The Adidas Gauntlet Finale tipped off at the Upward Stars Center in Spartanburg, South Carolina Thursday morning, with a plethora of college coaches from all over the country converging on the East Coast to begin the first July evaluation period.
With an emphasis on checking out the 16U group, several underclassmen made a positive impression, while a couple of rising seniors proved they are worthy of being recruited.
Here are the biggest storylines from Thursday in Garrett Tucker's eyes...
WILLIAM DOUGLAS EMERGES
2017 Christian Brothers (TN) combo guard William Douglass (pictured) has been a notable name within the city of Memphis for the past year. Prior to Thursday, the 6-foot-4 guard already claimed offers from some high-major programs in the Southeast. However, his performances over the course of the day only helped his recruitment going forward.
Douglass, a talented athlete with the ability to score at the rim or shoot it from the perimeter, displayed an all-around offensive game. He scored, passed, rebounded, and defended as a guard. He can score for himself or set his teammates up, as he showed both abilities on Thursday. Much was made about his offensive ability, but defense is Douglass' calling. He as all the tools to be an elite defender at the next level with his size, length, quickness, and athleticism.
Douglass currently claims scholarship offers from Florida State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Georgia Tech, and TCU, along with interest from Virginia, Xavier, Michigan, and Memphis. While that is a lengthy and sizable list, it will only grow. Expect more high-major schools and mid-major plus programs to follow him closely over the next few days.
ARKANSAS HAWKS CONTINUE TO ROLL
The Arkansas Hawks 16U team has earned the reputation as one of the most talented teams in their age group nationwide. With a nice mixture of talent and competitive players, they have all the pieces to make a deep run at the Finale.
Headlining the team is 2018 Thomasville (GA) power forward Reggie Perry, who is ranked No. 13 overall in the 2018 HoopSeen national rankings. The 6-foot-8 big man is blessed with athleticism and size, but the most impressive part of his game on Thursday was his passing ability. Perry showed the willingness to pass and had phenomenal vision and touch. He was also a force on the boards and attacking off the bounce. Georgia Tech, Mississippi State, Arkansas, Auburn, and Alabama were among the schools watching him.
Complementing Perry was the backcourt duo of Desi Sills and Isaiah Joe. Sills is a tough guard that competes and gets after it on both ends of the floor, while Joe possesses upside and versatility on the perimeter. Arkansas-Little Rock has offered Joe, but a handful of schools are showing high interest in the talented duo.
AKOK AKOK SHOWS PROMISE
It's going to take some time, but 2018 Manchester (MA) West combo forward Akok Akok is going to be really, really good in the future. Standing 6-foot-7 and sporting a huge wingspan, Akok is skilled and has a unique game. His range extends to the three-point line, and while he didn't hit many 3's, there is promise. He is still learning the game, but he makes up for that with a high motor.
Amok only listed interest from Virginia and the Cavaliers had an assistant on-hand watching Thursday afternoon. Nevertheless, many more high-major programs will join the party in time. In terms of comparisons, he has a perfect chance to mature similarly to how Kentucky freshman Wenyen Gabriel rose last summer.
TEAM CARROLL RESERVES PRODUCE
Alex Reese, Garrison Brooks, and Jamal Johnson receive a lot of the attention with Team Carroll and rightfully so. However, a couple of unlikely players rose to the occasion Saturday morning in their matchup against Gateway.
2017 Winfield (AL) point guard Payton Stovall sparked a 10-point comeback with his shooting from distance. The lefty knocked down five 3's for 15 points in the narrow overtime loss. On the defensive end, 2017 Helena (AL) wing Jon Brown turned the tides with his lockdown on-ball defense and rebounding. He exuded toughness and halted the Gateway momentum in the last minutes of regulation.
Despite the loss, Stovall and Brown earned their worth Thursday morning. Both will see more attention coming there way because of their respective roles.