Player / Recruiting Notes – Las Vegas 2013

Late Night Hoops was in Las Vegas for the final evaluation period of the summer. Below are select comments on just a handful of the many players we saw. We have noted Minnesota and Marquette interest for certain players in the comments below.

Jamal Aytes 2013
6’6” F | Dream Vision

In an early Thursday game against Mass Rivals (Kaleb Joseph, Goodluck Okonoboh), Aytes, an unsigned 2013 player, looked like the older player on the floor. He scored inside with strength and facing up from 10-15 feet out; Aytes was rebounding everything in and outside of his area.

He’s an undersized 4 man with regard to height, but has very good hands and is a big bodied kid who can use his frame to his advantage inside. Even compared to the opponents’ standouts and his own teammate Stephen Zimmerman, Aytes was the star in this game.

Goodluck Okonoboh 2014
6’9” F/C | Mass Rivals
*Minnesota* & *Marquette* interest

2014 #23 Goodluck Okonoboh (Photo: adidas)

Excellent shot blocker. Athletic and explosive. Immediate difference maker on defense. Mean and entertaining when dunking the ball, but with the ball in his hands more than several feet away from the rim, he might give you an uneasy feeling.

Special player on defense; as the offense comes along he’ll be that much better, but he’ll always be known for what he does to stop the other team from scoring.

Jabari Craig 2014
6’10” C | Northern Kings
*Marquette interest*

Tall, long player who runs the court with purpose. His length and lift allow him to deliver when he has the ball on the block as well as protect the rim on defense.  He looked comfortable facing up on offense, but we’re not sold on his outside shooting. Watching him against top 100 2015 prospect Chance Comanche (who has the look of young center who can develop into a special player, but has work to do), Jabari was more aggressive and physically more mature.

Overall, we think Craig is underrated a bit in the 2014 class. The way he runs the floor and his ability to block shots are enough to warrant a long look by HM schools.

Wade Baldwin 2014
6’3” CG | Sports U
*Minnesota interest*

Baldwin can play PG or off the ball. He has good handles and the ability to drive/slash to the bucket. In the lane he’s productive both going all the way to the rim for the score and when he opts to kick it out to an open teammate.

Strong, tough kid with a solid upper frame. Not exceptionally athletic, but has the physical specs to give him an advantage over some players. Not a great shooter from outside, but can knock down an open look. Engaged and vocal on the court; a player who appears comfortable as a leader.

Trevon Bluiett 2014
6’5” Wing | Spiece, Indiana Elite

Dropped his list to 7 this week (Arizona, Butler, Indiana, Michigan, Purdue, UCLA & Xavier).  A combination of size and scoring skill allows for a versatile attack from Bluiett. He can hurt you in a variety of ways. Now ranked in the 40’s by ESPN, Scout and Rivals, we continue to believe he’s a bit better than that.

Great shooter? Yes, but a smart player who we project favorably as a college wing. Legit scorer and competitor.

Michael Humphrey 2014
6’9” Center | Arizona Magic Elite

Big kid who moves well. Stars as a high school quarterback and that seems to translate on the basketball court when you look at his motor, passing and overall movement. A significant growth spurt has helped make his decision: he wants to play college basketball and his senior year of football will be his last.

From what we saw in Las Vegas, the attention from high majors is understandable.

Yante Maten 2014
6’8” PF | The Family; Team Detroit

Fairly athletic 4 man who has had MM interest but may see things pick up. Not a wide body, but he’s a very good rebounder (13% OR, 22% DR in EYBL) who isn’t afraid to get physical. Blocks shots, scores through contact, seems to understand angles and seals off defenders well.

Rex Pflueger 2015
6’5” Guard | Compton Magic

Rex is very competitive and stands tall as a 6’5” shooting guard. Was effective shooting from the outside and attacking the rim. Made smart passes; demonstrated toughness and a strong work ethic on defense.

We were on the baseline on his ESPN Top 10 play where he dunked on Ohio Basketball Club’s 6’9” Carlton Bragg. The play started off with a steal by Pflueger and after the dunk he went to the other side of the court and helped with a block of Bragg.

Including that series of plays, there were a couple of minutes in the Compton Magic vs OBC 16’s game where the gym’s atmosphere was absolutely electric. OBC would eventually go away from Carlton Bragg and the Magic took control down the stretch, but for a few minutes the teams were going for each other’s throats.

Pflueger has had west coast interest and his brother is a walk-on at USC, but interest has spread outside of the region and now includes Notre Dame and Boston College.

Hyron Edwards 2015

5’11” PG | Indiana Elite

Watched him in the fall, but needed to see more to form stronger thoughts on Hyron. Loved his ball handling there, but had questions on other parts of his game. He looked much better in Las Vegas. Hyron is small, speedy point guard. Very good passer, sees the floor well. Also has some bounce and can elevate. Jump shooting is a work in progress, but his release point looked good from 3-point range and he was knocking down a good percentage of his attempts. Nice point guard prospect.

Dwayne Bacon 2015
6’6” Wing | Showtime Ballers
*Marquette interest*

3/2 switchable type of player. Really fun to watch – smooth. In the first game we watched him in, Bacon started things off with a 3-pointer from the wing. From there, he started driving on the defense and making play after play. Dwayne was able to create off the dribble and maneuver his body in mid-air, finishing difficult shots but making it look quite easy.

Long, athletic scorer. When I think “switchable”, a guy like Bacon is who I’m thinking of. Legit.

Brandon Ingram 2015
6’7” F | Stackhouse Elite
*Minnesota interest*

Legit. Still looks a bit gawky, but his size and skill are undeniable. Great length, Ingram is a special passer and scorer who looks like a future college superstar 3-man.  Areas of need (such as strength, ball handling) will improve with time and age. Ingram is the real deal.

Matt Ryan 2015
6’5” Wing | New Heights

Shooter with good size. Ryan has a really nice stroke. Question is who will he defend? Could see him as a scorer who punishes a lot of defenses at a program like Creighton.

Nick Noskowiak 2015
6’2” PG | Wisconsin Playground Warriors
*Marquette* commit

Finished the week off with a 16U game between the Playground Warriors and Indiana Elite. 2015 shooting guard Brevin Pritzl is going to put up some big points in college. He had another great scoring game in this one and possesses impressive shooting range.

Nick Noskowiak, a Marquette University commit, also had a strong performance, capped with a nice finish… down 44-43 with the ball, Nick took it down court, driving left to right near the free throw line, spins and shoots, hits it with less than 2 seconds to play, giving his team the 45-44. Buzzer beating attempt by Indiana Elite was no good.

Marquette assistant coach Autry was also at the game and gave a big grin and a little head shake/chuckle when Nick made the shot.

Noskowiak is a smart kid on the floor. Does everything pretty well – passing/IQ sets him apart from others. Looking forward to watching his progression. 

Caleb Swanigan 2016
6’8” F/C | Indiana Elite; Spiece

Swanigan is also an excellent offensive tackle and looks to be around 270-280 pounds. Nonetheless, he is very active running the floor, rebounding and scoring. His rebounding percentages with Indy Spiece in EYBL play this year were strong (12% OR, 21% DR, 17 TotalReb). No doubt that he takes up a lot of space which helps in rebounding, but he shows hunger for the ball on both sides of the floor and has very good hands.

Has some range on his shot, but down low is where he does his best work. Caleb frequently used spin moves to twirl past his defender(s) and to the bucket, almost looking like a defensive lineman spinning from a blocker in pursuit of the quarterback.

Attracts contact and can score through it. He’s not Davante Gardner, but besides physical similarities the special touch around the basket both players possess and even some of their mannerisms are comparable. Swanigan is a better defensive rebounder. Very entertaining 2016 prospect and a guy who will score points and bring down a lot of rebounds in college.

Josh Jackson 2016
6’6” Wing | Dorian’s Pride

2013 adidas Super 64
2016 Josh Jackson (Photo: adidas)

We had seen him for a weekend last fall at USA Basketball in Colorado and came away very impressed. After viewing him in Las Vegas this week, we’ll certify him as 100% legit and one of the top few players in his class.

Long, athletic with great body control, Jackson is a terror when slashing to the basket. But everywhere else on the court he displayed that he can be a complete player – offense and defense. Passing, jump-shooting, defending, rebounding – it’s all there. Gives great effort on both sides of the floor and is a pleasure to watch.

He’s still being closely tracked by Big Ten teams, but it will be hard to find many schools nationwide that won’t have an interest in Jackson.

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