The Evans Awards: Adidas Summer Championship
LADERA RANCH, Calif. – The adidas Summer Championship brought some of the best from the three stripes circuit to southern California for a five-day stay. We hand out our second evaluation period awards after seeing the high-flying acts of Jalen Green, reason for optimism at USC and the dominance that was Akok Akok.
GROWN MAN AWARD
Oscar Tshiebwe was a man among boys in California, looking to tear the rim down at any chance, providing stout defense as a rim protector and remaining a vacuum on the glass. His offensive skill set is coming along nicely as Tshiebwe has begun to implement a face-up jumper into his arsenal, but his best will always remain in the paint. He sports a well-chiseled physique and an angry playing style that is reflected by his consistent double-double production. No one was more dominant than the big man from Congo. West Virginia and Kansas sit as the two programs to beat, though Kentucky has begun to express interest.
MOST INTRIGUING RECRUITMENT
Matthew Hurt's recruitment features a rare number of blue blood programs. More times than not with elite prospects, a few of the sport's best will back away from the table and focus their attention elsewhere. Not with Hurt. Indiana, Kentucky, Kansas, Louisville, Duke, North Carolina, Ohio State, Memphis and Minnesota have gone two feet in with him and it is easy to see why. Hurt is an underrated athlete that can make shots, defend either forward position and also make the correct pass off of the bounce. He is an elite talent that is a priority for the best of the best.
There is no argument for this one as Akok Akok strolled into Southern California and dominated everyone in front of him, leading his Mass Rivals 17-under squad to the finals of the adidas Summer Championship.
What makes Akok so special is the fact that he is one of the best shot blockers in high school basketball and is even more deadly on the offensive end thanks to his shooting prowess. Akok had games of over 10 points, five rebounds and four blocks five separate times during the second live period.
He is as close to a blue blood prospect that you’re going to find, though UConn, Syracuse, Providence, Virginia Tech and Maryland are the five to beat. Whichever the case, Akok was the best that hit the hardwood on the west coast and potentially played his way into a five-star ranking during the next Rivals150 update.
BEST RECRUITING CLASS
I was able to see all four members of USC's 2019 class before Friday rolled around and all I’ve got to say is that the future remains bright. Onyeka Okungwu is a menace on the glass; Isaiah Mobley is the perfect blend of athleticism, mobility and ball skills; Max Agbonkpolo is a utility knife that can score, pass and defend; lastly, Drake London is the wildcard that, with his youth and potential, if he were to focus solely on basketball, could turn into a tremendous two-way threat. London is planning to play football at USC as well. Altogether, the four create the top 2019 class nationally and give one reason to believe that the Trojans will remain a heavy factor in the Pac-12 for the foreseeable future.
Jalen Green, the top-ranked prospect in the 2020 class, put on a show in California. He is one of the best isolation scorers in America and has improved his perimeter jumper in recent months. Green is a special talent - and an elite athlete - and has a chance to go down as one of the best 2-guards to come through the high school ranks in recent memory.
One of the more intriguing prospects that I have laid my eyes on this entire travel season, Emmanuel Kuac is a hidden gem out of Utah. The native of Calgary moved to the Salt Lake City region last year and, after having microfracture surgery in December, is already healthy. Kuac is a 6-foot-6 small forward that can play in a variety of lineups thanks to his skills as a playmaker but is more than capable of using his quickness and motor in causing havoc as a multi-positional defender. Idaho State, Buffalo and Utah State are the three programs to have offered Kuac at this point but look for all of that to change. He will complete his final month of travel ball this week in Las Vegas as he could be on the cusp of national emergence.
It didn’t get much better than what was on display Thursday evening in Pomona, Calif. BTI Select and West Coast Elite brought four Rivals150 prospects to the floor along with a bevy of others that will leave a mark on Div. I programs.
Josh Green was tremendous as an open floor producer, Nico Mannion displayed his well-rounded skillset, and USC-bound Drake London was more than solid with his two-way approach. However, Ziaire Williams stood out the greatest and showed just why he is quickly becoming a coveted recruit out of the 2020 class. Half of the Pac-12’s head coaches were on hand, as were a slew of assistants from high-profile programs as Williams’ athleticism and defensive prowess pushed his BTI program over the top.
It should be noted, too, just how good Dexter Akanno was. Headed to Blair Academy in the fall, Akanno might not be a deadly offensive weapon but his defense is elite; Northern Arizona and Bucknell sit as his lone offers, though Virginia Tech, Wisconsin and Santa Clara have expressed interest.