NBA Draft Analyst Matt McKay was in Las Vegas last weekend to cover the 18th Annual Jordan Brand Classic. The top high school prospects in the country were showcased, including the current projected number one pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, James Wiseman.
The annual high school spring all-star circuit rolled through the Las Vegas strip last weekend as the 18th installment of the Jordan Brand Classic was held at T-Mobile Arena. The game featured some of the top prep players in the country. The “home” team was headlined by the Gatorade National Player of the Year, James Wiseman, and the “away” team included the number-one point guard in the country, Cole Anthony. True to form, both Wiseman and Anthony lived up to their billings and were awarded MVP of their respective teams as the home team fought off a second half comeback and came out on top, 132-125. Below you’ll find a breakdown of the players that left the biggest impressions on former NBA scout and current Babcock Hoops NBA Draft Analyst, Matt McKay:
JAMES WISEMAN | MEMPHIS
Ht: 7’0” | Wt: 230 | Pos: C | Age: 18.1
Stat line: 24 min | 9-12 FG | 0-1 3FG | 3-7 FT | 21 pts | 6 reb | 0 ast | 0 stl | 2 blk | 0 to
Wiseman had a quiet first half before really making his presence felt. The seven-footer’s elite fluid mobility was on full display as he scored 19 of his 21 points after halftime. The away team didn’t have an answer for him in the paint, and neither will many opposing NCAA teams next year once Wiseman takes the floor for Memphis. This type of center doesn’t come along very often. Wiseman’s combination of size, power, gracefulness, and skill is what makes him special. If he plays hard consistently, the sky is the limit. At this point in time, the claim to the projected top slot in the 2020 NBA Draft is his to lose.
TYRESE MAXEY | KENTUCKY
Ht: 6’2” | Wt: 185 | Pos: CG | Age: 18.5
Stat line: 25 min | 3-13 FG | 1-6 3FG | 6-6 FT | 13 pts | 5 reb | 4 ast | 2 stl | 0 blk | 3 to
It’s easy to like Maxey more and more with each viewing. He’s a 1.5 positionally at this stage, but projects as someone who will find his way regardless of position. He’s improved his lead guard skills over time and has become capable of keeping the defense honest thanks to his compact shooting stroke with range out to the 3-point line. When run off the line, he’s developed a nice finishing package around the rim. Additionally, all signs point to Maxey being a glue guy and someone that endears himself to his teammates and coaches - qualities that can help break a tie when teams are deciding who to draft.
JADEN MCDANIELS | UNDECIDED
Ht: 6’10” | Wt: 190 | Pos: F | Age: 18.6
Stat line: 16 min | 4-6 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 8 pts | 9 reb | 1 ast | 0 stl | 0 blk | 2 to
McDaniels had a much better showing in the JBC compared to his somewhat underwhelming performance in the McDonald’s game. He’s extremely skilled for his size and capable of making things happen along the perimeter, but he’s also someone that can mix it up inside. He’s tougher than his skinny frame may indicate (a la Orlando’s Jonathan Isaac). He didn’t dominate the practice nor the game, but offered glimpses as to why he has one of the highest ceilings of anyone in the 2019 class. McDaniels has potential to be a versatile, two-way impact player at the highest level.
ISAIAH STEWART | WASHINGTON
Ht: 6’9” | Wt: 245 | Pos: C | Age: 17.9
Stat line: 22 min | 6-10 FG | 2-2 3FG | 2-2 FT | 16 pts | 9 reb | 0 ast | 0 stl | 0 blk | 2 to
Stewart picked up where he left off at the Hoop Summit and brought his lunch pail and hard hat as he went to work in the JBC. A physical specimen with a developing outside game, Stewart knocked down two 3-point jumpers in the game and looked natural doing it. He’s also very effective inside as an ambidextrous finisher with advanced post footwork. He may not have “future NBA star” written all over him, but he looks the part of a rock solid contributor for years to come. He’ll be a must-watch prospect in the Pac-12 next year from the minute he suits up for the Huskies.
CASSIUS STANLEY | DUKE
Ht: 6’4” | Wt: 185 | Pos: SG | Age: 19.7
Stat line: 17 min | 5-11 FG | 2-5 3FG | 4-4 FT | 16 pts | 2 reb | 2 ast | 0 stl | 0 blk | 1 to
Stanley is an explosive, dynamic vertical athlete that is bound to wind up in the Sportscenter Top-10 during his Duke tenure. He’s also a capable shooter from the outside and someone that should make an every-night impact for the Blue Devils, from day one. It’s notable that he’s old for his class and turns 20 this summer, so NBA teams will undoubtedly take that into consideration when evaluating his upside (for context, the incoming freshman is one month older than soon-to-be Kansas senior, Udoka Azubuike).
TRENDON WATFORD | UNDECIDED
Ht: 6’8 | Wt: 210 | Pos: PF | Age: 18.4
Stat line: 20 min | 5-9 FG | 2-3 3FG | 6-7 FT | 18 pts | 7 reb | 1 ast | 2 stl | 0 blk | 2 to
Watford appears to check multiple boxes in what many teams would desire in a modern-4. For starters, he provides good size, the ability to stretch the floor, and some functional ball skills. Although not as dynamic as some of the athletes on the JBC roster, he generally moves well and seems to hold his own, physically. At the end of the day, this guy is a shot-maker. His size and shooting ability are going to give him a chance to play for a long time. He’ll undoubtedly be an impact freshman wherever he ends up, next season.
SAMUELL WILLIAMSON | LOUISVILLE
Ht: 6’7” | Wt: 195 | Pos: F | Age: 18.6
Stat line: 14 min | 4-13 FG | 0-2 3FG | 0-0 FT | 8 pts | 6 reb | 1 ast | 0 stl | 0 blk | 2 to
After mostly blending in throughout the JBC practice and scrimmage, Williamson was not shy about getting up shots in the game, averaging about one FGA every minute he was on the floor. Despite the high volume, he showed some nice qualities including an effective midrange game. He has the size to offer some versatility at either forward spot. His motor is also constantly running and if he keeps up that same activity level at Louisville, his stay may end up being shorter than some people realize.
KEION BROOKS | KENTUCKY
Ht: 6’7 | Wt: 205 | Pos: PF | Age: 18.7
Stat line: 14 min | 5-9 FG | 0-3 3FG | 5-7 FT | 15 pts | 6 reb | 1 ast | 2 stl | 1 blk | 1 to
Brooks doesn’t jump off the page, skill-wise, but his length and activity level allow him to make plenty of good things happen on both ends of the floor. His long, lanky frame helps him get to balls and his scrappy mentality and motor lead to easy scoring opportunities. His outside shot still needs some work, but his jumper isn’t broken. Brooks is the type of player you don’t have to run any plays for, but by the end of the game, he’s stuffed the stat sheet. He should get plenty of opportunity to showcase his abilities in Lexington.
COLE ANTHONY | NORTH CAROLINA
Ht: 6’2” | Wt: 185 | Pos: PG | Age: 18.9
Stat line: 24min | 8-14 FG | 3-6 3FG | 6-6 FT | 26 pts | 6 reb | 6 ast | 4 stl | 1 blk | 3 to
Anthony continued his high school all-star game dominance by collecting yet another MVP award, effectively making him a “Triple Crown” winner following his MVP performances at the McDonald’s All-American game and the Nike Hoop Summit. He doesn’t have particularly great size as a lead guard but possesses elite athleticism to make up for it. He had complete command of the game in the second half and showcased a healthy blend of scoring versus distributing while nearly leading his team to a comeback against the Wiseman-led home team. All that said, Anthony’s best attribute very well may be his fierce competitiveness, which will help him make an immediate impact once he sets foot on campus in Chapel Hill.
ANTHONY EDWARDS | GEORGIA
Ht: 6’4” | Wt: 205 | Pos: SG/SF | Age: 17.7
Stat line: 18 min | 9-15 FG | 0-4 3FG | 3-4 FT | 21 pts | 0 reb | 1 ast | 1 stl | 0 blk | 0 to
First and foremost, Edwards is in the “special” category as an athlete. One of the youngest players in the class due to his reclassification from the class of 2020 to 2019, Edwards turned some heads with some of his above-the-rim finishes. His frame is quite mature for a 17-year-old and his overall physical tools are impossible to ignore. He can get into the lane at will. He’s currently a player that takes some unnecessary risks with the ball, but with some further refining to his game (especially as a decision-maker), Edwards has a chance to carve out a long, successful NBA career after a pit stop at Georgia.
MARK “ROCKET” WATTS | MICHIGAN STATE
Ht: 6’2” | Wt: 175 | Pos: CG | Age: 18.9
Stat line: 18 min | 3-7 FG | 2-4 3FG | 0-0 FT | 8 pts | 3 reb | 5 ast | 0 stl | 0 blk | 1 to
Watts consistently made his presence felt in both the JBC practice and game environments and was one of the more intriguing guard prospects on the roster. He’s someone that can score in bunches, propelled by a quick first step and a mechanically sound jumper. His confident, poised court demeanor stood out over the course of the two days. Look for “Rocket” to bring plenty of firepower to the already talented Michigan State backcourt.
REJEAN “BOOGIE” ELLIS | DUKE
Ht: 6’1” | Wt: 170 | Pos: PG | Age: 18.4
Stat line: 17 min | 1-6 FG | 0-4 3FG | 0-0 FT | 2 pts | 2 reb | 0 ast | 0 stl | 0 blk | 0 to
“Boogie” was a pleasant surprise at the event and looked like the best player on the floor for stretches during the practice session. He’s a heady, shifty guard that plays with patience and he’s a threat to score from all three levels. He arguably helped himself more than anyone else at this event based on his play in practice alone. He displayed some sneaky athleticism in warm-ups, as well. It will be interesting to see how he’ll fit in alongside Tre Jones at Duke next season. Both Ellis and Jones are lead guards by nature, but in all likelihood it will be the freshman making the transition to some significant minutes off the ball.
ARMANDO BACOT | NORTH CAROLINA
Ht: 6’10” | Wt: 240 | Pos: C | Age: 19.1
Stat line: 26 min | 7-9 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 14 pts | 10 reb | 3 ast | 1 stl | 1 blk | 1 to
Bacot was very effective in the paint throughout the game by keeping things simple: taking up space, cleaning up his area on the glass and finishing bunnies inside. He displayed good hands with a soft touch that will surely lead to many interior scoring opportunities next year at North Carolina. Bacot doesn’t necessarily fit the mold of a modern center. He’s more of a throwback big without a ton of face-up game at this stage, but he’s a force to be reckoned with when his back is to the basket.
CJ WALKER | OREGON
Ht: 6’8” | Wt: 200 | Pos: F | Age: 18.1
Stat line: 16 min | 2-7 FG | 0-1 3FG | 2-6 FT | 6 pts | 1 reb | 1 ast | 0 stl | 0 blk | 1 to
Walker has three things down pat: size, length, and athleticism. Past that, he has some things to work on. When his motor is up, he’s capable of making positive things happen on both ends of the floor. He was another guy that looked more intriguing behind closed doors at the JBC practice versus in the game itself. His upside is undeniable. With that said, he’ll be someone to monitor closely at Oregon next season.
JAHMIUS RAMSEY | TEXAS TECH
Ht: 6’3” | Wt: 190 | Pos: SG | Age: 17.9
Stat line: 20 min | 7-11 FG | 0-3 3FG | 1-2 FT | 15 pts | 6 reb | 2 ast | 2 stl | 0 blk | 2 to
Ramsey boasts a physically mature frame and plus-athleticism and his game is currently predicated off of those qualities. Tangibly, he’s difficult to contain in transition and he’s a tough, physical defender capable of containing penetration. Over the course of the two-day evaluation period, he showed some encouraging signs as a range shooter, as well. He has plenty of refining to do, overall, but there’s enough potential here to keep plenty of scouts in attendance at Texas Tech games next season.
ALONZO GAFFNEY | OHIO STATE
Ht: 6’8” | Wt: 190 | Pos: F | Age: 19.2
Stat line: 12 min | 4-7 FG | 2-4 3FG | 2-3 FT | 12 pts | 0 reb | 0 ast | 1 stl | 1 blk | 0 to
Gaffney has a lot going for him as a prospect including size, length, fluid athleticism, and an ability to stretch the floor from the forward spot. He covers a ton of ground both quickly and with ease and provides some natural tools you simply can’t teach with his frame. He’s another guy that will benefit from adding some functional strength, but regardless, he’ll be someone NBA teams will play very close attention to at Ohio State next season.