Continuing Babcock Hoops’ high school all-star circuit coverage, Matt Babcock was recently in Philadelphia for the Allen Iverson Roundball Classic to check out some of the top high school players in the country.
This year our Babcock Hoops draft coverage team has had the opportunity to see a large contingent of the next batch of likely NBA draftees as we have covered the Nike Hoop Summit, the Big Baller Brand All-American Game, the Jordan Brand Classic and now the Allen Iverson Roundball Classic. In each of these high school all-star events, twenty or so of the top players in the country are brought together to showcase their abilities. There are several days of practice before a formal game, which is the main event. For us, the practices are where the most of our evaluations are accomplished as the games are usually more of a laid back, fun atmosphere geared to entertain fans. With the Iverson Classic specifically, I find it to be quite ironic because, yes, we are indeed talking about practice! Kidding aside, here are a few of my notes on some of the players that stood out:
Position: SF | Height: 6’7” | Weight: 200 | College: Kentucky
Kentucky has reloaded, again, of course. Headlining John Calipari’s latest recruiting class is Kahlil Whitney from Roselle, New Jersey. The 6’7” slashing small forward should not disappoint Big Blue Nation as he is ready to step in right away due to his high level athleticism. A likely one and done player, Whitney reminds me of current NBA player Jaylen Brown. Expect many highlight dunks next season in Lexington by Whitney!
Position: PF | Height: 6’9” | Weight: 210 | College: USC
Although often mentioned as the older brother of Evan Mobley, the number one player in the class of 2020, Isaiah Mobley is definitely not a player that should be overlooked. Despite being just a decent athlete, Mobley possesses terrific size and is incredibly skilled all around on the offensive end of the floor. A very effective low post scorer, Mobley also has the versatility to lead the break and make plays for others. The newest addition to the USC Trojans draws comparisons to NBA draft prospect Dedric Lawson of the Kansas Jayhawks and NBA player Kyle Anderson of the San Antonio Spurs.
Position: C | Height: 6’8” | Weight: 225 | College: USC
Also heading to USC next season is Onyeka Okongwu from Chino Hills, California. A big physical post player with an incredibly long wingspan, Okongwu alongside Mobley should provide a nice one-two punch for the Trojans next season. While most effective banging in the post, Okongwu also has a nice shooting touch for a player that plays so physically. He is definitely a player we will be tracking moving forward.
Position: F | Height: 6’8” | Weight: 198 | College: Oregon
Heading to Eugene, Oregon next year, CJ Walker shows promise as a long, smooth, slashing athlete. Although somewhat of a tweener at this point I do expect Walker to produce right away for the Oregon Ducks. If Walker is able to add to his game, develop his overall offensive polish and establish a true identity as a player, he might not be in Oregon for long as the NBA might come knocking on his door sooner than later.
Position: SF | Height: 6’7” | Weight: 190 | College: Louisville
A long, lean wing that is capable of scoring in a variety of ways, Samuell Williamson impressed at the Iverson Classic throughout the week. He showed off his outside shooting and smooth scoring ability, drawing comparisons to current NBA player Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics. Williamson should be a standout player in his freshman year for the Louisville Cardinals.
Position: SG | Height: 6’4” | Weight: 190 | College: Texas Tech
At 6’4” with broad shoulders and a strong athletic build for a guard, Jahmius Ramsey showed why many are saying that he might be the next NBA player to come out of Chris Beard’s Texas Tech program, following the steps of Zhaire Smith of the Philadelphia 76ers and projected first round pick in this year’s NBA draft, Jarrett Culver. Despite lacking true point guard skills, Ramsey’s toughness and athleticism are very impressive as he displayed a number of powerful, jaw dropping dunks throughout the week. Get ready Lubbock, Culver’s replacement is on the way!
Position: SG | Height: 6’5” | Weight: 185 | College: Duke
Having just committed to the Duke Blue Devils, Cassius Stanley really showed well at the Iverson Classic. Although being extremely old for his high school class as he turns 20 later this summer, Stanley has the full toolbox as an off the ball scoring guard: he shoots the ball well from outside, is good off the dribble, he posts up and he has incredible explosiveness at the rim. I fully expect Stanley to be one of the key scoring options for an extremely deep Duke team next season. I will certainly be tuning in and tracking his progress.
Position: G | Height: 6’4” | Weight: 185 | College: Florida
Heading to the University of Florida next year, the sweet shooting combo guard, Tre Mann, showed off his ability to score all week. Perhaps the best shooter at the camp, Mann certainly has room for improvement but has the ability to step in and play either guard position and be a primary scoring option year one. Assuming Andrew Nembhard returns to school after testing the NBA Draft waters, the two should team up to be a dynamic backcourt for the Gators next year in Gainesville.
Position: PG | Height: 6’1” | Weight: 180 | College: Ohio State
Although not the highest ranked player of this group, DJ Carton might have been the best athlete at the classic, which he put on full display when he won the camp’s dunk contest. An aggressive, assertive point guard, Carton along with other Ohio State signee Alonzo Gaffney should have some buzz generated next year for the Buckeyes.
Position: F | Height: 6’7” | Weight: 200 | College: Kentucky
Although not the flashiest of players Keion Brooks possesses positional size, length and versatility that should translate to the college and NBA levels nicely. He showed a well-balanced game offensively throughout the week as he was able to hit open shots and utilize his length against his defenders to get easy baskets. Defensively he has the potential to be very versatile as he could possibly defend multiple positions down the road. Brooks will certainly be a nice piece on Calipari’s stacked Kentucky team this coming year.
Rejean ‘Boogie’ Ellis
Position: G | Height: 6’2” | Weight: 170 | College: Undecided
Recently decommitting from Duke, Boogie Ellis displayed his scoring prowess all week. It is not too surprising that he wants to be in the starting lineup somewhere next year as Duke has returning point guard Tre’ Jones and recently signed Cassius Stanley, penciled in as the starting backcourt next season. Wherever ‘Boogie’ ends up I expect him to be a dynamic scoring guard right away.