Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Five names to know in ESPN 25
By Paul Biancardi
The Class of 2016 has a real chance to be one of the best classes in the last decade because of the sheer number of high-impact prospects. There are players in this group who are game-changers now and who have barely scratched the surface of their potential. Here's a look at five members of the latest ESPN 25 who performed well against older competition this summer.
Maker has a chance to be really special because of his rare combination of enormous height (7-feet), length and advanced skill. He handles the ball and shoots it with finesse, and on the other end, he rebounds above the crowd and blocks shots at an elite level. Maker has a Kevin Garnett-like body and better skills at the same stage but his heart and toughness are yet to be determined. How his body fills out and how he continues to approach the game will determine how far he goes. He played on the 17-and-under EYBL circuit and performed extremely well.
Josh Jackson rose to No. 2 in the ESPN 25 after an impressive summer circuit.
Jackson, a 6-6 small forward, is one of the most versatile young players not only in his class, but in the country. He is a good athlete with the skills to score and pass and with a mindset and body to defend. An uncommitted prospect, he boasts a complete game on both ends of the floor and his advanced development is impressive. With a tenacious approach to the game, Jackson makes defending a priority. He is arguably the best player in the state of Michigan as a sophomore.
Harry Giles (Wesleyan Christian Academy/Winston-Salem, N.C.)
One of the special players in the class, Giles is recovering from knee surgery. Before his injury, he was dominating opponents a year older on the 16-and-under circuit. Gifted, with secure hands and a tremendous a feel for the game, his game is very complete for his age.
Jackson, a 6-7, 185-pound small forward, is new to the ESPN 25 and originally hails from Canada. He displays a blend of shooting and athletic ability. He is still feeling his way on the court in the States and will need to get stronger and more assertive, but the talent is there and then some.
Parker's elite athleticism, ability to read the floor and push the pace immediately caught my attention. Defensively, he has a knack for anticipating passing lanes and coming up with steals and quickly converting them into scoring opportunities.
We told you first: Udoka Azubuike (Jacksonville, Fla./Potter's House Christian), a 6-foot-11, 238-pound native of Nigeria, dominated this past weekend at the E1T1 Best of the Best camp. In just three games, he had 43 dunks. After originally being a part of the 2017 class, he has reclassified into 2016. And he might be the most physically imposing sophomore in the country. We will see in person again soon, and there is a great chance he will be part of the next edition of the ESPN 25. An already loaded class just added another potential star.