The first part of the July evaluation period has come and gone. The second half is just a few days away as action picks up on Friday. This halftime break is a perfect opportunity to take a look at 10 prospects of varying levels that stood out in the first half. Some have big names, some don't and some will be big names soon enough.
July evaluation period buzz
Somehow, we forgot to mention this rising sophomore big man in our coverage of the NY2LA Summer Jam. However, that doesn't diminish how good the long-armed and strong 6-foot-8 power forward looked in Mequon. Playing with the Derrick Rose All-Stars 15 and under team, Alexander was truly a man among boys as he thoroughly dominated play on the interior. We've been looking for more bigs to establish themselves in a very wing heavy class of 2014 and he's looking like he could push for five-star status before it's all said and done.
Nobody could have predicted the explosion that Johnson had at the Peach Jam. The skinny 6-foot-9 big man from South Carolina played like a man possessed for CP3 and has taken his game to a new level. He played with great physicality as he aggressively hunted dunks, rebounds and shot blocking opportunities. Florida, Clemson, South Carolina and many others are significantly cranking up the intensity on his recruitment.
The Breakout Player of the Reebok camp, Jordan is a physical and athletic 6-foot-4 point guard. Reminiscent in some ways of a young Gary Payton because of his post-up game and prowess on the defensive end, Jordan should make a pretty big splash when rankings for the class of 2013 are updated.
A relatively unknown point guard from Minneapolis heading into the July evaluation period, Marshall now has nearly 10 mid-major scholarship offers to his name. Guys like him are what the summer is all about. He led his 43 Hoops squad to some good wins, played the right way and as a result he's seen his options open up.
Not many know about the slender New Yorker on Team Scan, but they will soon enough. A long and athletic 6-foot-8 combo forward who attends prep school in Connecticut, McCullough looks as if he could be one of the biggest finds of the early evaluation period. He's long, skilled, athletic and already has Syracuse and St. John's all over him.
Much like Jordan, the Arizona native used the Reebok Breakout Challenge to emerge from out of seemingly nowhere. Quick and confident with the ball, he put his defenders on skates in Philadelphia and will attract a big crowd when he hits the road for the rest of the summer with the Arizona Stars.
The 6-foot-2 guard from Memphis was one of the toughest cuts from our recently updated Rivals150. As it turns out, it looks as if he's played his way right back in and somebody else will end up a casualty because of him. After looking like a solid mid-major prospect for most of the spring, Newby ratcheted up his game to new levels and now looks like a legitimate high-major guard. A leader with toughness, his recruitment looks like it could shape up into a battle between Tennessee and Memphis.
While the effort was there, the 6-foot-9 power forward from Texas struggled to finish on the first day of the Peach Jam. For the rest of the event, finishing wasn't a problem, nor was cleaning the glass or intimidating opponents. A physically strong kid who can overpower defenders in the post, Randle also has a high skill level. Like many young big men with a high skill level, he's been too quick to roam the perimeter to show that he can play out there. In North Augusta, Randle stuck to dominating down low for the Texas Titans and as a result was as effective as he's ever been. Head coaches from Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky and several more shadowed his every move.
The Colorado commitment has been knocking on the door of the 2012 Rivals150 all spring and summer. After watching him outplay the nation's No. 3 player, Isaiah Austin, head-to-head in Duncanville at the Great American Shootout it would appear that Scott is in good position to break that door down. He's not flashy, but the big man is strong, skilled and plays at an even pace.
Playing for Kansas City-based MoKan Elite, the 6-foot-5 wing had a strong start to the July evaluation period. More of a skill guy than one who relies on his athleticism, Shields was given the chance to match up with several high-level wings - including the nation's top player Shabazz Muhammad twice - and was able to frustrate him with his smarts and willingness to play physically. San Francisco, Weber State and Jacksonville had offered heading into the evaluation period and more would appear to be on the way.