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Nike Extravaganza: Top Storylines & Recruiting Nuggets

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SANTA ANA, CA. – Consistently one of the top high school events in any given year, the Nike Extravaganza delivered again. Hosting some of the top west coast programs along with the mighty Oak Hill Academy bunch, finding the appropriate storylines to assess was not difficult to find thanks to the play of Cole Anthony, Makur Maker and Devin Askew.

RECRUITMENT ALREADY OFF & RUNNING FOR DEVIN ASKEW

Looking the part of a five-star prospect following the next update of the 2021 Rivals150, Devin Askew has already taken ahold of the lead guard position for the coveted Mater Dei High program. A sophomore guard with a tremendous know-how in running his team in the half-court, putting pressure on the opposing unit via the attack dribble and competing on both ends, Askew has made major progressions within his skillset since the summer and because of it, already leads a nationwide recruitment.

Holding seven power conference scholarship offers, Askew told Rivals.com that he has taken unofficial visits thus far to Louisville, Texas and USC, trips that really impressed the California native. There is no rush for Askew to make an early commitment but it does sound as if the three are in a great spot moving ahead. However, potential visits could be in the works for Oregon and Texas Tech but in the meantime, it only looks as if Askew will become that much more of a priority for the best nationally thanks to all that he encompasses at the point guard position.

WILLIAMS CONTINUES TO DELIVER

If you’re looking for a sign for just how good Ziaire Williams is, my reaction after seeing his final stat line of 25 points and 10 rebounds was one of awe and disbelief due to the fact that I had believed that he produced just a so-so game compared to his standards. A 6-foot-9, long and slender wing that can play three positions and on both sides of the floor, Williams has all of the tools to succeed at the next level and beyond. Comparing him with UNC’s Cam Johnson is not far off where each should be valued for their shot making prowess along with the added size and length that they present on the perimeter.

Relating the two, it is no surprise that the Tar Heels are in the mix for the five-star. Williams has already taken an unofficial visit to Chapel Hill this winter but they must defeat some of the west coast powers for his ultimate commitment. He has already taken an official visit to Stanford and fellow Pac 12 peer Oregon dispatched an assistant for his game on Saturday. He went on to tell Rivals.com that he will likely take an official visit to Arizona in the nearby future and that a commitment will be made either before his senior season, or shortly thereafter.

ANTHONY IN NO RUSH

Cole Anthony was shelved last week during his Oak Hill squad’s contest against IMG on national television but with his ankle now healthy, the five-star guard turned in one of his best games that we have seen from him in recent years. Although he has been tormented some in the past by his inability to take care of the ball, it was nice to see Anthony make the smart play where he finished with just one turnover compared to the 10 dimes he dished out. Toss in his 21 points that can on step-back jumpers, side-step and finishes and open floor dunks and what you have is a premier guard prospect in the 2019 class.

Regarding his recruitment, things don’t seem to be speeding up but Oregon’s Dana Altman made the short flight down to see him play on Friday. The Ducks and UNC are the two top contenders for him at this point where not much seems to be changing. While many believe that the Tar Heels are the hands down favorite, do not underestimate the Oregon brand. They have piqued Anthony’s eye greatly and while we are not saying that he will call Eugene as his college landing spot, Oregon still should have a major say whenever the time comes for the five-star prospect to commit.

MAKER ATTEMPTING TO THE BEST YET

The best yet is in store with Makur Maker. While his cousins, Matur Maker and Thon Maker, were each known for their rim-running prowess and high energy play, Makur is more of a skilled based forward that sports a solid feel for the game, translatable skillset for the highest levels and the ability to defend multiple positions. His first year at Orange Lutheran this winter, Maker has settled in nicely at his new digs where he was more than solid this weekend. He got to the foul line over 20 times during his two contests, cleaned his area on the glass as he averaged 11 rebounds, and was a threat in the passing lanes and as a rim protector.

On the college front, while there has been talk about a possible reclassification into the 2019 class, sources confirmed with Rivals.com that this will not be the case. Instead, the focus will sit with his skill development, strength progressions and getting better acclimated to the American game. Arizona State, Auburn, Oregon and USC are the most involved to date but Kansas and Kentucky have begun to show interest. Wherever he does land, expect for the potential five-star prospect to check a variety of the boxes in the frontcourt and just like his older family members, bring high energy play and production to the court on a consistent basis.

BIGS GO TO BATTLE

While Onyeka Okongwu was one of the headliners for the McDonald’s All-American all-snub team, he looked the part of an immediate producer at USC upon his enrollment in the fall. A well-talked about and often discussed prospect dating back to his time playing next to the Ball brothers at Chino Hills, Okongwu is good for double digit rebounds pretty much each time that he hits the court. One has to respect just how hard he plays and the consistency with his game and production. He finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds in a losing affair and while we will not see him in March in Atlanta, there is only better to come with the interior producer that is Okongwu.

Opposing him was an up-and-coming name out of Las Vegas in Max Allen. A bit undersized in the post, Allen makes up for such a deficiency with his 20-foot and in skillset. He can make shots to the perimeter, is a major weapon out of the high post and is a more than willing passer. Pitching in with 14 points, four assists and three rebounds in his team’s win, Allen does not hold a scholarship offer just yet but he has received early interest from Arizona, Grand Canyon, Illinois, Michigan and Pepperdine. There are shades of a younger Evan Battey to his game as the local power programs will likely be calling with an offer in the not-so-distant future.

CALIFORNIA'S BEST IS NEXT WITH SKYY CLARK

With the looks of Tre Jones in the face and the quick-twitch abilities of UCLA’s Jaylen Hands, get ready to hear much more about Skyy Clark. The 6-foot-1 guard, by way of Minnesota, has settled into the confines of southern California as he looks the part of a Pac 12 type of priority prospect in the coming years. One of the best freshman lead guards that I have evaluated this winter, Clark already holds offers from Boston University, DePaul and Eastern Michigan but it won’t be before long that the interest from the local power programs grows into offer with heavy attention thereafter. He finished with 15 points ad six rebounds on Friday evening, playing the role of scorer and playmaker. Clark already buys in on the defensive end where the story just seems to be beginning for the likely to be highly rated prospect.