COLORADO SPRINGS — USA Basketball has turned its fall minicamp into a must-see event as nearly 60 of the nation’s best American high school basketball prospects attended.
The event featured Class of 2017 players competing for the Nike Hoop Summit and also Class of 2019 and Class of 2020 prospects who could compete for the USA U16 FIBA Americas team next summer. Here is a look at some players who were standouts in camp.
Class of 2017
Gary Trent Jr.., shooting guard — The 6-foot-6, 205 pound Trent Jr. had another impressive USA weekend as he was one of the tone-setters for the weekend. An incredibly physical guard who is wired to score, Trent Jr. can score on a number of short and compact dribble moves into shots and he’s also getting more confident and comfortable working the mid-post on smaller defenders. Trent continues to be one of the toughest and most physical perimeter players in the country and he’s improved his consistency as a passer and defender.
Wendell Carter Jr., forward — It was an impressive weekend for the 6-foot-10, 255 pound Carter as he was dominant as a post scorer and rebounder. Looking quick off the floor at his size, Carter easily finished above the rim and did a great job of rebounding at or above rim level on multiple occasions. Carter also went to work in the post and looked very at ease on the left block, where he used footwork and good touch to finish. Carter also made some plays as a shot blocker and has a good-looking jumper that could expand over time.
Trevon Duval, point guard — Statement weekend for the 6-foot-3, 180-pound point guard as he played against many other five-star prospects and came away looking like the best prospect among floor leaders. With his combination of elite athleticism, tight handle and improving feel for the position, Duval is impossible to keep out of the paint and once he gets near the rim he can explode and finish or contort his body and make a play for someone else. Duval can still be a bit wild and turnover prone, and his jumper is still a work-in-progress, but his defensive attributes are impressive and he’s the top point guard in the country.
Austin Wiley, center — The Auburn commit continues to build on solid USA Basketball performances as the 6-foot-11, 245-pound center was a bull in the paint and also showed an improved skill level. A powerful finisher who can rebound in traffic, Wiley showed an improved ability to work with both hands out of the post and he’s also improved his general conditioning and motor. Wiley was impressive and has great natural size and he’s firmly in the five-star track with a likely pro future.
D’shawn Schwartz, small forward — A Colorado Springs native who has impressed at this camp the last two years, the 6-foot-6 215-pound Schwartz was solid this weekend. The Colorado commit isn’t a five-star prospect and not viewed as having significant upside, but he continues to improve the consistency on his jumper and Schwartz is also becoming more confident and assertive attacking the hoop. Schwartz had a winning attitude and attacked each area with focus, winning a lot of drills and playing well despite being a late invite. He’s looking like a really solid get for Colorado and the type of potential All-Pac 12 player that they are able to keep home.
Kevin Knox II, small forward — An electric leaper who is versatile on both ends, Knox is a potentially elite rebounder and defender from the wing and he’s getting more comfortable creating offense on the wing. An improved jump shooter who is also improving his moves off the bounce, Knox can finish way above the rim and he’s tough to stop with a full head of steam. Defensively, Knox is capable of defending multiple positions because he’s quick off the floor as a leaper and it makes him a strong shot blocker from the wing and also a solid rebounder. If Knox improves his long-range consistency, then he’s likely a one-and-done player because he’s a special athlete.
Michael Porter Jr., small forward — The best player in the camp was the Washington commit as the now 6-foot-9 Porter was tremendous during the weekend. Continually improving in multiple facets of the game, Porter has improved his upper-body strength and it’s allowed him to comfortably operate from multiple levels of the floor on offense. Porter can use the mid-post to shoot over smaller defenders and he’s finishing more through contact. As a three-point shooter, Porter looks more confident and consistent and his easy-going release might make him a very good perimeter shooter. Porter was also a very good rebounder on both ends since he’s a gifted leaper with great size. Porter’s combination of size and skill makes him a top prospect in this class.
Collin Sexton, point guard — Some players are considered tough and fiery and then Collin Sexton ramps it up another level. A 6-foot-2, 180-pound guard from Georgia, Sexton wasn’t on the national radar entering last spring but now he’s firmly in the top 10 in the Class of 2017. One of the camp’s top 3 players, Sexton is a relentless player who has sneaky athleticism and an unrelenting motor. On offense, Sexton is fearless, gifted and unique as he’s adept at using change-of-pace moves and great footwork to score in so many ways around the basket. Sexton also draws loads of fouls as he’s comfortable getting in the paint at will. Also improving as a jump shooter and overall floor leader, Sexton’s natural intensity and talent will attract a number of teams in the future.
Trae Young, point guard — Continuing to impress is the 6-foot-2, 170-pound Young as his talent shows through in a number of ways. A shooter with deep range who can also create as a driver and passer, Young’s unique range makes him a threat anywhere from 27 feet and in. Although Young is still learning the time to take such shots, he has the capability to be a big-time scorer who can also make plays for others when the defense tries to crowd him. Defensively, Young is doing a better job consistently fighting over screens and he’s putting forth solid effort there.
Class of 2019
Scottie Lewis, guard — Keep an eye out for this 6-foot-5, 185-pound wing as his athleticism is elite and his skill level is continuing to show through. A competitive player who wasn’t afraid to match up with the older players, Lewis can play multiple spots on the perimeter and he’s becoming a creative attacker off the bounce. Because of his elite ability above the rim, Lewis can finish with both hands in traffic and he’s also getting more polished with his handle and jumper. Defensively, Lewis has athletic gifts that could enable him to defend multiple spots. Tracking Lewis and high school teammate Bryan Antoine — another 6-foot-5 guard at the camp — will be a lot of fun these next three seasons.
Christian Brown, wing — The native of South Carolina was a pleasant surprise this weekend as the 6-foot-7 wing did a number of creative things on offense. Brown knocked down perimeter shots, attacked the basket and had an intriguing level of size and athleticism. Brown has the talent to be a multi-faceted scorer and he could also be a solid defender and rebounder with more reps. This Class of 2019 prospect has an exciting future if he continues to play like this.
Matthew Hurt, forward — A 6-foot-8, 205-pound forward with a high level of skill, Hurt is a Minnesota native and the younger brother of future Golden Gopher freshman Michael Hurt. The younger Hurt is a more promising national prospect as his combination of size and skill makes him a huge threat. Hurt has very soft touch on his jumper and he can hit pullups off the dribble or shots off the catch. Hurt needs to add weight, but he’s a willing post defender and rebounder with good bounce and feel. Hurt has the chance to be a big-time stretch forward who can also defend near the rim and he has schools from coast-to-coast already after him.
Vernon Carey Jr., forward — A very intriguing forward at 6-foot-10 and 230 pounds, Carey Jr. is the son of former Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Vernon Carey. The younger Carey has great size and an intriguing skill set that includes great touch, a good feel for the game and an ability to stretch the floor. Carey Jr. can space the floor a bit and he also has a lot of positive tools to be a good post scorer thanks to solid footwork and touch. A good rebounder, Carey was competitive playing against older post players and he has top-10 upside in this class.
James Wiseman, center — One player to keep an eye on for the future is this 6-foot-10 center from Nashville. The 200-pound Wiseman moves very well for his size and he has the type of frame that many teams covet because he can add a lot of natural strength without compromising mobility. Wiseman is still working on his skill level, but he has imposing size as a rim protector and his size enables him to rebound over a lot of players. Wiseman needs to figure out his offensive feel, but his upside makes him someone to watch for these next few years.