CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The NBPA Top 100 Camp is one of the better events of the summer because it brings together a lot of top prospects that play for different shoe-company leagues. This year’s event didn’t have as much star power with USA Basketball having such a big presence on the calendar, but the camp did still have plenty of strong performances from intriguing prospects.
1. There is a big lack of point guards in 2017
After seeing a lot of high-level point guards enter the Class of 2016 (and into college basketball this season) the Class of 2017 just doesn’t have the same crop of floor leaders. While the Class of 2017 has some good high-end guards for elite programs, the depth in the class just isn’t very strong. We’ve already seen certain schools adjust their planning to recruit point guards since there doesn’t look to be as many as a lot of races for elite floor leaders have heated up before July. Schools will be scouring for point guards in July, but there might not be enough legitimate options for high-major programs.
2. The Class of 2018 isn’t looking very strong
Over the last two years, the Class of 2016 had a historically strong five-star crop of players while the Class of 2017 looks like it will have a lot of solid positional depth in the four-star range outside of point guards. Since I’ve now watched a lot of the top Class of 2018 prospects at Pangos, USA Basketball and NBPA Top 100 Camp the last three weeks, I feel safe in saying that the Class of 2018 doesn’t look very good. Outside of top prospect Marvin Bagley (who would be a potential No. 1 prospect in most classes), there just isn’t a lot of five-star talent that blows people away. One veteran scout said that this class was the worst he’s evaluated while many others in the grassroots basketball world have said similar things. There is obviously still plenty of time for players to improve or for new prospects to turn up, but as of right now, the Class of 2018 doesn’t have a lot of star power.
3. Zion Williamson is very intriguing
Although my previous thought on the Class of 2018 seems harsh, there are some players trending in the right direction who are intriguing as prospects coming from that class. The leader to come from NBPA Top 100 Camp was 6-foot-6 forward Zion Williamson. An explosive athlete who plays like an undersized power forward, Williamson led the camp in scoring and was named MVP thanks to his dominant play. At 225 pounds, Williamson has been compared to Draymond Green and Larry Johnson but I think he plays similar to Anthony Bennett with a stronger basketball IQ. Williamson doesn’t have extended range yet, but he’s a versatile attacker with a high motor who should climb up rankings thanks to his strong camp performance.
4. Nick Weatherspoon is worth keeping an eye on in the Class of 2017
If you follow college hoops, you probably heard about Mississippi State freshman Quinndary Weatherspoon by the end of the season. For as good as Weatherspoon was during his freshman year, his younger brother, Class of 2017 guard Nick Weatherspoon, could be even better.
The 6-foot-1 Nick is an impressive athlete for his size and he was one of the adidas Gauntlet’s leading scorers this spring by putting in buckets from multiple levels of the floor. Besides being recruited by his brother’s school, Nick is also hearing from some of the ACC’s bigger programs as North Carolina and N.C. State are among the conference’s schools trying to get involved.
It’ll be interesting to see how much Weatherspoon climbs up the rankings in this class and how he’ll look by the end of the summer.
5. Malik Williams proves he’s a potential big-time prospect
This spring, the most difficult top-100 prospect to gauge was Indiana native and 6-foot-10 big man Malik Williams. Williams was the only top-40 player who didn’t play for a shoe company team on the grassroots circuit this spring. He had no trackable stats of his games and he didn’t always face the best competition playing in independent events. At the Top 100 Camp, Williams proved he belonged in his current status by showing a lot of talent and upside against some of the nation’s best players. Finishing top 20 in the camp in rebounds, steals and blocks, Williams was a defensive presence while also shooting 41 percent from three-point range on 17 attempts. It’s hard to say where Williams will end up in the national rankings, but he has a lot of upside and plays with a smoothness you don’t see often from 6-foot-10 players.