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Posted On: 04/21/18 6:42 AM
INDIANAPOLIS, IN | With Adidas splitting up Gauntlet into Regionals, you were met with a really concentrated amount of talent which made for some great viewing. Friday night gave us a look at a few of the local teams but also so just outside the area. Here is our notebook from the first night at Adidas Gauntlet.
Nijel Pack States His Case
What you are going to want to do is come out in the first game of the live period and state your case. Let coaches know why they are here and why you are the guy they want. From the jump, Indiana Elite 2020’s Nijel Pack did just that. Three triples in the first half of the game against Team Carroll was a statement. Those were his only points but they left a mark in a blowout win.
The 6’0 guard from Lawrence Central (IN) has really developed nicely in the last year, adding size and toughness while still being the kind of go-go prospect at the guard spot. He really looks suited well to turn into a LM-MM level talent and on Friday night, a host of Midwest coaches saw just how he can run an offense. Now, things will need to keep going and he’s going to have to be consistent but he’s pretty much been that way for the last two years so, you have to feel pretty good about his case to land his first offer.
IE 2021 Cruises Early
While Indiana Elite 2020 was winning on Court 1 pretty easily, their 2021 team was doing it in dominant fashion as they nearly dropped 100 points on OBC. Really balanced attack with everybody dropping in points in some fashion. D.J. Hughes looked solid again in this game, handling everyone that they were throwing at him. Will be interesting to see if he gets matched up with someone like his own size and skill and how he does.
Kyle Ross was really impactful as well. Playing a little more in transition and in the open floor. He’s got to refine the body but his mobility and skill are really solid and his rebounding ability might end up being his money maker at the end of the day. Curt Hopf, the same. He’s just so productive in everything he does, it makes him really annoying to play against. He’s not super long, not super athletic but you just can’t stop him from racking up counting stats.
Connor Hickman and Malik Stanley also showed promise in this one. Hickman looks a little taller and his ball handling was pretty good. Will be interesting to see if by the end of the year he is more of an on-ball guard or not. Stanley’s shooting was helpful in this game. This team isn’t a loaded three-point shooting squad but Stanley could find his place in the offense with that.
Michigan Mustangs Home To Two Solid Post Prospects
As always, size is coveted most in this game and Mustangs have two solid guys at their 17U level. Luke Maranka, a 6’8 power forward that is Homeschooled in Michigan and Nate Talbot, a 6’7 center out of Lake Orion (MI) are the two we saw on Friday.
Maranka already has an offer from Toledo in hand that he picked up earlier this month. The forward is really intriguing with his ability to stretch the floor and handle the ball. Really good creator for his size and his passing is really solid. Needs to add strength to the frame but he’s got the makings of someone that could blossom with Gauntlet.
Talbot is more of a true post player but has a better frame with loads of strength. Big lower half that he doesn’t seem like he knows how to use yet and some skill of his own. He’s much more of that tweener with regards to level as he heads into this live period. Showed good energy and motor and some solid touch on the low block.
Having two potential DI post players is great to have and should draw some attention. Maranka and Talbot kind of play well with each other because of the difference in skill and size. Can see the intrigue behind Luke but Talbot is a nice prospect in his own right and both should produce this summer.