Summer Jam, GASO: What We Learned

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During the second of July's three live periods, national basketball analyst Eric Bossi spent his time in Milwaukee for the Under Armour Summer Jam and Duncanville, Texas, for the Great American Shootout. Here's a look at what we learned during his two most recent stops.

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Stone is 2015's best low-post scorer
As things stand, Diamond Stone ranks No. 5 overall in the class of 2015. Among the big men, only Stephen Zimmerman and Ivan Rabb rank ahead of him at No. 2 and No. 3. Zimmerman has the best combination of size and length, and Rabb is the best athlete. The more Stone plays, the more it becomes evident that he's the most skilled low-post player in the class of 2015.
Looking across all classes, the only low-post scorer who would rate ahead of Stone is 2014's No. 1, Jahlil Okafor. So what is it that makes Stone, a product of Whitefish Bay (Wis.) Dominican, so special as a low-post scorer?
Some players score in the post because they are big-time athletes. Some do so because they can overwhelm opponents with their size. Stone certainly has great size at 6-foot-10 and 250 pounds, and he's definitely gotten quicker and bouncier around the rim as he's changed his body. But what sets Stone apart are his outstanding hands, exceptional footwork and feel for the game.
If a primary defender has an answer for his initial move, Stone more than likely has a counter. He is comfortable setting up shop on either block, and he will turn to either shoulder and score with either hand. He can face up and make 12- to 15-foot jumpers, and he is an outstanding passer.
Bottom line, Stone has been schooled exceptionally well on post play. He is fundamentally sound and aggressive in looking for his scoring opportunities. Until further notice, if you have to get a bucket in the post from a 2015 player, he's the guy you would most want to throw the ball to.
Turner likely a long-term stock
At the end of the winter, Myles Turner entered the 2014 Rivals150 as a four-star based on a strong junior season at Euless (Texas) Trinity. Since his entrance into the rankings, the 6-foot-10 big man has seen his stock soar and he's climbed to No. 6 in the rising senior class.
The rise has been understandable. While he is listed as a center, Turner is beginning to look more and more like a tall power forward who will eventually develop into a LaMarcus Aldridge- or Chris Bosh-style big who likes to face and shoot jump shots.
However, he's not quite as far along as those guys were at this stage and there is plenty of work left for him to get to that level. A lot of that has to do with physical maturity. Turner is plenty big, but he's becoming used to his body and at times he's a little mechanical while moving around in his size-22 sneakers. Turner is also a good shot blocker, a good passer and a good shooter, but there are times when he could be a better rebounder.
At the same time, to compare Turner now to where he was even six months ago, anybody would see that he's come on rapidly. It makes him an interesting prospect in that he doesn't yet have the consistent production of a kid ranked as highly as he is, but five years from now he could be outperforming his current ranking.
Understandably, Turner is a hot college prospect. All of the nation's top programs want him, and he'll surely be a welcome addition wherever he lands. But the way things are looking, the program that lands him may not see the instant huge production -- although he will be plenty productive as a scorer, rebounder and shot blocker -- and it's entirely possible that he ends up more valuable to a team in the NBA than he ever is to the college he picks.
Then again, most people would have laughed at the thought of Turner as a high-end Division I prospect, much less a potential NBA player, just a year ago. So it wouldn't be a huge surprise if he took another leap and developed quickly enough to be a big scorer during the one or two years it looks like he'll be in college. The only thing certain is that nobody's laughing at the thought of Turner as a big-time prospect now.
GASO might be the most underrated event in the country
Because of how heavily high school and grassroots basketball is scouted, promoted and pushed these days, it is getting harder and harder to find true sleeper prospects. Each year at Mike Kundstat's Great American Shootout, though, diamonds in the rough emerge at a venue that features plenty of well-known talent as well. For that reason, July's GASO in Duncanville is a must stop on the scouting trail and it might be the most underrated event in the country.
Because the event is comprised mostly of teams from Texas and neighboring states, geography is part of what makes it a strong event. As much talent as Texas and the surrounding area have, it is still probably under scouted. The heavy-hitting teams and high-end prospects get plenty of coverage at national events, but the GASO is the best chance for national scouts and college coaches to see a heavy concentration of regional talent.
Looking back at the weekend, seeing Emmanuel Mudiay and Malik Newman play together was obviously a treat. But getting extended looks at players such as Omar Sherman or seeing a basically unknown player such as Mitchell Solomon take his game and recruitment to a new level has a lot of value.
Look at Solomon. The 6-foot-9 power forward entered July basically being recruited by Oral Roberts, which had offered, and Tulsa, which hadn't. Now, thanks in large part to his play at the GASO, Solomon has offers from Tulsa, Kent State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, SMU, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Vanderbilt.
Bottom line, the Great American Shootout remains a must-see event from a scouting perspective and we can always count on off-the-radar prospects emerging from it.
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