Saturday Las Vegas Recap: Zach Norvell goes off, Josh Jackson makes it look easy

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LAS VEGAS — The July live evaluation period is starting to finish up as CBT took in action at the JUCOrecruiting.com Showcase, the Fab 48 and the Las Vegas Classic.

Zach Norvell goes for 53 points and 14 3-pointers in big win: Four-star Class of 2016 shooting guard Zach Norvell was white hot on Saturday as the Chicago native went for 53 points and 14 rebounds in a win over Castle Knights at the Las Vegas Classic.

You can find more on Norvell’s performance here. (SP)

Lamont Walker relishes defensive challenges at juco event: When it comes to all-star games, most players involved look to focus on their offense and putting up as many points as possible. One player who certainly did not fit into that mold at the JucoRecruiting.com All-America Showcase was guard Lamont Walker (Chicago, Illinois), who will attend USU Eastern next season after spending his freshman year at John A. Logan College.

Walker never seemed to suffer a dip in energy, picking up his man full-court defensively and doing his best to wreak havoc on that end of the floor. And in speaking with Walker following the first of two games in which he played Saturday, the former Morgan Park HS player discussed that his favorite thing to do is shut down the opposition.

“I’m not the best offensive player, but my defense has taken me a long way since grammar school,” Walker told NBC Sports. “Every year I just build on that. My offense is getting better, but I focus on defense.

“I can score the ball but it’s not as much fun as playing defense. I just love stopping anybody; I don’t care who it is. LeBron, Jabari (Parker)…I don’t care who it is, I just love playing defense.”

With Walker changing junior colleges he stated that his recruitment doesn’t have a concrete list at this time. But given the number of Division I head coaches in attendance Saturday, it won’t be long before the 6-foot-4 guard begins receiving scholarship offers solely because of his ability as a defender and the willingness to do the little things teams need done if they’re to be successful.

And with Walker learning from his first run through the recruiting cycle (he was originally a UMKC signee) to “never rush your recruitment,” it may be some time before he reveals a concrete list. (RJ)

No. 1 in Class of 2016 Josh Jackson has a strong performance: The race for the No. 1 spot in the Class of 2016 is tight, but Detroit native and 6-foot-7 wing Josh Jackson did all that he could to hold onto his top spot with a strong all-around effort in a win against the Playaz Basketball Club on Saturday afternoon at the Fab 48.

Doing whatever he wanted as a scorer, rebounder or distributor, Jackson played a great team game and got plenty of open looks for teammates with crisp passes when he wasn’t attacking the rim and scoring whenever he wanted.

In the open floor, there might not be a better player in the country to have the ball in his hands than Jackson because his athleticism gets him to the rim quickly and his length and burst help him finish over defenders near the basket. Can Jackson close out his final AAU tournament by leading his 1 Nation team to the title at the Fab 48? That could happen if he continues to receive help like he did on Saturday from his teammates. (SP)

Devon Daniels reminds folks that 1 Nation isn’t a one-man show: Josh Jackson receives a lot of attention from those who watch him play with the 1 Nation grassroots program and with good reason, as he’s one of the top players in the game at present time. But he isn’t the only Division I prospect on that team, and for those who somehow didn’t realize this guard Devon Daniels provided a reminder Saturday afternoon.

In 1 Nation’s win over a Playaz Basketball Club team led by Notre Dame commit Temple Gibbs Jr., Daniels made a variety of plays on both ends of the floor. Offensively, not only did Daniels knock down perimeter shots but he also displayed the ability to finish around the basket. Daniels was solid defensively as well, getting in passing lanes and helping to keep Gibbs from getting his teammates too many quality looks.

Daniels listed offers from Utah, Minnesota, DePaul, Drake and Buffalo, and he also noted that California, Kansas State and TCU have all shown interest. Yet even with his recruitment picking up, Daniels is focused on playing as well as he can with the idea being that taking a step forward as a player will lead to even more attention on the recruiting front.

“Right now I’m just focused on playing basketball and trying to get better, and if I do that the offers will come,” Daniels said. As for possible visits the Kalamazoo Central guard noted that he’s got a visit to Utah lined up for September with Minnesota, DePaul, Kansas State and TCU also working hard to get him on campus. (RJ)