Player of the Week
Kevin Knox 6’8 – Tampa Catholic 2017
The junior small forward had a tremendous week. The first three games consisted of leading Tampa Catholic to win the Aurora Classic title. In three quarters of play, Knox finished with 29 points, six rebounds, four assists, and two blocks to beat Noble Street College Prep. The next day, finishing with 24 points and two blocks while defeating Aurora East. In the title game against Neuqua Valley, Knox posted 28 points and 11 rebounds. In the final game of the week Knox had an all-around performance with 39 points, ten rebounds, five assists, four blocks, and four steals in the win over Wharton, to lead Tampa Catholic to a 4-0 record over the week.
Chino Hills has been hot all month, previously winning the City of Palms Classic Championship. Last week, Chino Hills went on to win the MaxPreps Holiday Classic Championship, while the Ball brothers put up impressive numbers. In the win over Milwaukee King, the UCLA commits contributed; Lonzo Ball with 26 points, LaMelo with 30 points, and LiAngelo with 29 points. They followed up with Lonzo posting 23 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists to beat Jonesboro. LaMelo finished with 13 points and six assists, while LiAngelo dropped 41 points. Chino Hills defeated Redondo Union in the championship game, Lonzo went off for a near quadruple double, posting 33 points, ten rebounds, ten assists, seven blocks, and four steals.
Jayson Tatum 6’8 – Chaminade Prep 2016 (Duke)
Tatum didn’t play in Chaminade’s blowout win over Bayless, but finished with a career scoring night against Huntington Prep at the Cancer Research Classic. The Duke commit finished with 46 points, eight rebounds, and three assists, while shooting 17-28 from the field and 12-13 from the free throw line. Tatum wants to be like Mike, as he used a hesitation spin move similar to the one that Jordan put on Charles Oakley and the Knicks to break the double team and drive baseline for the game winning layup to go up 84-83 in overtime.
Alterique Gilbert 5’11 – Miller Grove 2016 (Connecticut)
Gilbert had a nice week while Miller Grove won the second consecutive Chick-fil-A Invitational. He scored 16 points, while passing nine assists, and getting six steals in the blowout win over Cedar Grove. In the win over Lithonia, he finished with 15 points and three steals. Gilbert capped off the Invitational with 32 points and six assists to beat Tucker in the title game. While teammate, Aaron Augustin earned MVP of the event, Gilbert was big in the championship game to secure the win.
Jalek Felton 6’3 – Mullins 2017 (North Carolina)
Felton had 11 points in the loss to Mustang, but had a big performance the previous day to beat Poca. He finished with 55 points, eight assists, three rebounds, and two steals. This included making nine of his 15 three point attempts. Felton’s performance set a scoring record for the Beach Ball Classic, breaking the previous record set by Luke Kennard of 52 points.
Payton Pritchard 6’1 – West Linn 2016 (Oregon)
The future Oregon guard had a rough two games at the Les Schwab Invitational. Although the two losses came against two very respectable teams, Pritchard couldn’t find his shot. In the loss to Oak Hill Academy, he finished with 12 points while shooting 5-19 from the field and 0-9 from three. The following game, he scored 15 points but only shot 4-16 from the field and 0-6 from three.
Under the Radar
Justice Kithcart 6’2 – Virginia Episcopal 2016 (Pittsburgh)
He doesn’t receive the same amount of hype as his teammate, Sacha Killeya-Jones, but Kithcart is a fine player and had a great week. He scored 25 points to beat Carlisle in the HSOT Holiday Invitational. His follow up performance consisted of 24 points, five rebounds, seven assists, and two steals in the win over JM Robinson. His defense, speed, and ability to get to the basket will help Pittsburgh’s backcourt next season with James Robinson graduating.
Top 5 Prospects 6’10+ and bigger
1. Deandre Ayton 7’0 – Hillcrest Academy 2017
Ayton’s ability to score from anywhere on the floor, from his moves in the low post to his smooth stroke from three, make him the top prospect in high school basketball. His upside isn’t limited to scoring, as his understanding of positioning, timing, and leadership give him tremendous potential as an anchor on defense. His combination of size, athleticism, and overall skillset is rare for a seven foot 17 year old.
2. Marvin Bagley 6’11 – Sierra Canyon 2018
The ultra-athletic forward is right on Ayton’s tail for the top prospect in high school. He has the ability to score inside and out. He is versatile and works hard on the glass, getting rebounds in and out of his area. The left-handed sophomore recently enrolled at Sierra Canyon, teaming up with talented forward, Cody Riley. Bagley hasn’t even hit the half way point in his high school career, and it’s evident that the best is yet to come.
3. Mohamed Bamba 6’11 – Westtown School 2017
Bamba has tremendous length with a 7’8 wingspan and 9’5 standing reach. Along with his great length, Bamba is a rim protector and has a nice face up game. He is far from a finished product but has been on the rise among the 2017 class. His mobility and skill level at his height separate him from his peers.
4. Wendell Carter 6’10 – Pace Academy 2017
Some view him as the top player of the 2017 class. He is coming off of an MVP performance at Peach Jam this summer beating Jayson Tatum and the St. Louis Eagles. Carter has great strength to establish low post position and touch to finish. He has recently extended his shooting range, giving scouts hope of playing forward in addition to the center position. Along with his scoring ability, Carter is known for owning the paint on defense when it comes to rebounding and shot blocking.
5. Thon Maker 7’1 – Athlete Institute 2017
Maker may not make the same impact as others on the list, but he is able to do what others can’t on the perimeter. His court vision and ball handling skills are on par with anyone at his height at any level. He may not dominate under the basket but he can score from multiple spots on the floor. He gives a consistent effort when he is on the floor and brings vocal leadership. Maker’s versatility has made him eye opening to the casual fan at an early age.