COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – It was a strong few days for some of the top class of 2018, 2019 and 2020 prospects in Colorado Springs during the United States Basketball Trials. Hosting 54 of the very best high school recruits, we head back home with a few pertinent takeaways from the evening session on Sunday.
SCOTTIE BARNES' DEFENSE
Already garnering comparisons to Scottie Pippen and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, at this stage of the game, there is not a better, more versatile defender in high school ball than Scottie Barnes. Barnes displayed an elite motor, an uncanny IQ for the game, and super quick feet in defending every position on the floor. Proving Rivals correct with his top-five ranking in the 2020 class, the only place that the University School product can go is up as he is a jump shot away from becoming the total package.
ZION WILLIAMSON REMAINS DOMINANT
We can hem and haw about what Zion Williamson can and cannot do but until someone can stop him, Williamson remains a dominant force. There is going to be constant criticism in the years ahead about Williamson’s jump shot but until someone can stop him, why should he do anything but attack the basket? Headed to Kentucky next weekend for his second official visit, Williamson remains the most entertaining prospect in high school basketball. Wherever he lands in college is must-watch TV. The blue bloods continue to circle but do not discount Clemson’s chance with the in-state star.
OREGON SET FOR A RUN?
Oregon is a program that might have the most to gain following the recent FBI sting that hit programs such as Miami and Arizona. While the Hurricanes look like they are in the clear, they did lose ground with five-star forward Emmitt Williams, a prospect that the Ducks are even more of a favorite for. Touching further in the frontcourt, Bol Bol, a one-time lean for Arizona, is down to a final two as Oregon and Kentucky are battling for his commitment. Lastly, Jahvon Quinerly, who remains committed to Arizona, could become someone that Oregon chases after if he were to part ways with the Wildcats. Thanks to = to their need at the point guard position this fall and the five-star guard’s friendship with Ducks’ pledge and high school teammate Lou King, the Pac 12 juggernaut remains one to watch.
KELDON JOHNSON IS AN ALPHA
Up until this point, Keldon Johnson has been known for his scoring abilities, a bucket getting acumen that came more from off of the drive to the basket rather than from his 15-foot and out jumper. In Colorado, the Virginia native showed a mechanically sound perimeter jumper, a piece of his game that is now a weapon that must be defended appropriately by his opposition. One of the top alpha-dog producers in America, Johnson is set on a solid final five, a group consisting of Florida State, Texas, NC State, Maryland and Kentucky. A commitment could take place by the end of the month, or he could decide to take his final official visit allotted, one that would take him to FSU.
JAMES WISEMAN COMPETES FOR NUMBER ONE
The race for the top spot in the 2019 class is beginning to get heated and while Vernon Carey Jr. had more than his fair share of positive moments on Sunday, James Wiseman is clipping at his heels. Wiseman, a 6-foot-10 power forward with a 7-foot-5 wingspan, showed just how special he could be in Colorado. He ran the floor and finished the break, knocked down jumpers out to 20-feet, and held his own in the lane in defending his basket and rebounding his area. Visits are ahead to Kentucky, Duke and UNC, and after visiting Kansas last weekend, Wiseman’s recruitment is now solely in the blue blood column.
NASSIR LITTLE'S REDEMPTIVE POWERS
For one reason or another, Theo Pinson didn’t quite live up to the original expectations placed onto him coming out of college. The now senior wing for the UNC Tar Heels has not lacked for winning on the floor though, but could Nassir Little be the redemptive, star wing-forward that Pinson was meant to be? Little, a do-it-all, 6-foot-7 small forward that can defend three positions and is now skilled enough to create his own shot, is primed for stardom in Chapel Hill. His jump shot continues to improve and so does his production across the board. UNC will be salivating for its next star upon the graduations this spring in Joel Berry and Pinson; could Little be that guy?
TYLER HERRO PRIMED FOR BIG 10 STARDOM
He is not going to throw down a monstrous dunk or hit his defender with an ankle breaking crossover, but when it comes to fit, there might not be a better marriage between school and prospect than Wisconsin and Tyler Herro. A 6-foot-4 scoring guard with a silky-smooth offensive repertoire, Herro looks more than ready to step into Greg Gard’s offense next season and immediately announce himself as an all-conference performer within the Big 10. The league is one of the more experienced, older conferences in America but Herro’s work ethic, skillset and now strong, well-built physique has the in-state recruit more than ready to contribute in Madison.