How’s the saying going? Out with the old, in with the new? Now that we can lie to rest the class of 2016 as they enter their freshman classes in the coming weeks, we give greater attention to the 2019 class. While a few created some buzz during the high school season, this past July gave an even greater platform for some of the better sophomores in making giant names within the recruiting world. Now that we have decompressed, we take a look at five members of the 2019 class that impressed us the most during the heated month that was July.
CHRISTIAN BROWN, SG, GEORGIA STARS
Heading into the month, I primarily thought of Christian Brown as an energy giving, athletic wing that did his work in the open floor. Fast-forward 30 days and my idea of the South Carolina native has totally changed and whether it was my own poor evaluations or rapid improvements from the Georgia Stars sophomore, Brown has hit the next level and then some.
Playing at the Nike Peach Jam with the Georgia Stars 15-under crew, Brown showed off a rapidly improved set of handles where he created for himself from off the bounce, made the proper pass off of the drive to the cup, and showcased a super fluid and accurate jumper from as far out as 22-feet. Still a giant energy giver and one of the more graceful leapers and finishers at the basket, the high-motored sophomore impressed greatly as he looks to be a sure fire top-30 recruit and one with even better upside compared to the peers within his ranking category.
VERNON CAREY JR., PF, NIKE TEAM FLORIDA
Blessed with ideal size and length at the power forward position, there aren’t many sophomores laying around with the physical tangibles of Vernon Carey. However, the baby-faced big man is quite the potent weapon on the playing floor and when he wants to dominate, he can do just that, regardless of how much older and experienced the competition is that he is facing off against.
To end July, Carey had quite possibly the best 10 minutes of basketball that I saw from anyone all summer long. The lefty big man scored 20 points in the second half of his team’s win on the outskirts of Sin City where he ran the floor and finished with impressive dunks and lay-ins, showed some inner dog to him on plays in the lane, and displayed an improving face-up game from 17-feet and in. While he can sometimes play too much away from the basket, when engaged, Carey is as good as it gets in 2019. He has the bloodlines as his father was a 10-year NFL pro, physical tangibles, and immense upside that has continued to impress and will intrigue the college masses in the years ahead.
MAKUR MAKER, PF, IMPACT BASKETBALL
While his older cousin, Thon Maker, was making some major noise in the desert at the NBA Summer League for the Milwaukee Bucks, it was Makur Maker that was finishing the month off strong with his play for the Impact Basketball 15-under squad.
Exhibiting the same well-oiled Maker motor, Makur showed off an even better feel for the game with a higher upside and ceiling. While there was little to nothing known about him to date, the 7-footer big man has all of the requisites to be an elite, blueblood recruit as a member of the 2019 class. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see just how good he is and how great that he can be. What impressed us the most about the intriguing sophomore was just how fluid he is in getting up and down the court, his developed ball skills out of the high post setting, and excellent hands on the glass. Capable of defending near the perimeter and scoring the basketball from inside and out, Makur Maker is here to stay, keeping the Maker name in the national spotlight for another few years within the recruiting biz.
ANDREW NEMBHARD, PG, UPLAY CANADA
It would be hard not to be impressed with the jumbo lead guard out of Canada. First, Andrew Nembhard led his UPlay Canada 16-under crew to the Nike Peach Jam finals in North Augusta to kick off the month and ended it by leading his Canadian bunch to the adidas Nations finals in Anaheim. While he came up short both times in the fight for the win, the 6-foot-4 floor general showed major chops as a big time competitor and fine producer playing against guys two and three years older than him.
Blessed with an unbelievable feel for the game and a passing acumen that is hard to beat, Nembhard is beauty on the basketball floor. The epitome of a play making guard that makes everyone around him better, the sophomore guard will transfer into Montverde Academy this fall creating a devastating tandem alongside other Canadian five-star wing RJ Barrett. Sure, Nembhard does have to shoot it more consistently from deep but it was his heady nature, unreal IQ for the game, and passing skills that impressed us heavily as the north of the border resident is a sure fire bet for a blueblood recruitment in the nearby future.
OSCAR TSHEBWE, C, TEAM LOADED VA
A relative unknown to most entering the month of July, Oscar Tshebwe left a giant mark on the rims at the Cashman Center in Las Vegas and also a giant impression with the college coaches in attendance. Built like a bull, the Congo native plays like there is no tomorrow. He looks to dominate the paint each time that he hits the playing floor, just as he did during his five day stint in Las Vegas to finish off the month.
Playing a year up with the Team Loaded VA 16-under crew, the 6-foot-9 center showed that he belonged as he finished second in rebounding averaging over 13 boards while also tossing in 15 points off of over 50-percent shooting from the field. The Mountain Mission sophomore comprehends what makes him great as he rarely can be seen playing outside of the lane as he goes to the glass in heavy amounts, has the soft hands to corral everything within his grasp, and isn’t afraid to throw down two-handed dunks over his opponents. Someone that will be seen within our first 2019 HoopSeen Rankings, Tshebwe hasn’t slowed down since we first saw him in May and the numbers continue to accrue for the elite center out of Virginia.