Hoophall Classic: Sunday Rival Views
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. --Which players made the biggest impressions on Saturday at the Hoophall Classic? Who best fills needs at the next level? Analysts Eric Bossi and Corey Evans have Rival Views from a loaded day of action.
1. If anybody overtakes Evan Mobley for No. 1 in 2020, who has made the best case?
Bossi's view: Man, this is a tough choice but I suppose I will go with Cade Cunningham. The reason? His ability to elevate the play of those around him and because he's something different as a 6-foot-7'ish point guard. Eventually, I see him playing all around the perimeter but the future Oklahoma State stud's ability to defend as many positions as he can play and how consistent he is would give him a slight edge for me.
Evans' view: If this was about who the best player is in the 2020 class, Cade Cunningham might be the selection but rather, it is about who the best prospect is and I am not sure there is anyone with a better ceiling in the high school game than Jalen Green. The five-star guard has continued to get better and remained as efficient as ever, scoring 26 points off of just 11 shots attempted from the field. He displayed underappreciated playmaking skills and his typical explosive first step and athleticism. Green is the complete package in the backcourt. He thinks the game, knows how to play it and has all of the tools to be a transcendent talent at the next level. He is my number one prospect in the 2020 class.
2. Which committed player's potential value at the next level has been a bit undersold?
Bossi's view: Each time I've seen Prolific Prep play this year I've walked away thinking that Coleman Hawkins is headed in the right direction and will be a valuable player at Illinois. He has to get much stronger and learn to compete a little more consistently, but that's what a college weight room and coaching are for. He can shoot, he's got pretty good hands and he's gotten better on the glass. Also, he should be walking into a situation where there isn't too much pressure on him to play big minutes early. Giorgi Bezhanishvili will be back and Kofi Cockburn should be back for a sophomore year. That's an ideal learning situation for a young player who is on the rise.
Evans' view: Can a Duke recruit be unheralded to a certain extent? Maybe, at least whenever it comes to the pecking order that D.J. Steward is seen within the Blue Devils’ second-ranked class. Jeremy Roach is going to be awesome, Jaemyn Brakefield, Henry Coleman, Mark Williams have remained standouts this winter and Jalen Johnson has all of the tangibles that would fall in line with the go-to piece within Coach K’s offense. However, I am not sure anyone has been more consistent or continued to improve as rapidly as Steward. Finishing with 28 points, four rebounds and four assists, Steward’s role as a shot maker is just the beginning of what he can provide for in Durham. His potential has only improved and it is about that time we begin to discuss him as a five-star prospect.
3. Which player most elevated their stock in your eyes?
Bossi's view: How about the weekend that future Georgia guard K.D. Johnson had for himself? He went for a big number on Friday in the Hoophall's Prep Showcase, then on Sunday in the main event he was tremendous. One of the most athletic backcourt players in the country, I loved the way he attacked, attacked and then attacked some more while racking up 35 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. He's going to be streaky from deep at times and will be taught that there are times where patience isn't a bad thing, but you have to love a guy who wants to compete and get after it like he did.
Evans' view: Playing in the prep side of the event a mile or two away from the Springfield College campus, coaches gathered for a viewing of Tyrin Lawrence and they did not leave unimpressed. The unranked guard out of Georgia has been a trending name within college coaching circles and rightfully so. No longer is Lawrence an undersized 2-guard but rather a more than capable combo guard that can create for others and himself. He has gotten more explosive at the basket, is beginning to shoot it better off of the perimeter and has tremendous potential as a defender. His stock is soaring after taking official visits to Cal and Gonzaga, as such others as Clemson, Ole Miss, Texas and Vanderbilt have begun to show greater attention to Lawrence.
4. Which player that didn't quite play to their usual standards are you still high on?
Bossi's view: Like many young big men, Duke bound Mark Williams can be a bit inconsistent. He's still growing into his seven-foot frame and finding the balance between scoring in the low post and getting back to the other end to protect the rim. In a big matchup with Montverde (Fla.) Academy, he didn't quite have his best and had a quiet game. Luckily, I've seen him much more than one game and have the benefit of looking at the bigger picture and a total body of work with him. Bottom line, he's improved rapidly over the last couple of years and it's a matter of time before his strength catches up with his height and effort.
Evans' view: Jaden Springer has been absolutely awesome this high school season but even he would tell you that he didn’t have his best on tap on Sunday evening. It wasn’t for a lack of urgency or energy exerted but rather the game plan geared his way. Springer didn’t make a single shot in the first half but I am more than certain that what he can and will achieve at Tennessee next year will place him amongst the top freshmen producers in the sport.
Springer is a winner. He impacts the game in every which way possible and is just the type that Rick Barnes is missing this season. UT’s expectations should be high next year and it says here that Springer might actually surpass such standards despite just an okay showing in Springfield.