DUNCANVILLE, Texas -- At least a dozen players ranked by Rivals.com in the classes of 2019 and 2020 took the floor on Friday at the Thanksgiving Hoopfest, but nobody did more than Oklahoma bound 2019 point guard De'Vion Harmon. The junior turned in a special performance and leads national basketball analyst Eric Bossi's Friday takeaways.
POINT GUARD SITUATION AT OKLAHOMA IN GREAT HANDS WITH DE'VION HARMON
One of the things that I've always appreciated about four-star point guard De'Vion Harmon is his competitive spirit and physical toughness. On Friday, the Oklahoma verbal commit showed all of that and much, much more.
Harmon was spectacular scoring 37 points, handing out four assists and grabbing four rebounds while leading Denton (Texas) Guyer to a 98-91 win over Garland (Texas) South Garland in an up and down affair that featured four players ranked in the 2019 Rivals150.
A powerful guard, Harmon was unstoppable getting to the rim and hit timely shots while making some key defensive plays. Maybe because of his toughness I've underrated his skill a bit. The bottom line is this, Oklahoma is hopefully going to get at least two years out of current star freshman Trae Young. If that's the case, Harmon will be ready to step right in and replace him. If Young happens to leave after a year, well, at least the Sooners won't have to wait too long. Harmon is looking like a multiple year starter and a guy who is capable of racking up a bunch of wins during his time in Norman.
SMART A DIFFERENT TYPE OF FLOOR GENERAL FOR LSU
When Will Wade landed the LSU gig, his number one priority in the class of 2018 was locking down local point guard Javonte Smart. Wade got the job done pretty quickly and while LSU already has an exceptional point guard in freshman Tremont Waters, I think Smart is still a guy that they need and I think he'll be somebody that can play alongside Waters giving Wade a lot of flexibility with his backcourt.
Then again, it's hard not to think Smart will be a player in Baton Rouge after watching him go off for 43 points, seven assists and seven rebounds in a flawless Friday effort.
Thinking long term, though, I like him because he's a big and physical point guard who can dish out a little punishment. He shot extremely well from deep on Friday but he's more of a ball control and physical guy than Waters and could give LSU a bit of a thunder and lighting type look in the backcourt. He's a key part of their top 10 recruiting class and looks to be well on track to play a huge role in turning things around in Baton Rouge and in a rapidly improving SEC.
TIMME AND SMITH AT DIFFERENT POINTS IN DEVELOPMENT BUT HAVE BIG UPSIDES
Juniors Drew Timme and Tyreek Smith are both four-star prospects who play the same positions and have similar rankings. However where they are in their development and why they are sought after by high major programs is completely different.
Since his Richardson (Texas) JJ Pearce team got the win, I’ll start with Timme. I’ve always appreciated his toughness and motor, but I have to admit that I’ve overlooked just how skilled he is and his feel for the game. While he still embraces the physical side of things, his ability to create for others as a post player, improved shooting and overall feel for the game are why schools are after him and he likely deserves a bump the next time we complete rankings. During the fall Timme says that he saw Gonzaga, TCU and Oklahoma. On the night Timme only took nine shots but he made eight of them to finish with 21 points while adding in nine rebounds (which seems bit low) and five assists.
On the other side, Smith from Cedar Hill (Texas) Trinity Christian is one of those guys where it’s all about where he could be in a couple of years in comparison to where he is today. He’s quick off the floor, has instincts to go find the ball and he can really run. His jump shot doesn’t look bad, he just needs confidence and repetitions. I’m not saying he’ll take off like Texas A&M sophomore Robert Williams has, but I can see some of the same traits in him that I saw in Williams when I first saw him as a junior. Smith -- who is originally from Baton Rouge, La. -- has been to LSU, Texas A&M and Baylor this fall. After a slow start Smith got things going a bit in the second half to finish with 13 points and six rebounds.
WHEN KOBE BROWN FINDS BALANCE IN HIS GAME HE CAN TAKE OFF
Four-star forward Kobe Brown has a lot to like with his game. He’s got 6-foot-6 size, strength, touch and the ability to play on the interior or wing. He doesn’t lack for high major attention either having taken unofficial visits to Auburn, Clemson, Louisville and Vanderbilt during the fall.
On Friday, Brown had his jump shot working and he made use of it while scoring 27 points and grabbing six rebounds. From a scouting standpoint he’s a bit of a tweener and with today’s game moving towards small ball he could really take off if he learns to use his body to be more physical and plays a bit of a Draymond Green type of game. That happens, he will become ever more of an SEC level target than he already is. I did find it interesting that Brown said Alabama hasn't been involved at all.
FRIDAY NEWS AND NOTES
South Garland took the loss to Denton Guyer but their explosive backcourt of five-star combo guard Tyrese Maxey and Rivals150 guard Chris Harris was certainly impressive. Maxey had Kentucky's John Calipari plus an assistant on hand to see him and he made it worth their time nailing several deep threes and finishing with 33 points. He's a pure scorer who can handle and has physical toughness. Harris had 25 of his own and while he's known as being a prolific deep jump shooter, what stood out to me was how good he was setting himself up to score off the dribble. He's not an overwhelming athlete but he is strong and tough and the more I see him, he looks like a guy who ultimately ends up at a high major as a designated scorer.
Playing alongside De'Vion Harmon and Georgetown bound big man Grayson Carter on Denton Guyer, top 50 junior Jalen Wilson continues to rise. With his size and ability to play as a wing scorer or a small ball four man with a jumper, Wilson reminds me some of Texas A&M's D.J. Hogg. Wilson said his most recent scholarship offer came from Kansas and that he's planning to visit on the weekend of January 7th. For his part, Carter showed some crafty low post scoring and ability to face up and stretch the defense with his jump shot.
I was pretty surprised to find out that 6-foot-6 southpaw combo forward Evan Marshall only has one Division One scholarship offer (from Air Force, he said he will visit in January). He can really shoot the ball from deep, has a college ready body and has good bloodlines. His father Archie Marshall played at Kansas in the 80's. He hit six threes en route to 24 points. Marshall's more touted teammate Kaden Archie is a four-star wing headed to TCU and he had a nice game himself. He hit a couple of jumpers, got into the lane off the dribble and made some nifty passes.
With the Thanksgiving holiday and most college programs on the road for tournaments or playing on Friday night, the coaching turnout was relatively light. In addition to coach Cal I spotted assistant coaches from VCU, Texas Tech, LSU and Oklahoma State in the crowd.