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Posted On: 08/8/18 11:31 PM
Francisco’s Finest: Las Vegas Classic (2019 Standouts)
LAS VEGAS, Nev.—Hal Pastner, a well-known Grassroots event organizer, continues to provide coaches and scouts alike with high-level events—and the Las Vegas Clasic is no exception. The NIKE-sponsored teams, led by perennial power Team Takeover, were dominant throughout, but there were a bevy of quality teams and players to consume the eyes of the onlookers. At the end of the day though, it would be California-based Cali Stars that would shock the competition to capture the prestigious championship over Illinois-based Mac Irvin Fire.
Kahlil Whitney (Roselle Catholic/NJ) Club Team: Mac Irvin Fire
2019, WF, 6-foot-7, 220 pounds
Joel’s Take: When it comes to candidates for the McDonald’s game, Whitney needs to be near the top. The lethal scoring wing can convert buckets at all three levels due to his strength, quickness, and bounce. He attacks well off the dribble, can finish through or over contact, and he shoot it from deep. One of the more prolific scorers I’ve seen in the class.
Jordan Brinson (Westchester) Club Team: Cali Stars
2019, CG, 6-foot-2, 165 pounds
Joel’s Take: Brinson has been sidelined since the playoffs in March, but he found his form in Vegas and topped it off by bagging the MVP of this event. The ultra-athetic guard can do a bit of everything at both ends of the floor. His explosive 1st step allows him to get to the rim consistently and he has the hang time to finish in traffic. Defensively, he slides his feet well, rebounds well for his size, and has active hands and instincts. Once his jump shot comes around, his game will go to another level.
Cole Bajema (Lynden Christian/WA) Club Team: FOH Seattle
2019, SG, 6-foot-6, 175 pounds
Joel’s Take: No one’s stock—and I mean no one’s stock—rose as much as Bajema during July. The slippery scoring guard possesses a slick handle (quick and tight crossover) and can shoot it from deep. He gets great arc on his shot and he can finish in a variety of ways at the rim due to his dexterity and bounce. This Michigan-bound guard will need to gain strength, but he is a talent.
David Roddy (Breck School/MN) Club Team: Howard Pulley
2019, WF, 6-foot-5, 220 pounds
Joel’s Take: Each season there are these positon-less prospects that dominate the game—and Roddy is yet another example. If you go back in time he reminds me a bit of former Illinois standout Sergio McClain or more recently Jordan Loveridge (Utah). Nevertheless, he dominated foes with is strength, savvy, and moxie. Snagging rebounds, finishing in traffic, and attacking off the dribble were part of the show—not too mention a few jump shots mixed in.
Markese Jacobs (Uplift Academy/ILL) Club Team: Mac Irvin Fire
2019, 5-foot-9, 180 pounds
Joel’s Take: This Kansas commit is strength and explosion personified. His burst off the dribble is outer-worldly and he just floats in the air while finishing over the “bigs.” At first I was not sure if he had the size and skill set to play at Kansas, but Bill Self will toss him in the line-up and Jacobs will make plays at both ends of the floor.
Scotty Pippen Jr. (Sierra Canyon) Club Team: Oakland Soldiers
2019, 6-foot-1, 160 pounds
Joel’s Take: Pippen Jr. doesn’t have one particular strength, he just affects the game with his savvy, skill, and competitive mindset. The future point guard can handle tight pressure, breaks down defenders with his slick handle, and he has a knack to score from anywhere. Defensively, he has good instincts and active hands, which leads to numerous steals. Definitely, one of the winners in this class.