With the summer months upon us, and for the most part, the majority of the 2016 class having selected a college to attend in the fall, we peer our eyes ahead to the rising senior class. Arguments never center around as to who the best wing is, or who is the best power forward is, but rather who the best point guard is. The 2017 class boasts a litany of quality lead guards but outside of Trevon Duval, the superstar talent that we saw in the previous crop is a bit lacking.
Kudos to Bruce Pearl and Bob McKillop for getting ahead and landing two, top-50 recruits from the point guard position as Davion Mitchell and Kellan Grady should be quite the weapons in the backcourt for the years ahead. In sitting down and looking at the 2017 HoopSeen Rankings, we indulge on the top five uncommitted floor generals and where things could lead to within their own respective recruitments.
Quite the explosive athlete at the lead guard spot that has already garnered such comparisons to the likes of Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook, Trevon Duval is quite the watch. He brings ideal size to his spot on the floor along with an impeccable first step and scoring prowess at the basket. Just like Rose and Westbrook, the Delaware native is best on the attack and can struggle at times with his jumper. While a lot has been made about Duval’s poor shooting numbers where he has hit less than 30-percent of his perimeter jumpers this spring on the UAA circuit, it is more about his shot selection and the understanding of what is a good and what is a bad shot.
Regardless, Duval is an elite talent as he sits as the top guard prospect within our rankings and sixth overall. The We R1 star is still on the fence with where he might attend high school for his final year of play. After taking his talents south this past winter and to API in Texas, Duval could travel back to the east coast for his senior campaign.
Look for local programs like Villanova, a school that has been involved from the start, along with Maryland, a school that is the flagship Under Armour program that sponsors Duval’s travel program, as two likely landing spots. Others such as Baylor, Arizona, Kansas, and UNC remain involved but it seems that the defending champs and Mark Turgeon’s program stand the best shot at landing his services.
While Trae Young is on the fence between being seen as a point guard or as a primary ballhandler, what isn’t up for debate is the Oklahoma native’s confidence in his dagger stroke from downtown. Capable of throwing up a 40-spot on the scoreboard at any given time, Young is more of a scorer at the 1 and is someone that has continued to round out his game and see better production because of it.
There are a few interesting dynamics to Young and his recruitment. For one, his father, Rayford Young, once starred at Texas Tech, and while the Red Raiders are very slim candidates for the guard’s commitment, having a father that made it at the highest level doesn’t hurt the cause.
A lot has been made about the package deal between Young and his travel teammate and close friend on the MoKan Elite squad, Michael Porter. However, after Porter’s father was named an assistant on the men’s side at the University of Washington, and the chance of the 6-foot-8 wing following him out west looking very favorable, chances aren’t too great for Young to follow suit.
Lastly, raised in Norman, Oklahoma, Young is just minutes from the campus of the University of Oklahoma. Coming off of a remarkable run led by Buddy Hield, one has to believe that Lon Kruger and his staff are using the model that they displayed in showcasing the future NBA lottery pick as a major selling point to the 6-foot-1 junior guard. Staying home and being the guy to keep the program atop of the totem pole in attempting to make another run back to the Final Four is hard to say no to which makes the decision for the top-20 recruit difficult, to say the least.
When it comes down to it, the recruitment of Young will be a mix of the elite of the elite as Kansas, Duke, and Kentucky, along with Oklahoma, will be the four to bet on. However, look for it to be a battle between Oklahoma and UK for the scoring punch with a fall decision more than likely.
It has been a remarkable transformation with Quade Green, a 6-foot guard out of the PSA Cardinals program. The go-to guy for the always successful and prestigious Neumann-Goretti program, Green has been known as a score-first type coming up through the ranks. However, this past high school season showed off different dimensions to the Philly native but no one saw what Green would showcase this spring on the EYBL circuit.
Playing against the best of the best, Green has shattered assist numbers within the Nike realm in averaging a double-double, posting over 10 assists per contest. While the floor general is surrounded by other top-60 prospects such as Deng Gak, Mo Bamba, and Brandon Randolph, the passing arsenal and vision out of the rising senior is astonishing.
Many are now complaining about Green’s lacking scoring abilities as he has shot just over 40-percent from the field. However, in his final four games of the spring a few weeks back and missing its elite big man in Mo Bamba, Green stepped it up by scoring over 10 points in each contest, finishing it all off with an 8-for-13 effort, which equaled to 22 points on the scoreboard.
While Green has been a known name for some time now, some of the top programs are just now beginning to get involved with him. However, it has been Syracuse that has made the elite facilitator a priority from day one. Others such as Louisville, Kansas, and Maryland have jumped into the picture with Duke and Kentucky showing further interest, though the fact that Jim Boeheim’s staff has only pursued one lead guard in the 2017 class, that being Quade Green, and his familiarity with the program, bodes well for the Orange.
While some view Paul Scruggs as a 2-guard attempting to transition into the point guard position, we here at HoopSeen see the Indiana native more than ready to give it a go at the 1 next fall and at a college program.
A jumbo floor general with long arms and a solid build, a physique that allowed for the Indy Hoosiers product to suit up and produce in giant amounts for his Southport High football team last fall, it is Scruggs’ feel for the game along with improving decision-making skills that stand out most.
While the Midwest recruit isn’t much of a shooter from behind the arc as he has just attempted 20 3-pointers in all of UAA play this spring, Scruggs does score it with efficiency from the mid-range on in as he has converted on over 54-percent of his shots from the field. A tremendous rebounder of the ball from off of the perimeter, Scruggs is top-10 in assists while also using his added length in coming up with his fair share of steals. Reminiscent of Rajon Rondo, there is mountainous upside with the giant lead guard which gives insight on his priority recruitment.
A bevy of the top programs out of the Midwest have laid down the proper groundwork with the Indiana native. Louisville, Michigan State, Illinois, and Purdue have remained in the hunt for Scruggs, though it would seem that Indiana and Xavier have the best shot with him. Tom Crean has made the in-state recruit his top target, along his travel teammate, Kris Wilkes, from day one, where Xavier has followed a similar order with the nearby recruit. This could come down to the wire between the Musketeers and Hoosiers as Scruggs would be an immediate threat and producer in the backcourt at either of the programs chasing after him.
One of the toughest guys around and a jet quick lead guard that produces each time that he hits the hardwood, Nick Weatherspoon put his name onto most top-100 rankings last year. However, his play in the adidas circuit this spring has been beyond superb, of which has enabled for the MBA Hoops guard to surpass many others and now sits as a top-30 recruit within our rankings.
A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Weatherspoon has become one of the more prominent faces of the adidas Gauntlet this spring. Sitting second in scoring at over 23 points per contest, along with more than five rebounds and three assists, the junior guard is the epitome of a worker on the floor and a guy that competes with a major chip on his shoulder.
While he does have to tone down his turnover count moving ahead, one has to love just how hard Weatherspoon plays and his ability to ramp up the intensity levels in any given outing. Due to his good size at his spot standing over 6-foot-2, along with his competitive mindset, Weatherspoon has seen a few blueblood programs get involved with him as he pulled in offers from the likes of Ohio State, UNC, and Louisville.
Visits to UNC and NC State are on the horizon but it is a local program that may be the most comfortable landing spot that looks to be the strongest suitor for him. Mississippi State, boasting his older brother, Quinndary Weatherspoon, a rising sophomore within the program, has laid down the most groundwork with the in-state recruit. The ferocious competitor has been on the campus several times within the past calendar year and while overtures from some of the elite will be hard to deny, look for the Bulldogs to win out with the versatile producer.
PREDICTON: MISSISSIPPI STATE