The Rivals Awards: Birmingham hosts two major events
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The weekend that was in Birmingham featured two major events, as the adidas 3SSB circuit rolled into town alongside the Prep Hoops Platform event. Rivals.com’s Rob Cassidy and Jamie Shaw were on hand for both and now dish out some hypothetical awards based on what they saw.
2023 Rankings: Top 30
NEW TO THE RADAR
The younger brother of Iowa forward Payton Sandfort, Pryce has the length and skill to blaze a trail of his own. The 6-foot-6 wings showed some range and rebounding prowess on Friday during his OSA Crusaders team’s comfortable victory over Southern Assault. He finished the contest with 16 points and looked like a high-major prospect while doing so. There’s no doubt word on his talent will get out to college coaches soon.
Where he might land: Sandforft is yet to receive his first offer, but Iowa, Drake, Iowa State, Clemson and Butler have all made contact. Sandfort says an Iowa offer won’t end his recruitment on the spot, but it seems as though the Hawkeyes will be tough to beat should they make things official.
MR. THREE LEVELS
Craft put on an absolute show playing at the Pep Hoops event a few miles down the street from the 3SSB event. And while a lot of prospects are called three-level scorers, Craft showed himself to be a true threat on that font. The Xavier pledge finished a Friday morning game with 22 points that included four 3-pointers, a couple of mid-range jumpers and some finished at the bucket. Craft is a gifted and consistent scorer that also rebounds well and brings some versatility on the defensive end.
Where he might land: Kraft is committed to Xavier.
KNOCKING ON THE RIVALS150’S DOOR
There are few prospects in the country with a better motor than Williams, who has great athleticism to go along with it. He’ll need his jumper to further develop in the year ahead, but he gets to the rim and finishes through contact extraordinary well. He acted as a spark plug in a tight contest during Friday night’s featured game at 3SSB, finishing with 10 points in a win. Williams could be an absolute steal for some college program if his jumper becomes more consistent. He may find himself in the back end of the Rivals150 when it updates.
Rice seems almost automatic when it comes to finishing through contact. He gets to the free-throw line at widely impressive clips and has a knack for converting and-ones. His jumper has come along and it’s clear that he spent the last year reshaping his body. The North Carolina-based guard has put in the work to become a more complete player and it’s showing in his play.
Where he might land: NC State is thought to be Rice’s college leader, but the guard insists his recruitment is wide open. He recently visited Kansas and Oklahoma State. Professional options are also in play.
It is hard not to notice the intensity with which the Rivals150 No. 4 prospect in the 2022 class plays with. The 6-foot-6 wing is an intense defender and rebounder. Even with all the accolades he is not afraid to stick his nose in there and intimidate the opposition. Livingston will always compete, and he will always produce it seems based strictly on his on-floor demeanor. There is a lot to like with that.
Where he might land: All the smoke here is around Kentucky and Memphis, both programs were at all his games on Thursday and Friday. Also in the stands on Friday was Rod Strickland of the G-League. All three look to be viable options.
THE FIVE-STAR BREAKOUT
Traore took advantage of the stage and had possibly the biggest showing of the weekend. Already ranked No. 65 in the current 2022 Rivals150, he will be firmly in the mix for five-star status during our next update. He moves so well, both laterally and vertically, he plays with a lot of pop. He is a good rebounder, he is a switchable defender, and he showed the ability to knock down jumpers out to three. There is a huge ceiling here for the French national.
Where he might land: Traore visited Texas and TCU in June and coming into this weekend Tennessee, Florida State and Michigan were heavy on him. Each of them was in attendance Friday morning. Playing for an Adidas high school and Adidas AAU program, this one will be interesting as he is about to become a blue bloods darling.
HE STOCK RISER
A lot of buzz had been coming out of Utah with regards to Chandler. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard showed why people were talking. The 2022 Rivals150 No. 113 player has great bounce in the lane, but he also has really smoothed out his jump shot, with deep catch and shoot range. He is a tough player, both on the defensive end and on the boards. Chandler is also one who seems to keep getting better each time out. Watch this one closely over the next year, there could still be some ceiling to reach.
Where he might land: Chandler visited Arizona, Utah State and Stanford officially in June. He is looking to set up visits with Utah and Creighton for after the June period. There is Oregon who is looming here as well. Chandler did a lot to boost his stock this weekend, so more could jump in, but right now these schools listed are the ones he is focusing on.
Sheppard averaged over 33 points per game this season for his London (Ky.) North Laurel High School team. However, the word coming out of Kentucky is not about the 2023 Rivals150 No. 39 prospects game, it is asking whether Kentucky will offer. Well, they did, and they did so because of his game. Sheppard is a true point guard, with excellent vision and pace. He also is a sneaky athlete at the basket and a pure shooter from deep. His parents are Kentucky Wildcat royalty, and Sheppard has a chance to be the best in his household. He led his Midwest Basketball (Ohio) 3SSB team to a 6-0 record this weekend.
Where he might land: The obvious thought here would be Kentucky, after he landed the offer this weekend. However, in speaking with Sheppard he spoke highly of the likes of Clemson, Virginia and Louisville, each of which he visited in June. While conventional money should go to Kentucky, do not rule out the others just yet.
Phillips has always had the tools; he is a 6-foot-8 lengthy wing who has a lot of pop in his game. During Session one of the 3SSB Live Periods, Phillips showcased the jump shot. While we have always banked on the tools, the Rivals150 No. 21 prospect is starting to further the cause for why we placed him as a 5-star. With this consistent jump shot, Phillips is one of the highest ceiling prospects in the 2022 class. He had 75-plus coaches at each game we watched him play, and his production on the floor is starting to have others believe as well.
Where he might land: Phillips visited Clemson and LSU in June. He has a host of other programs vying to get him on campus when things open back up. Look for Ohio State and Florida State to have staying power, and it will be interesting to see if the likes of North Carolina or Kentucky jump in.