CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Huntington Prep (Huntington, W.Va.) boasts one of the most loaded rosters in the nation, and that array of talent was on full display this past weekend at the Charlotte Hoops Challenge. Here's a look at which players impressed at the two-day event.
Andrew Wiggins played well at the Charlotte Hoops Challenge, but it wasn’t a vintage performance by the nation’s No. 1 recruit. He was outstanding when teammates dumped it to him in the post. Where he never got going, ironically, was around the rim. He left a number of layups on the rim that he normally either hammers down or comes up with an athletic finish. Regardless, you could see what the overall package looks like. The mark of a good player is coming up big in other areas when you’re off your game and Wiggins did that by being a hawk on the glass -- especially in his second game. His teammate and fellow ESPN 100 prospect Xavier Rathan-Mayes appears to be worthy of serious McDonald’s consideration. More than a scorer, he owns a complete game at the shooting guard spot. It would be an upset if the Florida State signee doesn’t shoot 40 percent from behind the line.
More on Wiggins
Despite his age, Wiggins’ body is definitely NBA-ready. Born with sprinter’s speed and natural strength, he easily overwhelms the opposition at the high school level. When he goes to college and joins a full-time strength and conditioning program, he will become an elite physical specimen. Wiggins makes plays with his physical gifts the entire contest and stuffs the stat sheet. He has strong genes, as his parents were both outstanding athletes at Florida State. He can outleap his opponents and can get off the floor multiple times while his man gets up only once. He is one of the few players who can still pull down rebounds despite not blocking out. He has a tremendous wingspan and his athleticism is off the charts. His explosion off the floor is impressive, as is his hang time.
He is a very well-rounded player but his calling card is his ability to attack the basket and get to the charity stripe. That asset should bode well for him wherever he plays at the next level and beyond.
Like every other player at this level, Wiggins has areas of his game that he needs to improve. His 3-point shot is streaky and he needs to develop a midrange game to complement his ability to get to the rack. Obtaining a floater or a pull-up jumper will offset shot-blockers and defenders stepping in to take a charge.
He may be the fourth option on offense for Huntington Prep but that’s just fine for sophomore Montaque Gill-Caesar (Canada/Huntington Prep). Prep sets the 6-foot-4 wing up outside the arc and allows him to tee off from the perimeter. However, he’s got more in his bag of tricks. When given the chance to run the floor or play going to the rim, he’s equal parts quick and a finisher. As he learns to keep using his athleticism his game will expand. Look for him to receive high-major attention.
Josh Cuthbertson (Vanceboro, N.C./West Craven) is from a small town tucked away in eastern North Carolina. It’s the kind of place where the community embraces its basketball stars. After four years at West Craven, Cuthbertson is well schooled in winning, playing hard and embracing his role. He’ll be ready for a similar stage at USC-Upstate. A high-energy talent, expect him to grow into a leadership role and be a candidate for all-league honors. Small-town kid, small Division I school, same recipe for success that served him well so far.
A steal for Delaware
Cazmon Hayes (Charlotte, N.C./Berry Academy), SG, 2013
Hayes, a Delaware signee, went off for 42 points, making it look easy in scoring all over the floor. He nailed 3-pointers with a strong, confident shot. The Blue Hens got an absolute steal with this guy.
Amir Warnock (Suwanee, Ga./Peachtree Ridge), C, 2013
Warnock is a true center who does his work in the low post. He presents passers with a good target and punishes defenders with a jump hook over his left shoulder when he catches the ball on the left block. When offensive rebounding, he keeps the ball high and goes right back up with his long arms. Warnock isn’t the fastest guy in the gym, but if he can tone and tighten his body he will undoubtedly see a spike in production. A mid-major target right now, Warnock is hearing from the likes of George Mason, Appalachian State and DePaul.
Hakeem Coney (Savannah, Ga./Quality Education), SG, 2014
With so much talent and size around him, Coney is often overlooked in Georgia. He is a good long-range shooter who shows consistency about making perimeter shots. When his defender plays him tight, he will feed the post and cut to the hoop. Coney plays hard and produces, traits that have drawn looks from several mid-major programs.
Michael Tucker (Covington, Ga./Quality Education), SF, 2013
With ideal size for a small forward, Tucker can knock down treys, attack the basket and make solid passes. He utilizes his strong body to get in a defensive stance and lock down opposing wings. With his frame and strength he has made improvements defensively as he can defend three positions.
Josh Lancaster (Charlotte, N.C./Berry Academy), PG, 2013
Lancaster pushes the ball with a fiery pace and is always looking to find his teammates for easy baskets. He has a good feel for the game in the half court and demonstrates the ability to make deep jumpers or attack the rim after a shot fake. His intensity level was impressive and he sustained it for the entire game, diving on the floor for loose balls despite being up by 20 points.
Center Jordan Robinson (Winston Salem, N.C./QEA) watched as the first signing period passed and didn’t react. “I want a school that works around big men,” Robinson said. “A school that’s close to home so my mom can drive to my games.” The perfect fit geographically will be tough for the native of Canada to achieve, and he’s received varying degrees of interest from Xavier, Tennessee Tech, Washington, Villanova, Miami, Iowa and Indiana.
Center Tyrek Coger (Greensboro, N.C./QEA) is hearing from Temple, Winthrop and LaSalle. Winthrop was in the house to watch him on opening night of the event.