Starting Five: Bradley Beal Elite Challenge, more impact decisions coming
ST. LOUIS -- The entire Bradley Beal Elite program came together to compete against one another as their namesake looked on at the Bradley Beal Elite Challenge this weekend.
Who stood out? Who put themselves on the map? Read more about the day of action in St. Louis and about a few of this week's upcoming decisions in this week's edition of the Starting Five.
ROUNDTABLE: Players living up to ranking and more
1. NESBITT LEADS THE WAY AT BBE CHALLENGE
The Bradley Beal Elite Challenge did not disappoint this weekend. The event featured members of the organizations 15, 16 and 17U teams all mixed together into four teams who competed for internal bragging rights.
As the program's namesake looked on, at least 10 high major prospects took the floor and 2021 four-star Jordan Nesbitt was as impressive as anybody in the gym while leading his team to a title.
Anybody who reads my work on a regular basis knows that I am a pretty big advocate for Nesbitt's game and potential. As he communicated with teammates, drained several jumpers and then physically beasted others when he needed to, Nesbitt easily backed up his top 60 national ranking.
Memphis is trying to make a push for Nesbitt and Illinois is there too but my thinking here is that it may be tough to beat Travis Ford and hometown Saint Louis University and I've made a Futurecast in SLU's for Nesbitt.
2. BRANDON MILLER PROVES FIVE-STAR STATUS
The highest ranked player in attendance, five-star small forward Brandon Miller from Nashville (Tenn.) Cane Ridge backed up the hype in a loud way.
I watched game film of Miller during his sophomore season and his size, length and all-around ability impressed. However, I had some worries about his motor and that maybe he was settling for too many deep jump shots. The way he played on Saturday, he answered a lot of questions I had.
Miller answered the bell early and often and did so in impressive fashion. He's grown to at least 6-foot-7 (maybe even a little bigger) and has started to fill out his long and lean frame. He's a solid athlete, but what stood out to me was how much he has improved off the dribble, how much he attacked the rim and how he used the jump shot to supplement his game rather than relying on it. A guy with his size, ability to get a bucket off the dribble and a jumper is always going to be in high demand. But add in that he was playing with some fire and a motor, entirely new ballgame.
3. MORE STANDOUTS FROM BBE CHALLENGE
We haven't ranked the class of 2023, but when we do 6-foot-8 combo forward Omaha Biliew will be one of the select few who will be given five-star status. He was very good on Saturday and much improved from the last time I saw him at USA Basketball last fall. He was hitting threes, he posted strong near the rim and he played above the rim in transition. He's a big-time prospect.
Biliew wasn't the only 2023 prospect in attendance with potential to be a high-level prospect. I got my first look at highly touted Oklahoma point guard Jeremiah Johnson and it was an impressive one. He's skilled, has a great feel for scoring around the rim and competes. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State each offered in past month.
I recently saw point guard Jeremy Fears Jr. play for the first time in Kansas City His talent jumped out at me then and he was impressive again. He's very quick, gets where he wants and is a high-level passer who has already racked up 15 scholarship offers. Two other rising sophomores that caught my eye were wings Kaleb Glenn and Gabe Sisk, who are both from Louisville. Glenn is a big and athletic small forward while Sisk is a rangy shooting guard with promising skill.
I also wanted to make sure to mention a pair of 2022 prospects, both combo guards. Nick Smith is already well known and a nationally ranked four-star prospect, but Braxton Stacker was a find. Smith has grown to about 6-foot-4 and added some strength since I last saw him and he's a talented scorer and playmaker off the dribble. His top 50 ranking nationally is legit.
As for Stacker, the event should prove to be his breakout. Also 6-foot-4, Stacker is a big-time athlete who is pretty relentless in attacking the rim and he's got a workable jump shot. He doesn't yet have scholarship offers, but that will change soon enough. Illinois State, Utah State, Colorado State, Virginia Tech and some others have made early contact.
4. GRAHAM DELAYING DECISION, BUT NOT FOR LONG
One of the top 30 power forwards in the class of 2021, James Graham III from Milwaukee (Wisc.) Nicolet won't be making his college choice as planned today.
Graham told me on Sunday night that he's postponed making a commitment. But not for too long. He'll now decide on Friday and just wanted a few more days to make sure he was making the right choice.
5. FOUR-STAR FRANKIE COLLINS TO DECIDE WEDNESDAY
Also deciding this week is four-star point guard Anthony Collins.
Collins confirmed to me on Sunday night that he will be making his choice on Wednesday. An athletic floor general who is a pure, pass-first guy, Collins will choose between his final eight of Arizona State, Auburn, Georgetown, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, USC and Vanderbilt.
Of his finalists, Michigan is the most recent offer and as he prepares to reveal his decision, I give Juwan Howard and the Wolverines the edge.