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January 28th, 2016
Junior 7-footer DeAndre Ayton is arguably the top basketball prospect in the nation, regardless of class. He may be the best pure talent to emerge at the center position in high school in multiple decades with guys like Greg Oden, Andre Drummond and Karl Anthony Towns, being in the conversation. Earlier this season, he transferred to Hillcrest Academy from Balboa City and has had a very strong showing all season. Coming from the Bahamas, Ayton has a very laid back demeanor, but is beginning to learn how to consistently flip the swich and become a beast out on the floor.
It was a nasty week, not only for the weather but for ranked college basketball teams, as well. Eight of the top nine teams in last week’s Power 16 – all but North Carolina – suffered a loss.
That bit of on-court upheaval resulted in North Carolina switching places with former No. 1 Oklahoma this week.
The 14th annual Flyin’ to the Hoop featured many top teams from Ohio and powers from across the US. Trent Arena was well represented by college coaches and fans ready to watch four days of competitive basketball. The players named to the All-Tournament Team were Seth Towns, Nick Ward, Alterique Gilbert, Josh Jackson, Trevon Duval, and Miles Bridges. Here’s a breakdown of the top player’s performances.
Josh Jackson 6’8 – Prolific Prep 2016
The recent C.B. L’Hospitalet tournament marked the second of the four qualification tournaments (Rome, Kaunas and Belgrade being the other venues), of the adidas Next Generation Tournament. The winner was the Spanish team from Real Madrid in a close final game over their eternal rival FC Barcelona (50-48) who suffered due to the absence of Rodions Kurucs, with an injury.
How, uh, wide open is the landscape of college basketball deep into January?
Well, consider this: Based upon the way they are playing and not programs’ reputations or “traditions”, there are few – if any – teams playing as well, right now, as are Clemson (ACC), Texas A&M (SEC), Iowa (Big Ten) and USC (Pac 12).
And, of course, there remains the last of the unbeatens: 17-0 SMU, which is ineligible for post-season play in March. All of that goes quite a bit against the grain of the sport, eh?
Some of the top high school talent put on a four day showcase in Paducah, Kentucky for the next stop of The Grind Session. The crowd was filled with Kentucky fans trying to see who might become the next big name in basketball. Here are some of the top players and their performances.
Deshawn Corprew 6’5 – Quality Education Academy 2016
On Wednesday, March 30, the McDonalds All American Game will take place at the United Center in Chicago. Here is a look at the rosters:
Edrice Adebayo 6-10 240 PF High Point Christian (High Point, NC) *Kentucky
Udoka Azubuike 6-11 290 C Potters House Christian (Jacksonville, FL) *Undecided
Tony Bradley 6-10 235 C Bartow (Bartow, FL) *North Carolina
Miles Bridges 6-7 225 SF Huntington Prep (Huntington, WV) *Michigan State
The 2016 Jordan Brand Classic will take place April 15 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. Here are the initial 16 high school senior standouts selected to participate in the event.
Like Jordan, Ewing and Miller, the last name Payton is one that is revered by all in the basketball community. The first name that comes to mind is NBA Champion and Hall of Famer Gary Payton, who is still among the NBA's all-time leaders in both assists and steals. And even though "The Glove" has been retired for the better part of 8 years, I doubt you can find anyone in the Pacific Northwest that isn't familiar with that name.
A week ago Kansas and Oklahoma gave us the measuring stick for every other college basketball game we want to refer to as “great”.
Let’s see if another Big 12 Conference tilt – this, too, involving the now-No. 1-ranked Jayhawks in the latest Power 16 – can approach it for sheer joyous entertainment value.