The 10: Justin Young's things for the week
The basketball season is here. Thank goodness. There is so much to talk about and so much to watch. How can you not love what's on tap. Let all the games begin. I'd like to run through 10 things I think I like every week. Between being in the gym and keep a close watch on what's happening in the hoops universe, this space will be saved for the things that stand out to me from the week.
RIGHT TO THE SOURCE
With Nike signing Bronny James and DJ Wagner to big NIL deals, I have to wonder if more conversations start to happen at the big business level regarding sponsoring shoe circuits. Are these circuits really the best use of big budgets when it comes to securing the top athletes under brands anymore?
With the ability to tap right into the player himself, especially at the youth level, the infrastructure of shoe leagues could be up for a deeper exploration of purpose. Food for thought. I will probably expand on that more in the coming months.
Food for thought.
Memphis We have seen Floridian Carl Cherenfant quite a bit on the HoopSeen stage. He came up through our platform and at every stop along the way, no matter the team he was on, the South Floridian shined on the defensive end. We love his value as a stopper at the next level.
So, when Memphis landed a commitment from him, it made too much sense. The Tigers can use a guy like him as they glue talent together. Cherenfant is a really nice piece to the lineup as the roster is constructed with prep stars and transfers.
In today’s recruiting landscape, guys like Cherenfant are important because he’s good enough to play right away but even more important in the sustainability of success at the college level given he stays the course for four years.
ON A ROLE
The gap in college basketball is closing between the high-majors and everyone else. Recruiting between those levels are blurring lines, too. There are programs landing cornerstone players that equate to long-term success at the college level.
To me, these are the most important recruiting wins every single year. Sure, blue-chippers are important. But a quick stop is just a shot in the arm. When a program lands an important role player, that's a big deal and sometimes means the different between a good 20-win season and a berth to the Dance.
There are two guys who I have watched recently that fit this bill perfectly.
For starters, Loyola Marymount has a stud in Aaron McBride of Corona Centennial. I wrote this about the 6-7 forward after his stellar showing at the Border League:
"His best trait is his consistent production. We see him shine wherever his team needs the most help. At the high school level, there is a Shane Battier quality to his overall team value. He is a terrific pick-up for LMU and his showing over the weekend should be a prequel to the role we will see from him this scholastic season."
I think he has All-Conference potential in college. That's a recruting win, y'all.
Here's another one to take note of... Gabe Warren to Rice. The native Texan is now at Dream City Christian in Arizona, playing an important role on an important team. Before he senior season transfer, he was an important role player on an important Texas team - John Paul II.
Warren is a tough-nosed, hard-playing wing forward who has had to find his place in a talented lineup. He always has. What a great practice for the next level. Rice lands another important player from an Arizona prep program. Current freshman Mekhi Mason, who could be a major player for the Owls. Pair him with Warren and you have a couple of guys to grow a winning roster with.
MOVING ON UP
I mention on the Just a Minute podcast (please like and subscribe, as the kids say) that we are moving Chris Johnson and Bronny James up in our rankings. We did. Johnson, the Kansas commit, is now No. 20 overall in 2023 and James is now No. 40 overall in the senior class.
NEXT UP IN 2024 RANKINGS REFRESH
I'll adding and/or moving up the following ratings of these players from the class of 2024: Taj Degourville, Jalil Bethea, Trent Perry and Zion Sensley. All four will be inside our top 100 sooner than later.
I THOUGHT I TOLD YOU
Benedict Mathurin is who I thought he is. In his first three games, the former Arizona Wildcat is posting 24 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2 assists while shooting 52.1 percent from the floor, 52.4 percent from three and doing it all in 28.7 minutes a game. I made some bold statements on draft night about Mathurin. I told every NBA scout that asked that I thought he was going to be that dude in the league.
Three games in, he’s exactly who I thought he could be.
I said it. I think he’s the best guard in the draft. This is my receipt. Hali and Mathurin vs Cade and Ivey is gonna be fun Eastern Conference game. pic.twitter.com/MMxQa9Jy95— Justin Young (@JustinDYoung) June 24, 2022
You're going to see, hear and read a lot about the Thompson twins this year. More than you already have. If you've read this site for the last couple of years, first off - thanks, and second, you already know about them. The South Floridian twins of Amen and Ausar are HoopSeen Association (HSA) legends. They dominated our stage before leaving for Overtime Elite.
Now they are projected lottery picks.
Both of them did it without the big box marketing of shoe companies. If you're into a good long read, have a look at this on ESPN. Good stuff.
I SEE YOU
If you win 31 games, maintain a No. 1 ranking and don't look like you're letting up, I think we need to talk about it. Nova Southeastern had a magical season last year at the Division II level. How do they sustain such success? Well, they do it by landing good prospects on the recruiting front.
Camden Andrews, one of our favorite point guards from our circuit and Preview camps committed to the Florida program. He's a top 15 player in the state of Tennessee and has a pedigree of winning. The Chattanooga native knows how to run a big-time team and he clearly recognizes a big-time situation.
If bluebloods get all of the attention in recruiting at the Division I, then I'm all for balancing out the conversation for Division II. This is a big one on the recruiting front.
VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Okay, fine this is a bit old. But, man, this is a slow-motion unicorn video of a unicorn. Are you ready for the Victor era of basketball?
Would you just look at this? Just look at it.
Victor Wembanyama. That’s the tweet. pic.twitter.com/hYEdvI3NUw— Pro Insight™️ (@_proinsight) October 5, 2022
CLICK IT, READ IT, SHARE IT
I went to college in the Pacific Northwest. One of the first basketball cultures I really dove into was Seattle. I feel in love with it. There isn’t a city like it when it comes to the roundball. Tucked away in the grey days of winter, the games inside are full of energy and competition.
This story on Paolo Banchero and the culture of Seattle basketball is absolutely stunning. It dives into exactly why I love Seattle and why I’ll roll with a player from there any day of the week.