July Live Period Preview: Four story lines to follow from Las Vegas


1. Who emerges as the top point guard in this class?: The battle for the No. 1 player in the class was interesting until this month, when Harry Giles has more or less asserted himself as the best prospect in the class. What that means is that the most interesting race in the Class of 2016 rankings will now be who leaves July as the top point guard, as there are five point/lead/combo-guards in the top ten, according to Rivals. And here’s the best part: all five of them will be in Vegas this week, with four — Dennis Smith Jr., Lonzo Ball, Frank Jackson and Kobi Simmons — playing in the same adidas Summer Championship tournament. The fifth — De’Aaron Fox — will be playing in a different tournament. One potential hiccup: Fox (wrist) and Jackson (ankle) battled injuries last week.

2. Speaking of Harry Giles … : Giles cut his list to five schools this week: Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas and Wake Forest. The 6-foot-10 forward is very close with Jayson Tatum, who recently committed to Duke, and many believe that Giles will soon follow him to Durham. It will be interesting to see, then, not only which coaching staffs show up courtside for Giles’ games — remember, when Kentucky was still on Tatum’s list, they didn’t watch him a single time at Peach Jam — but who shows up elsewhere. For example, will Kentucky turn their focus towards Thon Maker?

3. And speaking of Thon Maker: Maker has been a headache for the guys that have to rank the players in each class. He’s bounced back and forth between classes — as of now, his plan is to remain in the Class of 2016 and play a season with his brother at Orangeville Prep in Canada — and has put together some inconsistent performances over the last year. He wasn’t dominant during his high school season, but he was tremendous at the NBPA Top 100 camp in June and even better at the Under Armour All-America camp the first live period in July. He followed that up with another strong performance for Canada Elite at the Under Armour Finals in Atlanta last week. If Maker, a 7-foot-1 power forward with elite shot-blocking tools and the skills to play on the perimeter offensively, puts together another strong performance, will he put himself back into the discussion for a spot in the top three?

4. Who pulls a Kerwin Roach?: Entering Vegas last year, Kerwin Roach was an unranked, three-star prospect from Texas who had interest from a number of high-major programs. He left as the No. 34 player in the class, according to Rivals, and eventually committed to Texas, where his athleticism will make him a perfect fit for Shaka Smart’s Longhorns. Who makes that jump this year?