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National Prep Showcase: Breakout performers

Signees for WVU & Ole Miss have breakout performances while Curtis Haywood and TeShaun Hightower have their moments to shine.
23, Nov 2016

National Prep Showcase: Breakout performers

It was the kick off to the high school season as the National Prep Showcase took place in New Haven, Connecticut this past weekend. Some of the top prep school programs from all across the east coast hit the Albertus Magnus campus for a game or two as a bevy of highly touted prospects showed off while a few others added further to their improving resume. Looking back at the weekend that was, we recap the top breakthrough performers from the NPS.

CURTIS HAYWOOD II, SG/SF, BREWSTER ACADEMY, 2017

Quite possibly the breakout competitor of the event, Curtis Haywood was fantastic in both of his team’s wins over the weekend in Connecticut. We touched on him earlier but the Oklahoma native was fantastic in showing consistency with his deep jumper as hit on nine in all, rebounded the ball at a high rate corralling 11 boards combined, and also playmaking some when the chance was allotted. A 6-foot-5 wing with a 7-foot wingspan that can make shots, defend, and has even better upside? Yes, Haywood is one of the best available prospects as he holds a duo of offers from the likes of Georgia Tech and Tulsa, though his recruitment is primed to take off.

TESHAUN HIGHTOWER, CG, MT. ZION PREP, 2017

Suwanee, GA

Class
2017
Position
CG
Height
6' 4"
National
NR
State
NR
College
Georgia
School Team
Travel Team

Just like Haywood, TeShaun Hightower is tracking as one of the best available prospects this winter out of the 2017 class. The jumbo lead guard, someone that now stands 6-foot-5, is a ballplayer that is great on the ball where he navigated well off of the high ball screen, showed off some deceptive athleticism at the basket on poster-worthy dunks, and even rebounded the ball at a super high rate, finishing with double-digit boards in his final contest on Sunday. The Peach State native’s recruitment is just now picking up but the likes of St. Louis, Georgia, Georgia Tech, WKU, and Providence have begun to recruit the talented senior.

DJ JONES, CG, NOTRE DAME PREP, 2017

Originally a member of the 2016 class before taking another year of to prepare for college at Notre Dame Prep this winter, the 6-foot-1 combo guard started off the weekend in style by hitting on a number of spot-up jumpers from beyond the arc but also displayed a burst from off the baseline drive to the basket. A bevy of mid-level programs have become enamored with the Louisiana but better things may be in store for Jones. UMass recently hosted the Notre Dame product for a visit where Jones can be valued for his shot making skills from deep, facilitating abilities within the half-court setting, and his toughness near and around the basket.

ISAAC KANTE, PF, PUTNAM SCIENCE ACADEMY, 2017

A reclass into the 2017 class thanks to having limited college interest out of the high school ranks but also due to his young age compared to his peers, Isaac Kante showed immediate production and value in the frontcourt in Connecticut. The 6-foot-8, strong and hard playing big man, is one of the more passionate and vocal big men that you’re going to find. He kicked off the event by making eight of his 10 shot attempts, equating to 19 points in all.  The New York native left the weekend with an offer in hand from Old Dominion, though things are just now beginning to take off for Kante on the recruiting front. He brings good back to the rim skills, a hard hat mentality within traffic, and a bevy of intangibles where the Putnam product is someone that will see his stock soar in the weeks ahead.

BRANDON KNAPPER, PG, HARGRAVE MILITARY ACADEMY, 2017

Headed to West Virginia next fall, the original plan was for the Hargrave guard to suit up for the Mountaineers this season. Things changed a bit but what didn’t was Knapper’s killer mindset where he went off during both of his contests in New England. The well-built and tough-minded guard is the definition of a Bob Huggins type out on the perimeter where he can play on and off the ball but remain efficient at whichever role that he placed into. Knapper continually hit on deep jumpers off of the pull-up throughout his two game stints and was no slouch on the defensive end of the floor, either. Looking ahead, the need to replace star guard Tarik Phillip is at hand where the 2017 signee has the makings of an immediate fixture within the system in tow at WVU.

BOBBY PLANUTIS, F, BRIDGTON ACADEMY, 2017

A long and slender bodied forward that shows more toughness than his slight frame does at the current  moment, Planutis kicked off the event hitting 11 of his 17 shot attempts from the floor, giving him 28 points in all. While he does need to add some meat onto his frame, Planutis does play with a chip on his shoulder and has a decent feel for the game in making the proper pass within the half-court setting. He doesn’t do a bad job of sliding his feet on the defensive end of the floor where the Pennsylvania native can be leaned upon at both ends of the floor. A slew of mid-level programs have begun to recruit the Bridgton product, where he could step in and immediately help the majority of those in pursuit as soon as next season. 

JAMARKO PICKETT, PF, MASSANUTTEN MILITARY ACADEMY, 2017

One of the top steals of the early signing period, Jamarko Pickett is more about where he can be in three years rather than where he is at the current moment. The sinewy 6-foot-9 forward is all perimeter based but man, the skillset and upside from the DC native is quite extreme. After playing against Hamidou Diallo and his Putnam Science bunch on Friday evening, there was good pub about the five-star shooting guard, but better yet, greater intrigue surrounding Pickett. His range is pretty much unlimited from off the catch where the Massanutten product nailed a few jumpers from 20-foot and out. However, it was his improved athleticism around the basket and much better ball skills that really excited. Headed to Ole Miss next year, Pickett is elite on the unique scale where he will gain a number alongside to his name following our next ranking update.


Corey Evans has been a member of the HoopSeen family since the summer of 2015. He brings a wealth of experience in scouring the nation in evaluation some of the top prospects from coast-to-coast, and in also finding some of the more under-the-radar prospects from various locales. The managing editor on site, Evans has run a college scouting service, the Roundball Rundown Report, since 2012, as he works with over 100 division-1 college basketball programs from both sides of the nation. Based out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Evans is the primary national contributor at HoopSeen which has broadened the scope of information included within the site itself. 

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