COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - Tucked next to the Rocky Mountains and on the campus of the Olympic Training Center, nearly 90 of the best high school basketball players competed on Saturday at the USA Basketball Junior Mini Camp. With this much talent all at one place, there was an opportunity to dig deep into the next wave of basketball royalty.
WHO REALLY IS THE NO. 1 PLAYER IN 2019?
We’ve reached broken record status now with this question for the class of 2019.
Vernon Carey, Jr. sits on top of our list. And he’s earned it. The Floridian has enjoyed a typical Carey kind of weekend - over power, produce and just does his job. James Wiseman is here but didn’t compete on Saturday. Jaden McDaniels blended in during the morning session but apparently showed out in the evening session when we were watching the younger players. Cole Anthony isn’t playing either.
No new revelations to the top of the class of 2019.
Rinse and repeat. Welcome to the continued narrative for this group. Is there a true alpha? Not yet here. Not sure there will be moving forward.
A sleeper name to consider from those who cover the NBA? How about Chicago’s Khalil Whitney. The Kentucky bound wing has drawn rave reviews from those who are involved with the Association.
THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT
Max Christie, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Rolling Meadows (IL), was the best shooter I saw on Saturday. The class of 2021 guard just pumped in jumper after jumper. His delivery is smooth and confident and always within the flow of the game. There’s a confidence to his game that was fun to see. He has all of the tools of a nationally recruited prospect.
Dariq Whitehead, an athletic 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Montverde Academy (FL), was the most impressive ‘wow’ player I saw on Saturday. The Newark, N.J. native showed off an amazing first step en route to the basket. His explosion was something to behold. Whitehead was simply terrific once he had an opening on the baseline and did magic at the rim. From the wing, he was a constant and relatable scorer. Super talent.
In a day full of drills and high intensity in the gym designated for the younger players, it was a battle of attrition in the final hours of Saturday. Who had their legs and fire as the day came to a close. Wisconsin big man Michael Foster certainly did. A top 5 player nationally in the 2021 class, Foster showed why he’s held in such high regard. He made some plays that players his size (6-8, 220-pounds) don’t typically make in the open floor, from the wing and in the paint. He’s a special talent with a frame that will bode well for him at the highest of collegiate levels.
NOTES FROM THE NOTEPAD
The class of 2022 has some serious star power in it. That’s been a storyline here in Colorado Springs.
Emoni Bates. Get to know the name, if you don’t already know it. The class of 2022 prospect is a special talent. We’ll have more on him this week on HoopSeen.com.
Love what Josiah James is and love what Josiah James will be at Tennessee. He’s a heck of a mismatch problem at multiple positions.
I’d go to battle with Isaiah Stewart. The class of 2019 big man battles no matter the stage.
If you want see what makes Scottie Lewis different, just watch him when he’s not in drills. The future Florida guard is engaging, seeks coaching, aware of who is around him and constantly present.