basketball Edit

Vegas Friday: Guards draw crowd

LAS VEGAS – The chance to see highly regarded four-star point guard Marcus Garrett match up with five-star utility guard Troy Brown drew an impressive group of head coaches to the Final Chapter on Friday. Meanwhile at the Fab 48, five-star big man Nick Richards updated his recruitment.

HIGHLY RANKED GUARDS DRAW CROWD

Troy Brown (Nike/Jon Lopez @NikeEYB)

Because his Swaghouse Elite squad isn’t on a major shoe circuit, 2017’s No. 44 player Marcus Garrett hasn’t had as many opportunities to play against other big name players. He got his chance on Friday when he and Swaghouse matched up with five-star Troy Brown, four-star Charles O’Bannon and the Las Vegas Prospects.

The matchup also drew an impressive group of head coaches. Included in the crowd were head coaches from Alabama, Arizona State, California, Kansas, N.C. State, Oregon, SMU and UNLV to go along with assistants from Baylor, Iowa State, Texas, UCLA, Utah, Washington State and others.

Ranked No. 10 and No. 30 respectively, Brown and O’Bannon had too much firepower on their side for Garrett and Swaghouse. Brown had some nice dunks and drives while O’Bannon hit some deep jumpers. However it was guys like point guard Jailen Moore helping out with four three-pointers and class of 2018 four-star power forward K.J. Hymes taking over for a stretch in the lane.

On the other side, Garrett showed what makes him so good. He’s a legitimate point guard with tremendous 6-foot-5 size and strength to ward off defenders when he attacks the lane. He got to the rim pretty much whenever he wanted to, drew fouls and also mixed in some deep jumpers but what stands out most is his high basketball IQ and feel for the game. Look for Garrett to start taking officials in mid August with Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas and Oregon all likely to get visits.

RICHARDS SITTING TIGHT WITH FIVE

Nick Richards

The plan for five-star big man Nick Richards is to cut his list to a final four at some point in September.

During a late morning game at the Fab 48, Richards was quite aggressive in the lane for Expressions Elite. Ranked No. 21 overall, the near seven footer showed again that he’s got the tools to be a reliable offensive weapon on the college level.

Speaking of college, his list of suitors remains steady.

“It’s the same five schools that it’s always been,” said Richards. “Arizona, Kentucky, Indiana, Syracuse and Connecticut.”

Of those five, Richards has seen Syracuse and UConn unofficially – he’s also been to Villanova – and he said that he’s open to using all five of his official visits and that he’ll be looking for the right vibe.

“Whichever school has the right vibe for me. Whichever school is going to best prepare me for the next level is going to be important to me.”

SEVEN FOR WATERS

Tremont Waters

A teammate of Richards’ on Expressions Elite, four-star point guard Tremont Waters is ready for the end of the summer but the No. 39 ranked player in 2017 is also trying to enjoy one last run with his teammates.

Waters cut his list of finalists to a group of seven that includes Duke, Connecticut, Georgetown, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky and Yale and couldn’t help but get a little nostalgic when talking about what is likely to be his last grassroots summer tournament.

“It’s been a great run since I was five years old and started playing AAU with a fourth grade team when I was in kindergarten,” said Waters. “I’m going to miss AAU because after my school season I always look forward to it and showcasing my talents.”

Other than being set with a final seven, Waters isn’t sure what is the next move in his recruitment. He said that he has a few schools that he is sure he wants to visit officially but he’s not quite ready to reveal which programs those are. Additionally, Waters said that he and his family still had to discuss whether committing early or waiting until the spring of 2017 will be his best move.

MORE FRIDAY NOTES

Terry Armstrong

We’ve written all spring and summer about the talent level in the class of 2019 and Terry Armstrong is another who needs to be on the radar as a potential big-time prospect. A 6-foot-5 ball handler and playmaker from Flint (Mich.), Armstrong impressed with his feel for the game and ability to run some point at that size and age. He can also score it with savvy and looks to have huge upside. Armstrong mentioned that UNLV and Mississippi State have offered while Michigan State is already tracking him closely.

Because of injury, class of 2017 small forward Jamarko Pickett had to miss playing in front of coaches on the spring circuit. He’s making up for it quickly in July thanks to his play with DC Premier. A lanky and fluid 6-foot-7 wing who can shoot and make some plays with his passing, he moved well to the rim and got lots done. Pickett mentioned a Memphis offer to go with interest from programs like Kansas State, Morgan State and Kent State. Based on his play in Vegas, things should pick up considerably.

Playing with the Colorado Chaos, it was hard not to love the skill and savvy of three-star point guard Colbey Ross. Colorado’s state player of the year as a junior, he shot the ball from deep, hit floaters off the run and made those around him better. He’s got solid interest with offers from Pepperdine, Northern Colorado, Weber State, Cal Poly and Rice but he looks deserving of several more.

The trajectory of 2018’s No. 57 player Jaedon LeDee is going to be an interesting one to track. We checked in on him for a bit Friday with RL9 at the Final Chapter and he looks the part of a high major basketball player. He’s athletic, has long arms, great shoulders and an already wiry strong body that should easily carry more weight as he matures. He can be tough on the glass, score attacking the rim and shows flashes as a jump shooter but he’s also inconsistent at times and has played for a few other teams this summer before finding his way to RL9. LeDee had Alabama’s Avery Johnson and an assistant from UCLA check on him early Friday evening.

California head coach Cuonzo Martin made sure to be on hand to watch Earl Watson Elite at the Fab 48. The team features two future Golden Bears in Rivals150 combo guard Jemarl Baker and athletic and tough wing Juhwan Harris-Dyson. On top of that, four-star power forward Ira Lee is a top target as is 2018 five-star stretch four man Miles Norris. Martin had to love what he saw out of Baker. A four-star who ranks No. 110 overall in 2017, Baker showed a high skill level in shot creation and making from the perimeter. After that he served as a terrific secondary ball handler and playmaker for others. Harris-Dyson is an intriguing prospect as well. He’s physically tough and very athletic.