The spring and summer travel season wrapped last month and as the school year now quickly approaches for most, college programs of all levels are in hot pursuit of their targets looking to secure commitments from the 2018 class.  The class as a whole is short in terms of depth of interior prospects and here’s a look at five that are still on the board…

Benjamin Fakira – 6-10 – C – Australia – AUSA Hoops Platinum
A skilled interior talent with the ability to score around the basket and face up with the jump shot, Fakira sees the floor well, he has a solid frame and is willing to bang in the paint on both ends.  The talented Australian big man has his best basketball in front of him and his ability to fill the box score and deliver a quality floor impact on both ends will be an asset for any program.  Fakira picked up an offer from De Paul in July to add to one from Southern Utah and the talented big might be one of the biggest sleepers left on the board right now in the 2018 class globally.

Joseph Hedstrom - 6-10 – C – Hopkins HS (Minnesota) – MN Comets Elite
A big strong interior talent who is fundamentally sound in the paint in terms of footwork, positioning, boxing out, etc. Hedstrom has a lot of clay to mold into a quality player at the Division 1 level.  He can finish out to 15 feet, he has solid feel and positioning to secure rebounds consistently, and he’s not afraid to play physical on both ends of the court.  A high upside talent long term, Hedstrom recently picked up a 4 for 5 offer from Wisconsin to add to offers held from  Boise State, Bucknell, Lehigh, South Dakota, Western Michigan, Cleveland State, Columbia, Loyola Marymount, North Dakota, North Dakota State, Denver, Hofstra, etc.

Salisu Yahaya – 6-8 – PF – Jonesboro HS (Arkansas) – Yanders Law
Watched this young man closely in July and some school is going to be very excited to land this high flying young big.  A freakish athlete who can run the floor and soar in transition, Yahaya is a beast in the paint and a potential matchup problem as he has the length and athleticism to be disruptive defensively blocking and altering shots and he can elevate and finish around the basket.  He secures rebounds, is disruptive defensively, can finish in the paint, and he runs the floor exceptionally well.  One of the top sleepers in the Midwest still in play.

Jalen Shaw – 6-10 – C – Larkins HS (Illinois) – Kessel Heat Black
A skilled and high ceiling interior prospect who is extremely young for his age, Shaw has a solid spring and then wasn’t as consistently in the month of July.  When you consider how young he is for his class, the fact that he has a 7 foot plush length wingspan, and his skill set allows him to finish around the basket and face up and stretch out with a jump shot beyond the arc, Shaw is intriguing in a variety of ways and his long term potential is very high.  When engaged, Shaw can make it look easy as he will clean the glass, alter shots, and score in a variety of ways.  He holds offers from Manhattan, Southern Illinois, and Illinois-Chicago.  

Blake Verbeek – 6-10 – F/C – Calvin Christian (Michigan) – Grand Rapids Storm
A long lean plus length interior prospect who still has room to grow physically and skill wise, Verbeek continued to progress throughout the spring and summer and he delivered some of his best efforts in July as he showed an ability to finish at the rim, with the mid-range jumper, and even step outside and knock down the perimeter shot.  Defensively he has solid instincts and he has a nice feel on the glass so he can collect rebounds as well.  Still raw on the physical tool side and with his back to the basket, Verbeek in the right Division 1 system will flourish long term with a little patience and continued development.  An intriguing young prospect whose best basketball lies ahead of him.