FORT WORTH, TX — The first NCAA Live Period is in the books. The travel teams have returned to their respective homes and college coaching staffs are meeting today to recap what they saw from the baselines and sidelines. As we return back to the HoopSeen.com offices, we wanted to look back and examine the lessons learned from our time in the Lone Star State for the adidas Gauntlet.
The evolution of Zion Williamson will be interesting to watch moving forward. The YouTube sensation was the main attraction for the event but a bum knee limited his action for just half of the event. When he was on the floor, he delivered some click play highlights.
However, if you come to watch him play and expect to see highlight after highlight, don’t get too excited. That’s just not going to happen at this level. Lobs are cut off. Defenders with better footwork slide into the lane. Bigger bodies await at the second level.
As Williamson continues to develop his game, he’ll be challenged to advance his skill set. There is no denying his uniqueness as an athlete. He’s the best intimidating athlete that I have seen since Bill Walker. And Bill Walker was a bad, bad man.
With Williamson, this is the most important year of his growth. Keep in mind, his evolution started just two years ago when he broke out at the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions. His ascension has been quick and steep.
The best long term prospect at the event was Charles Bassey. And truthfully, that gap between him and the rest of the pack is quite wide. I tweeted the last guy that I remember with the physical tools/gifts that Bassey has was Dwight Howard. DeAndre Jordan was the second name that came to mind. Like both of the NBA stars ahead of him, Bassey is an elite rebounder with elite athleticism and speed for his position.
Luguentz Dort is a McDonald’s All-American type of player. College coaches are leaning more and more to guys that can help right away, hence an active transfer recruiting market. High school players that can play big minutes from day one aren’t helping as much as they used to. Notice any big time freshmen in the Final Four this season? Nope. So when a guy like Dort (pictured above) comes along, you have to think about his value as a freshman. The Canadian is built like a college upperclassman. His game is transforming and ever-improving. His bulldog style is morphing with improved passing, ball-handling and perimeter touch. Defensive ability? Oh, he’s one of the very best. Dort is a riser in our next update of rankings. Don’t be surprised to see him ridiculously high on our list.
"I'm looking for a shooter," the college coaches would ask me. Truthfully, they were hard to find at the adidas Gauntlet stop. Only 17 players spread out over 48 teams with four games each hit 10 or more three-pointers over the weekend.
Cameron Tyson of the NW Panthers hit the most with 20. But he also took the most, attempting an amazing 55 shots. He took 64 shots total over the weekend.
Alexander Rivera of Team Rivals hit 19-42 from three. Tyrone Nesby, IV of Stackhouse Elite (15-31), Myja White of EG10 (14-28), Immanuel Quickley of Team BBC (14-29) were among the most efficient snipers from three.
Speaking of shooting and Quickley…does his shooting touch make him a lock as the top point guard in the 2018 class? You have to seriously consider it. Full disclosure: we thought long and hard at putting Quickley in our top 5 overall at the beginning of the high school season but wanted to wait and see how his perimeter game developed. If his showing in Fort Worth is any indication, the answer is a heck yes. And that could mean some serious things moving forward. We’ll profile him later this week on HoopSeen.com.
Let’s talk about Armando Bacot as a top 40 national prospect in 2019. Not surprisingly, our former National Basketball Recruiting Analyst Corey Evans has the big Virginian inside the Rivals top 40 (at No. 35 overall). Bacot was one of the best big men at the adidas Gauntlet and one of the best rebounders in the event. Team Loaded VA didn’t have much trouble over the weekend but that’s not discounting the work Bacot did. He was terrific. Playing alongside man child David McCormack doesn't hurt either.
Eight teams finished the weekend undefeated - NE Playaz, Mass Rivals, Louisville Magic, Dream Vision, Team Loaded VA, Compton Magic Elite, Exum Elite Utah Prospects, YIIS TX Future.