Three-Point Play: Down Under, NBPA Top 100 Camp, Virginia Tech
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In today’s edition of the Three-Point-Play, national analyst Corey Evans takes a look at the recent decisions of R.J. Hampton and LaMelo Ball, NBPA Top 100 Camp breakouts and Virginia Tech’s recent string of recruiting success.
1. HAMPTON AND BALL COULD BE THE SIGN OF MORE TO COME
Some may view LaMelo Ball and R.J. Hampton spurning college basketball for Australia's National Basketball League as the first of many elite prospects to skip college hoops, the latest being Terry Armstrong on Wednesday. They would be wrong. While there will surely be other high school standouts that make similar jumps, Ball and Hampton are two unique situations.
Hampton and his family made sure they checked a number of boxes outside of the professional contract, whether it be a potential shoe deal or other income streams that many others might be hard tasked to find.
Ball, on the other hand, likely would not have received full NCAA eligibility thanks to his affiliation with the Big Baller Brand and former professional relationship with signing a contract with the Prienai of the Lithuanian Basketball League. Therefore, Ball choosing the NBL compared to the NCAA was more by default rather than a pioneer-like move for future classes.
Armstrong and KJ Martin could have enrolled in college, but neither but boast the cache or reach that the former two do.
Many will be watching Hampton and Ball closely to see what success, if any, they have in Australia. If things go smoothly and their names are called early in the 2020 NBA Draft, others might then follow.
2. NBPA CAMP PROVIDES A POSITIVE PLATFORM
There was some negative feedback from last week’s NBPA Top 100 Camp from the coaching masses. Whether it was the messy style of play, difficulty in evaluating those in attendance or the surcharge to get into the building, there were still a lot of positives to come out of Virginia.
For instance, Zed Key and Myles Stute used the platform to jumpstart their college recruitments in a major way. While both held quality scholarship offers before the camp, the 2020 standouts have emerged as high-major, top target recruits.
Key, running with the NY Jayhawks program this summer, is nowhere near a decision and has yet to cut his school list. He was the camp's top rebounder and most efficient scorer. Key's suitors before the camp were programs such as Buffalo, Charlotte, Florida, Penn State and Rutgers, but now others such as Boston College, Ohio State, Pitt, Rhode Island, TCU and USF are involved.
Stute is not too far behind with his own offer count thanks to his shot-making and toughness in the frontcourt. The plan is for the Team Takeover product to cut his list once the Nike Peach Jam completes next month before then taking all of his official visits in August and signing in November. Iowa, Iowa State, St. John’s, and Texas A&M each offered within the past five days, and the hope now is for Stute to get to the campuses at Clemson, Florida, Georgetown and Pitt sometime soon.
3. VIRGINIA TECH ENJOYS POSITIVE MOMENTUM
Things looked bleak for Mike Young as he took over at Virginia Tech in April. Upon celebrating its third-straight NCAA Tournament appearance, a first in program history, Young faced a roster with just four scholarship players.
I am not saying that they are an NCAA Tournament team just yet, but Virginia Tech has a talented cupboard of underclassmen and sit-out transfers and will be going up against a rather depleted bottom half of the ACC. The Hokies might not make it four-straight seasons with an NCAA tournament berth, but they will not be an easy out.