NCB On The Trail: Biancardi's Breakdown

video
Making jump shots is one of the most important skills in basketball. It might look easy, but it’s hard to become a consistent shooter with range.

Taking open shots is a big part of becoming a great shooter, as well as moving without the ball. High-level shooters are ready to shoot the ball as soon as it’s passed to them.

There are many outstanding jump shooters in the Class of 2014, but here are my top five.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

video
When we analyze and evaluate the skill set of today's basketball player, we speak quite often about their ability to drive to the rim and finish as well as knocking down 3-point shots.

What has been forgotten and not emphasized enough from coaches and workout coaches is their middle game. The ability to score the ball inside the arc and before one gets to the rim in tight quarters is a true gift. I would love to see today's player really work on their middle game to be a more well-rounded scorer.

Let's take a look at which ESPN 100 prospects possess the all-important middle game in the senior class.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

video
With our updated ESPN 100 rankings, uncommitted forward Josh Cunningham (Chicago/Morgan Park) earned his way to No. 99 with his productive performances against top competition. Last week his team lost in the Chicago Public League tournament, but he and his team start their state title run next month.

Let's take an in-depth look at his game and recruitment:


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Biancardi's Breakdown: JaQuan Lyle 

February, 17, 2014
Feb 17
10:00
AM ET
video JaQuan Lyle (Evansville, Ind./Huntington Prep), the highest-rated uncommitted perimeter player left in the ESPN 100, is in high demand as Kansas, Providence, Oregon, UConn, Memphis and Oklahoma State are in heavy pursuit of the Indiana native. He is one of the few players left in the 2014 class who could come in and contribute immediately to a major college program.

Let’s take a look at the latest on his recruitment, how his game has grown and what he can do to reach his potential.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Daniel Hamilton (Los Angeles/St. John Bosco) is one of the nation's best scoring guards, but at times, he can be a volume scorer and not a productive scorer. The Connecticut commit is ranked as the No. 2 player in the West behind Stanley Johnson (Fullerton, Calif./Mater Dei) and the No. 31 prospect in the ESPN 100.

Let's take an in-depth look at what this shooting guard does well and what he need to work on:


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

video
One-time Baylor commit and current Illinois signee Leron Black (Memphis, Tenn./White Station) has had a very productive senior season. His high school team at White Station plays a national schedule and he recently dropped 25 points in a win against powerful rival Memphis Hamilton in the Penny Hardaway Classic on ESPNU.

Let’s take an in-depth look at the No. 11 power forward and No. 43 overall player in the ESPN 100 and what makes him such an elite prospect.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

The Duke Blue Devils have the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class in 2014 and the first player to commit in that group was Grayson Allen. Much has been discussed and written about ESPN No. 1 Jahlil Okafor , ESPN No. 4 Tyus Jones and ESPN No. 14 Justise Winslow but Allen has had a strong senior campaign.

Sitting at No. 24 in the senior class, let’s take a closer look at what Allen will bring to the Blue Devils.

Part athlete, part basketball player

Allen understands the game and has plenty of skill but what most don’t realize is that he may be physical ready as a freshman. Allen is a very good athlete with a vertical jump that raises your eyebrows -- which helps him tremendously as he tries to finalize a play and throw it down. He stands close to 6-foot-4 with a strong frame and room to put more muscle on. He has long arms which help when shooting, rebounding, defending and trying to block a shot. He’s a good blend of a basketball player and athlete who can use his physical tools to perform and produce.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

UCLA under new coach Steve Alford has landed the nation’s No. 11 recruiting class. A big part of that class -- no pun intended -- is 7-footer Thomas Welsh, who has made improvement from last spring.

After Jahlil Okafor and Myles Turner, Welsh is in the conversation for next-best low-post player in the class.

Let’s take an in depth look at his game:


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Basketball is played right through the new year, so as we look back and plan ahead let’s take a look halfway through this season at which 2014 prospects have performed best in 14 categories.

1. Best in the low post: Jahlil Okafor (Chicago/Whitney Young), Duke signee
If a team needs to score a basket in the lower half of the painted area, Okafor is the one to pass it to. He has secure hands to catch almost any pass and a soft touch with superb footwork. He also has a wide mobile body to seal his man and the patience to throw the ball back out and re-post his 7-foot-3 wing span.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

The high school basketball season is in full swing and some of the nation’s best are playing well and leading their teams. Others are extremely productive and having great individual performances.

There's also a small group of players who are good now with a chance of big-time growth.

As top-ranked players, they have talent. It's what they do with it that will determine their ultimate success. To reach their potential, it’s a matter of two important questions. Does the prospect have the necessary tools to perform at a high level? And will he do what is necessary from an effort standpoint to be great?

Let's take a look at players who are playing at a high level now and who have plenty of potential to be even better down the road.

ESPN No. 2 Myles Turner
The Texas native has a combination of size and skill, and he's a shot blocker with mobility. Turner was one block shy of a triple double, as he had 29 points, 15 rebounds and nine blocks last week against Homeschool Christian.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Shooting guard Rashad Vaughn (Golden Valley, Minn./Findlay College Prep), the No. 17 player in the ESPN 100, is being hotly pursued by several programs. The 6-foot-6, 200-pound prospect already has made two official visits (to Iowa State and UNLV) and recently set up a visit to North Carolina for Feb. 15, when the Tar Heels play Pittsburgh. For his final two visits, he is likely to choose among Arizona, Baylor, Kansas, Kentucky and Minnesota.

Let's break down the game of one of the top shooting guards in the country:


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Biancardi's Breakdown: Theo Pinson 

December, 2, 2013
12/02/13
9:00
AM ET
Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams has assembled the nation's No. 4 recruiting class for North Carolina. A big part of that class is swingman Theo Pinson (Greensboro, N.C./Wesleyan Christian Academy), ranked No. 13 in the ESPN 100.

Let's take an in-depth look at what the 6-foot-6, 190-pound Pinson will bring the Tar Heels next season:


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

videoThe nation's No. 1 shooting guard -- and No. 12 recruit overall -- D'Angelo Russell is one of the more versatile and dangerous guards in the 2014 class. At times, he dominates the action with his scoring, while he's also become more comfortable as a playmaker.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Stanley Johnson is in the process of figuring out his recruitment, as Arizona, Kentucky, USC, Florida and Oregon are all on his final list of schools.

Stanley Johnson
Courtesy of NikeStanley Johnson has always been a powerful presence, but it's his motor that has seen the biggest improvement.
Since his freshman season at Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei, he has been a bigger and stronger prospect than most players.

Under the tutelage of Gary McKnight and his staff, Johnson has made consistent strides as of one the best in his class. In our most recent rankings, he jumped up from No. 12 to No. 9.

Let’s break down what makes him special:

Power and motor: Johnson has always had a good frame and physique, but in this past year he has refined his college-ready body. He is more powerful than most players, and that becomes a factor on every finish, defensive stand and rebound. But his motor might be the area he has improved the most. He always showed up and played, but over the past year he is trying to dominate with a consistent effort, which is rare among top players. His effort is not just limited to scoring because he is also getting back on defense, being alert and active on each play and trying to own the glass. He credits former Oakland Soldier AAU teammate and current Arizona Wildcat Aaron Gordon for his motor. "Aaron set a great example of what it means to give it your all. I am thankful it rubbed off on me.”


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Small forward Justin Jackson (Tomball, Texas/Homeschool Christian Youth Association), who has excellent size at 6-foot-7, is one of the nation’s best-scoring perimeter players. He is a major part of North Carolina’s No. 2-ranked recruiting class. He was one of the most consistent performers all spring and summer in terms of offensive output and efficiency.

Let’s break down his game and see why he's the nation’s No. 8 prospect:

Special in the mid-range

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

SPONSORED HEADLINES