McDonald's Takeaways: What we learned from Atlanta
Atlanta was a hot spot during the second July evaluation period with all the talent on display between the Best of the South, the Super 6, and the Champions Summer Classic. Throughout the weekend, we learned quite a bit, including the need to give the hottest recruit in the country a bump in the rankings.
NASSIR LITTLE NEEDS A BUMP
It’s quite possible that no prospect in the 2018 class is being as heavily recruited as Little. Because of his talent level and how accessible he is for coaches, he still has schools all over the country feeling like they have a shot to sign him. Head coaches from Arizona, Florida, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina and Miami watched him at different point this weekend with Mike White and Josh Pastner being the regulars.
The reason he’s become such a hot recruit is simple. He’s a 6-foot-6 wing with elite athleticism and a motor that doesn’t stop. His jump shot looks as strong as it has ever been. While his handle could be an area for improvement, he’s efficient with it and has some moves in his repertoire that NBA players don’t have. Defensively, he’s locked in and he’s great on the boards. This weekend he looked like a top 10 prospect in the 2018 class.
WHO IS AMANZE NGUMEZI?
Little’s teammate on 1 Family, power forward Amanze Ngumezi, came into the weekend as a prospect who was fairly well-known throughout the southeast with offers from programs such as Clemson, South Florida, UAB, Florida Gulf Coast and a few others. After tearing down rims all weekend and showing some versatility on the perimeter with his jumper and handle at 6-foot-9, the Savannah, Ga. native is well on his way to becoming one of the more popular recruits in the southeast.
Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Tennessee and Virginia Tech already jumped in with scholarship offers following the second recruiting period. They certainly won’t be the last if Ngumezi finishes the month strong in Las Vegas this week. He looks like somebody who needs to be rewarded with a spot in the 2018 Rivals150 at next update.
ZION WILLIAMSON IS STILL THE CLASS FAVORITE
When there is a matchup of two travel teams loaded with top prospects, big crowds usually follow. When there is a Peach Jam matchup between a young Andrew Wiggins and a young Julius Randle, it’s standing room only. With Zion Williamson, it doesn’t matter who his team is playing against. You better get to the court early and you better not leave your seat if you plan on seeing the game. His following is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. The way the crowd buzzes when he gets the ball and there is any chance of him throwing down a highlight reel dunk is something you need to witness in person.
PERIMETER FIREPOWER IN SOUTHEAST'S 2019 CLASS
Schools in the southeast looking for a wing in the 2019 class are in luck. There are plenty of them and some really good ones who can make an impact right. Christian Brown (No. 11), Trendon Watford (No. 16), D.J. Jeffries (No. 25), Joey Baker (No. 27), Elias King (No. 33), Isaac Okoro (No. 35), Marcus Watson (No. 45) and Josh Nickelberry (No 49) are all ranked among the top 50 prospects in the 2019 Rivals150.
King and Okoro both had really good weekends for AOT. King’s ability to score in so many ways and the ease at which he does it is pretty impressive. Okoro is a talented scorer too, but he excels getting out in transition where his athleticism can take over. Marcus Watson, who added offers from Florida and Oregon this weekend, combines elite athleticism with a pure three-point stroke to be one of the more talented wings in the class.
CASTLETON CONTINUES TO IMPROVE
Castleton is one of the more intriguing post players in the southeast in the 2019 class. At 6-foot-11 with arms that appear to stretch down to his knees, Castleton is a pretty smooth athlete with a high skill level. He can knock down jumpers out to three-point range, but some of his more impressive moments were plays he made posting up on the block or a couple steps off. Like most young post players, he needs to add some strength, but his long term potential is very high. Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Illinois, South Florida, Xavier and more are involved here. He’s another prospect who deserves to be ranked in the 2018 Rivals150.