The first day of the Charlotte Hoops Challenge kicked off on Friday afternoon as some of the best throughout the Tar Heel State hit the hardwood at Rocky River High School. A few already committed and signed prospects added further to their resumes while a handful of others impressed displaying tons of value and upside for the next level. While there is still another day of hoops here in Charlotte, we take a look back at the three things we learned following our turkey hangover.
DJ BURNS MAKES A STATEMENT
Settling in for a matinee session with DJ Burns as the headliner of the outing, the 6-foot-10 center more than impressed with his ability to change the entire face of the game with his dominating mentality from 15-feet and in. The lefty big man, who has recently lost about 25 pounds and looks a lot more svelte and agile in getting up and down the floor, enjoyed his hard work in Charlotte as he was the catalyst for his team’s win.
The 2019 class is shaping up to be a very, very good one. There is size, athleticism, playmakers and shooters. However, Burns is making a case to be thrown into the small group of premier big men within his class as he continues to mature and produce.
What stands out the most about the York Prep big man is just how good of a feel for the game that he really has with his back to the basket. Very rarely do you find big men that are his age that can make the proper decisions with the basketball within crowded spaces. He is an unbelievable passer out of the high post setting, has a go-to drop step and hook move over his right shoulder, and can also turn and face and knock down the mid-range jumper with a hand in his face.
Finishing with 21 points, nine rebounds, five blocks, and four assists, Burns defines what it means to be a two-way producer. He is steadily improving and tracking as a priority high-major recruit for those nearby as he already boasts offers from the likes of LSU, Tennessee, Georgia, and Georgia Tech. Hence, keep an eye on the big fella out of Rock Hill, South Carolina as Burns has all of the physical tangibles in tow to be a big time prospect from the 2019 class.
AUSTIN WILEY IS READY...NOW
There isn’t much that Austin Wiley has to prove anymore. The kid has won every step of the way and after coming off of a gold medal run at the World Championships in Spain this past summer with the under-17 USA Basketball squad, it seems that the Auburn signee has continued to improve and on Friday, seemed the most fluid and agile that I had ever seen him.
A 6-foot-11 center with a 7-foot-6 wingspan, Wiley is your prototypical throwback center down low. He has great touch around the basket where he can convert over either shoulder while heavily guarded, can make the proper kick out pass prior to the double team, and can now accurately hit the elbow jumper with confidence. Going up against Independence High, the Auburn signee was a nuisance straight out of the gates. Not only did he fill up the box score on offense to a tune of 20 points and 15 rebounds off of just eight attempts from the field, but on the other end, changed nearly every shot in the paint as he rebounded his area with authority.
Bruce Pearl could really use this kid right now. He is a top-25 big man and one of the more productive guys around from 15-feet and in. Wiley has progressed every step of the way and now way beyond the prior knee injuries in the past, the Conrad Academy star is more than ready to blossom and become the face of the Auburn basketball program in the years ahead.
DEVON DOTSON SHOWS IMPROVEMENT
Capping the night off against a very chippy, competitive and hard-nosed Rocky River High bunch, Devon Dotson had his hands full early on. The top-60 guard out of the 2018 class has been a well-known name for some time and this being the first game for some of the more highly lauded prospects on the opposing unit, there was some ammo ready to be thrown towards the Providence Day guard and his bunch. Not only did Dotson handle it well but he ended the evening in style with a dominant second half.
A super speedy but shifty lead guard that has an impeccable feel for the game, Dotson thrives out in the open floor. He loves to speed up the game at any given chance and does so without forcing the issue or turning the ball over. While he didn’t attempt a shot outside of 10-feet until the third quarter, he did get into the lane whenever he wanted and also threw excellent kick out passes that led to easy buckets for his teammates.
What really makes Dotson so valuable is just how hard he plays. He doesn’t just focus all of his energy on the offensive end of the floor where the Providence Day guard is more than happy to get up and defend the basketball over the half-court line. However, his value comes to light the greatest on the offensive end. His scoring abilities in the lane are second to none and now showing off a more filled out and stronger physique, the 6-foot floor general repeatedly got to the basket and jumped through the contact and contorted his body so that he could absorb the blow and still score the basket.
Ending things in style with 15 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and four steals, Dotson solidified his case as one of the top handful of lead guards in his class nationally with no plans of slowing down in the immediate future.