Top 7 Under 7-foot: Upside Heavy Commits/Prospects

High School

Posted On: 03/27/18 10:07 AM

Colin Castleton, Daytona Beach Father Lopez

The 6-foot-10 sniper is a natural 3-point ace, capable of spreading out defenses and firing in from way, way, beyond the confines of the arc.

He’s a multi-tooled scoring threat. Castleton, a Michigan-signee, developed a rapport with Wolverines head coach John Beilein prior to his first official visit. Castleton’s deep and deadeye 3-point shooting give him advantages the same way they did legendary NBA shooters such as Steve Novak and Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki. The unique mix of size, length, and form provides a veritable bird’s eye view of the rim upon release time.

While hard to guard because of notable physical advantages, Castleton is far from a “soft shooter” or a quintessential European style big guard. His growing back to the bucket game, his ability to create off the dribble, and Castleton’s knack for blocking and altering the trajectory of shots are bedrock cornerstones of his all around game.

Scoring with ease inside and throwing it down with authority, Castleton authored several 30+ point performances this season. Beilein is known to churn out big, tall, deft 3-point shooting forwards of Castleton’s type. Look no further than the memorable career of Kevin Pittsnogle, molded by Beilein’s system in West Virginia.

Josh Roberts, Montverde Academy

Kevin Boyle Sr. will explain it all with nary a slither of hesitance. High level prep teams featuring gritty guards with a wealth of experience tend to fare better than programs leaning on a ramped up frontline.

History has indicated that guard develop and produce earlier during this stage of their career. Bigs, on the other hand, tend to develop later on. The high school level tends to be the embryonic stage for the high school rim protector and interior presence, as many struggle to score between a defender and the basket.

Montverde’s Josh Roberts, an uber athletic 6-foot-8 jumping jack forward, is the classic case of a late bloomer. The football player turned forward, one of the lesser acclaimed recruits, runs the floor well while erupting with dazzling displays of athleticism. A rim protector by trade, anticipate Roberts to get a significant amount of high percentage points and hustle points.

Louis Bangai, Scotland Campus Sports

The 6-foot-11 forward has a soft touch from outside the rim, length, and can burst out with a furiously athletic play few of his size can replicate.

Bangai averaged 30 PPG during his time as an L.A. schoolboy talent. Naturally, his game would soon catch the eyes of L.A. products and UNLV coaches Marvin Menzies (head coach) and (assistant coach) Andre Lafleur, who have invested four years in an upside heavy recruit.

Bangai brings a deftly skilled interior game and a feathery 15-18 footer.

Damon Tobler, Believe Prep Sports Academy

The 6-foot-5, muscle-bound forward can play multiple positions on the floor. There are countless ways to describe him. He’s a big guard, a left handed scorer, a fearless attacker. Tobler really would rather not be classified as one particular position. Really, he’s a winner. He’s got a mental moxie and in-game engine, factors which allow him to win the plus/minus whenever he’s on the floor.

Tobler scored 20 points in his first-ever post-graduate game, scoring on the full monty of corner 3-pointers, hard slashes, dunks, traditional 3-point players, and free throws. He’s well under 7 feet, but he will go at any front line in the country without a tinge of trepidation.

Madiaw Niang, DME Academy

A year older, stronger, and now a towering 6-foot-9 210-pound forward, Niang’s incremental improvement in all categories of his game have been instrumental in ramping up his recruitment.

He’s developed into a more versatile player, shed the habit of forcing shots, and is now capable of guarding the 1-4. He’s been leaving his fingerprints all over all categories of the stat sheet, understanding and buying into the nuances of the system at DME.

The Class of 2018 prospect has developed a dependable 3-point shot to supplement his forays to the rim. He’s also become a more active presence in the trenches, using his body and developing a nose for the ball. A 33-point, 12-rebound performance en route to a SIAA conference win over Downey Christian was indicative of Niang’s production when he’s 100 percent locked in. Wyoming, Stetson, Coastal Carolina, Florida International, Nicholls State, and others have offered Niang.

UMass and Murray State and others are intrigued.

Mohamed Abed-Hantous, TLAP Academy

The 6-foot-10 Center may be just 16 years old, albeit he’s got the knack for crashing and ability to finish through contact that keeps Division-I coaches drooling. Many who grow so quickly so soon don’t relish the physicality of the game the way Abed-Hantous has thus far.

“He’s about 210 pounds, he’s got a good body on him and he has plenty of potential,” said TLAP Academy head coach Louis Graham.

“He’s about 210 pounds. He’s got a good body on him and he has plenty of potential. If he invests his time the right way and continues to work at it, he has the attributes to be a very special player down the road. His upside is very high. Coaches really recruit on potential right now.”

Hal Hughes, Scotland Campus Sports

The Hofstra-commit came into the high school season at SCS pigeonholed as a deft, long range shooter who didn’t embrace the physicality of the interior. That soon changed, as coach Blake Kingsley put his star 6-foot-10 forward through arduous rebounding drills and routinely held him to a high standard.

Hughes soon developed an insatiable thirst for crashing the boards and quickly evolved into a precise interior passer. His overall read of the game increased dramatically during his lone season in America.

A knockdown shooter and beyond the arc threat, Hughes gained a good 15 pounds at Scotland Campus Sports, a year round program orchestrated by legendary prep coach/program builder Chris Chaney.