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Jordan Brand Classic: Big-timers set to decide

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Cassius Stanley
Cassius Stanley (Courtesy of Jordan Brand)

LAS VEGAS – The Jordan Brand Classic is set to showcase many of 2019's top-ranked players this weekend. Friday, the players hit the floor of the T-Mobile arena for a high-level practice session and scrimmage. Big-timers such as Cole Anthony, Cassius Stanley and others offered the latest on their recruitments, while many others stood out.

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Wing Cassius Stanley, ranked No. 33 in 2019, is all systems go for a Monday afternoon commitment.

The 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Chatsworth (Calif.) Sierra Canyon said that he will reveal his decision via video at a school assembly.

Last weekend, Stanley was in Durham to visit Duke after it made a late entrance into his recruitment. He gave the visit high marks and most of the basketball world sees the Blue Devils as the team to beat. Stanley also had nice things to say about each of his other finalists – Kansas, Oregon and UCLA.


The top-ranked available player in the class of 2019, No. 4 Cole Anthony, was originally planning to announce his decision on Monday as well. However, he said during the media session that he could be moving things back a day. Sure enough, Anthony later confirmed that he will be announcing on ESPN on Tuesday morning.

Though his decision is being delayed by a day and Anthony said that nothing is set in stone about his decision, North Carolina remains the major favorite here. Georgetown, Notre Dame and Oregon are his other finalists and if he picks one of them it will go down as one of the best jobs of not giving away true intentions that a kid has ever done.


The two other undecided players taking part in the Jordan Brand Classic are five-star combo forwards Jaden McDaniels and Trendon Watford. As it stands, neither has a date.

McDaniels is down to Kentucky, San Diego State, Texas, UCLA and Washington and said that he has no idea when he will make a decision. McDaniels also added that, for the most part, he has been leaving the duties of talking to coaches up to his parents and that when he does make his decision he'll be leaning on them heavily for support.

As for Watford, he had initially planned to announce Saturday among Alabama, Indiana, LSU and Memphis. Duke had entered the picture but with the Devils landing Matthew Hurt, it effectively shuts the door on that recruitment. Though Watford doesn't yet have a date set, he indicated that he should have his decision ready sometime in the next week or two. It does appear, though, that Will Wade getting cleared by LSU could ultimately have an impact on his decision.


Samuell Williamson
Samuell Williamson (Courtesy of Jordan Brand)

If Friday's practice and scrimmage session were any indication of what to expect on Saturday evening, then this year's Jordan Brand Classic could be a really entertaining game. Some standouts from the session.

.... If he didn't do it at the McDonald's All-American Game (and he did) then Samuell Williamson cemented his status as a five-star prospect. The tall shooter had the mid-range game working and in a world where they say the ability to consistently knock down the corner three gets you paid, then the Louisville-bound Texan is setting himself up to make some bank down the road.

.... What a day for Oregon-bound C.J. Walker. The hybrid forward has gotten a lot stronger since last summer and shows tremendous versatility, particularly on defense. He is comfortable switching one through five defensively and despite giving up a lot of weight and strength to low post bully Isaiah Stewart, Walker didn't back down. He's still a work in progress in the halfcourt, but he could be a sneaky one-and-done candidate if it all comes together.

.... In his last chance to audition for the top spot in 2019's rankings, Memphis-bound James Wiseman looked pretty strong. He's getting more comfortable on the offensive end, has become really consistent with the turnaround jumper and is learning to be more physical. He's had a nice postseason All-Star game run.

.... When he gets going from deep, Michigan State-bound Rocket Watts is an awful lot of fun to watch. The guy is more two-guard than point but that's fine because he's out there to score and plays with supreme confidence. He and Williamson got locked into a really fun one-on-one duel where they traded several baskets.

.... It still feels like people are overlooking how big a score five-star wing Patrick Williams was for Florida State. More mind boggling is that the Seminoles never had to fight the Tobacco Road bluebloods to land him. The dude is versatile, has skill, is tough and looks ready to contribute from the day he arrives in Tallahassee.

.... With the addition of Matthew Hurt, the return of Tre Jones and the late pursuit of Cassius Stanley, some have suggested that Duke might not have been the best pick for Boogie Ellis. Just not seeing that one. Ellis is more natural as an off-the-ball scorer and he can burn the nets from deep. In other words, he's unlike any guard Duke has or that is coming in next season. His ability to bomb away from deep is a perfect fit for Jones' natural drive-and-pitch style. Ellis had as good a day as anybody in Vegas for the Jordan Brand Classic.