Tag: adidas Gauntlet

(Kelly Kline/adidas)

Seven takeaways from the AAU weekend at Nike EYBL, UAA and adidas Gauntlet

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Dennis Smith (Kelly Kline/adidas)

The second live evaluation period of April is in the books. With the Nike EYBL (Lexington), Under Armour Association (Louisville) and adidas Gauntlet (Indianapolis) all within approximately three hours of one other it was a great chance to check out all three shoe-company events and evaluate the top players in the country — as well as the ever-evolving landscape of major grassroots basketball.

1. The big names in the 2016 class came up with some signature performances this weekend

One of the fun things about player rankings is the debate that comes with it. With some of the best players in the 2016 class putting up big numbers this weekend, that debate will only continue to rage on. Whether it was five-star wing Josh Jackson’s 41-point outing in the Under Armour Association, Malik Monk putting up multiple big scoring outings, Jayson Tatum doing some great things in a high-profile game against Michael Porter Jr.’s team or Dennis Smith leading his Team Loaded to the title at the adidas Uprising event, a lot of the top dogs had themselves a nice weekend. Those four players, plus Class of 2016 forward Harry Giles, have positioned themselves to be in the discussion for No. 1 in the class by the end of the summer. Others like Kobi Simmons (who unfortunately got hurt and couldn’t play when I attended adidas on Sunday) Lonzo Ball and Terrance Ferguson (to name a few) could certainly enter that equation, but those aforementioned five are off to a strong start this spring.

2. For the second consecutive class, there is a drought in high-level point guards

The Class of 2015 didn’t have a lot of point guards for high-major programs and it led to a lot of coaches offering combo guards or scrambling to find anyone who could effectively run a team. It appears that the 2016 class doesn’t have a lot of great high-major point guard options either. All three shoe company circuits had a number of 2017 prospects starting at point guard on some teams and the amount of high-level floor generals is once again down. There are some really good combo guards out there in the 2016 class, but very few players who can actually step up and run a team entering major college basketball next season. It’ll be intriguing to see if some other names step up this spring and make a play for some of these spots because many college coaches were quick to mention the lack of options.

3. The 2017 class is trending in the right direction for high-level players

Because of adidas adding a lot of 17U teams to their adidas Gauntlet this season, there appears to be even more younger prospects playing up in major events then ever before. Members of the 2017 class playing up on the 17U level seemed to acclimate well in the games I took in over the weekend. The heavy hitters like five-stars Michael Porter Jr., Troy Brown, Jarred Vanderbilt and Wendell Carter all had strong performances while plenty of other younger players playing up started to make a name for themselves on the national scene. The 2017 class is intriguing because it already features some great big men, some good wings and some talented guards. The class doesn’t appear to have a defining positional group yet and that speaks to the balance we’ve seen so far.

4. De’Aaron Fox will be in the discussion for best two-way guard in the Class of 2016

While many of the five-star 2016 prospects had themselves strong offensive outings this weekend, none of them displayed the defensive intensity of Texas native De’Aaron Fox. The duo of Fox and 2017 wing teammate Jarred Vanderbilt were a two-man wrecking crew on the defensive end for Houston Hoops in Lexington and Fox uses his quickness and tremendous natural instinct to make plays in passing lanes that few others can make. Fox told me after the game that he loves the intensity of Russell Westbrook on both ends of the floor and that kind of passion shows especially on the defensive end.

5. The best Class of 2018 prospect might currently reside in the Class of 2016

Utah native Frank Jackson is a rising senior guard who is also rising up the Class of 2016 rankings thanks to a complete scoring package and an ability to play a bit of both guard spots. He’s also being recruited, heavily, because he’s looking to take a two-year mission trip before he enters college basketball. That effectively makes him a member of the Class of 2018 and coaches are already enamored with the prospect of landing a potential All-American guard and then giving him two additional years to develop further. As one college coach put it to NBCSports.com, “There will be better long-term prospects in 2018, but nobody will be more ready for college basketball in that class then Frank Jackson.”

6. There are still plenty of big men who want to play near the hoop

Over the last few years there’s been an abundance of big men trying to develop perimeter games so that they can be the next stretch four or the next Kevin Durant. At all three events, there were also plenty of classic back-to-the-basket big men who seemed to have no desire to shoot the ball outside of 15 feet. This is encouraging to watch because some of these younger big men need to focus on improving near the basket first before worrying about stretching the defense. If you’re a high school basketball player pushing 7-feet tall, you should dominate in the paint and there were plenty of bruising big men with

7. Things continue to get better in the shoe-company circuit (for all three companies)

The modern “shoe wars” are only going to continue to grow and it’s because all three major brands competing for American grassroots supremacy keep making changes to enhance the scene — and the game — even further.

The Nike EYBL continues to be at the forefront of the scene thanks to its longevity, history and overall approach to spring basketball. While adidas and Under Armour have done a great job to catch up as best they can with Nike these last two years, Nike is still the king in the equation thanks to owning the deepest amount of overall talent, the best quality of basketball and the backing of the EYBL’s name brand.

The Kentucky Basketball Academy in Lexington was probably a bit too small to house an EYBL event, but it showed that casual basketball fans will continue to attend these events no matter where the location. Having now attended EYBL events in Hampton, Dallas, Minneapolis and Lexington the last few years, the crowds for EYBL events is bigger and there’s more local buzz surrounding the events. Having EYBL alums — like Kentucky players in Lexington –show up to watch games also enhances the credibility of the league going forward.

That’s not to say the other companies aren’t doing tremendous things in their own right.

Under Armour continues to be at the forefront of innovation by adding iPhone apps, advanced film breakdown and analytics in Synergy sports to cover games and by putting 15U, 16U and 17U games under one roof for the same event. They’ve also done a nice job of building fun player profile pages where you can find out a player’s favorite pre-game song and basketball movie. They do a nice job of treating each player more as individuals, where as the other leagues focus more on the overall teams and the top players.

The consensus opinion among coaches and media for adidas, meanwhile, seemed to indicate that the Gauntlet has improved greatly since last year from a talent perspective. Having seen the games on Sunday, I tend to agree with this assessment and there’s a lot to like going forward with the Three Stripes as well. Synergy is also working with adidas and their overall branding around the event and the league was significantly up compared to last year. The only thing holding adidas back was the confusing nature of their scheduling, which sent many coaches and media members scrambling on the final day of the event. But that’s a small change to make going forward and not too big of a deal.

College Basketball Talk’s Recruiting Roundup

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Kelly Kline/adidas

Each Monday and Friday, College Basketball Talk’s Scott Phillips goes over some important news and notes in the world of college basketball recruiting. Today, checking in with some talented 2016 guards from adidas Nations while a flurry of commitments came in this week.

Dennis Smith is still early in the process

After taking adidas Nations by storm and helping his Team Lillard win the title, five-star Class of 2016 point guard Dennis Smith broke down his recruitment a bit to NBCSports.com.

Smith still lists all of his current offers as schools he is considering at the moment. “VCU, UNC Charlotte, Duke, Wake Forest, N.C. State, North Carolina, Kansas, Florida, Miami, Arizona,” Smith said of his offers.

Smith had a busy spring and summer and the North Carolina native doesn’t have any visits planned and he also said that Memphis and Michigan are showing interest in him but have yet to offer.

DeAaron Fox hearing from big-name programs

Smith’s backcourt running mate, fellow five-star 2016 guard DeAaron Fox, has plenty of scholarship offers and interest in his own right and the guard broke down his school list to NBCSports.com

“Baylor, Texas, Texas A&M, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, SMU, Texas Tech, mostly all of the Southern schools right now,” Fox said of his scholarship offers.

Although Fox has many Big 12 offers on the table, the 6-foot-3 guard is hearing from a lot of national programs that have shown recent interest.

“Louisville has been showing a lot of interest, Kansas, LSU, Oklahoma and Arizona has been showing a little bit of interest,” Fox said.

After a really good performance at adidas Nations, Fox is riding high and playing with confidence and he said he would play either guard spot in college.

Eron Gordon attempting to forge his own path

As the younger brother of two high-major guards, Class of 2016 guard and Indiana native Eron Gordon knows a little bit of what to expect out of the recruiting process.

The younger brother of New Orleans Hornets guard Eric Gordon and former Arizona State and Indiana guard Evan Gordon, Eron is just trying to figure out things on his own when it comes to his recruitment.

Indiana has offered Eron a scholarship, but the youngest Gordon downplayed the notion that he would follow both of his brothers and become a Hoosier.

“I think of Indiana as their own school. They’re a great school but, my brothers, they won’t have any impact on my decision,” Gordon told NBCSports.com. “I feel like what they did is what they did and I need to choose my own path. But I do like Indiana, they’re one of the higher ones on my list, but you know, it’s not definite down the road.”

Purdue, Nebraska and Arizona State have also offered a scholarship and Gordon is also receiving interest from a few schools that are tied to unofficial visits.

“I already visited Duke and I already visited Michigan. I’m planning to visit Kentucky sometime here in the next month or two,” Gordon said.

Kyle Guy sees his recruitment expand after productive July

Kyle Guy helped Indiana Elite to the title at the adidas Super 64 at the end of July and the Class of 2016 guard saw his recruitment expand after a good week in Las Vegas.

While getting dinner with teammates after the championship, Guy started to get a lot of phone calls.

“After we won the championship we went out to eat with the team and we were watching the game and I just got bombarded with calls,” Guy said. “It was a great experience. They’re just being teammates, ‘who’s that? who’s that?’ and just making fun of me. But they were getting calls too so it was great.”

As a guard already on the high-major radar, the 6-foot-2 high-level shooter added five new offers after the July live evaluation period.

“After I had Indiana, Butler, Purdue, Indiana State and Ole Miss I picked up Virginia, Iowa, Iowa State, Northwestern and North Carolina State,” Guy said.

Two of Guy’s Indiana Elite teammates, Class of 2015 guards Ryan Cline and Grant Weatherford, have already pledged to Purdue and although Guy is friends with the duo, he isn’t necessarily leaning in any direction at this point.

Commitments this week


JUCO 7-footer commits to Baylor

Temple adds 6-foot-5 wing Trey Lowe

Arizona State lands late-rising wing Dominic Green

Louisville lands July stock-riser Donovan Mitchell

Utah adds rim protector Makol Mawien

USC adds local top-100 forward Bennie Boatwright

South Florida opens 2015 recruiting with forward Luis Santos

Duke lands five-star big man Chase Jeter


Syracuse adds forward Matthew Moyer

Michigan adds 6-foot-11 forward

Cal keeps local top-100 prospect Oscar Frayer

A breakdown of every college player at adidas Nations

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LONG BEACH, California — Since adidas Nations featured so many quality college basketball players, the CBT staff has received a lot of questions about how certain guys played that haven’t received a lot of publicity from the event. So Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips decided to give quick breakdowns of each of the college players in attendance last week.

Click here for CBT’s coverage from adidas Nations

Bryce Alford, UCLA: Thrived in catch-and-shoot situations but struggled as a point guard against good competition. (SP)

BeeJay Anya, N.C. State: Having lost nearly 60 pounds since the start of his freshman year, Anya was far more active on both ends of the floor. (RJ)

Jabari Bird, Cal:  The sophomore got stronger as a scorer as the week went and played hard at both ends of the floor. (SP)

Jonah Bolden, UCLA: Bolden had his moments on both ends of the floor, but the level of consistency will need to improve. (RJ)

Perry Ellis, Kansas: Tried to showcase his perimeter ability too much but when he operated extended elbow and in Ellis was tough to stop. (SP)

AJ English, Iona: English played well, knocking down shots and playing solid defense throughout the weekend. (RJ)

Shaq Goodwin, Memphis: One of the more disappointing players in attendance as Goodwin showed bad hands and not enough weight and strength to stop bigger post players. (SP)

Josh Gray, LSU: Gray had some issues finishing in traffic, but his ability to break down defenses off the dribble was on display and that will help LSU’s big men this season. (RJ)

Montrezl Harrell, Louisville: The jumper wasn’t falling but the motor kept running for Harrell, as he showed an improved dribble-drive game from the elbow. (SP)

Zak Irvin, MichiganIrvin struggled to knock down catch-and-shoot looks, and there were also issues when it came to creating his own looks. (RJ)

Stanley Johnson, Arizona: The freshman ran through a bevy of tough pro and college wings and handled himself well because of his advanced skill level and college-ready frame. (SP)

Chris Jones, Louisville: Jones did a good job of getting his teammates involved, and he was also aggressive on the defensive end of the floor. (RJ)

Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin: Kaminsky tried too hard to showcase his pick-and-pop ability for NBA scouts and wasn’t hitting shots while also neglecting his post game. (SP)

Shawn Long, Louisiana: Long struggled mightily with the athleticism of the big men he was asked to compete against. (RJ)

Kevon Looney, UCLA:  The only college counselor who didn’t participate in the three-day event due to injury. (SP)

Jordan Mathews, Cal: As with college teammate Jabari Bird, got better as the week went along and finally started to knock in some perimeter jumpers. (SP)

E.C. Matthews, Rhode Island: Matthews is still a work in progress when it comes to running the point, but he played well on both ends of the floor all weekend long. (RJ)

Jordan Mickey, LSU: While he had a quiet weekend offensively, Mickey did a good job on the boards and also as a weak-side defender. (RJ)

Austin Nichols, Memphis: Nichols is skilled as a pick-and-pop guy and showed more willingness to play against physicality, but he’s still largely a non-factor against tough interior presences unless he uses his face-up game. (SP)

Landry Nnoko, Clemson: Nnoko had a tough week in Long Beach, struggling on both ends of the floor. (RJ)

Kelly Oubre, Kansas: Only played for the last day of camp, but the smooth, lefty freshman had a great outing with Stanley Johnson guarding him (6-for-7 from 3PT) and appeared very confident on the offensive end. (SP)

Tony Parker, UCLA: One of the revelations of the weekend, Parker scored well around the basket and proved to be difficult for opponents to keep off the offensive glass. (RJ)

Terran Petteway, Nebraska:  Outstanding week for one of the Big Ten’s best players as he scored aggressively from multiple levels and defended hard on the perimeter. (SP)

Norman Powell, UCLA: Powell was the best performer at the camp, doing a very good job of finding looks offensively and keeping his man in check on the other end. (RJ)

Terry Rozier, Louisville: Looked like one of the best prospects in attendance at times but was prone to over-penetrating and getting himself into tough spots. (SP)

Shavon Shields, Nebraska: Shields got better as the weekend progressed, doing a better job of knocking down open looks and also passing the basketball. (RJ)

Kaleb Tarczewski, Arizona: Just an average camp for the junior big man as he walled up well on the defensive end but wasn’t much of a factor on the offensive end. (SP)

Brad Waldow, Saint Mary’s: Waldow played hard but there were multiple occasions in which he struggled with the athleticism on the court. (RJ)

Derrick Walton, Michigan: Walton generally played good overall floor games and operated well in the pick-and-roll, but his shot went in-and-out for much of the week. (SP)