2022 Section 7: Top overall performers
GLENDALE, AZ - There was a lot of talent under the roof of State Farm Stadium for the 2022 Section 7 team camp. Who were the best of the very best from the point of view of our Editor Justin Young? This quartet. That's who.
As I mentioned in my three things I learned story from Monday, I said the young class of 2025 prospect is my No. 1 player in his class nationally. I could make an argument he’s the top high school prospect in all of the land regardless of what graduating year he is. Oh, he’s only 14. Fourteen. There was a takeover quality to his game that we just didn’t see from a lot of other players in the field. Sure, him was beat by a very good Harvard-Westlake team. But the Florida-based squad beat West Ranch by 29, St. Augustine by 11 and Durango by 25. We’re talking about some of the top teams in the West. Boozer had so many wow moments along the way. We’re just barely scratching the surface of storylines about the young fella. This one will be fun to watch play out over the next three years. Buckle up.
There was a temptation to save him for a different category, perhaps the best blow up guy at Section 7. But after more thought, he was much more a top overall performer than a guy who saw his recruitment take off. Saying that he came onto the scene at this stage is a disservice to the schools who were already actively involved with the big man from Northern Idaho. When it came to interior production, the big man was a force to reckoned with in the paint. He knew how to score against size in the middle of the floor. Physically, he’s big enough to push guys off the block for rebounds, put-backs and low post scores. He has great hands that can lock down the ball with purpose. He’s talented enough to knock down elbow jumpers with regularity. There is a reason why a school like Virginia got in there early with him, brought him across the country from Coeur d'Alene to Charlottesville for a visit. Now the likes of UCLA, Cal, Gonzaga, Washington State and Oregon State are some of the players for him on the recruiting front.
This is a familiar space for McCain. He was one of the very best players last year at Section 7 and now that he’s headed into his senior season, the Duke-bound guard piloted his team to a title at this year’s summer spectacular in the West. His ability to get to any spot he wants with the dribble and his ability to score in traffic is terrific. A slippery ball-handler, McCain kept defenders on their toes all weekend long in Arizona. He can lull his man to a comfortable position and then blow by him with the dribble for an easy lay-up. He can pop off for a couple of dagger jumpers from three. McCain always has had the alpha dog gene to his game but with Donovan Dent now at New Mexico (by the way, he’ll be one of the best freshmen in college hoops next year), McCain is mixing his scoring, playmaking and leading together in the senior year smoothie. The full array is taking place and he has a major summer title to prove it.
I wrote one note next to his name on my notepad after watching him for three games at Section 7. “He’s smooth with it. Comes easy.” That’s it. That’s the report. The simplicity of his game is so attractive when you look at him as a prospect. The thought of him as a 20-something hooper makes you wonder if he’s still very much at the starting block of who he is as a player. A year ago at Section 7, he was one of the true blow-up guys from the action. Now firmly planted as a national prospect, he drew the eyes of the who’s who of colleges that were on hand for the weekend. From my point of view, Mick Cronin of UCLA and Florida’s Todd Golden were at his games the most. That’s not to say there were the exclusive ones there. Oregon’s Dana Altman was on hand for multiple games and Stanford was a constant. They all saw the same thing - a guy who could be an All-Conference level player in college. Stojakovic is looking more and more like one of the most versatile guys in the class of 2023 nationally.