The adidas Nations camp kicked off on Friday evening as some of the very best from all throughout the world hit the floor at the Next Level Sports Complex in Anaheim, California. Eight teams have been put together showcasing prospects from the 2017, 2018, and 2019 classes, along with four squads boasting some of the top ballplayers from the college game. The night brought us to the sidelines in checking out the younger bunch from the American soil as, once again, it was Zion Williamson that led the way with his elite production. We take a look at a few notes learned along the way out on the west coast.
1: ZION WILLIAMSON CONTINUES DOMINATION
If you think that Zion Williamson is a one trick pony, a guy that primarily produces because of just how much more athletic and explosive he is compared to everyone else, think again. The 6-foot-7 combo forward type definitely can score the ball in the lane, just as he did Friday evening, where he made all nine of his field goal attempts en route to 21 points on the final stat sheet. However, many fail to see the fact that this time last year, the Game Elite product was just 6-foot-3 and was more of a 2-guard. He unleashed some of these ball skills from yesteryear in Anaheim in leading the break, facilitating as a point-forward, and play making below the arc.
No one has been more productive all summer long and on Friday evening, Zion Williamson would have received the game ball for his MVP performance. He is one of the best that there is in 2018 and he continues to surpass all expectations placed onto him due to his elite production on the final stat sheet.
2: RECHON BLACK SHOWS GREAT MATURITY
Everyone wants to be a point guard but wanting to be one and doing it are two totally different things. Rechon Black, a 6-foot-7 point-wing type out of North Carolina that recently made noise by stating that he would transfer to Montverde Academy, showed great progressions at the lead guard spot on Friday night. He took care of the ball much better, understood the time and place of when to look to score and when to play make, and seems to have a greater pace for things in the backcourt. While he is not there just yet, the 2018 UNC commit displayed great signs of maturity and with the recent commit of Coby White for the Tar Heels, look for Roy Williams to throw out a bevy of play making lineups in the coming years for the ACC blueblood.
3: TYLER HERRO SHOWS BUY-IN
If you’re new to the scene, Tyler Herro is a guy that will impress you straight out of the gates with his scoring arsenal along with his more than polished mid-range game. He still isn’t the strongest or most explosive but when it comes to finding guys that just know how to play the game, no one displays this trait more than the Whitnall High product. On Friday, the Wisconsin native torched his opponents via the pull-up jumper and also slid over onto the ball in facilitating his team’s half-court offense but it was his energy exertions on the glass and on the defensive end that got us excited.
Converting on six of his 10 field goal attempts that led to 13 point on the scoreboard, Herro is always going to score the ball. Heck, he could give you 15 points just by falling out of bed in the morning. However, if he can continue to show two-way focus and rebound the ball some, just as he did last week in Vegas when he brought down 11 rebounds in our viewing of him, then the 2018 prospect could really see his game hit the next level and it is easy to see why he is so coveted within the Midwest.
4: NO ONE IS GUARDING IMMANUEL QUICKLEY OFF OF THE HIGH BALL SCREEN
Immanuel Quickley had a solid high school campaign prior to entering his junior summer. The John Carroll product has always had the size and burst to him that makes him a demon to contain but really, it wasn’t until the USA U17 trials in Colorado Springs this past June that boosted the Maryland native’s stock to the next level.
In California on Friday, Quickley was doing it all again. Whenever the high ball screen was presented to him, the 6-foot-3 guard made every play that was allotted to him. He changes speeds with the best of them and gets into the lane in a blink of an eye. While he still does need to shoot it much better and on a consistent basis as he tends to cuff the basketball prior to the release where he missed four of his six field goal attempts and both of his long range jumpers, the promise is evidently clear with the junior guard. A high level play maker that anyone would want to play alongside of, Quickley is an elite prospect and backed up his recent break out in a major way in California.
5: REGGIE PERRY IS THE PERFECT NEW ERA BIG MAN
We spoke in-depth about Reggie Perry last week during his time in Las Vegas as he dominated his foes on the playing floor. The Arkansas Hawks product spoke on how enjoys making others better and passing the ball and he did just that in Anaheim.
While his jumper and shot selection needs some tweaking where the 2018 big man attempted too many outside jumpers from 16-19 feet, when thrown onto the floor into the high post region, Perry went to work. He displayed great vision as a high-post forward throwing excellent entries, made the proper kick out pass, and was super engaged on the glass coming up with his fair share of 50-50 rebounds. Arkansas and Florida State have prioritized the five-star power forward to date, a guy that should be ready to make an immediate impact wherever he goes in two years.