfect fit for the era of small ball. I see a long, athletic and tough kid who has burgeoning skill and ability to shoot. He runs, he competes and he finds ways to contribute and was his team's best player racking up 17 points, 12 rebounds and four steals during its loss to Tinton Falls (N.J.) Ranney School. He's working on setting up a visit with Oregon State (which he expects to offer when he visits) and mentioned Arizona State as another. But, where are other Pac-12 teams? Where is the Mountain West and where is the WCC when it comes to his recruitment?
Evans' view: I don’t really get it with Harlond Beverly. Here you have a 6-foot-4, do-it-all guard that plays with no ego, can make shots, defend multiple positions and compete for the 50-50 ball. Yes, he played for a non-sponsored travel program but that should not undercut all that Beverly has to provide. I have seen Beverly a lot this winter and each time I walk away impressed with all that he does. On a team loaded with four- and five-star talent that already garnered the requisite interest and offers, Beverly is just now getting the love that he deserves. Speaking of such, Baylor, Georgia, Indiana, Miami, and Xavier are the five that stand out and will likely host the four-star for a visit in the coming weeks. Scott Drew and Travis Steele have recruited him for the longest, though the latest entrants of UGA and Miami seem to have caught his eye. Could Archie Miller snag one late? The Hoosiers may be the darkhorse. Regardless, I am still a bit perplexed that Beverly isn’t receiving loads of other offers due to his talent and lack of high-level options left in the 2019 class.
IF YOU HAD TO PICK TODAY, WHERE DOES JADEN MCDANIELS LAND?
Bossi's view: This is really tough because if you listen to McDaniels discuss his recruitment he doesn't come off as a guy who is spending a lot of time thinking about what he wants to do. He seems solely focused on his senior year. That being said, I continue to feel that he might be the elite guy that John Calipari and Kentucky hit on late. There are no popular rumors swirling about him, no behind the scenes chatter, it's just my best feel for what he might do. Washington is the home school, San Diego State has been good for his older brother Jalen McDaniels and Texas and UCLA are still technically in there as well. McDaniels had a rough go of it offensively on Monday, but he still did other things such as rebound and make some impressive defensive plays.
Evans' view: The momentum that Mike Hopkins has created at Washington is not going to stop. Washington did it already by beating the bluebloods for Isaiah Stewart’s commitment over the weekend and while the task of doing so again against Kentucky, San Diego State, Texas and UCLA will not be easy, what the Huskies are patching together this winter will be too much to pass up. Don’t underestimate the reach of Stewart. While this decision of McDaniels’ will come down to which program can place him in the best situation to reach the NBA, the relationship that he and Stewart melded at the USA Basketball Mini-Camp in October where they were roommates for three days, has only strengthened in recent months and Stewart is actively recruiting him. Add in that UW already holds the commitments from two of McDaniels’ travel teammates, he won't travel far for college after graduation.
WHICH UNDECIDED SENIOR'S RECRUITMENT IS THE MOST CRUCIAL?
Bossi's view: For me it has to be Cassius Stanley. Especially if his newfound shooting touch from beyond the three-point line – he made five threes in his 25-point and nine-rebound outing – is something that transitions to college. He's down to Kansas, Oregon and UCLA with a decision date set for mid-April. The Bruins don't have a coach and will need to hire somebody in time to make a charge so that pretty much leaves the Jayhawks and Ducks battling it out. Both could really use an athlete like him but even more they could use shooters and Stanley is really the only option they have left on the board. Even if he's not a great shooter out of the box, he's a dymanic athlete who can be a transition finisher and eventually a defensive stopper if he puts his mind to it.
Evans' view: The recruitment of Keion Brooks – who was fantastic in a 25-point and eight-rebound effort – is important and all the schools (Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina and Michigan State) involved would all love to have him. But, the school whose success may be most tied into landing him is Indiana. What we have seen in recent weeks in Bloomington is not Archie Miller losing his basketball intellect, but rather a limited supply of efficient scorers and offensive weapons. Once you get past Romeo Langford and Juwan Morgan, there isn’t much else that Miller can rely upon for putting the ball through the basket. What makes matter worse is that each will be gone next season. Sure, Trayce Jackson-Davis is going to help, Robert Phinisee, Devonte Green, Jerome Hunter and Justin Smith will provide for support, too, but they need more than just that if they want to return to the top of the Big Ten pecking order.