MORE: Pilots pump out talent
Last year's No. 1 ranked player in the country Shabazz Muhammad may be gone, but there is still plenty of talent in Las Vegas.
Tuesday night, many of the best that Sin City has to offer took the floor at the Pangos Las Vegas Showcase.
2015 Stephen Zimmerman continues to show great potential while Rashad Muhammad found his grove and newcomer Dion Wade looked very good.
Expectations for Zimm
Even though he's just beginning his sophomore year at Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman, Stephen Zimmerman is already a kid who has big expectations and a big reputation.
It was easy to see why on Tuesday as the southpaw big man looked very good during the Fall Showcase.
Closing in on seven feet, the thin sophomore is all arms and legs but manages to get them all moving fluidly once he touches the ball. He can really handle the basketball for a big guy, has range on his jumper and rebounds and blocks shots like you would expect a big to do.
After missing July with a knee injury, Zimmerman has only been back on the floor for a few weeks but is glad to be back.
"I'm just starting to get back," Zimmerman told Rivals.com. "It still kind of hurts some but it feels great to be back out here playing."
To be clear, Zimmerman played very well on Tuesday and looked like a player who has a chance to become an elite level recruit as he gets healthy, fills out and learns to play with a little more physicality.
After playing his two rounds of games, Zimmerman said that he hasn't even begun to think about college favorites but did report a slew of offers from UNLV, UCLA, Kansas, Connecticut, Arizona, Oregon, Oregon State, Memphis and Auburn, among others.
From the looks of it, it's going to be a very big year for 6-foot-4 shooting guard Rashad Muhammad. The senior from Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman finished out his summer strong and that carried over on Tuesday night.
A long and rangy wing, Muhammad has turned into a very good jump shooter with plenty of range. He's also playing with a new confidence and his high school coach sees big things for him this season.
"I really think that Rashad is coming on," Gorman coach Grant Rice said. "He's playing with a lot more confidence and is ready to take a step. I won't be surprised if he averages 21 or 22 points a game for us."
Currently, the three-star shooting guard is without offers but that will change very quickly. Among those to express recent interest are Pepperdine, Fullerton and Nevada and it's safe to say that many more will and should be in to take a peek at the rapidly improving senior.
Making his mark
We wrote during Monday's coverage of a Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep workout that senior wing Dion Wade was going to make an impression on college coaches.
After watching him again on Tuesday, there's not much question that the 6-foot-5 shooting guard is a high-major prospect.
This year will be Wade's first in the States after growing up in Belgium. So far he's enjoying the move.
"I like it here," he said. "School is going well. I'm getting better and a lot of schools say that they like me."
Along with great size for the two-guard, Wiley has a tremendous first step. He's quick, very athletic at the rim and quite skilled attacking off the bounce. He is very strong with his off (left) hand and is also adept at hitting pullup jumpers.
Wade will start off as a three-star prospect, but he is a guy who will have to be monitored closely for the rankings and will be under heavy consideration to be elevated to four-star status.
So far, Auburn, Southern Utah and UTEP have gotten ahead of the curve by offering him a scholarship while others such as Oregon State, Georgia Tech and Iowa State have shown interest.
Shining at Pangos
Former Utah commit Julian Jacobs is a high-flying combo guard. At about 6-foot-3, he is quite explosive in getting to the rim. He visited USC a few weeks ago and just returned from an official visit to Cornell. Jacobs can play at either of those levels or anywhere in between. But, he looks to be more of an instant impact guy if he chooses to play somewhere on the mid-major level.
Stephen Zimmerman isn't the only impressive 2015 post player at Bishop Gorman. 6-foot-8 sophomore Chase Jeter looks to be at least a four-star-type prospect. Jeter has great length, runs the floor very well, is fluid in traffic and plays with a nice mix of skill and athleticism. He just turned 15 and is a year young for his class, so he's likely got plenty of growing left to do. Definitely one to keep an eye on out West.
Sticking with the Bishop Gorman theme, there were two other Gorman players who stood out during games. 2014 point guard Noah Robotham has taken his game to a new level and 2015 wing Nick Blair is a top-shelf athlete who plays aggressively.
Standing about 5-foot-10 or 5-foot-11, Robotham is a clever, confident and smart point guard who can make open jumpers. Since last year, he's become noticeably quicker and he was outstanding at the Fall Showcase. His first offer is from UC-Davis but Weber State, Southern Utah, Pepperdine, BYU and UNLV are among those now tracking him.
A high flying 6-foot-4 small forward, Blair doesn't yet have a big list of schools looking at him. That will be changing soon. The sophomore is an extremely aggressive driver and big-time transition finisher because of his explosive athleticism. The will and the athleticism are all there, so going forward it will be the development of his skill that determines what level he ends up playing.
Gerad Davis has pretty good athleticism for a combo guard. A junior at Las Vegas (Nev.) Canyon Springs, he has a very good first step and is improving as a ball-handler. He goes about 6-foot-2 and is a bit of a streaky shooter but will be tracked by West Coast schools. His summer teammate Spencer Mathis will get Division I looks as well. A 6-foot-6 wing at Las Vegas (Nev.) Valley, Mathis is an explosive finisher in transition who plays hard.
Dion Wade wasn't the only player from Findlay who stopped by the Showcase. Senior power forward Gavin Schilling, senior center Benas Griciunas, senior center Fallou Ndoye and junior center Kingsley Okoroh all did their thing as well.
Schilling continued his physical play from Monday and again showed a pretty good feel for things. He's legit at the high-major level and somebody who will get consideration for the final 2013 Rivals150. Ndoye is a big guy who runs the floor, plays with an edge and rebounds. His size, motor and willingness to compete are all high major.
Griciunas is a long lefty who has a bit of a mean streak in him to go along with sharp elbows. Also, the Lithuanian big man can really step out and shoot the ball. He swished home several deep jumpers and looked pretty natural doing it. Okoroh earned some serious credibility with his teammates for his performance.
Even though they weren't all playing, the entire Findlay Prep team was on hand, hoping that one of their big guys would grab 10 or more rebounds. If that happened, Wednesday's 6 a.m. conditioning would have been scrapped, and Okoroh came through. The English big man also scored a bit and continued to look much more comfortable on the floor.
Top 100 class of 2014 point guard Shaquile Carr did his thing. He's a true setup guy who lives to get in the lane and make things happen for teammates. His quickness and athleticism are big assets.
Carr's summer teammates with the Las Vegas Prospects -- Juwan Major and Sir Washington -- both had their moments as well. Washington is a senior at Las Vegas (Nev.) Clark who can bomb from deep range or finish above the rim. Major is a junior at Las Vegas (Nev.) High who is a true high riser with a quick first step. Both check in at around the 6-foot-3 range.
We are interested to see senior wing Nyheem Atkins from Las Vegas Quest Academy down the road. He's a big wing with a nice crossover and good athleticism who lives to get to the rim and make plays in transition.
Finally, some brief notes on a few more standouts from the sophomore game. Las Vegas (Nev.) Valley point guard Cameron Burton has tremendous quickness and is a clever ball-handler. But, he can get a little wild at times.
Chase Nomaaea was the best 2016 player in attendance. A 6-foot-4 shooting guard who is solid all-around, he has a little bit of a Danny Green type feel to his game.
6-foot-4 wing Ray Smith has the length and athleticism to develop into a nice player. He looks like a guy who has probably played mostly in the post but the tools to play on the perimeter are there.
Last but not least, Nate Grimes is definitely a 2015 Vegas kid to keep an eye on. A 6-foot-6 combo forward at the minute, the Las Vegas Cheyenne sophomore really gets a lot accomplished. He can finish in transition, rebounds, defends very well and looks like he could be a pretty good mid-range jump shooter.
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