A number of Arizona’s recruiting targets are in action at the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League’s fourth session in Oakland, California. Here is a report on how each of the Wildcats’ recruiting prospects looked in the EYBL’s last meeting before the Peach Jam later this summer.
Parker Jackson-Cartwright, 2014, PG- What Jackson-Cartwright lacks in size and strength is more than made up for by an acute understanding of the game. PJC’s waterbug-like ability to cover the entire court makes him tough to stay in front of, and despite not being a dominant scorer or penetrator, his proficiency at creating for others makes him a vital component to his team’s offense.
All in all, the most impressive aspects of Jackson-Cartwright’s game are his point guard instincts and tendency to read and correctly react to situations in both transition and the half court set. He’s a heady player with knowledge of the game rare for such a young player. What’s more impressive, perhaps, is the level of success he has achieved with a relatively underdeveloped body. As he matures physically, there is no question Jackson-Cartwright will be among the top point guards in the country.
Marcus Lee, 2013, F- Lee, who has seen his stock rise in recent months, showed why scouts expect him to be a force down the line. A rangy forward with good length, Lee runs the court like a deer and shows great timing on offensive putbacks and defensive challenges. With his combination of size, speed, and athleticism, Lee could be a very effective player in an uptempo style of play. His defensive prowess and mobility at the 4 are reminiscent of Kenyon Martin circa 2000.
What’s holding Lee from being one of the elite prospects in his class are a lack of offensive ability and physical strength. These issues aren’t cause for much concern, though, as most players his age similarly need strength and very few of his peers have go-to post moves. With the right conditioning and weight training program Lee could fill out nicely over the next few years, and if he develops his offensive game, he could break through to the upper echelon of the 2013 class.
Keith Frazier, 2013, SG- It’s easy to see what people love about Frazier’s game. He’s a deadeye shooter with range beyond the 3 point line, a silky smooth athlete with good size and length, and a willing and able passer. The result is an extremely potent offensive package, making Frazier one of the class’ top scoring guards. Furthermore, Frazier has shown an increased desire to put the ball on the floor and attack the rim, which he does well with a delightfully contrasting combination of short bursts of speed and more deliberate, loping drives. He is also creative off the dribble, utilizing crossovers and spin moves to break his defender down. Frazier’s ability to get to the rim just makes his shooting ability that much scarier.
Frazier has battled ankle injury during his time with the Houston Hoops, making it hard to see what he can really do. He’s also stated that he’s still trying to fit into his role with his new team, which can be a tough transition for a volume scorer like Frazier. Still, his eagerness to mesh with his teammates is a strong indicator that he can be integrated into his college team’s offense in his freshman year.
Justise Winslow, 2014, F- A teammate of Frazier’s, Winslow is a stunning physical specimen. At 6’6 and close to 210 pounds, he looks more like a football prospect standing next to his classmates. But Winslow’s incredible frame is complemented by a great overall skill set as well. He’s a good passer who understands the flow of the offense and has a knack for delivering passes to teammates in position to score, while also having a steady handle. And despite his massive size, he’s hardly a lumbering player; Winslow actually moves quite well and has surprising quickness.
Though Winslow is a potentially excellent rebounder and defender, his biggest question marks are about his ability to score the ball. He doesn’t seem to be confident in his jumpshot yet or simply defers to better shooters, but either way defenders have figured out that taking away his drive makes Winslow a much lesser threat offensively. Even despite the questions about the diversity of Winslow’s offensive game, he still remains one of the top 2014 wing prospects and would be nearly unstoppable with a consistent midrange jumpshot.
Rondae Jefferson, 2013, F- A prospect that many Arizona fans are unfamiliar with, Jefferson is a Philly product that is one of the class’ best overall talents. Though he shares the same surname as former UA great Richard Jefferson, Wildcat faithful may actually recognize a bit of Andre Iguodala and Derrick Williams in him. Jefferson is a versatile forward with the height and length to play spot minutes as a college power forward and the ball handling and mobility of a small forward. As a terrific rebounder, Jefferson has the rare ability to grab a defensive board, and lead or even finish the fast break himself. He also possesses tremendous vision, and is a viable playmaker because of it. In short, Jefferson is a multifaceted player that affects the game in a variety of different ways.
At this point Jefferson does his best taking his man off the dribble and attacking the rim, where he uses his great body control to absorb contact and get to the foul line. His only real weakness is his jumpshot, which he has actually improved greatly.
Perhaps most exciting is his potential to be a disruptive defender. Displaying great energy on the defensive end, Jefferson can accumulate steals and blocks quickly. From what we’ve seen, Jefferson is underrated and should end up in the top 10-15 range when the dust settles.
Stanley Johnson, 2014 G/F- Like Winslow, Johnson is one of the most physically developed wings in the class of 2014. His Oakland Soldiers team was without top 2013 prospects Jabari Bird and Aaron Gordon this weekend, so opportunity was ample for Johnson. He responded well with a few huge games, including a 22 point, 12 rebound outburst against the Houston Hoops and another 22 point, 14 rebound performance two games later.
Johnson is one of his class’ most intriguing prospects because of his tremendous size and strength for the wing position. He is an excellent rebounder that knows how to use his body to gain position around the basket, while possessing above average athleticism. Johnson may not excel in any specific area of the game and is not a reliable shooter yet, but he still projects as a glue-guy type of player that does everything well and should be an excellent college player.
Jahlil Okafor, 2014, C- Okafor isn’t just one of the best post players in the 2014 class, he’s one of its best prospects overall. Okafor is physically imposing at 6’9 and about 260 lbs, and still has good touch around the basket. He will be highly sought after to help anchor his future team’s post, but Okafor still needs to become more aggressive and consistent in his effort level. He hasn’t consistently shown the assertiveness that could make a dominant post player, but that’s partially a product of playing alongside Jabari Parker, considered by many to be the top player in the 2013 class. Still, Okafor is highly coveted because of performances like his 12 point, 16 rebound game against Team Texas Titans and Julius Randle, also considered by many to be the top player in 2013 (Randle got the last laugh though, as he ended with 23 points, 13 rebounds, and the win).
Marcus LoVett Jr, 2015, PG- LoVett Jr never really got into a groove playing with the Mac Irvin Fire this weekend, which is understandable given his youth and lack of experience with his AAU teammates. However, LoVett Jr remains an elite point guard prospect, maybe even the best in 2015. The SoCal product has a yo-yo handle, jet quickness, and a feel for the game beyond his years. As he develops chemistry with his teammates, his true talent will shine through.
Isaiah Briscoe, 2015, PG- A solidly built young point guard, Briscoe has great size and strength for the guard position. He also has a steady handle and an always-in-control on court demeanor. His biggest strength is scoring the ball off penetration and midrange jumpers, but he is self-admittedly adjusting to the speed of the game now that he is playing with and against players that are nearly all older than him.
Tyus Jones, 2014, PG- Tyus Jones might be the best high school point guard in the country regardless of class. A cerebral floor leader who has a seemingly innate ability to see plays develop before his opponents, Jones is nearly everything you could ask for in a point guard. He has great vision and uses his teammates well, but he’s also adept at knifing his way into the lane and scoring at the rim or off the pull up. He’s also got a number of 1-on-1 dribble moves that keep his defenders off kilter, though he doesn’t come off as a flashy player even when he makes dazzling plays. More impressive, though, is Jones’ ability to manage the game and take what defenses give him. In the Howard Pulley Panther’s win over the Oakland Soldiers, there was a sequence in which Jones single-handedly broke full court pressure and got an easy layup and assist on back to back crunch time possessions. He plays the game with a remarkable ease and intelligence, and it’s clear that he’s going to make his college coach very happy.
Questions? Comments? Criticism? Contact AK Murthy at C2CHoops@gmail.com