NCB On The Trail: Jalen Brunson

Every coach wants an unselfish team, and one way to get there is by evaluating and recruiting prospects who understand the value of moving the ball and making the assist.

You can teach players how to make a pass or show film of where the ball should be thrown and what type of pass should be made, but it takes skill, timing and innate instincts to be an accomplished passer.

The following are the five best passers in the senior class, and each has a skill that separates them from their peers.

Class of 2014's best passers 

May, 5, 2014
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Members of the Class of 2014 have (mostly) made their decisions. Which incoming freshmen should you get to know? Here is a look at the best passers -- and one name to know in 2015:

1. Tyus Jones, Duke
He is the consummate point guard. His passes are always away from the defense and he has that snap on the ball that you just can’t coach. On the fast break, he will come to complete stop and let the trailer fill the lanes and make a precise pass for a layup or 3-point shot. In tight quarters he can penetrate and pitch effectively by making a soft pass or a bounce pass and he demonstrates the outstanding vision, poise and patience to be a great set-up man. Some players pass to get rid of the ball, but when Jones passes, it usually leads to an assist.


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Nike EYBL awards 

April, 28, 2014
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The first session of the Nike EYBL unveiled a plethora of talent that will be showing up on college campuses in the near future. Ivan Rabb is ranked as the No. 1 player in the 2015 class, but if this weekend showed us anything, that ranking is anything but solidified going forward. LSU commit Ben Simmons exhibited his vast skill set throughout the weekend and is coming on strong, and this is just the Nike side of the story.

Best Prospect

Ben Simmons
2015, PF, 6-foot-9, 220 pounds
Status: Committed to LSU
Simmons has that prototypical Division I frame with length and upside. His skill set is perimeter-oriented and quite polished. He can face up and dissect the defense with his passing or drain the 3-point shot. His motor fluctuates and it would be ideal to see him impact the game in the paint more at both ends going forward.


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NY2LA Swish n' Dish tournament recap 

April, 8, 2014
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MILWAUKEE -- The NY2LA Swish n' Dish tournament has become the destination event of the spring. The event features most of the top programs in the Midwest and is always full of top-level talent competing and playing hard. Here's a look at some of the best prospects from the tournament.

Best power forwards


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#AskCoachB: Future for Kansas

March, 31, 2014
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Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.
Freshman center Joel Embiid has yet to officially announce his NBA draft decision, but it looks like fellow freshman phenom Andrew Wiggins will do so on Monday. The school released a statement that the 6-foot-8 freshman from Canada will make an announcement at 3 p.m. ET. When you have an announcement set up, it usually means you are going somewhere, not staying.

Looking ahead to 2015, Naadir Tharpe will be graduating next year, which makes point guard an absolute need in the 2015 class. Everyone will also be keeping tabs on returning wing Wayne Selden and incoming freshmen Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre next season.

The Jayhawks' needs in 2015 could be many depending on which players declare for the NBA draft next year. Here is an early peek at their wish list in 2015. On the perimeter there's Malik Newman, Jalen Brunson, Jalen Adams, Antonio Blakeney, Montaque Gill-Ceasar and P.J. Dozier. Dozier, who has been sidelined with a knee injury this year, will be back and has already shown the talent to be a high-major prospect.

The main targets for the frontcourt are ESPN 60 No. 1 Ivan Rabb, Diamond Stone, Stephen Zimmerman, Chase Jeter and Carlton Bragg.

This is an early, fluid list of recruits Kansas has targeted. There is a very good chance this list will change after the spring evaluation period.
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.



Yes, there is a really good one in Jalen Brunson, who is No. 32 in our 2015 rankings. The lefty is the Class of 2015's best pure point guard and loves to run a team. He also has demonstrated the ability to score. By being a natural point guard, he understands how to direct the offense and look for the right player in a tight spot. As a true point, he likes to keep the ball moving on offense. If you leave him open too long, you will get burned. His dad, Rick Brunson, was a great player at Temple who also played in the NBA. The younger Brunson has been offered by almost every major program in the Midwest.
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.


The Michigan Wolverines are having another strong season on the court this year, despite losing a pair of NBA players in Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. They are on top of the Big Ten standings playing without one of their main weapons in Mitch McGary, who had back surgery.

One thing that is evident under John Beilein and staff: They put effort into their evaluations and it pays off because most of their recruits fit their system.

Projecting needs for the 2015 class could vary based on who departs for the NBA, transfers and, of course, graduation. Their class for 2014 is ranked at No. 39. This is not a complete list, but here are some main targets for the Wolverines in the Class of 2015:

Stephen Zimmerman (Las Vegas /Bishop Gorman) Jalen Brunson (Chicago/Stevenson), Luke Kennard (Franklin, Ohio/Franklin) Carlton Bragg (Cleveland/ St. Joseph's), Diamond Stone (Milwaukee/ Dominican), Eric Davis (Saginaw, Mich./ Arthur Hill), Henry Ellenson (Rice Lake, Wis./Rice Lake).
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Rankings week is here, and Wednesday our focus in on the 2015 class. Here are 10 things you need to know about the newly updated ESPN 60:


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Breaking down the new 2015 ESPN 60 

September, 25, 2013
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Malik NewmanAP Photo/Charles SmithCallaway, Miss., shooting guard Malik Newman might be No. 1 in the 2015 ESPN 60, but a deep class of big men will challenge him for that spot over the next 18 months.
We’ve processed a full summer worth of action and now our updated ESPN 60 includes the top national prospects in the 2015 recruiting class. Here’s 10 things every college basketball fan should know as this class heads into its junior season:

1. A battle for the top spot

There’s a new No. 1 in town, and while Paul Biancardi breaks down why Malik Newman (Jackson, Miss./Callway) is the new top dog, I’m here to tell you this race is far from over. The previous No. 1 Ivan Rabb (Oakland, Calif./Bishop O’Dowd) is going to want his title back, and no one is making a more aggressive charge to the top of the rankings than Stephen Zimmerman (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman) who has been coming on strong all spring and summer. Ben Simmons (Melbourne, Australia/Montverde Academy), Diamond Stone (Milwaukee/Dominican), and Elijah Thomas (Lancaster, Texas/Lancaster) are three other guys who will challenge in the coming 18 months as the top spot is still very much up for grabs moving forward in the 2015 class.


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Best of the LeBron camp Day 2 

July, 8, 2013
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LAS VEGAS -- The second day of the LeBron James Skills Academy on Sunday was a bit of a downer as No. 10 recruit Myles Turner (tweaked hamstring) was held out of action prior to his much anticipated encounter with Cliff Alexander. However, many other prospects exhibited the type of skill necessary to stand out at the event, led by the most complete scoring guard in the country in No. 11 prospect Rashad Vaughn.

Here are some superlatives from Day 2.

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- There have been a number of terrific performances at the NBPA Top 100 Camp, but here are quick-hitting scouting impressions on more than 30 players who have caught my eye on a consistent basis outside of P.J. Dozier, Elbert Robinson and Jordan McLaughlin, whom I already did individual blogs on.

2014 PF/C Payton Dastrup: Attacks the rim with great energy and urgency, finishing and competing at a high level. He simply didn't take plays off.

2015 PG Jalen Brunson: He runs the team, distributes the ball, has feel and court vision, and when you back away he can drain the jumper. He might not make the play to win the game, but he won't make the play to lose it either. He’s rock solid and learning on the job.

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