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USAB: Bossi's U16 tryout takeaways

Max Christie
Max Christie (Courtesy of USA Basketball)

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- On Saturday morning, USA Basketball made a cut down to 18 players including 2021 five-star Max Christie as they look to select the U16 National Team.

National analyst Eric Bossi was in attendance for the first two days of the trial and has takeaways on those who did and didn't make the cut.



Who made the cut: Nathan Bittle (2021), Jalen Duren (2022), Gregg Glenn (2022), Kijani Wright (2022).

Top dog: Throughout my time at camp the one guy I kept coming back to that seemed a lock to make the team was Jalen Duren. The 15 year old is physically imposing, has great hands, looks to punish around the rim and has some touch too. There just wasn't anybody else like the future five-star and potential top five player in his class. Maryland recently offered.

Group breakdown: An Oregonian who ranks in 2021's top 15, Bittle got started slow but came on strong as tryouts progressed. He's the tallest player but can stretch defenses and rebounds his area. Oregon, Arizona, USC and many others have already offered Bittle. A freshman from Los Angeles, Wright is tough, plays with energy and will rebound. Glenn is another freshman who showed a constant motor and willingness to do the little stuff.


Who made the cut: Amari Bailey (2022), Max Christie (2021), Gradey Dick (2022), A.J. Griffin (2021), Camden Heide (2022), William Jeffress (2021), Trevor Keels (2021), Chris Livingston (2022), Jabari Smith (2021).

Top dog: The wings were the best group in camp and for my money Jabari Smith was the best of the bunch. Yes, he's a bit inconsistent and needs to get stronger but his ability to shoot, put the ball on the floor and also slide over to play the four makes him extremely valuable. His recruitment has taken off recently with offers from programs like Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgetown, Mississippi, LSU, TCU and more.

Group breakdown: The only committed player in town, Bailey is an early pledge to UCLA and is a high level athlete. He made tough shots in scrimmage sessions and really defended. Christie was right there with Smith and A.J. Griffin for top wing during my time at camp. He shoots the ball very well, is a high level decision maker and has versatility. Griffin is really tough physically, plays smart and can be explosive to the rim. Dick was making his first appearance at a USA Basketball event and impressed with his size for the wing, shooting and open floor athleticism. Jeffress and Keels are both steady performers who play with physicality and don't try to do too much. Livingston may have as much upside as anybody in the group and is a long and explosive two guard. Heide looked an awful lot like a baby Tyler Herro with his shooting and ability to get to spots with the dribble.


Who made the cut: Jaden Bradley (2022), Zion Cruz (2022), Dillon Hunter (2022), Richard Isaacs (2022), Tamin Lipsey (2022).

Top dog: I will go with Jaden Bradley here. He's got size, he's very elusive off the dribble and he can run a team. He's more quick than freaky athletic but he's tough guy for defenders to stay in front of. Auburn, Florida, VCU and Wake Forest are among those who have already offered the potential five-star freshman.

Group breakdown: The best scorer in the group is easily Isaacs. "Pop pop" can shoot with range and has a nasty one and two dribble pull-up jumper. He showed he can run a team and he's a tough competitor with offers from programs like Florida State, Kansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, UNLV and more. Cruz is an athletic two guard who attacks the rim in transition and has the tools to be a defensive stopper for the group. Hunter has good size for a point, can make shots and could slide over to play some at the two. Then there's Lipsey who didn't make any jaw dropping plays but is always where he's supposed to be and plays mistake free ball. Hometown Iowa State is already making Lipsey a major priority.


.... I was pretty surprised to open up the email listing who made the first cut and find that Jarace Walker didn't make the list. I get that he was a little hot and cold during his time there but he added so much. He defended shooting guards to centers, is a freak physically and was playing like a young Draymond Green at times because of his ability to defend bigger guys and push with power.

.... Another who I thought made a pretty good case for himself was 2022 point guard Dug McDaniel. He's not the biggest but he plays with heart and toughness and reminds me a lot of where former All-SEC point guard Trevor Releford was at the same stage in his development.

.... Others who really caught my eye during tryouts were Kendall Brown, M.J. Rice, Eric Dailey Jr. and Justice Williams. A priority recruit in the Big Ten, I thought Brown backed up his top 20 national status in 2021. He has size, he has skill and he does a lot of things. A potential five-star and somebody who will certainly be in the mix for the first edition of 2022 rankings, Rice is a tough, athletic and offensive minded two guard with big upside. A combo forward, Dailey Jr. showed athleticism, skill and a motor. It was my first time seeing him and I was quite impressed. Last but not least, Williams is a long point guard who gets where he needs to be off the dribble. He's a big upside guy for his ability to set up others.