NCB On The Trail: July 2013 recruiting



ORLANDO, Fla. -- For five days in Orlando last week at the AAU Nationals and Super Showcase, a wide array of elite prospects, sleeper recruits and surprise players had an opportunity to shine. The play was excellent and the lessons learned were plentiful.

With so much talent at various levels on display, here are five things we learned from the 2013 AAU Nationals and Super Showcase.

Top 10 lessons learned in July 

July, 31, 2013
7/31/13
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To understand what just happened in college basketball recruiting, let me use a golf analogy. In golf majors, Saturdays set the players up for the final round and determine the pairings for the homestretch.

In college basketball, the month of July is like that Saturday of a golf major. Coaches fly coast to coast, some to evaluate and others simply to babysit prospects. It’s a grueling 15 days on the road -- separated into three different five-day open evaluation periods -- and even the seasoned veterans will tell you that. Technology has made it easier to keep track of the recruits, but travel is travel, and so much time in different cities is rough on the bodies of the players and coaches.

Still, July remains the single most important month on the recruiting calendar. It sets the tone for in-home and official visits. It helps set up the final round and determines the pairings for the homestretch.

For the better part of July 6-28, I was on the road. Every day was something new and an opportunity to gather intelligence on players and pay attention to the world of college basketball recruiting. If you didn’t learn something daily, you weren’t doing your job.

Here are 10 key things I learned this month on the recruiting trail, from package deals to the loaded 2016 class and everything in between.

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Best of the Orlando AAU events 

July, 30, 2013
7/30/13
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- College coaches swarmed the courts of ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex and surrounding areas last week for the AAU Nationals and Super Showcase. Over the course of five days, more than 1,000 coaches got to evaluate prospects of all levels as some of the nation’s best AAU teams descended on Central Florida after qualifying by winning their respective districts.

Here’s a look at a multitude of players who impressed in Orlando, including ESPN 100 difference-makers, prospects with the most untapped potential and recruits with the brightest futures.

ESPN 100 Program Difference-makers


Tyus Jones (Apple Valley, Minn./Apple Valley)
2014, PG, 6-1, 170
AAU: Howard Pulley
Offers:
Baylor, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, Minnesota and Ohio State
Jones' court vision, passing and decision-making are just a few reasons he’s special. The way he makes plays off the screen and roll is beyond his years. He also knocks down open shots and makes free throws when the game is on the line.

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LAS VEGAS -- The fifth and final day at the elite AAU events in Las Vegas on Sunday had a little bit of everything.

It began with a lights-out shooting performance from ESPN 100 point guard Riley LaChance (Brookfield, Wis./Brookfield Central), followed by a spectacular scoring outburst by ESPN 60 shooting guard Tyler Dorsey (Los Angeles/St. John Bosco).

As the day wore on, ESPN 100 Maryland commit Romelo Trimble (Arlington, Va./Bishop O’Connell) found his shooting groove while 2015 shooting guard Jeffrey McClendon (Pasadena, Calif./Pasadena) proved that playing lockdown defense can garner attention as well.

Finally, the last game of the day was a tilt between two of the more highly acclaimed 2016 ESPN 25 prospects in Deadrick Lawson (Memphis, Tenn./Hamilton) and Joe Hampton (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha), with Lawson leading his Team Penny to the U15 championship over Hampton's DC Assault squad.

Here’s a closer look at some of the best performances from Day 5 at the Las Vegas Classic and Las Vegas Fab 48.

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ESPN 100 guards cap strong July in Vegas 

July, 29, 2013
7/29/13
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Editor's note: This is the final entry in Dave Telep's July Road Trip blog. Throughout the month, Dave checked in each day he was on the road while covering some of the biggest basketball recruiting events in the country, from Las Vegas to South Carolina to Indianapolis to Georgia to Orlando and back to Vegas to close things out.

LAS VEGAS -- That's it? It's over? When the July recruiting period ends, there's no parade and no season-ending party -- only a slew of dreary players, coaches and scouts who are all too happy to pack up and head home.

For me, the month started in Las Vegas at the LeBron James Skills Academy and ended here as well with a trio of elite Vegas AAU events over the weekend. For the last entry in my July road trip blog, here’s a look at the storylines that stood out on Sunday in Las Vegas, including items on ESPN 100 guards Romelo Trimble and Isaiah Whitehead, the search for big men and some recruiting news and notes.

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Jones, Travis win gold at Super Showcase 

July, 29, 2013
7/29/13
9:50
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- We witnessed an abundance of talent throughout this past week at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex between the AAU Nationals and Super Showcase.

The action culminated on Sunday as ESPN 100 recruits Tyus Jones and Reid Travis led Howard Pulley to a 79-72 win over a loaded Each 1 Teach 1 squad in the championship game of the Gold Super Showcase.

Here’s a closer look at some of the top performers from Sunday’s action at the Super Showcase and Nationals, including Jones, Travis, and ESPN 60 prospects Malachi Richardson and Terance Mann.

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Scouting late bloomers in Las Vegas 

July, 28, 2013
7/28/13
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Editor's note: This is the latest entry in Dave Telep's July Road Trip blog. Throughout the month, Dave will check in each day he's on the road while covering some of the biggest basketball recruiting events in the country. He'll let you know where he is, offer some highlights of the day and give a quick look at what's next.

LAS VEGAS -- There's no better way to spend a day (of basketball) in Las Vegas than checking out leads and evaluating late bloomers. For me, Saturday was one of the best days of the month. Spending time crossing guys off the hit list is a recruiting nerd’s nirvana.

Here are some nuggets from Saturday’s action at the elite AAU events in Las Vegas: the adidas Super 64, the Las Vegas Fab 48 and the Las Vegas Classic.

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LAS VEGAS -- Every once in a while, a much-anticipated matchup exceeds expectations, and that is exactly what happened when ESPN 100 top-10 prospect Myles Turner battled up-and-coming Thomas Welsh on Saturday. Turner is known as an elite shot-blocker, and he certainly didn't disappoint in that area as he had a plethora of deflections at the rim throughout. However, the multiskilled Welsh exhibited his unique skill set as he nailed several midrange jump shots and displayed his all-around post game.

But those two weren't the only top players on Saturday at the elite AAU events in Las Vegas. Here's a closer look at some of the best performances from Day 4 at the Las Vegas Classic and Las Vegas Fab 48.

Emmanuel Mudiay
Courtesy of Andrew ShurtleffEmmanuel Mudiay continued to impress at Las Vegas.
Best Player
Emmanuel Mudiay (Dallas/Prime Prep)
2014, PG, 6-foot-3, 185 pounds
Status: Claims offers from Kentucky, Texas, Baylor, Kansas, SMU, St. John's, NC State, Arizona, Louisville, Oklahoma State and St. John's.
What stood out with Mudiay in the first round of the playoffs was his versatility. He has terrific size for the 1 and high-level burst and overall feel for the game. He is tough to stop in transition, where he uses his speed and strength to finish among the trees inside. If the driving lanes close up, he can deliver a cross-court pass right into the shooter's pocket. While playing with elite junior Malik Newman, Mudiay has shown that he can play both guard positions with equal aplomb. When it's all said and done, it wouldn't surprise me if Mudiay turns out to be the No. 1 player in the class.

Biggest Surprise

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UF commit among standouts in Orlando 

July, 28, 2013
7/28/13
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- The AAU Nationals and Super Showcase continued at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex on Saturday with more standout performances from elite recruits and sleepers alike. Among the stars on Saturday were Florida 2015 commit Kevarrius Hayes and ESPN 60 guard P.J. Dozier.

The Super Showcase Gold division will wrap up on Sunday as the semifinals will feature Each 1 Teach 1 versus Team Final and Howard Pulley against Boo Williams. The championship will be aired on ESPN3 at 2 p.m. ET.

Before things wrap up on Sunday, here’s a look at some of the top performers from Saturday’s action in Orlando.

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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- For the second consecutive year, the “Live in the A.C.” event offered AAU and grassroots teams an East Coast alternative to the Las Vegas tournaments that have historically served as one of the pillars of the summer evaluation period.

When the balls stopped bouncing on Friday after three days of action, We-R-1 had captured the U17 championship with a win over Expressions Elite, while Team Final Blue held off CIA Bounce in the U16 final.

Here are some of the top performances and notable recruiting news from the event, which included ESPN 100 prospects like Abdul-Malik Abu and Jared Terrell and fast-rising ESPN 60 recruit Derrick Jones.

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LAS VEGAS -- The third and final day of pool play Friday at the elite Las Vegas events was filled with a little bit of everything.

ESPN 100 point guard Jordan McLaughlin appears to be back to his old self as he sliced and diced with impeccable passing, smooth shooting and cat-quick drives. Speaking of quickness, ESPN 60 point guard Hyron Edwards has that highly coveted second gear. And then there’s ESPN 100 shooting guard Trey Kell, who came to Vegas with minimal fanfare outside of the West Coast. At this stage, however, there isn't a hotter 2014 prospect out west than Kell.

Here’s a closer look at some of the top performances on Day 3 in Vegas at the adidas Super 64 and Las Vegas Fab 48. Bracket play begins Saturday and continues Sunday.

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Turner shines, Mudiay talks in Vegas 

July, 27, 2013
7/27/13
11:49
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Editor's note: This is the latest entry in Dave Telep's July Road Trip blog. Throughout the month, Dave will check in each day he's on the road while covering some of the biggest basketball recruiting events in the country. He'll let you know where he is, offer some highlights of the day and give a quick look at what's next.

LAS VEGAS -- My annual goal is to see every kid who signs with the major Division I college programs. In a perfect world, I'd include half of Division I basketball and toss in all the mid-majors, too. That's the obsessive-compulsive in me coming out.

The truth is, it's a good summer if I've laid eyes on the best 200 high school players in the country at some point between April and the end of July. After arriving in Las Vegas on Friday after several days at the AAU Nationals and Super Showcase in Orlando, I'm getting close to knocking out my hit list.

My first day at the elite events in Las Vegas proved extremely fruitful, as I got to cross Robert Cartwright, Lamonte Bearden and Thomas Welsh off the hit list, see top-10 senior Myles Turner show off his potential, and pick up recruiting info on Emmanuel Mudiay, Jordan McLaughlin, Rashad Vaughn and others.

Here are some nuggets from Friday’s action in Vegas.

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Elite recruits and sleepers star in Orlando 

July, 27, 2013
7/27/13
8:53
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- The action has been fast and furious at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, as the AAU Super Showcase is heading into the Sweet 16 and elite rounds while the AAU Nationals are just warming up.

On Friday at the Super Showcase and Nationals, a good mixture of elite prospects, rising stars and sleepers continued to stand out, including ESPN 100 prospects Kelly Oubre, Jae'Sean Tate and Devin Robinson, ESPN 60 recruit Skal Labissiere and ESPN 25 phenom Malik Monk.

Here were some of the top performers from Friday in Orlando.

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Stars live up to hype at Super Showcase 

July, 26, 2013
7/26/13
7:12
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Editor's note: This is the latest entry in Dave Telep's July Road Trip blog. Throughout the month, Dave will check in each day he's on the road while covering some of the biggest basketball recruiting events in the country. He'll let you know where he is, offer some highlights of the day and give a quick look at what's next.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- It was a quick stay in Disney for me this week. Basically, I was in town to help broadcast a pair of AAU Super Showcase games on ESPNU and then pick off a few guys during pool play of the AAU Nationals whom I needed to see.

Mission accomplished.

So here are my final thoughts from the Super Showcase.

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LAS VEGAS -- The underclassmen took center stage during Thursday's action at the adidas 64. Despite the sweltering heat in Vegas, scouts and coaches were treated to the dazzling talents of ESPN 25 prospect Josh Jackson (Detroit, Mich./Consortium) and ESPN 60 PF Carlton Bragg. Jackson has the physical tools and a feel for the game that is rare to see for a player of his youth, leading some in Michigan to call him the best prospect the state has produced since Chris Webber and Jalen Rose. Right now I would agree with that assessment but time will tell if it comes to fruition.

Not to be upstaged by the young guys, Florida commit Brandone Francis was also impressive for the senior class.

Here's a closer look at the top stars on Day 2 in Las Vegas.

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