Trevon Duval is the reason that mixtapes were created.
A top five player and the top point guard in the Class of 2017, Duval is 6-foot-3 and super-athletic, boasting the kind of handle that would make Uncle Drew blush. It’s not possible to do any kind of scouting off of a mixtape; judging what a player can and can’t do based off of a highlight package doesn’t happen.
But given what Duval is capable of doing, it makes him the perfect player to have game film cut and edited so that his highlights fit seamlessly within the beat of an instrumental.
That’s why this mixtape is so good.
But unlike a lot of mixtape phenoms, Duval’s game goes beyond the tricks that look good in slow motion.
His ranking isn’t a fluke. He’s far and away the best point guard in 2017, but you wouldn’t know that based on his offer list.
On Monday, “trimmed” his list to ten schools, but he’s not following a typical path for the top point guard in the class. Much has been written in the last six months about how Duke and Kentucky, the two preeminent programs on the recruiting trail, have been targeting second tier point guards in the Class of 2017, the likes of Trae Young and Quade Green and Tremont Waters.
Young and Green and Waters are all terrific players, top 30 recruits with a shot at becoming McDonalds All-Americans, but Duval is in a tier all by himself. He’s the only surefire one-and-done point guard in the class.
And he listed Seton Hall and St. John’s in his final ten.
He didn’t list Duke and Kentucky.
What do Seton Hall, St. John’s and Trevon Duval all have in common?
Duval plays for We-R-1 on the travel circuit, a program that is sponsored by UA. He played his junior season at API, a high school program in Texas that was sponsored by Under Armour. Emmanuel Mudiay and Terrence Ferguson, the last two elite prospects to forego college to head directly to the professional ranks overseas, both came from API — along with eligibility concerns due to API’s standing with the NCAA — and reportedly signed sponsorship deals with UA. If UA has a reputation at the grassroots level, it’s that they’re as loyal as any of the three major shoe companies. They do everything they can to keep it all in the family.
The best example of this?
Diamond Stone, a product of the Under Armour Association circuit and Wisconsin native that bucked in-state powers Wisconsin and Marquette to play for Maryland, the program that is to UA what Oregon is to Nike.
It doesn’t always work that way — see: Josh Jackson — and of the final 10 schools on Duval’s list, only four are programs sponsored by Under Armour.
But it’s not an accident that Seton Hall and St. John’s made the cut, and it’s not a coincidence that UCLA — who just this summer signed a massive sponsorship deal with the apparel company — is now considered to be the favorite to land Duval.
The idea that shoe companies control where elite prospects go to school is a bit overblown in this day and age. If it wasn’t, Kansas, an adidas school, wouldn’t have landed Andrew Wiggins or Josh Jackson, two of the last four No. 1 players in the country, neither of whom played with an adidas sponsored AAU program. (The high school Jackson attended the last two years, Prolific Prep, is adidas.)
But it does happen.
And when it does, it’s not all that hard to identify.