The 2017 July evaluation period is nearing its end. Saturday at the Adidas Summer Championships, Fab 48, and Las Vegas Classic featured exciting bracket play with only a few teams left standing after day four. Still alive at the Las Vegas Classic, Bradley Beal Elite marched into Sunday on the heels of their rising small forward Jericole Hellems…

Top Performers
Alonzo Gaffney – 2019 – SF – Ohio Basketball Club

Gaffney didn’t have a great shooting day in a loss to Team Loaded VA, but the talent and upside here is obvious. Gaffney has a Brandon Ingram-ish frame – very long and raw physically. At 6-foot-9, there’s not a thing opposing wings can do to effectively challenge his shot. The exciting part about Gaffney is that there’s a lot of skill work left to be developed. He’s not an overly great ball handler, lacks a back-to-the-basket game, and can be streaky with his shooting. If Gaffney works hard over the next year plus, we’re probably talking about a top 25 prospect in the class of 2019. 

Quentin Grimes – 2018 – PG – Basketball University
Grimes is an elite point guard for a reason. There are few holes in this kid’s game. Anything he wants to do on the floor, Grimes is more than capable. Most of all, Grimes is clutch and simply willed his team back into the game against the New England Playaz. Down by double digits, Grimes hit shot after shot to pull Basketball University within striking distance. Taking out his do-it-yourself kit, Grimes had an answer each time the Playaz made a basket down the stretch. Grimes has a great mid-range game and keeps defenders guessing with a series of fakes. He sees the floor well and even if he’s not making eye contact with his teammates, Grimes knows where they’re going. With some of the nation’s premiere programs giving chase, one program is going to be in very good hands here. 

Jericole Hellems – 2018 – SF – Bradley Beal Elite
Putting together a strong week and summer overall, Hellems scored 20 points in a win Saturday morning. The 6-foot-7 forward has blossomed into a big matchup problem. He’s a terrific 3-point shooter, particularly off the bounce. Hellems also has the size, strength, and athleticism to be an elite slasher – forcing defenses to pick their poison on what to give up. The defensive versatility also raises Hellems’ stock. He can defend three positions effectively and allows his team to switch a lot of ball screens, knowing he’ll be just fine against perimeter players or walling up inside. Teams in need of a wing in 2018, this is one of the best on the board. 

Tyler Herro – 2018 – SG – Playground Elite
Herro saved his best for last. In a loss to Cal Supreme, Herro was fantastic, scoring a game-high 30 points, beating the odds time and time again to convert some of the toughest jump shots you’ll see. Herro was hounded up and down the floor, not given an inch of breathing room. Somehow, the tight, aggressive defense never flustered him. He kept Playground Elite alive for much of the way, scoring just over half of their points. With the rest of the team struggling, Herro was going 1-on-2, sometimes 1-on-3 to get a bucket. Rising up the national rankings, Herro left a lasting impression as few, if any, shooting guards in the country can make the type of shots that Herro consistently does. 

Talen Horton-Tucker – 2018 – SF – Team Rose
Horton-Tucker did a little bit of everything in Saturday’s win over Team Carroll. Although his shot wasn’t falling, Horton-Tucker didn’t let that impact the rest of his game. He scored 12 points on 4-of-15 shooting, but grabbed six rebounds, blocked three shots, and dished out two assists. Horton-Tucker has exciting length and explosiveness on the wing. His ability to play above the rim without always getting a head of steam is exciting. When Horton-Tucker is shooting well, he’s such a handful. A prospect that could also be a nice defender at the high major level, Horton-Tucker will produce in a variety of ways in college. 

Xavier Pinson – 2018 – PG – Mac Irvin Fire Elite
Showing he was one of the nation’s top up sleepers during the NY2LA circuit, Pinson continued to prove that on Saturday against a good Florida Elite team. 1-on-1, Pinson was once again spectacular. He’s simply too quick and has too many tricks up sleeves for defenders to handle. Pinson makes difficult plays look really easy, crossing over defenders and hitting step back jumpers. As always, Pinson’s vision is incredible. He threads the needle with the basketball and sees plays before they happen. 

Stock Boosters
Ezekiel Alley – 2017 – PG – Prodigy Elite

Alley came out on fire against Seattle Rotary Elite to begin bracket play on Saturday. The unsigned senior tore up the zone with some hot shooting. Even with defenders flying out to him, Alley remained smooth and poised with his release. He’s undersized, but Alley is crafty in traffic. He has a beautiful euro-step paired with a soft, high arcing floater he uses to avoid defenders. Alley caught the defense napping on a number of occasions, leaking out in transition and then converting 1-on-1 at the basket. Alley’s teammates seemed to feed off the energy as Prodigy ran away from Seattle Rotary Elite over the final 7-8 minutes to advance.

Reece Beekman – 2020 – PG – Wisconsin Playground Warriors
Continue to be impressed at how Beekman sparks this team when they need it most. Down by as many as 15, every possession mattered for PGC and Beekman gave his team a number of key extra possessions with his defensive ability. Beekman has terrific hands and can pick up on ball hander’s tendencies. He came up with a number of huge steals in the second half during a comeback win over G3 Grind. Beekman didn’t have his best offensive game, but nobody did in what was a war between two teams that know each other very well. However, the sophomore point guard can knock down 3-pointers at a high rate and is a terrific passer in the half court and open floor. 

Jai Clark – 2018 – SG – Florida Elite
Clark has been about a bucket all week. A sleeper in the 2018 class, Clark got hot against Mac Irvin Fire on Saturday. At one point, Clark hit four consecutive 3-pointers. A shot creator, Clark isn’t just limited to spotting up on the perimeter. He uses his body well to bounce off contact and create space off the dribble. Clark has shown the ability to hit tough shots fading away from the basket. Division 1 schools are slowly starting to catch on here as Clark appears to be a solid mid-major prospect that should have been recruited harder at this point. 

Chris Doherty – 2018 – PF – New England Playaz
Doherty is going to end up at the mid-major level, but in terms of toughness players, he’s the best I’ve seen in the 2018 cycle. The 6-foot-8 senior is built like a truck there’s nobody on the floor that can match his strength. Doherty has a motor that doesn’t stop and thinks every shot that comes off the glass is his. Despite his strong frame, Doherty gets off the floor and does it very quickly. He’ll rack up a ton of second, third, and even four-chance opportunities. If this kid is on you team, you’re not losing the 50-50 balls or being out-toughed. Doherty had a monster 22-point, 16-rebound effort in Saturday’s win over Basketball University.

Dominick Moegerle – 2020 – SG – Ohio Basketball Club
This is going to be a good one to remember in 2020. Moegerle has an excellent basketball IQ and contributes in a variety of ways. During a blowout victory over Kansas Pray & Play, Moegerle had some exciting plays on both ends of the floor. In transition, he caught people off guard with his ability to rise up and play above the rim. Moegerle gets after people defensively and no matter what the score was, didn’t take plays off. Moegerle can create for himself and others. He can go 1-on-1 with the ball or work hard away from the action and get into high percentage scoring areas. It’s tough to say what exactly Moegerle is or what his major strengths will be at this point, but it’s easy to say that he’ll have high major attention.

Isah Muhammad – 2020 – F/C – New Heights
Like the impact this young big has on the game. Muhammad is an excellent shot blocker and racked up a ton of swats during Saturday’s win over the New York Gauchos. Muhammad does a great job of not leaving his feet until the shooter does and rarely committed any silly fouls despite being so aggressive. While he’s raw, the 6-foot-7 sophomore is a better finisher around the rim than expected. Muhammad put home second chance points at a high rate and also did a nice job catching in traffic, keeping the ball high, and not letting guards get their hands in for swipes. Muhammad absolutely owned the glass on Saturday as well, helping New Heights advance to Sunday. 

Michael Saunders – 2020 – PG – UA G3 Grind
Saunders is just a gamer and has played two really good games against the Playground Warriors. Although G3 Grind lost a heartbreaker and Saunders missed some key free throws later, the young point guard impressed in a high level matchup. Saunders gets to the rim almost whenever he wants. The speedy floor general has unmatched quickness and if he’s not converting, Saunders is likely at the free throw line. There was a big stretch in Saturday’s game where G3 Grind simply cleared out and let him go to work. Pressing Saunders is very dangerous. He’s not afraid to go 90 feet and has the speed to beat an entire defense down the floor. 

Recruiting Notes
Alonzo Gaffney has offers from Ohio State, Penn State, Louisville, Florida, Kansas, West Virginia, Cincinnati, and more. He listed interest from Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State, Georgetown, and Texas. He plans to visit Ohio State, Louisville, and Pittsburgh in the fall. 

Chris Doherty has offers from Manhattan, Towson, Vermont, Central Connecticut State, and Florida Gulf Coast.