Bossi's Takeaways: Marshall County Hoopfest
BENTON, Ky. -- Unsigned five-star senior Jordan Brown backed up his lofty ranking at the Marshall County Hoopfest on Friday. Brown leads national basketball analyst Eric Bossi's takeaways from two days at what is one of the best early season showcases in all of high school basketball.
FIVE-STAR JORDAN BROWN IS WORTH MAKING A RUN AT BY SCHOOLS NOT ON HIS LIST
The highest ranked and most high profile unsigned senior at the Marshall County Hoopfest, five-star Jordan Brown of Napa (Calif.) Prolific Prep backed up his top 10 status in the class of 2018.
Getting a chance to play some facing the basket, I was impressed by Brown's array of scoring moves, commitment to being aggressive and impact on both ends of the floor while racking up 30 points and 11 rebounds. His skill is passing his athleticism which is a good thing.
Brown told me that he enjoyed his fall official visits to UCLA and St. John's. He's still got Oregon, Nevada, Louisiana Lafayette, California and Gonzaga involved but he told me that he's not going to be setting up any further visits until later on or after his senior season finishes.
For now Brown says that he's solid with his final seven, however with so few big man options available in the senior class, I think he's primed for a program in need of an impact big to make a run at. Places like Duke, Kentucky and North Carolina are likely going to need to add another big and they'd be wise to at least feel Brown out.
ARIZONA STATE BOUND FIVE-STAR KYREE WALKER HAS THE TOOLS TO MAKE AN EARLIER THAN EXPECTED IMPACT
Nabbing an early commitment from 2020 five-star guard Kyree Walker was a huge coup for Arizona State. Now that the Californian has transferred to Phoenix (Ariz.) Hillcrest, Bobby Hurley and his staff can keep close tabs on the athletic 6-foot-4 slasher and that's a good thing.
Walker is one of the most physical guards I've seen in the country, regardless of class. He combines that physicality and athleticism with a relentless attacking style and never gives defenders a break. That physical strength is important because there has been some talk about Walker possibly moving into the class of 2019 and arriving at ASU a little earlier than expected.
While I'm not a huge proponent of kids rushing to get to the next level and passing up on the high school experience, I can see why Walker may be interested in this move. Most important is that he looks like he would be able to handle the accelerated pace and in terms of development I'm not sure another year of high school where he can physically overwhelm opponents is really going to help with his development. If he can make moving to 2019 happen without too much stress and feels he's mature enough to make the move, I think he's capable of handling it.
LESTER QUINONES IS SET TO BLOW UP IN THE CLASS OF 2019
If the way he played on Friday night is any kind of indication of what type of junior season Lester Quinones of Newark (N.J.) St. Benedict's is going to have then the 6-foot-5 shooting guard is set to see his recruitment blow up.
I'm not expecting he goes out and gets 38 points and hits eight threes each night, but the physicality, skill and confidence with which he plays looks to be legitimate. He fires away off the dribble, off the catch and he plays with a mean streak. Currently, Minnesota is his only high major offer to go along with offers from Stony Brook, Iona Saint Peter's. He listed interest from Rutgers, St. John's, Seton Hall and others and he looks to me like a guy who should emerge as prime target for Mid Atlantic area high majors looking for a shooter.
While Quinones was the breakout guy, his five-star teammate Precious Achiuwa was equally as impressive. Achiuwa didn't score as many points but he showed off an overall floor game and skill level that continues to evolve. The junior can play as a big wing or a small ball four man and I will be surprised if more heavy hitters don't join the likes of Kansas, St. John's, Syracuse, Seton Hall, VCU, Ohio State and UMass who have already offered scholarships.
KANSAS IS GOING TO LOVE DAVID MCCORMACK WHO HELPS LEAD A STRONG OAK HILL TEAM
While five-star freshman Billy Preston continues to be held out at Kansas, the Jayhawks already thin front line has no depth. The calvary is arriving next year when the Jayhawks should have much improved post depth and Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill senior David McCormack is going to play a big role in that deep frontcourt.
In a day where big men want to face up and show off perimeter skill -- and frankly the state of the game dictates a team have guys who can do that -- there's always room for a true back to the basket grunt and that's what McCormack is. Every move he makes is to the rim, he competes with a motor and he's one of the more hard working kids I've seen in the class of 2018. McCormack is joined in the Jayhawks 2018 class by five-star Silvio De Sousa who is trying to enroll early. With those two and Memphis transfer Dedric Lawson coming eligible next year, the Jayhawks are going to have talented froncourt regardless of whether or not Preston or sophomore center Udoka Azubuike are back next season.
McCormack is just one piece of what is one of the more enjoyable to watch Oak Hill teams that I've seen in recent years. Steve Smith's team is always loaded with talent, but sometimes he has some serious egos to manage. This year, his best players all appear to be team guys and along with McCormack there's Florida bound Keyontae Johnson, Kentucky bound five-star Keldon Johnson and Oregon bound point guard Will Richardson who headline a team that is deep and balanced. On Friday it was McCormack and the hard playing Keyontae Johnson -- who was also hitting pull-up jumpers in transition -- that led the way but I'm guessing it will be somebody different stepping up for them every game and that this unit is good with that.
ANTAVION COLLUM TAKING OFF IN 2019
When I told class of 2019 Rivals150 small forward Antavion Collum that he reminded me of another player from Memphis who made the NBA, I could tell he was hoping I would say he reminded me of Penny Hardaway. I'm not ready to make that comparison but Collum does remind me of former five-star small forward Shawne Williams who played seven seasons in the Association.
Collum -- who has one of the best nicknames in high school hoops, "Dude" -- isn't quite as big as Williams and doesn't wield quite as sweet a jump shot as Williams did during his junior year of high school, but he's a big wing who can shoot, handle the ball and also play some on the interior. The tools are all there for Collum to make a nice climb in the rankings and there's no doubt he'll continue to be a high major target.
NEWS AND NOTES FROM MARSHALL COUNTY
.... Make no mistake about it, 2019 combo guard KyKy Tandy is a legitmate high major prospect. Powerful and tough, he's a load off the dribble and I love his pull-up jump shot and mid range game. He had LSU's Will Wade and Western Kentucky's Rick Stansbury in the house to see him on Thursday night. LSU hasn't yet offered but WKU has and so have others like Oklahoma and Florida. Louisville, Missouri, Iowa State, Ole Miss and many others are involved and I see him as priority type target for most SEC programs in need of a scorer.
.... Headed to Oregon, 2018's No. 3 ranked player Bol Bol only transferred to Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep a few weeks ago but he's already looking comfortable. The 7-foot-2 big man made it look too easy on the offensive end as he dunked, hit jump hooks and even stepped out to swish home a three pointer. I know he looks pretty skinny to those who haven't seen him before but he's added a lot of weight in the last year or so. How hot his motor runs and how much he embraces physicality during his freshman season at Oregon could be the difference between showing flashes and being an instant difference maker. Bol is truly one of those kids who can be as good as he decides he wants to be.
.... In the category of massive steal, UCSB landing big man Amadou Sow is a major pull. Strong, tough and athletic, Sow is a man on the glass, dishes out punishment around the rim and is built like a Big Ten upperclassman. I'm really surprised he wasn't more of a priority in the Pac 12 and he looks like the kind of guy who will be an All-Conference performer in the Big West.
.... I'm not sure there are many more offensively aggressive players in the class of 2018 than Michigan bound forward Ignas Brazdeikis. The Canadian takes no plays off on the offensive end and has a pretty complete game. He didn't shoot great on Friday, but his confidence is something to see and he's a mean kid on the floor who likes to make the game physical. I can't remember the last guy who went to Michigan that played with the same type of edge that Brazdeikis and his fire will be welcomed in Ann Arbor.
.... Chatanooga (Tenn.) Hamilton Heights had their hands full with Oak Hill on Friday, but I'm still impressed with many of their players and look forward to seeing them again down the road. I really liked what I saw from seven-foot Serbian big man Uros Plasvic. He can move, he has touch and plays with an edge. He'd be a high major target this winter but sounds to be a done deal to Cleveland State and would be a huge pickup for them. Candian junior Wheza Panzo is an intriguing looking wing who has athleticism and some ball skills. He's going to be a guy to monitor for the Rivals150 in the junior class. I also like two sophomores on that team, Russian shooting guard Sam Ruzhentev and Canadian combo forward Keon Ambrose. Ruzhentev is skilled and tough while Ambrose is an intriguing long armed athlete who appears to have tremendous upside.