USA BBall: Evans' second session takeaways
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Colorado Springs was the place to be this weekend as USA Basketball hosted 54 of the top class of 2018, 2019 and 2020 prospects for two days of hoops. The first day of action brought strong play from the very best senior recruits in America, but with the looming FBI investigation, most of the talk was regarding what was ongoing off the floor. We take a look at the major takeaways of the day on Saturday and lessons learned from both on and off the floor.
JAMES WISEMAN PREPARES FOR VISITS
In the 2019 class, there might not be a prospect with better upside than James Wiseman. Whenever the Memphis East product is playing hard and competing with confidence, he is utterly dominant, just as he was on Saturday. The lefty oozes with potential, and whether it is hitting the trail 3-point jumper, finishing the pick and roll or nailing the turnaround mid-post jumper a la Chris Bosh, Wiseman displays all the elements of stardom. Last week, Wiseman visited Kansas for its Late Night in the Phog; next weekend, he will head to Kentucky for its Big Blue Madness before visiting Duke and North Carolina toward the end of the month.
ANFERNEE SIMONS REMAINS IN A WAITING PATTERN
Speaking of the Louisville investigation, it did not affect anyone more directly than Anfernee Simons, a one-time pledge to the ACC program who backed off his commitment two weeks back. A handful of brand programs have shown heavy attention already, though it looks like Simons may wait to decide where he might attend college, all of which would lead to a spring signing. Florida, Florida State, SMU, South Carolina and a boatload of others are now involved.
MOSES BROWN SETS VISIT DATE
A 7-foot center and five-star prospect in the 2018 class, we dove in-depth into the recruitment of Moses Brown during this past week’s Rival Views. A peculiar recruitment up until this point, it was rather interesting that Brown failed to lead a prioritized, nationwide recruitment. Louisville, the frontrunner for his commitment, is no longer involved as he confirmed on Saturday. Maryland looked to be the program to beat, though UCLA is now involved as the Bruins will host Brown for an official visit on October 28.
THE FUTURE OF JAHVON QUINERLY AND ARIZONA
A five-star lead guard and currently committed Arizona recruit is still a Wildcat pledge, though that might not last for much longer. Jahvon Quinerly, who had committed to the Pac-12 program in August, has had little talk with the Arizona coaching staff since the initial investigation. His family has hired a lawyer, and while he remains a committed member of the Pac-12 program, that might not last for long. Just speculating here, but if it is one program that has the most to gain from this and eligibility concerns are thrown out the door, look for Villanova, if the opportunity does present itself, to go all hands on deck with the recruitment of the Jersey product.
JOSH CHRISTOPHER AND HIS LOVE FOR THE LEATHER
In the 2020 class, there might not be a better bucket getter than Josh Christopher. A 6-foot-3 scoring guard out of California, Christopher didn’t hold back from competing against others two years older than him. The younger brother of former California star Patrick Christopher, the Rivals50 prospect has shown an extraordinary stroke and confidence with the deep ball. Just 15 years of age, expect for not only the entire Pac-12 to pursue, but also the nation’s elite within the coming years.
TOP 2018 STANDOUT
Cameron Reddish was tremendous from beginning to end on Saturday as the Duke commit showed that he is more than capable of facilitating for his team against a smaller defender placed upon him. While his jumper remains a work in progress, there is no denying his unlimited upside and raw abilities. It will be interesting to see how the Duke coaching staff uses Reddish alongside Tre Jones next year seeing that both are at their very best whenever the ball is in their hands. Add in the possible commitment of RJ Barrett, and while there may need to be some maneuvering on Coach K’s part, the Blue Devils are primed for another run deep into March two years from now.
TOP 2019 STANDOUT
Isaiah Stewart didn’t look the part of one of the younger prospects in attendance in Colorado, as the chiseled and physical power forward displayed an elite motor, excellent hands and the willingness to not back down one bit from his opposition. In the mold of Seton Hall star big man Angel Delgado, there is nothing sexy about Stewart's game, but there are a lot of winning intangibles about him. He went head to head with the nation’s elite big men from the 2018 class and won a number of the battles. The nation’s top two ranked juniors, Vernon Carey Jr. and James Wiseman, also had their strong moments, as did glue guard De’Vion Harmon.
TOP 2020 STANDOUT
RJ Hampton has continued to shine, and though he does not sport the proper strength in handling contact appropriately, that didn’t hurt him from making others better and producing a number of wow moments throughout the course of the day. A 6-foot-4 lead guard with an unbelievable poise for the game, Hampton still has some polishing that must be done, but when it comes to the talent, intellect and versatility in the backcourt, no one checks the boxes more emphatically than the Texas native. Along with Hampton, Scottie Barnes, Jalen Green and Josh Christopher were more than solid displaying tremendous upside and elite talent.