An explosive month of July hit the hardwood from coast to coast and when the final horn blew this past weekend a host of prospects had boosted their recruiting stock with big time performances last month and highly regarded players like Shabazz Muhammad continued to deliver with big time performances. Here’s a look at five things we learned on the trail during the month of July…
Headed into this spring we regarded 2012 G/F Shabazz Muhammad of Dream Vision as the top 2012 prospect in the country and after a scintillating month of July the explosive scoring machine left little doubt that he is by far the measuring stick in the class nationally. Muhammad is a prolific scoring machine with the ability to attack off the bounce, score on the blocks, knock down the mid-range, explode in transition, and rain trey balls from beyond the arc. One need only witness a 26 point second half performance (i.e. finished with 42) in the championship game of the 2011 UA Summer Jam presented by NY2LA Sports where Muhammad missed one shot and only hit the rim one time in the second half (i.e. on the miss) to realize how special this young talent is. If that isn't enough witness a Co-MVP performance at the Summer Jam and a ridiculous showing at the Adidas Super 64 to the evidence as well.
BIGS…BIGS…AND MORE BIGS
During the summer of 2010 college coaches and writers alike searched for interior talent like water in desert as there was very little if any to be had of the high major impact variety in the 11’ class after getting past the top of the class. Fast forward to this past July and the floors were dripping with high major impact potential in the post from coast to coast. Witness the continued national emergence of guys like Mitch McGary, Robert Upshaw, Kaleb Tarczewski, Anthony Bennett, Andre Drummond, Willie Cauley, Cameron Ridley, etc. and it’s safe to say that the paint is filled with big time prospects in the 12’ class nationally and whatever was lacking in the 11’ class nationally was more than made up for with a ridiculous amount of interior prospects in the 2012 class.
Heading into the spring the SG and SF positions for the 12’ class were a bit of a mystery as mostly everyone focused on the massive amount of interior prospects that filled the rankings boards nationally but as the spring and summer unfolded names like Alex Poythress, Danuel House, Andrew White, Johnny Woodard, and Glenn Robinson Jr. started to fill the headlines nationally and join the likes of Shabazz Muhammad, Gary Harris Jr., Ricardo Ledo, etc. As we head into the fall, guys like Poythress, House, White, etc. continue to buzz in high major recruiting circles nationally after explosive performances during the month of July.
2013 ON DECK
As the race to the fall and spring signing periods begins for 2012 prospects a host of 2013 prospects are waiting on deck to stand front and center next spring and summer led by the #1 prospect in the class in SF Jabari Parker of Simeon Career Academy (IL). We hate to be the ones to say we told you so but on this one we definitely did going back to middle school where Parker was always more advanced than his peers in terms of the entire package due largely in part to instincts, footwork, skills, and work ethic. Parker evolved this past year with significantly improved athleticism and explosion and showed out with consistency every step of the way with a number of huge efforts during the grassroots travel season, with the Jr. National team in June, etc. Parker is the total package and he heads up a stellar 13’ class that includes the likes of Nerlens Noel, Julius Randle, Aaron Harrison, Andrew Harrison, Chris Walker, Jabari Bird, Stephen Domingo, etc.
SHOES AND A BALL
The past few years has seen Nike and Adidas as the major players in the grassroots travel circuit but this past spring and summer Under Armour and Reebok jumped into the fray as well making for an interesting future to say the least for up and coming programs and prospects. Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour all featured a stellar group of prospects and programs this spring and summer with a host of high profile events both camp and tournament related proving to be extremely successful in terms of exposure for the prospects and teams/high profile prospects in attendance while Reebok offered up their camp in early July with John Wall’s name attached. With so many storylines set to hit the discussion table related to grassroots basketball in the coming months, the increased involvement of the various brands will only serve to enhance the product on the court and the additional high quality exposure opportunities for low, mid, and high major prospects from coast to coast.