NCB On The Trail: Kendall Small

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- There was a major buzz inside the gym of Philadelphia University as the clock struck 5 p.m. and the likes of John Calipari, Rick Pitino, Kevin Ollie, Larry Brown, John Beilein, Bo Ryan, and dozens of other high profile head coaches kicked off the July evaluation period at the Reebok Breakout Camp.

Marquee matchup

video
The ESPN 60 has officially grown into the ESPN 100 for the Class of 2015, and there are plenty of intriguing storylines among the top rising seniors in the country:

[+] EnlargeIvan Rabb
Chris Williams/Icon SMIIvan Rabb maintained his tenuous hold on the No. 1 spot in the 2015 class.
1. Top spot still up for grabs. Ivan Rabb has retained his spot as the top-ranked prospect in the Class of 2015, but make no mistake about it: This remains a very tight race that will continue to play out for the next 12 months. Rabb’s versatility and efficiency during the Elite Youth Basketball League regular season, in addition to his vast physical upside, were enough for him to retain his title. But he has plenty of competition. Ben Simmons has been coming on as strong in recent months as any prospect in the class, as he is now turning potential into production on a much more consistent basis. In a class full of scoring guards, Malik Newman stands out as the most talented of them all, and very likely the best pure scorer in the ESPN 100. Diamond Stone has had an equally dominant spring in the Under Armour Association, playing his way into the top four and asserting his claim as a contender in the race for the No. 1 spot.

2. Oh, Henry. No player has made a more dramatic jump up the rankings than Henry Ellenson, who went all the way from No. 47 to No. 5 in the ESPN 100. Ellenson averaged 18 points and 9 rebounds per game for Playground Elite during the EYBL season, showing a versatile and unique game for a 6-foot-9 power forward, all while continuing to raise his level of his production with each passing week. He can shoot the ball from the 3-point line but is also a threat to put the ball on the floor. He is perhaps most effective when he’s able to get out and run in transition.

3. Other risers. Ellenson is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to players whose stock is rising. Jaylen Brown had a terrific spring on the adidas Gauntlet circuit and played his way into the top 10. Chase Jeter jumped more than 20 spots to land at No. 13, while Michigan State-bound big man Deyonta Davis moved up 30 spots to No. 18. Other spring stock risers include Justin Simon, who went from 45 to 23; Jalen Adams, 46 to 33; and Jalen Coleman, who hopped 24 spots to land at No. 34 in the ESPN 100.

4. Announcing his arrival. Previously a member of the 2016 class, Caleb Swanigan is making his debut in the 2015 rankings at No. 17 after announcing his reclassification last month. The wide-bodied 6-9 big man has nimble feet for a player of his size and an even bigger presence on the backboards. He led the entire EYBL in rebounding this season and was equally dominant cleaning the glass on both ends. His recruitment has also heated up, with Arizona and Kansas joining a long list of scholarship offers that already included Michigan State, Indiana, Purdue and many others.

5. More notable newcomers. While Swanigan might be the most notable of the new prospects in the ESPN 100, he’s far from the only one. In a class in desperate need of point guards, Corey Sanders has helped to fill a major void. He was unranked in the last ESPN 60 but now makes his ESPN 100 debut ranked No. 31 in the class. Former UConn commit Prince Ali is another prospect who was on the outside looking in the last time we updated rankings, but he has more than proved himself in recent months. Tres Tinkle, Admon Gilder and De'Jounte Murray make their debuts in the top half of the ESPN 100.

[+] EnlargeJessie Govan
Bart Young/USA BasketballGeorgetown commit Jessie Govan is trending back up the ESPN 100.
6. Down but not out. As some prospects go up the rankings, others must go down, but sometimes that’s just the spark of motivation they need to reassert themselves in the coming months. Jessie Govan and Terance Mann are examples of prospects who slipped out of the rankings at one point in time but are now trending back in the right direction. At No. 23, Tyler Dorsey is a prospect who could make another climb up the ESPN 100 before all is said and done, while the same can be said for P.J. Dozier, Charles Matthews, Doral Moore and K.J. Lawson.

7. Big and getting bigger. The 2015 class was already well known for the amount of size and frontcourt depth, but that has become an even bigger (no pun intended) trend in these most recent rankings. In fact, 11 of the top 15 ranked players in the class come at either the center or power forward positions, making this far and away the most frontcourt-dominated class we’ve seen in recent memory.

8. Plenty of positional size. Size is a characteristic of this class, not just among the frontcourt positions, but across each of the five positions on the floor. Even the perimeter players atop the class have terrific size relative to their spot on the floor. Jaylen Brown is no slouch of a wing at 6-5, while Brandon Ingram’s 6-8 frame is ideal. Malachi Richardson has equally imposing size at the shooting guard position at 6-6. Conversely, we don’t see a player 6 feet or under until Kendall Small (ditto on the no pun intended) checks in at No. 60.

9. Scoring guards. While the big men dominate the top of the rankings, many of the best guards in the class all seem to come from a similar prototype. They handle the ball more than natural 2-guards and yet are more focused on their individual offense than pure point guards. Instead, guys such as Newman, Antonio Blakeney, Allonzo Trier and Isaiah Briscoe can be best described as scoring guards -- guards who act as the primary playmakers for their respective teams but look for their own offense first and foremost before passing as a result of forcing the defense to collapse or rotate.

10. On the cusp. The final spots in the ESPN 100 are always some of the most debatable, essentially because there are so many prospects who can make a legitimate claim on the top 100 status. That was particularly true this year, when proven players such as Bryant Crawford and Rex Pflueger were left just on the outside looking in, along with other deserving prospects such as Joseph Toye, Matt Ryan, Chimezie Metu, Marcus Derrickson and several others.
Kendall Small, who ranks No. 55 in the ESPN 60 for the Class of 2015, committed to Oregon on Tuesday. Small is ranked as the No. 3 point guard in the nation and the No. 8 prospect in California.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Take Flight Challenge recap 

January, 6, 2014
Jan 6
1:00
PM ET
REDONDO BEACH, Calif. -- The first Take Flight Challenge was littered with Division I prospects, and the level of play was outstanding. Arizona State-bound Tra Holder put together a stellar performance with his efficient scoring while Loyola (Los Angeles) kept its undefeated season going winning an epic battle with highly regarded Compton. However, the biggest buzz out West is whether a virtual unknown prior to the summer -- UCLA-bound Thomas Welsh -- could sneak into the McDonald's All-American Game due to his dominating performances each and every night.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Under Armour Holiday Classic recap 

December, 31, 2013
12/31/13
2:05
PM ET
SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- After a down year in 2012 in terms of talent, the 2013 Under Armour Holiday Classic featured a tournament loaded with individual talent and quality teams.

Savvy veterans like North Carolina-bound Theo Pinson (High Point, N.C./Wesleyan Christian Academy) and Arizona-bound Parker Jackson-Cartwright (Los Angeles, Calif./Loyola) had their way with the competition, while up-and-comers Lonzo Ball (Chino Hills, Calif./Chino Hills) and Bryce Aiken (Elizabeth, N.J./The Patrick School) exhibited glimpses of what the future beholds.

Best All-Around
Theo Pinson (High Point, NC/Wesleyn Christian Academy)
2014, SF, 6-foot-6, 210 pounds
Status: Signed with North Carolina

With his athleticism, length and improved perimeter skill set, Pinson pretty much did whatever he wanted against the competition. He was electrifying in the open court, made sound decisions (played point guard at times) and was disruptive on the defensive end due to his long arms and active hands.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. -- The 62nd annual Pac Shores tournament kicked off the high school season with a bang. The tournament was littered with Division I talent, led by ESPN 100 recruit Daniel Hamilton (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) and ESPN 60 prospects Tyler Dorsey (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) and Kendall Small (Lakewood, Calif./Mayfair).

Here were some of the top performers from the tournament.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Phase 1 Top 40 Camp/Combine recap 

October, 22, 2013
10/22/13
10:40
AM ET
LAS VEGAS -- The inaugural top-40 camp/combine had an exceptional collection of underclassmen who will be impacting the college game in the near future.

[+] EnlargeTroy Brown
Kelly Kline/Under Armour Six-foot-5 freshman prospect Troy Brown showcased immense potential during the top-40 camp/combine in Las Vegas.
The camp had a number of intriguing storylines, including the continued improvement of ESPN 60 junior Chase Jeter (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman) and the emergence of perhaps the best prospect in the camp in 6-foot-5 freshman Troy Brown (Las Vegas/Centennial).

Best Prospects
Troy Brown Jr. (Las Vegas/Centennial)
2017, PG, 6-foot-5, 180 pounds


Brown is a willowy point guard prospect with extraordinary long arms. His handle is slick and tight, and he has the innate ability to find guys in the open court due to his vision and savvy. Despite his sleek frame he can mix it up inside and snag rebounds in traffic, and his jump shot (release point) has improved since July. It's obviously very early in the process, but this Penny Hardaway-like prospect has immense potential if he stays grounded.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

CALIFORNIA -- The second of July's three evaluation periods ended with a bang out West this past weekend, with a pair of exciting events taking place in California.

Marshawn Cherry's San Diego All-Stars Pump-n-Run squad efficiently put away the competition in impressive fashion to win the Double Pump Best of the Summer event in Anaheim. The victors were led by one of the fastest rising prospects in the country in Trey Kell.

As Kell and his teammates were celebrating their championship, Ryan Silver launched his Pangos Stars of the Future event, and to say it was a success would be an understatement. The prospects in attendance ranged from the Class of 2015 to 2017, and none were as impressive as 6-foot-10 DeAndre Ayton. Many other recruits contributed standout performances, including Max Heidegger, Nuwr'iyl Williams and Vance Jackson.

Let’s take a closer look at which prospects made the most noise at the two West Coast events.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

SPONSORED HEADLINES