Thanksgiving Hoopfest: R.J. Hampton goes big
DUNCANVILLE, Texas -- For the second day in a row, 2020's No. 1 player Jalen Green shined while leading his team to a win over a big time Texas opponent at the Thanksgiving Hoopfest. For the second day in a row, a big time Texas prospect did his thing too. After Samuell Williamson went off on Friday, 2020's top ranked point guard R.J. Hampton did so on Saturday.
Green and Hampton weren't the only standouts catching national analyst Eric Bossi's eye.
HAMPTON GOES BIG, HAS ANOTHER OFFICIAL VISIT SET
2020's No. 1 player Jalen Green -- who snuck in an under the radar official visit to Florida State a week ago --- definitely backed up the hype during the trip he and his Fresno (Calif.) San Joaquin Memorial teammates took to Texas for the Thanksgiving Hoopfest. After going for 46 and a buzzer beating three in a Friday win, he scored another 18 (officially, I tallied 23 for him) and showed off tremendous all-around game in another win on Saturday.
On the other side was Green's close friend and top five junior, R.J. Hampton. A star at Little Elm (Texas) High, Hampton is also a five-star and visited Memphis officially with Green earlier in the fall. On Saturday night they had Kentucky's John Calipari among those in the crowd and Cal had to have liked what he saw.
While Green was playing more of an all-around game, Hampton was looking to score and then score some more during a 33 point outing. He's a big and fast floor general who can get to the rim, has a full arsenal of pull-ups and floaters and he can stick deep jumpers. What really stood out to me, though, was how much pride Hampton took on the defensive end. He guarded Green man to man almost the entire game and he did a nice job of it. If he locks in like that on a regular basis then an already great prospect becomes even better.
In addition to the official visit to Memphis, Hampton also saw Kentucky this fall. Up next, Hampton will take an official visit to Kansas on the weekend of December 15th when the Jayhawks host Villanova.
CAM'RON FLETCHER POISED TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP
For about a year now, four-star wing Cam'Ron Fletcher of St. Louis (Mo.) Vashon has been ranked in the neighborhood of the national top 50 based on potential. To start off his junior year he's starting to fully realize his potential, harness his big time athleticism and turn into a productive player on both ends of the floor.
It was hard not to be impressed with the way that Fletcher flew around on both ends of the court while scoring 22 points and grabbing nine rebounds in a win over Garland (Texas) South Garland. He got out in transition for dunks, got to the free row line, drove the ball and was a menace defensively. I love the motor he plays with and as good as he's gotten, he's still just scratching the surface of where he could be down the road. As he gets comfortable with his jump shot and ball handling, look out.
Creighton, Illinois, Michigan State, Iowa State (watched on Saturday), Purdue, Ohio State, DePaul, Texas A&M (watched Saturday), SLU and Kansas State are just a few of his offers and more are coming. Fletcher told me that his most recent visits were to Creighton, Missouri and DePaul and that he's looking to set up an official to Michigan State sometime this winter.
RONDEL WALKER PROVES TO BE A LEGITIMATE HIGH MAJOR TARGET
I wrote earlier this month that junior point guard Rondel Walker of Oklahoma City (Okla.) Putnam City West was on the verge of a breakout. After battling injuries for his first few years of high school he's fully healthy as a junior and after a good game on Friday, Walker totally exploded on Saturday.
The slender floor general was spraying deep threes from all over, getting to the rim, playing defense and taking good care of his teammates while going for 42 points, five rebounds and five assists. Texas A&M is his latest offer, Oklahoma State is already well positioned with Walker and others like SMU, Texas Tech, Minnesota and Iowa State are looking to ramp up their involvement. When 2020 rankings get updated during the winter, there will be a spot waiting for Walker in the Rivals150.
ERIC BOSSI'S SATURDAY SCOUTING NOTES
.... Playing in front of his future head coach, Tim Jankovich of SMU, Bel Aire (Kans.) Sunrise Christian point guard Bryce Cook was a difference maker in his first weekend back from injury. What Cook lacks in height he more than makes up for in heart, ability to involve his teammates and competitive fire. When he got going, his teammates responded in a big way. Among those who stepped up was five-star junior big man N'Faly Dante. After a lackluster performance on Friday, Dante got it going by playing strong around the rim and looking to dominate physically as John Calipari and assistants from Iowa State, Minnesota and more looked on. Also for Sunrise, keep an eye on senior combo guard Noel Coleman. A native of Belgium, Coleman is a great glue piece with skill, high basketball IQ and the ability to play on or off the ball. I'll be surprised if he doesn't attract mid major attention this winter.
.... After missing much of the fall with a wrist injury, 2020 four-star shooting guard Bryce Thompson had a scary moment on Friday night when he rolled his ankle on a dunk attempt. But, he was back on the floor Saturday and is returning to form. Known as a jump shooter, Thompson is noticeably stronger and more athletic than in the past. He took fall official visits to Arkansas, Colorado and Texas A&M (watched him Saturday) as well as an unofficial visit to Kansas.
.... Speaking of Texas A&M, four-star signee Tyreek Smith had himself a heck of a day. The athletic forward sprinted the court with purpose and used his athleticism to his advantage to rack up 31 points and double digit rebounds. He's getting stronger, is building up his overall skill level and looks the part of an SEC four man.
.... Cam'Ron Fletcher isn't the only intriguing young talent for St. Louis (Mo.) Vashon. Junior wing Kobe Clark and sophomore wing Nick Kern Jr. each have big upside. Clark is a long and athletic 6-foot-6 wing who can put it on the floor a bit and shows promise as a jump shooter. Kern, well he just trips me out because I remember scouting his father on dominant Vashon teams of the early 2000's. The younger Kern is just a pup but he's got good size, is quick, plays without fear and could be the next up in a long line of high end Vashon players.
.... I can't think of another player in the class of 2019 who is going to be a more immediate fan favorite than Drew Timme is going to be at Gonzaga. Not only is the five-star big man a talented scorer on the block, big time rebounder and skilled passer, he's pure comedy on the floor. His trash talk and facial expressions are hilarious and its not hard to have fun watching him play. He barely broke a sweat and dropped a triple double.
.... 6-foot-10 junior Braxton Meah of San Joaquin (Calif.) Memorial is going to have a lot of eyes on this winter and he's quite intriguing. He's relatively slender but has a big frame to grow into, he's got good hands, shows some touch and he's a rim protector. He looks like one of those guys who is just starting to realize that he's pretty good and with his size and approach, he'll have looks from pretty much every level.