Tark Classic: Hoops gifts fill the tree on Monday
LAS VEGAS, NV - The high school division of the Tarkanian Classic tipped off on Monday and we spent the day at the Orleans Arena for the Platinum Division of the event.
He was the guy on Monday. Just outstanding. In an opening round game against Kell (GA), Thomas did jjust about everything you would want your alpha to do. I’d be hard pressed to find a guard in the country that I wouldn’t want to have in the clutch. Kell won in the closing seconds - which tells you a little something about just how good that win was. But Thomas continues to play at a level that warrants a continual jump up in our rankings for the class of 2024. UNLV head coach Kevin Kruger continues to make Thomas a priority in the 2024 class for the Rebels. Gonzaga and UCLA, also players on his short list of six, dispatched assistant coaches for the action to see Thomas.
With the class of 2023 recruiting board filled with signees from the fall, staff across the country are preparing for the roster shuffle as the collegiate season hits the halfway point. Curry, a North Carolina native, is one of the quickest guards that remains unsigned. His end-to-end speed was present in his team’s morning game. The lefty can shoot it and speed it up. He can run pick-and-roll sets without any trouble. Curry said he has officially visited Ole Miss and mentioned Texas A&M, South Carolina, Memphis and Xavier as schools that are recruiting him. He also said that he is wide open in his recruitment.
One of the best available seniors and overall point guards in the nation, Rollison will be a guy who should draw a steady stream of coaches at his games the rest of this season. His play warrants such an activity. Rollison is a tough guard with a tough mental approach to the game. He’s all-in on defense and is fully healthy. His recruitment is wide open, per his travel team director Etop Udo-Ema. Rollison is on our short list of the best overall available players in the class of 2023 nationally.
Ace Buckner, St. Ignatius: There was a big buzz surrounding the 6-foot-2 guard from Ohio on Monday night. "Did you see #21?" was a common question that made it’s way down media and coaches row. We did. And we saw a guy who should be a hot name going into the New Year. He’s a major recruit for the mid-majors, rightfully so. And now we have some high-majors peeking in. Bucker is a crafty, speedy, competitive and smart player out of the backcourt. He made a strong impression in the West right before Christmas.
THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT
You’re going to read a lot about the son of NBAer Trevor Ariza in the year’s to come. He’s a very talented class of 2026 prospect with length just like his dad and a constant presence on defense. On the other side of the ball, he’s a hard guard because of his slashing ability and knack for scoring with some smoothness at the rim. A major high-ceiling guy to watch develop into a potential super prospect.
The smooth shooting wing said he holds offers from St. John’s, Florida Gulf Coast, SMU and NJIT with the likes of Memphis, Virginia and Villanova showing interest. Why are these schools in so early on the class of 2025 stud? Well, he’s an absolute threat from three. A darn good one at that. He was one of the best shooters that we saw inside the Orleans Arena on Monday.
Rueckert is a basketball player. Smart, right place, right time kind of player and fully aware of who he is in the context of his team, the 6-foot-7 wing plays much older and experienced compared to his peers. Rueckert is a multi-postional player that made some clutch plays in a highly competitive game against a bigger, stronger and older Florida team. This was a first impression that didn't disappoint.
The future of Bishop O'Connell looks strong with the play of 2026 guards Adam Oumiddoch, Quincy Wadley and 2025 guard Shane Lincoln make up a great trio of players. Wadley was a shot-maker early on for O'Connell and the versatility of Oumiddoch has such great size and interchangeability and Lincoln is a great complimentary piece to the overall roster. You can expect all three of these guys to grow into priority players.
On Monday, the recently committed big man headed to Auburn was the most immovable force inside the Orleans Arena. His sheer size and presence around the cup were critical in the closing seconds in a come-from-behind win for Kell over Liberty. Marshall took a dish and dunked it home for the go-ahead score. At this level, you can throw your three biggest bodies at him and look at the scorebook at the end of the game and count up at least 12 fouls total. That’s his value at this level, no question about it.
Jadyn Toppin, Faith Family (TX): New Mexico is great this season and they could be even better in the years to come. The staff continues to recruit the right players for the right situations. Toppin, a hard-playing, keep-it-simple forward can score with ease in the paint and empties the energy tank every single game. He’s a high-major talent that should fit in perfectly for what the Lobos are looking for in players. Great player, great fit, great situation awaits here for Toppin.
There are two truths about Cherenfant that we’ve come to know from covering him and hosting him at our events over the years. 1. He is so good at getting into the paint with the dribble. 2. He’s a nightmare on defense. Memphis has a monster class in talent and in-depth. Cherenfant will see his opportunity to play come as a defender from day one.
HI, MY NAME IS…
Kell is one of Georgia’s best teams and one of the reasons is the complimentary roles that guys like Cannon Richards bring to the table. The 6-foot-6 forward was so good on the glass and gave his team a shot to be a winner. Richards is a glue guy extreme and will be that same kind of guy at the next level. Colleges get it. College of Charleston, South Florida, Auburn, Penn and Ole Miss are involved, he said.