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Posted On: 04/21/18 9:39 PM
The Adidas Gauntlet Series has spread out across the country like a Grassroots version of the NCAA Tournament. The Adidas banners signifying these Regionals are hanging strongly in Washington DC, Los Angeles, Indianapolis, and Dallas.
With four of the top ten players from the Prep Hoops top ten 2019 prospects and over a quarter of the top 100 playing in their events the talent is thick with highlighting names like Matthew Hurt, Charles Bassey, and Kentucky bound Ashton Hagans among others. But this event is also about guys like Jamison Battle of D1 Minnesota, Elijah Pepper of Team Lavine, and Reco Holloman of the Atlanta Celtics.
Double Dose of the Mobleys
The Compton Magic has as much talent on their roster as maybe any 17u team in the nation, and right now top ten prospect Onyeka Okongwu is still resting after a long run in the high school playoffs at Chino Hills.
Longtime Magic alumni have no reason to be concerned. Compton Magic beat Jamon Kemp and the Bradley NW Panthers 72-62 (Kemp scored 25 on 11 of 15 shooting) followed by a 63-44 win over Team Lavine Saturday afternoon. Leading the way is four star 6-foot-8 big Isaiah Mobley in the 2019 class and 6-foot-9 top 20 level brother Evan Mobley of the 2020 class.
Evan led the Magic with 23 points and six boards on 9 of 10 shooting Friday night with brother Isaiah scoring 19 on 8 of 14 shooting in “support”. Today both Mobley sprung for double-doubles in a frontcourt domination of Team Lavine out of Washington. Evan had an even dozen-dozen (12 points, 12 rebounds) but he was always playing catch-up to the 15 boards and 13 points Isaiah recorded.
When a board fell to their area Team Lavine players seemed to have a look of excitement on their face but that small joy quickly turned to dread and a preparation to retreat. The reason? The quick springs of the Mobleys snagging the ball above the rim and earning another Magic possession. Aggressive putbacks and quick outlets the other way left Team Lavine’s frontcourt feeling helpless.
Offensively both Evan and Isaiah made plays facing the basket from the perimeter after opponents creeped to the arc with caution. When Isaiah saw Team Lavine stand back in fear, the senior-to-be made a pair of perimeter jumpers. When Evan noticed players stepping out their comfort zone he dribbled separated into a completion.
Steve Alford, Andy Enfield, and Bobby Hurley were among the head coaches watching Isaiah and Evan plus assistants from Cal, Oregon, Washington, San Diego State, Miami, and other programs were spotted in the coach’s section.
Continuing the Climb
Austin, Texas big man Will Baker out of Westlake, Texas is one of the faster rising recruits in the nation. At the moment there is no Prep Hoops Texas but there is a national Prep Hoops presence just like their has become a national Will Baker presence.
Last fall Kansas and North Carolina joined Texas, Stanford, Oklahoma, Baylor, Texas A&M, UCLA, and others in offering. Based on the Baker’s recent activity on the court and off, many others are about to join the fight.
On Wednesday Coach Alford of UCLA had an in-home visit with Baker completing a four day run of visit that included Shaka Smart, Roy Williams, and Billy Kennedy. With Tony Bennett of Virginia joining the crowd Baker scored 18 leading Basketball University to a three point win.
This morning Virginia, Baylor, North Carolina, Texas Tech, and Texas all watched Baker score 16 in a win over the Atlanta Celtics. Joining in the coaching section was Duke assistant Jon Scheyer who traveled ahead of Coach K in seeing Baker compete.
Roy Williams is telling Baker he can be Roy’s next Raef LeFrentz. Coach K seems to feel that Baker may fit the culture at Duke. The local Texas schools are all fighting to keep the 6-foot-11 Baker in state. It’s going to be a long fight and one of these schools will get one of the most skilled bigs in the country.
Today’s Five Star Big
What does a modern day five star top ten big man look like? Move your eyes above to the Charles Bassey photo and that will give you a start. At 6-foot-10, 6-foot-11 and playing for YIIS (Yes to Success) Bassey doesn’t have top 100 level wing Kevin McCullar with him but his 16 points, seven rebounds, and six blocks led his team to a two point win over the Atlanta Celtics this afternoon.
Bassey opened the game with a crunching ball screen taking an opponent out of the play and rolling to the rim quickly to catch and finish before the out-manned defense could react. Charles also stepped out to hit a three at the top of the key and he spun over each shoulder to complete in the post.
Back the other way the Atlanta Celtic posts thought they could cleverly spin away from Bassey to get a look at the rim. Despite being four inches taller and much thicker, Bassey stopped their hopes quickly with his agile lateral steps and quick rise to the shot swatting six attempts. Bassey also moved over the opposing post on the block to deny attempts and he moved his feet well to cut off the many talented guards from Georgia.
John Calipari has been at the Adidas Regional in Dallas to see Bassey and Bill Self as well as Chris Mack will be by to see him soon as well. Coaches from Western Kentucky, UCLA, Cal, and others have been in the crowd watching.
Names to Know
Six-foot-7 Jamison Battle of D1 Minnesota came off the bench to replace a future high major basketball player (Pat McCaffrey, Matthew Hurt, Zeke Nnaji, Tyler Wahl, it’s pretty much a take your pick with this crew) and grabbed all the attention. Facing an ITPS roster that has Oscar Tshiebwe and Maceo Austin, Battle knocked down four threes and scored 18 points in 20 minutes to swing the game in his team’s favor. At 6-foot-7 Jamison has one of the better strokes in the Midwest and the size to release that shot over most. At this point Battle has offers from North Dakota, Montana, and Drake (new coach Darian DeVries watched Battle today) and more options seem likely.
Washington guard Elijah Pepper had a tall task ahead of him around lunch time – slow down the Compton Magic. Team Lavine was not able to get the upset but Elijah Pepper earned the respect of the ten opposing athletes with his efforts. Elijah knocked out four threes for Team Lavine and more impressively Pepper was able to use a dribble to get around the first defender and softly touch in scores off the glass before the help could arrive lusting for a shot block. Twenty efficient points is what Pepper had and I would guess that Montana, Hawaii, and San Francisco won’t be his offer list for very long.
Six-foot-4 Reco Hallmon of the Atlanta Celtics scored 14 on eight shots and nearly led the Celtics to a win over YIIS Saturday afternoon. Hallmon has excellent length as a 6-foot-4 wing with a good looking perimeter stroke and an excellent burst with the first dribble.
Six-foot-8 power forward Prosper Obidiebube used active feet and disruptive, constantly in motion arms to limit Rodney Howard to four scores in the YIIS victory. Prosper took advantage of the YIIS defense scoring out on the break and he scored actively off ball. Add in the double digit boards hurling himself to the carom and you had an impressive player to keep an eye on.
Faces in the Crowd
Matthew Hurt: Hurt scored his 23 points on 9 of 12 shooting with Richard Pitino, Fran McCaffrey, Jeff Capel, and assistants from Kansas, Memphis, and Indiana looking on.
Jalen Wilson: The 6-foot-7 YGC36 small forward drew a head coaching group of Scott Drew, Tom Crean, Roy Williams, and John Beilien so far this weekend plus a host of assistants from Texas schools.
Akok Akok: Coaches from UConn, Syracuse, Rutgers, Seton Hall, and Providence were among those to recently get a fiewing of the Mass Rivals power forward.
Kobe Brown: Game Elite visitors included Minnesota, Xavier, West Virginia, Oklahoma, and others have watched Brown.
Tyrell Terry: The D1 Minnesota point guard had Richard Pitino, Fran McCaffrey, Ben Johnson of Xavier, and others assistants from Butler and Stanford watching him this afternoon.
Oscar Tschiebwe: Oscar had a strong performance against D1 Minnesota today and he did it in front of Jeff Capel and Bobby Huggins as well as assistants from Kansas, Indiana, Clemson, and others that have shown interest in him.
Zeke Nnaji: Zeke has 33 points combined in two games saving his best for Wisconsin Head Coach Greg Gard, Richard Pitino, Fran McCaffrey, and an assistant from Xavier.
Jaelyn Withers: Virginia has been a regular at the Withers games with Team Loaded and they have been joined by Georgia Tech and Clemson among others.
Dahmir Bishop: Schools that have been in to watch Dahmir included recently offered Rhode Island, Temple, St. Joes, Penn State, and VCU among others.
Jake Kyman: Andy Enfield of USC as well as coaches from UCLA, TCU, Colorado, BYU, and others have had recent views of the Dream Vision talent.