NPSI: Evans' Friday Takeaways
PROVIDENCE – The National Prep School Invitational comes at a perfect time every year as it brings some of the very best prep prospects to one setting for a five-day stay. For those in need of a late-year pick-up, it enables for the perfect platform to evaluate what remains within the 2018 class. Friday’s recap includes a potential new pathway for Arizona State signee Luguentz Dort, two visits scheduled for Luis Rodriguez and the emergence of Junior Farquhar.
DORT WITH OPTIONS ON THE TABLE
Much has been said about Anfernee Simons and the five-star guard’s options in potentially forgoing college and entering his name into the NBA Draft this spring. Less covered but with the same opportunity allotted, Luguentz Dort faces a similar dilemma. A year removed from his high school’s graduation and of the proper age, Dort, if he so chooses, could make a similar leap to the NBA, one that would be a blow to Arizona State’s 2018 class.
Built like an ox and in the mold of a Marcus Smart type, seven NBA franchises were in attendance on Friday for Dort’s outing. While some were perplexed with a less active Dort compared to prior viewings, those in attendance have also been drawn to the intangible factor surrounding the 6-foot-4 guard.
Finishing with game high honors of 23 points, Dort’s shot remains a work in progress as it remains a work in progress but it is his versatile defense and competitive nature that will be his calling card in the years ahead.
Following his outing in Providence, Dort remained steadfast that he will attend Arizona State in the fall, giving Bobby Hurley a capable replacement for his outgoing senior class including Tra Holder, Shannon Evans and Kodi Justice. However, if the proper feedback might be received, Dort could be the next to blaze a new trail, declining the chance to play in college and instead insert his name into the NBA Draft.
FARQUHAR REGAINS FOOTING
Sidelined due to a torn ACL for the past several months, Junior Farquhar is back on the floor for his Orangeville Prep unit as the available senior guard is primed and ready to break out and lead a high-major college recruitment.
Bringing a college ready frame and major confidence to the playing floor, Farquhar had a quality showing in front of a throng of college programs on Friday. He has the proper handles in fending off peskier ball pressure, the toughness to score through contact at the lid, the vision to create for others, and a quality step-back jumper that he can use whenever the space is provided.
College programs remain on the look-out for capable playmaking agents late in the year as Farquhar looks the part of someone that could see his stock explode in the coming weeks. While he has been kept off of the floor since last spring and missed his entire senior summer, it is only a matter of time before his recruitment takes off. “SMU is the main program right now in touch with me,” he said. “St. Bonaventure talks to me a little, too.”
A 6-foot-2 point guard that can pass, score and defend, Farquhar has the looks of a late year break out from the 2018 class. As programs continue to kick the tires with the current point guard crop, don’t be surprised if the Canadian’s name heats up in the not-so-distant future.
TWO VISITS SET FOR RODRIGUEZ
One of the best available wing prospects in the 2018 class, Luis Rodriguez is ready to dig into his recruitment. A 6-foot-6 small forward prospect, the Woodstock Academy product showed major value as a multi-positional defender on Friday, sliding his feet and containing quicker guards on the perimeter, but also the strength to dig in and guard around rim.
More of a driver than a shooter, Rodriguez, who calls California as his home, is primed to take two visits in the days ahead. “I am going to UMass tomorrow for an unofficial visit,” he said about his visit to Amherst on Saturday, February 3. “I am going to Illinois on February 10; that will be my first official visit.”
UMass has surprised some this winter thanks to their guard-heavy attack, a system that Matt McCall used well at UT-Chattanooga before taking over the Atlantic 10 program this fall. At Illinois, the Big 10 bunch remains in the hunt for wing depth with the upcoming departure of grad-transfer Mark Alstork.
Rodriguez remained vocal that he is in no rush to make a college decision as Butler, South Carolina and a slew of others have stayed in contact. Expect for a spring commitment with Rodriguez, a more than capable wing defender that should be able to impact a college game in one way or another.
OTHERS OF NOTE
South Carolina will soon be hit with the graduations of Wesley Myers and Frank Booker, two tough-nosed guards that helped put the SEC program back on the basketball map. Replacing each will be a difficult task but the ascension of recently committed guard Jermaine Couisnard makes one believe that Frank Martin will not have to look far to fill their backcourt void.
An underrated playmaker and athlete, Couisnard entered the fall with zero scholarship offers. Thanks to his work ethic and the platform provided at Montverde CBD, the East Chicago native should be able to fill some of the gaps left by Myers and Booker next winter. He showed ready-made defensive abilities in Providence and the grit that has come to define more successful Frank Martin producers in recent years.
In a match-up between Michigan pledges, Ignas Brazdeikis and Adrian Nunez look to be the perfect yin and yang within John Beilein’s system in future years. Brazdeikis, a hard-nosed scorer, didn’t shoot it as well as he normally has, but he was a major producer on ambidextrous finishes in the lane. Opposing him was Nunez, one of the better shooters in the 2018 class. He also was not hitting as he has been accustomed to but it was his improved ball skills and defensive abilities that really stood out. With a Michigan assistant on hand, the Wolverines look set to enroll two competitive, scoring weapons in the fall.
Stanford has made major waves on the recruiting trail in recent years and the commitment of Cormac Ryan must be seen as a major coup. A 6-foot-4 guard with Kirk Hinrich dimensions, Ryan’s team went down in defeat on Friday evening but it wasn’t because of lack of effort or abilities. Slated alongside current freshman standout Daejon Davis next year, the duo should be a perfect marriage in the backcourt for years to come. Ryan is a more than willing passer that can make others better; he showed major value in Rhode Island and is a hold no bargains type of guard that should instantly infuse competitive juices into the Pac 12 program.