Friday, April 18, 2014
Roundtable: Jordan Brand Classic
By RecruitingNation staff
It has been a busy few weeks for the top prospects in the ESPN 100.
It began at the beginning of the month when they arrived in Chicago for the McDonald's All American Game. Immediately after that game concluded, some players jumped on a red-eye to New York for the Dick's Sporting Goods High School National Tournament. Last week it was a trip to the West Coast for the Nike Hoop Summit in Oregon. This week, that string of all-star events gets a fitting culmination as the top players in the Class of 2015 return to New York for the Jordan Brand Classic.
Given what we've seen, not just in the past few weeks but in the past few years, is there anything left to learn? Here are a few players whom our Recruiting Nation staff will be watching during Friday's Jordan Brand Classic (ESPN2, 7 p.m. ET):
Justin Jackson starred at the McDonald's All American Game and will look to continue that trend in the Jordan Brand Classic.
Paul Biancardi: Justin Jackson Jackson continues to impress scouts with his unique ability to score with a soft shooting touch while showing a high basketball IQ. He cares more about winning than his own numbers, which is refreshing to see. At the McDonald's All American Game, among the brightest stars, Jackson earned co-MVP honors, dropping 23 points on 11-of-14 shooting. The North Carolina-bound Jackson is so efficient and effective and he never looks like he is forcing the action or hunting down his shots. What makes him special is his individual talent and scoring skills inside the arc within the flow of the team. Don’t be surprised if he drops another quiet 20-plus points in this game.
Adam Finkelstein: Karl Towns One of the youngest players in the field, Towns has shown the most clear improvement in recent months. The Kentucky signee followed up a solid showing at the Nike Hoop Summit with a good week of practice here in New York, so it seems very possible that Towns is again trending in a very impressive direction. I'll be anxious to see if he can punctuate his month with a strong showing in front of his hometown friends and family from New Jersey.
Joel Francisco: Kameron Chatman Chatman is on that short list of prospects who could have exhibited his talents on the McDonald's All American stage. But most of the members on the committee never had a chance to take in his all-around game. The willowy left-hander is a point forward-type who can score from all three levels. The skill that makes him unique at his size is his ability to facilitate the offense in the half-court set. The Michigan signee's game resembles a Tayshaun Prince-type, but Chatman plays at a Paul Pierce pace. He is never off balance and uses his skill, savvy and basketball IQ to affect the game in multiple ways.
Reggie Rankin: Chris McCullough The player who I am most looking forward to seeing is McCullough, who has had an excellent senior campaign. I am excited to see his athleticism in transition in addition to his ability to rebound at rim level, block shots and finish. McCullough's length, bounce and quickness make him a very intriguing player, and I am really fired up to see if the production has closed the gap on the potential. Also, I want to visualize him in the Syracuse system that includes their staple 2-3 zone and attacking fast break, which are areas McCullough should excel in without any difficulty when he is locked in and competing on a high level.
John Stovall: Emmanuel Mudiay Mudiay is one of the most scrutinized players in the class. He is the most talented point guard. Sometimes he is impactful in games and at times he can be dominant. There are other times when he cruises and can be unassertive. All-star games should be his element. His playing style is perfectly suited for an up-and-down, open-court game. I want to see which Mudiay shows up and if he decides to dominate or cruise.