National Prep Showcase: Seven teams that should be pleased
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The majority of this weekend’s standouts at the National Prep Showcase recently inked their names on the dotted line during the Early Signing Period. Some of those include Georgia, Texas A&M and Virginia signees, which should be the source of greater optimism for their future teams.
For those who played two games over the weekend, K.D. Johnson led all scorers by averaging 30 points per contest. Georgia’s 2020 class pales in comparison to its 2019 group, but odds are the Bulldogs will be even better and more experienced next season. Johnson is a big reason for this as he can be relied on for scoring. He should flourish in Athens.
While Steve Prohm and his staff have come up with a handful of recruiting wins in recent years, they have also found great success with a few lightly-touted prospects, such as Tyrese Haliburton. Without predicting that he will be a two-and-done like Haliburton, Darlinstone Dubar should be a tremendous addition for the Cyclones. A relatively lightly-recruited wing-forward this fall, Dubar is going to be a good one in Ames. He has to improve his handle but he sports a college-ready frame, plenty of athleticism and the ability to make the open jumper. Dubar is probably best suited for the small ball power forward role and is another piece for Iowa State to build with toward a Big 12 title.
It is going to be another relatively middling year in Coral Gables but help is on the way. Earl Timberlake is an absolute dog that will infuse plenty of toughness into the Hurricanes, but so too will Matt Cross. He is a gritty dude that can shoot, put the ball on the floor, defend and win practically every 50-50 ball. Cross might not have super high upside but he does possess attributes that will push the Hurricanes higher up within the ACC’s pecking order.
The Orange had both of their 2020 class members, Woody Newton and Kadary Richmond, in action over the weekend. While Richmond had a few good moments, it was Newton that really jumped off the page. He is shooting 10 times better compared with the travel season and seems much more confident with what he can achieve. Newton is perfectly molded for how Syracuse wants to play. He is due to go through some growing pains next season, like most freshmen endure, but Orange faithful should be pretty excited about its next rangy forward standout.
It’s going to take some time, Texas A&M fans, but Buzz Williams will get the Aggies rolling again. The Aggies have a depleted roster this season, but if they are to return to the upper echelon of the SEC, Hassan Diarra will have to be a primary catalyst. He is the ideal playmaking guard that Williams has relied on at Marquette and Virginia Tech. Diarra is going to be the head of the snake for the Aggies and his showings over the weekend supported such a sentiment even further.
Mike Rhoades has it absolutely rolling on Broad Street and while the loss of Marcus Evans will hurt after this season, there are reinforcements on the way. One of the Rams' recent signees, Mikeal Brown-Jones, looks like he could suit up for the team tomorrow. Tough, versatile and with an improving skillset, the three-star forward is the perfect plug-in for the Rams' frontline. Brown-Jones threw down a number of eye-appeasing dunks, defended different positions and made a few catch-and-shoot jumpers throughout the weekend.
Virginia has begun to dabble with the more highly-touted prospects. Casey Morsell is beginning to see the light and on Sunday, Jabri Abdur-Rahim did just the same, finishing with 37 points thanks to 5-for-11 3-point shooting. Getting a basket is what he does and while he may face some early difficulties in learning the intricacies of Tony Bennett’s demanding defensive schemes, it says here that the top-40 senior will force his hand in pushing for early playing time. The Wahoos will enroll a great three-man class but Abdur-Rahim is the likeliest to produce from his first day in Charlottesville.