LAS VEGAS — The 2016 AAU season finished up over the weekend as Sin City saw a number of events go on under the watchful eye of college coaches. Here are the 10 top performers from the Las Vegas events.
Romeo Langford — The Class of 2018 doesn’t seem to have a lot of star power at the moment compared to previous classes, but this 6-foot-4, long-armed combo guard from Indiana has the look of a potential top-five prospect in his class. A natural scorer who is improving in all facets of his game, Langford went for 40 points and eight rebounds in one game as he’s capable of scoring from all three levels.
Defensively, Langford’s length and lateral movement enable him to defend multiple positions on the floor and he’s beginning to embrace trying to defend the other team’s primary scoring threat. If Langford has one issue it’s that he’s still an inconsistent player sometimes. There will be games where Langford isn’t as dialed in and he doesn’t play with as much intensity, but part of that could be fatigue from playing numerous games in a short timeframe.
Gary Trent Jr. — Even though the 6-foot-5 shooting guard was coming off of a month of being on the road in June he still played with a killer mentality in Vegas as the son of the "Shaq of the MAC" scored in every way possible. The Class of 2017 shooting guard was able to get going by hitting pull-up jumpers, attacking the basket and also knocking in deep three-pointers off the catch.
While Trent Jr. will have to add some floaters to his game since he’s not elite finishing over length, he’s going to be a complete scorer at the college level. Trent’s pro mentality is going to help him immensely because he puts in the work to improve his skill level while almost always playing hard.
Collin Sexton — Speaking of dudes who play in another gear, 6-foot-2 guard Collin Sexton continues to set the basketball world on fire with his play this spring and summer. Since Sexton, a Class of 2017 guard, burst on the national scene this spring, he’s been a scoring machine, capable of getting to the free-throw line in bunches while also getting into the paint at will.
Continuing to improve his three-point shot is going to be a must to maximize his potential, but there just haven’t been many guards like Sexton who are capable of putting up so many points by simply always attacking the basket. Sexton is the type of hyper-competitive dude that plays with a chip on his shoulder and that should help him compete at the highest levels of college basketball right away.
Mitchell Robinson — One of the fastest-rising prospects in the nation is the Class of 2017 center from Louisiana. Committed to Western Kentucky and new head coach Rick Stansbury, the 7-foot Robinson changes directions and runs end-to-end like a guard and he has tremendous shot-blocking instincts.
Since he moves so well and covers so much ground, Robinson is one of the best at blocking shots that others can’t get to and he’s had more blocks of three-pointers of any prospect I’ve seen since Anthony Davis. With Robinson playing with a new team, New Orleans Elite, for his final tournament, he wasn’t quite in sync offensively in the half-court setting, but Robinson still ran the floor and finished dunks with ease since he gets off the floor so quickly. With the way Robinson played in July he’s making a serious push to be in the top ten in this national class.
Brian Bowen — Continuing a positive run in July was the 6-foot-7 wing from Michigan as Bowen solidified his status as a Class of 2017 five-star prospect. Scoring the ball in a number of unique ways, Bowen can do a lot of damage by putting the ball on the deck and he can also be used as a secondary handler and perimeter shooter.
Bowen has also improved his ability to handle contact from opposing defenses and he’ll chip in with some rebounds from the wing if needed. If Bowen can continue to become a more well-rounded wing by dishing out a few more assists than he could be a very dangerous offensive weapon at the college level who could eventually morph into a pro with added strength and development.
Nick Weatherspoon — Another guard who saw his stock rise immensely over the last few months, the 6-foot-1 Weatherspoon is a scoring guard who is starting to get a better feel as a distributor. The younger brother of Mississippi State guard Quinndary Weatherspoon, Nick has great feel as a scorer as he knows how to get to his spots on the floor and finish.
Armed with a deadly pull-up jumper and moves to score at all three levels, Weatherspoon can put up points in a hurry as he does a good job of getting in the paint and making plays. One area of concern is that Weatherspoon tends to play a bit wild and he can pile up some turnovers and bad shots during some possessions. It will be interesting to see how Weatherspoon looks when he has talent around him and how much he’ll look to score.
Scottie Lewis — At 6-foot-5, Lewis has a great deal of upside because of his insane athleticism and special leaping ability. Lewis plays well above the rim and is also skilled enough to make plays off the dribble into his mid-range jumper.
The tools are all there for Lewis to be an elite prospect and it’s going to be fun to see how he ends up in a few years. This is a kid that has a chance to be special.
Bryan Antoine — Lewis’ teammate, 6-foot-5 Antoine isn’t quite the athlete that Lewis is, but he’s a tremendously savvy combo guard who has a high skill level. Antoine already has an ability to score with either hand and has decent vision as a creator.
Keep an eye out for these two Class of 2019 teammates the next few years because both guards have been an absolute force this spring playing with Team Rio’s 16s team. If Lewis and Antoine continue on this path, they’re both potential McDonald’s All-Americans in a promising looking Class of 2019.
Billy Preston — One of the most enigmatic prospects in the Class of 2017 is the 6-foot-10 Preston. An ultra-talented forward who can do a bit of everything, Preston can shoot, handle and rebound very well for his size but there are also times when he makes bad decisions and forces up bad looks.
Part of the problem with Preston sometimes is that he knows he’s talented and leads to him making a play for himself instead of making the right basketball play. When he’s engaged and playing at his best, Preston is a complete matchup nightmare who can rebound and push with the best of them. Intensity and maintaining focus will be a huge factor in how Preston ends up at the next level but he has the talent the be among the top players in the class.
Tremont Waters — As one of the best pure floor generals in the Class of 2017, the 5-foot-11 Waters had his way against some opponents in Vegas as he played a high-IQ brand of ball and found a lot of teammates for easy looks.
Although he’s small and will have to get better facing bigger and more athletic guards, Waters isn’t afraid to compete and his very slick handle and good vision allow him to make plays for others either in the half court or transition. If the jumper is going down, it makes Waters quicker off the dribble and he’s crafty enough to have some finishes at the rim over length. Because he’s not an elite athlete with elite size, Waters will likely spend at least a few years in school, but his IQ is intriguing.
Chuma Okeke — After a great stretch in Las Vegas in which he also had a 40-point game, the 6-foot-8 Okeke committed to Auburn on Monday, giving head coach Bruce Pearl one of the strongest Class of 2017 recruiting classes. A versatile wing with quick feet and a certain toughness around the hoop, Okeke can rebound well from either forward spot and also isn’t afraid to take a smaller defender into the mid post.
Okeke can also initiate high ball screens and make some plays off of that as he showed himself to be a capable passer in making the easy pass. If Okeke needs to improve anything it is his perimeter jumper, as he’s not hitting threes at a normal clip and is sometimes afraid to take shots from deep.