UCAAG: The Cassidy Awards
NORCROSS, Ga. – The 2022 Underclassmen All-American event featured four all-star matchups and took place in the Atlanta suburbs on Sunday. Rivals.com’s Rob Cassidy was on hand for the event and dished out some awards based on the top performances he saw in the Peach State.
2023 Rankings: Rivals150
2024 Rankings: Top 40
HEADLINE GRABBER: Treymane Parker
What he did: Parker arrived at the event without much fanfare, but grabbed everyone’s attention as soon as the ball was tipped. Sunday’s games were true all-star settings, so the defense was a bit relaxed at times. Still, the fact that Parker knocked down 10 3-pointers, many of which were contested, should not be ignored. A 2024 prospect, Parker also has one of the best verticals in his class and pulled off the play of the day when he spun off his defender and elevated to throw down this dunk that ignited the crowd. The 6-foot-1 point guard finished with 42 points, but it was his athleticism, shooting stroke and ball-handling ability that should grab the attention of college coaches.
Recruitment: Parker holds just a handful of scholarship offers, including ones from North Carolina A&T and Mississippi State. He’ll garner more attention this summer, however, as he has the tools to help any number of high-major schools. According to Parker, Auburn and Duke have both made preliminary contact but things have not become serious on either front just yet.
WELL ROUNDED: Jason Asemota
What he did: The first thing you notice about Asemota is his 6-foot-8, 195-pound frame, which he’s learning to use to his advantage on the offensive end. So when he comes out shooting the ball like he did on Sunday, you get the full impression of his well-rounded game. Sure, the muscular junior can finish through contact at the rim and handles the ball decently for his size, but his performance saw him knock down four 3-pointers in the first half and defend a number of different positions.
THE BEAST BENEATH: Somtochuwku Cyril
What he did: Cyril was a full-fledged bully on Sunday, and never let anyone forget what he’s capable of in the post. The 6-foot-10, 245-pound center controlled the boards and dunked anything close to the rim while blocking a number of shots both in the paint and in the mid-range. No prospect at the event impacted a game in more ways than Cyril, who changes everything when he’s patrolling the lane. He boasts reliable hands and moves incredibly well for his massive size. He didn’t show much of a jumper on Sunday but didn’t have to in order to make a statement. Cyril is currently the No. 20 player in the class of 2024 and that may be too low.
Recruitment: Kansas and Tennessee seem to have piqued Cyril ‘s interest more than his other offers, which checks out because the big man says he hopes to play for an elite program. On Sunday, he mentioned that he hopes both Duke and Kentucky offer him down the road. Kentucky has already watched him play in person, but Duke is yet to make preliminary contact.
TOP DOG: G.G. Jackson
What he did: Jackson showed off the well-rounded game that earned him top billing in the country. He brought the ball up the court for his team at times, displaying a tight handle and the ability to take defenders off the dribble. He finished at the rack with dunks and layups and showed off a shooting stroke from deep on his way to earning team MVP honors. The 6-foot-8 forward is as well-rounded as any prospect in the country and ready to make an impact on the college level right now.
Recruitment: Jackson’s recruitment is a Duke-versus-North Carolina affair with a couple of pro options sprinkled into the mix. The Tar Heels feel like the slight favorite to land his pledge, but Jackson won’t announce his commitment until after the NCAA tournament.
IN THE HUNT: Tre Johnson
What he did: Currently the No. 2 overall prospect in 2024, Johnson has aspirations when it comes to seizing the No. 1 spot and he’s making his case. You can’t draw too many conclusions in an all-star setting where defense is rare, but Johnson’s athleticism and shooting stroke will keep him in the hunt for the top spot all this spring. He finished Sunday’s game with 15 points. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard is one of the more dynamic scorers in America and showed a willingness to defend this weekend. He might have a chance to seize the top spot down the road if he improves his ball-handling and adds muscle.
Recruitment: Johnson’s recruitment has a bit of a Lone Star State feel, as most of the in-state powers are already involved. Kansas joins Texas, Texas Tech, Baylor and Illinois on the early list of possible suitors.
VERSATILE: Airious Bailey
What he did: Bailey scored 34 points in a team MVP effort and did so in a number of different ways. Baley, who goes by the nickname “Ace,” certainly lived up to that billing on Sunday as he impacted the underclassmen game on both the boards and the scoreboard. Bailey's length and agility make him an interesting long-term prospect that could move up from his current No. 26 ranking.
Recruitment: Auburn, Murray State and Ole Miss have offered Bailey. More schools will almost certainly get involved this spring, making projecting his recruitment difficult at this juncture.