USA Basketball: The Rivals Awards
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Another loaded session of USA Basketball has come and gone. This time, pretty much every major college program in America was on hand to watch future stars like rising sophomore big man Jalen Duren put in work.
After a weekend in Colorado Springs, national basketball analysts Eric Bossi and Corey Evans have collaborated on the "Rivals Awards".
Why him?: Just look at the 6-foot-10 rising sophomore and you can see why anybody would call him a manchild. He's got the body and strength of a college veteran to go with toughness and athleticism. Duren also has great hands, plays to win and he had a handful of NBA people on hand buzzing. One could argue that he was the best long term prospect in camp.
Why him?: A few weeks ago at the Peach Jam, Baldwin just didn't look to be himself despite having some "wow" moments. In Colorado Springs he was off to a somewhat slow start. But man oh man did he finish strong. During the camp championship game Baldwin nailed four threes from beyond the NBA line that barely even rippled the net. He's a big time stretch four man with high level IQ and feel for the game to go with his elite jump shooting from deep.
Recruitment: His father played at Northwestern and is the head coach at Milwaukee, both would obviously love to have him. Arizona State, Duke, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kansas State, LSU, Marquette, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Wisconsin and more have offered.
THE LIKELY FIVE-STAR
Why him?: A bouncy and quick two guard from Tennessee, Johnson has been on the cusp of five-star status for a while now. After his performance in Colorado Springs, it's going to be hard to deny him the fifth star in our next rankings update. He's improved significantly as a ball handler and passer, is a monster on the defensive end and his jumper continues to get more consistent.
Why him?: School was in session courtesy of Banchero each and every time he caught the ball. Whether he's posted up with his back to the basket or catching and facing in the high post he has an assortment of moves, counter moves and fundamental skills that are as good as it gets for a 16 year old power forward. On top of that he's tough, makes the right decisions and loves to compete.
Why him?: It would be hard to argue that any guard more consistently made plays off the dribble for himself and others. Chandler is sneaky quick and athletic but his greatest gift is the ability to make quality decisions at full speed. It's one thing to play fast, but to play at the speed he does while rarely turning the ball over or making poor decisions. He had a huge summer leading MoKan Elite to a Peach Jam title and was terrific in Colorado Springs.
Recruitment: Chandler's recruitment has exploded as Alabama, Arizona, Auburn, Illinois, Iowa State, Kansas, LSU, Memphis, Mississippi State, Murray State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Vanderbilt and more have offered since the beginning of spring.
THE APPROPRIATE NICKNAME
Why him?: He was born Sterling but is better known as Scoota and when we first saw Henderson back in late June and were impressed by his potential. We saw him again at the adidas Gauntlet Finale and started thinking he was one of the better 2022 point guards we had seen. His play at USA Basketball confirmed that thought and he'll be a serious contender to make our initial 2022 rankings. His size and feel are impressive, but it's his speed that matches his "Scoota" nickname and sets him apart.
Why him?: The best prospect from Akron, Ohio since a guy named LeBron James, Livingston generated a lot of hype as a freshman. For good reason too because he was filling it up from deep and at the rim. But, now he's starting to mature physically, has gotten a little taller and added some strength. The game just comes natural to him and he looks like he was designed in a lab to play out on the wing. He looks like one of the top five players in the class of 2022.
Recruitment: Florida and Ohio State have already offered scholarships.
Why him?: You’re not going to see more fire from a prospect than what you get with Devin Askew. Quickly becoming one of the most targeted prospects nationally, Askew is not just a complete playmaker but also one of the most competitive and tough guards that you’ll come across. He is vocal, engaged and involved on each and every possession and it clearly shows on the scoreboard. His team came out with the championship on Sunday in the bracket-style format which has become the norm with whatever team Askew is placed upon.
Recruitment: Kentucky and Memphis are his latest offers, but Arizona, Louisville, Oregon and Villanova are just four others that have a strong shot with the elite competitor. The Cardinals are the first to schedule an official visit with him in September.
THE BIRTHDAY GIFT
Why him?: Versatility is the name of the game with Peyton Watson. A long armed and quick twitch prospect that causes havoc on the defensive end, very little was known about Watson heading into the mini-camp. Leaving it, the talented junior proved his worth as a national level prospect that will soon become a priority for all of those recruiting him.
Recruitment: Washington offered on Saturday but more is on the way. His first official visit is scheduled for San Diego State in October, but Arizona State, Gonzaga, Maryland, UCLA and USC are just a few others that have begun to actively recruit this weekend’s top surprise.
THE EVOLVING GUARD
Why him?: Caleb Love is a baller, that we know. Close to finalizing his final school list, he could practically choose whichever college he’d like to attend and they’d willingly accept with open arms. Known for his physical tenacity and athleticism in the backcourt, Love is evolving into the lead guard role thanks to his improved playmaking skills and also his ability to consistently make shots to the perimeter. He is an absolute blur with the basketball and remains at his best whenever he is in attack mode but seeing him take a vocal leadership mentality is definitely a step in the right direction.
Recruitment: He has already taken unofficial visits to Indiana, Kansas, Louisville and Missouri in recent months but is ready to focus on a select group of schools. Look out for a final list within the next several days and an official visit tour to be taken in the fall.
Why him?: It is never easy for a young teenager to be told how good he is and to keep his priorities in order with the bigger picture in mind. Isaiah Todd began high school as arguably the top prospect in America and while it has not been the smoothest ride to this point, to see where Todd has gotten to in battling through much adversity is worthy of the utmost respect. He has begun to put it all together on and off the floor which equates to the prospect that we first believed he’d be three years ago.
Recruitment: The Baltimore native is on the cusp of producing his final college list but whenever he does choose should expect an immediate producer that fits today’s style of ball to a tee. He is planning visits to Kansas and Kentucky with Michigan, North Carolina, and Oklahoma State among the others involved at this point in time.
Why him?: DJ Steward does a litany of things well but what he is great at comes in the shot making department. Questions remain at what position on the floor he can and will play at the next level but every time that he is out on the floor, he seemingly finds a way to make for a positive impact. The long-armed guard was the best shot maker from beginning to end in Colorado Springs and is willing to abide to whichever role that he is given, hence why he has quickly become a national target.
Recruitment: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisville and Texas are just a few that are heavily invested within his recruitment but Duke and North Carolina's entrance has changed some things. He has already taken an official visit to Texas and should seen begin to schedule a handful of others within the coming weeks.