Recruiting Notebook: Ten standout recruits from July’s evaluation period
- DeAndre Ayton, Michael Porter Jr. & Trevon Duval further proved that they're top-five players in 2017, while other prospects surprised and saw their stocks rise.
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Trae Young and his running mate, Michael Porter, rolled through the Nike Peach Jam in impressive fashion. Young connected on 24 of his 51 three-point attempts, while averaging 27 points and tossing out more than seven assists per game. Young was effective not only as a scorer, but also as a facilitator. He made the U18 USA Basketball men’s national team that competed in Chile, and although his hot shooting didn’t continue there, he showed up at the Nike Skills Academy and played well. Young has proven himself as an elite player at his position, and his game continues to evolve and progress.
Heading into the summer, lead guard Trevon Duval was regarded as the top overall prospect at the position. His play throughout the month continued to confirm that notion. Duval has a ridiculously quick first step, plus an extra gear of speed that not many of his peers have. When you couple that with his tricky ball handling, Duval is tough to keep in front. Duval led We R 1 to a championship at the Under Armour Finals and then had a very strong outing at the Nike Skills Academy.
Five-star wing Michael Porter was the coaches’ pick as the top prospect of July in a poll I conducted after the July evaluation periods. Of the 106 votes, Porter received 35 votes, two more than DeAndre Ayton. Porter averaged 27.1 points through seven games at the Nike Peach Jam, arguably the best tournament of the year, while helped MoKan Elite to the championship. Porter also led the USA Basketball U18 team in scoring at the FIBA Americas with 15.8 points a game, while shooting 53% from the field.
Recruiting: Committed to the Washington Huskies
The Mississippi native keeps getting better. During a pair of viewings at the NY2LA Summer Jam, Weatherspoon was terrific. His aggressive style is effective, and he fits the mold of the modern point guard who can score at a high level, while also mixing in some facilitating. Weatherspoon is a scorer that does a good job of creating space for shot opportunities. He’s very good from the mid-range and is improving as a shooter from three. After leading the adidas Uprising league in scoring, Weatherspoon was fifth at the summer championship at 21.5 points a game, while shooting 42% from three (10 of 24).
Last year Wenyen Gabriel emerged for Vinny Pastore’s Mass Rivals team. This time around, Bede progressed his recruitment from the mid-major level up to high-major scholarship offers. Bede, who will be ranked when Scout updates its top 100, brings energy and effort to the point guard position. He defends well, makes good decisions with the ball and plays an aggressive brand of basketball.
Recruiting: Butler Bulldogs, Massachusetts Minutemen, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Temple Owls, Dayton Flyers, Villanova Wildcats, Virginia Cavaliers, Virginia Commonwealth Rams, Towson Tigers, Rhode Island Rams, Providence Friars, Boston College Eagles
No one improved his stock more from last December through the summer more than Collin Sexton, who ranks as a top-10 player on Scout. Sexton is arguably the most aggressive and competitive player in the 2017 class. After leading the USA Basketball U17 team in scoring and assists at the World Championships, he played well in Las Vegas and led his camp team to a championship at the Nike Skills Academy.
Recruiting: Alabama Crimson Tide, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Florida Gators, Villanova Wildcats, Kansas Jayhawks, North Carolina Tar Heels, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Iowa State Cyclones, NC State Wolfpack, Arizona Wildcats
Although his team didn’t have a strong showing at the Nike Peach Jam, Mitchell Robinson certainly did, averaging 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.6 blocks per game. The recent Western Kentucky commit held his own in a match up with DeAndre Ayton and was productive every time he touched the floor. Pushing 7-feet tall, Robinson is athletic and mobile. He’s quick off his feet and has serious potential as a rim protector.
Recruiting: Committed to the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Although my viewings of M.J. Walker were fairly limited in July, his effort at the Under Armour All-America camp particularly stood out. Walker has progressed as a scorer, and he’s becoming a more confident and effective shooter from long distance. He’s strong, athletic and comfortable shooting on the move or pulling up for mid-range jump shots. Walker was one of the top prospects in the Under Armour stable.
The only underclassman to make this list is 2019 wing Scottie Lewis. Lewis had college coaches buzzing throughout the month because of his ridiculous athleticism and scoring attack. It started at the Under Armour All-America camp, where he flourished in the up and down nature. But he continued his strong play at the UA Finals as well. Lewis, a wing out of Tinton Falls (N.J.) Ranney School, is tough to contain in transition and has the potential to be a very good long-term defender.
DeAndre Ayton entered the summer as Scout’s No. 1 prospect in the 2017 class, and his play, specifically at the Nike Peach Jam, proved he’s more than worthy of that spot. Ayton averaged 21.5 points, 12.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks, while leading California Supreme into the second round of the Peach Jam tournament. Ayton has a versatile scoring attacking, but he’s also able to impact the game with his rebounding and rim protection.