Francisco’s Finest: Las Vegas Classic (Underclassmen Standouts)

Grassroots
Minnesota

Posted On: 08/10/18 6:19 PM

Francisco’s Finest: Las Vegas Classic (Underclassmen 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. 

Paolo Banchero (Odea/WA) Club Team: Seattle Rotary

2021, PF, 6-foot-8, 225 pounds

Joel’s Take: One of the Top Five underclassmen prospects I witnessed in Las Vegas was Paolo Banchero. The strongly-built 4-man with long arms, broad shoulders, and an impressive inside-out skill set was as consistent as it gets in Vegas. His soft hands, length, and bouncy nature allowed him to snag rebounds and finish through contact. He has a solid shooting touch, can take defenders off the bounce, and finish with either hand. 

Trejuan Holloman (Franklin/MN) Club Team: Howard Pulley

2022, PG, 6-foot-2, 165 pounds

Joel’s Take: Playing in the 17u division didn’t appear to affect this rising 9th grader in Minnesota. Poised to be the next great guard out of the famed Nike-sponsored Howard Pulley program, Holloman has all the physical tools to be a good one. He has terrific length, plays on balance, and possesses the skill and savvy to score and facilitate at a high-level going forward. 

Jaden Hardy (Coronado/NV) Club Team: Las Vegas Prospects

2021, SG, 6-foot-5, 190 pounds

Hardy can shoot the 3 or explode to the hole

Joel’s Take: Hardy is a bucket getter and he can convert baskets at all three levels. He isn’t afraid to take the big shot and his 2-dribble pull-up is potent. He has the strength to finish through contact and the bounce to convert over length. Going forward though, he pounds it too much and needs to advance the ball in transition. In the half court set, he needs to utilize the jump stop and not force the issue into the teeth of the defense. Balancing scoring and facilitating will take his game to another level. 

Kendall Brown (East Ridge/MN) Club Team: Howard Pulley

2021, WF, 6-foot-6, 180 pounds

Joel’s Take: Brown fits the mold of that prototypical wing-type at the college level. He has the appropriate frame with good length, solid ball skills, and the quickness to get to the rim off the bounce. He affects the game in the areas of rebounding, playmaking, and scoring. Watching his game mature in the next years will be intriguing. 

Joshua Christopher (Mayfair) Club Team: Las Vegas Prospects

2020, SG, 6-foot-5, 195 pounds

Josh Christopher High Upside
Christopher is an explosive scorer

Joel’s Take: Christopher is one of the better scorers in Southern California. Once he gets going, he is tough to stop. He has great strength and explosive 1st step to finish well over the rim. He gets great lift on his shot and his range extends to 23-feet. The key for Christopher will be to play at different speeds and utilzing his passion for the game in making his team a more productive squad.