ORLANDO -- Quality took the place of quantity in Florida on day
four of the AAU Gold Super Showcase and National Championships, as more and more
teams were sent home to start focusing on the fall.
With the live evaluation period for college coaches coming to an end on Sunday
afternoon, coaches in the stands were very weary of their competition, as they
zero in on the targets they've evaluated throughout the last few weeks, and
specifically in Orlando.
As only the most elite teams survived the rigors of Saturday at the Super
Showcase and National Championships, here's a look at some of the top
performers, and matchups that drew the most college coaches.
One on one
Most of their class of 2015 peers were playing in the 16-and-under National
Championships on Saturday, but elite rising juniors Malachi Richardson
and P.J. Dozier produced an exciting matchup in the 17-and-under Gold
Super Showcase in the morning session, as Richardson's Team Final squad knocked
off Dozier's Upward Stars team.
A long combo guard at 6-foot-4 out of Columbia (S.C.), Dozier is quick with his
first step and is a very gifted finisher in the lane. The rising junior has nice
touch on his floater, can adjust around contact and has good vision to make
pinpoint passes through traffic. He'll need to get stronger, but Dozier is an
overall skilled guard, who also showed confidence in his three-point stroke
throughout the game.
Richardson, a 6-foot-6 wing out of Roselle (N.J.), is known primarily as a
three-point marksman, however, when he's at his best he's playing in attack mode
and getting to the rim to finish. With good size for his position and a
developed all-around skill package, the four-star wing is one of the more
dangerous scorers in the class, and has really found a nice offensive groove
this month, dating back to a good performance at the LeBron James Skills Academy
in early July.
While Dozier and Richardson were busy tearing up the competition at the
17-and-under level in Orlando, the rest of the 2015 class was hard at work in
two compelling National Semifinals in the 16-and-under division.
First, the deep, talented and athletic Arkansas Wings club took down BABC, out
of Boston, to advance to the championship game on Sunday. Then, another athletic
group, Nike Team Florida, pulled off an upset of the King James Shooting Stars,
out of Ohio, in an overtime tilt.
Of the four teams, each had some stars shine bright in front of a packed house
For the Wings, powerful combo guard KeVaughn Allen played an excellent
all-around game, making plays on both the offensive and defensive end. A
Rivals100 prospect who ranks No. 87 in 2015, the Little Rock (Ark.) native
showed that he can finish above the rim, make plays in transition and generally
provide the winning spark that should attract high major offers.
Arkansas was the first high major school to offer Allen, and the
Razorbacks staff tracked him intensely on Saturday morning.
For BABC, it was the play of four-star wing Terance Mann that impressed
the most. A long 6-foot-4 wing out of the Tilton School in New Hampshire, Mann
can really shoot the ball from behind the arc with consistency. The small
forward also has a knack for creating his own shot, and showed a willingness to
be a distributor in dribble drive situations. Currently ranked as the No. 62
prospect in the 2015 class, Mann was evaluated by Georgetown, Connecticut and several
others on Saturday.
Nike Team Florida got their usual boost from athletic three-star power forward
Kevarrius Hayes. The 6-foot-8 power player hails from Live Oak (Fla.)
and is already committed to coach
Billy Donovan and the
Florida Gators in their 2015 class. Donovan watched on Saturday, as
Hayes led his team defensively and finished with high flying dunks as they
advanced to the national title game on Sunday. A long-bodied forward who can
also play some center, Hayes shows excellent promise as a transition big man who
can bring energy to the game.
Finally, King James got a star performance from their sixth man, Dayton (Ohio)
Versailles small forward
Kyle Ahrens. An athletic 6-foot-5 wing with
strength and a mean streak, Ahrens is able to score the ball with his
three-point shooting or on aggressive takes to the rim. Ahrens made several big
plays once he checked into the game for his Ohio team, grabbing defensive
rebounds and taking multiple charges. Boston College is the only high major
school to offer Ahrens so far, but the rising junior also lists interest from
Xavier, Dayton, Illinois and several others.
While we waited for a game on the main court to end, in anticipation of
catching the next game, our eyes were drawn to an unheralded duo of 2015 power
forwards out of the Dallas area, from a team that we had no previously been
Triumph Gold was still alive in the 17u AAU National Championships, and a big
reason why was due to their two rising junior big men, Mason Riggins
and Emmanuel Nzekwesi.
A 6-foot-7 combo forward out of Whitewright (Texas), Riggins is an explosive
finisher who has nice touch around the basket as a scorer. Capable of finishing
with a dunk or a baby hook, the powerfully built class of 2015 forward is
working to improve his perimeter skills and develop a face-up game to add to his
offensive repertoire. While that ability to score in different ways can be
learned, one thing that cannot be taught easily is the athleticism and motor
that the Texan plays with, something that should lead to a serious recruiting
boost after a strong finish to his AAU season with Triumph Gold.
While Riggins is still somewhat of a hidden gem in the Lone Star State, Nzekwesi
is an even more intriguing story. A native of the Netherlands, the 6-foot-7
power forward moved to the United State for his junior year of high school, and
expects to be much more productive as a player in year two of his high school
Currently enrolled at Trophy Club (Texas) Byron Nelson High School, Nzekwesi is
an excellent floor-runner that moves like a deer on the court. He's active on
the glass, can score in transition around the basket and looks to be comfortable
with the ball in the short corner or high post.
Both Riggins and Nzekwesi still have some skill work to improve on before they
can be considered elite prospects in the 2015 class, however, they should very
much be considered potential high major players, and Texas area products to keep
an eye on in the next year.
Riggins and Nzekwesi both mentioned Texas, Oklahoma,
Nebraska, Boise State and North Texas as schools that
are currently recruiting them, while neither has yet to accumulate a high major
offer. Also an elite student in the classroom, Nzekwesi also mentioned Holy
Cross and Yale as schools that have contacted him.
The final game of the day saw Boo Williams defeat a favored Houston Hoops team
in double overtime after a driving layup from four-star guard
Robert Johnson sealed the deal.
While Johnson hit the shot to win the game, it was the play of class of 2016
product Edrice Adebayo that put Boo Williams in position to steal the
Affectionately known to his teammates as "Bam Bam," the 6-foot-8 power forward
from Washington (N.C.) Northside displayed some serious athleticism throughout
the game, managing to produce both in the scoring column and as a rebounder.
A quick leaper with explosive ability off of two feet, Adebayo is a dangerous
second jumper who plays with a high energy level and does a nice job of either
securing offensive rebounds or tapping them up again to keep them alive. While
he's very raw offensively still, the rising sophomore knows how to finish in the
paint, attacking the rim for a two-handed dunk every time that Johnson or
another Boo Williams guard would dish the ball to him near the rim.
Many college coaches at the Boo Williams versus Houston Hoops game were more
worried about securing commitments from the 2014 class, instead of focusing on a
class of 2016 product. However, with coaches from North Carolina State, North
Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky, Florida and many others in the gym, Adebayo
certainly introduced himself in a big way to some of the nation's best.