(Scott Phillips/NBCSports.com)

Elite Academic Showcase Recap: Nick Rakocevic steps up his play on opening night

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WAUKEGAN, IL — The July live evaluation period tipped off at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, and with it, came the Elite Academic Showcase in the far northern Chicago suburb of Waukegan.

Although the event wasn’t loaded with high-major names and top-ranked kids like the LeBron James Skills Academy, Reebok Breakout Classic and the adidas Unrivaled Camp — all of which will be covered by College Basketball Talk extensively this week — it did give college coaches a nice option to see some talented players on the opening night of the period before the adidas camp in Chicago tipped off on Thursday.

Although Class of 2016 forward Nick Rakocevic was clearly the best prospect and most talented player in the building, a lot of other players took advantage of the setting to play in front of the coaches and perform well. Among the coaches in the building included DePaul head coach Oliver Purnell and assistants from Indiana, Ohio State and Xavier. Davidson head coach Bob McKillop was also present and led a strong contingent of mid-major head coaches that included Loyola’s Porter Moser, UIC’s Howard Moore, and Northern Illinois’ Mark Montgomery.

Rakocevic proves worthy of top 100 ranking in 2016: The headliner of the one-day showcase was 6-foot-10 forward Nick Rakocevic. Coming in at No. 64 in Rivals.com’s Class of 2016 rankings, the forward from the suburbs of Chicago is the best prospect from Illinois in the 2016 class and he showcased his inside-outside game on Wednesday night. Rakocevic has the shooting touch and skill to play on the perimeter while also showing a willingness to mix it up a bit on the interior.

Rakocevic told NBCSports.com that he has scholarship offers from Creighton, Florida State, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Miami, Purdue, Wisconsin and Xavier while Duke, Florida, Michigan State, Ohio State and Oregon have been in touch.

After a busy July, that includes a stop at Peach Jam, Rakocevic is trying to take visits to Florida, Michigan State, Ohio State and Oregon.

DePaul shows Devin Gage is a priority recruit: Much has been made about Oliver Purnell recruiting the city of Chicago during his tenure at DePaul, but the head coach showed that recent Class of 2016 guard Devin Gage is a priority recruit on Wednesday by being the only high-major head coach in attendance at the Elite Academic Showcase.

The 6-foot-2 Gage was the point guard at Curie High School and played alongside future Kansas forward Cliff Alexander this past season, but the athletic floor general recently picked up his first high-major offer at the DePaul Team Camp in June.

Playing in front of Purnell and the other coaches in attendance, Gage attacked the basket and displayed his strong athleticism while also knocking in some jumpers from the perimeter.  Although his decision making needs some work, Gage has a lot of traits to work with going forward and he’ll be monitored by Midwest programs in July.

Gage told NBCSports.com that Bradley, DePaul, Hampton and UIC have offered him scholarships.

Davon Dillard starts July in a big way: As the No. 123 prospect in Rivals‘ 2015 rankings, 6-foot-5 wing Davon Dillard has a chance to play his way into more scholarship offers with a strong July.

At the Elite Academic Showcase on Wednesday, Dillard came out strong and displayed his high-level athleticism to go along with a developing skill set on the wing. Dillard can run a bit wild with the ball in his hands, but he has the athleticism and upside to play at the highest level if he can limit turnovers and make smart decisions.

Dillard told NBCSports.com that Creighton, Marquette, Oregon, Purdue, USC and Xavier have shown the most recent interest and he claims scholarship offers from Creighton, Marquette and Purdue.

Nevada coach to honor his father, Flip Saunders with unique warmup routine

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Nevada will be honoring Flip Saunders and Bill Musselman with a pregame warm-up routine they’ve been practicing for the past couple of weeks.

Bill is the father of Eric Musselman, Nevada’s head coach. He was coaching the Minnesota Golden Gophers that included Flip as a player when they used this warmup routine in the 1970s.

“We start almost every practice with this pregame routine,” Eric Musselman said. “It takes some time to get it down and we will perform it live for the first time before the Portland State home game at Lawlor Events Center on Nov. 25.”

The routine, which Eric found in a diagram after his father passed away, is similar to something you’d see the Harlem Globetrotters do.

CBT PODCAST: Indiana, UCLA, Ben Simmons and Thanksgiving sides

Ben Simmons
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New podcast!

In today’s episode, we talk quite a bit about Ben Simmons. How good of a prospect is he? Why do people insist on calling him overrated? Does LSU actually have a shot at missing the NCAA tournament?

[MORE: Why scouts are down on Simmons]

[MORE: Will Simmons be relevant in March?]

We also talk about Indiana’s disappointing showing in Maui, just how good Vanderbilt and Kansas have looked, Marquette’s ability to bounce back and whether or not we should be concerned about North Carolina and Maryland.

Oh, and Thanksgiving sides.

Do people really call stuffing ‘dressing’?

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here.