CHARLOTTE, NC — The July live evaluation period’s first week is dominated by a stretch of three shoe company events that span about 200 miles from Charlotte down South to the Nike Peach Jam in North Augusta, South Carolina.
With the Under Armour All-American Camp and adidas Gauntlet Finale within driving distance of the Peach Jam this year, it made for a very accessible week for college coaches and media to see most of the top college basketball prospects in the country. Here’s a look at some of the key storylines from early in the week from Under Armour.
1. Trevon Duval continues to dominate while showing signs of growth
The title for top point guard in the Class of 2017 is currently owned by five-star Delaware native Trevon Duval. The athletic 6-foot-2 Duval made his presence known at the Under Armour All-American Camp on Wednesday night with a very good performance in which he was able to get anywhere he wanted on the floor.
Although Duval possesses a quick first step and explosive leaping ability, at times he can be reckless with the ball as he’ll force some plays that he’s trying to make. After spending a few days at the Steph Curry Camp at the end of June, Duval told NBCSports.com that he has a renewed focus on limiting turnovers and trying to make the right basketball play during the month of July.
The camp setting of this week’s play for Duval probably isn’t the ideal scenario for him to be a true point guard, since not many sets are being run, but you could definitely see that he was attempting to make the easy play instead of the dangerous one when he attacked the basket.
Next week at the Under Armour Association Finals will be more of a true test to see if Duval is focused on efficiency as a lead guard, but it looked as though he was taking some of the stuff he learned from the back-to-back MVP to heart already.
Duval mentioned that Maryland, UCLA, SMU, Arizona, Oregon, Villanova, Seton Hall and Indiana have been recently involved as he’s still wide open in the recruiting process.
2. Kris Wilkes has growing confidence as a scorer
One of the country’s most lethal scorers in the Class of 2017 is five-star Indianapolis native Kris Wilkes. The 6-foot-7 Wilkes is currently one of the Under Armour All-American Camp’s leading scorers through two days of play as he’s pretty much done whatever he wanted when it comes to getting buckets.
Armed with a solid jumper and an ability to get to the rim off the bounce, Wilkes soared for alley-oops, elevated for jumpers over smaller defenders and didn’t seem to be troubled by much of anything the opposing defense was trying to accomplish.
A Big Ten priority recruit who is also receiving national recruiting interest from some heavy hitters, Wilkes is the kind of versatile scoring forward who could play a bit of both front-court spots at the college level because of his size and athleticism.
The rest of July gets really interesting for Wilkes, since he’s a finalist for the USA Basketball U18 team that will compete in FIBA Americas at the end of the month. In the initial tryout in Colorado Springs in June, Wilkes was playing with a lot of confidence and that seems to be translating to more success playing top competition at the UA Camp.
3. Creighton could be loaded when the Class of 2017 enters the picture
One of the most intriguing programs to track in the country the next few seasons will be Creighton, a program that seems to have found itself an identity in the post-Doug McDermott Era.
The Bluejays backcourt of Mo Watson and Marcus Foster could be in contention for best in the nation this upcoming season and that backcourt stays dangerous the following season with the addition of two solid Class of 2017 recruits in four-star guards Ty-Shon Alexander and Mitchell Ballock.
Alexander and Ballock will give Greg McDermott’s team two more floor spacers when they enter school and with Foster being a guy who can break down a defense off the bounce, it makes for some interesting lineup decisions.
McDermott could opt to have three or four perimeter options on the floor at once to get maximum spacing, or he could opt to bring some guys off the bench to give a scoring boost. Whatever Creighton ends of doing with its future backcourt, it isn’t a bad problem to have as the Bluejays should be a lot of fun to watch the next few seasons.