Two days of competition are in the books in Mequon, Wisconsin for the UA Summer Jam, presented by NY2LASports, and this time the 16U age group got to share the main stage at Homestead High School. On the first day of play, the who’s who of college basketball filled the bleachers to watch Cliff Alexander take on Myles Turner and while several big time match-ups occurred, it was the young kids that drew the coaches in the morning on Thursday.
Top Players (16U):
Diamond Stone, 6’10”, 2015, PF/C, Young Legends
One of the top players in the class of 2015 drew the most attention early in the morning on Thursday. For Stone’s game against Dream Vision, he had head coaches such as Roy Williams, Rick Pitino, Tom Izzo, Travis Ford, Buzz Williams, and Bo Ryan front and center. Stone flashed his skills for the coaches and while he struggled at times, he still finished with 22 points. He scored off put-backs, on the break, and in post-up situations. While Stone dropped weight this spring, he still has his strength which allows him to overpower opponents in a graceful manner. He didn’t connect on his jump shots in the first game, but nailed a three in his second game against DC Assault. One area that Stone will need to continue to refine as he continues to play in the 16U age group relates to his concentration. He missed on four dunks during the day which should not happen with a player his size and athletic ability. Despite the misses, all of the coaches were imagining how good he would look suiting up for them in two years.
Ray Smith, 6’6”, 2015, G, LV Prospects
In the first game of the day, Smith had UNLV head coach Dave Rice front and center at 8 a.m. along with a variety of other West Coast schools. Smith is a long and lean wing player with a high arching shot. He didn’t waste any time as he nailed a 3 to start the game en route to seven first half points. In the second half, Smith helped spur a comeback from double digits with his all around play. He grabbed key rebounds and also dished to cutting teammates when he wasn’t too busy driving to the basket. He had a key assist off of penetration in the remaining seconds of the game before the opponent forced overtime. Smith is a talented wing that can do a little bit of everything and a guy that all his suitors would love to have.
Daquan Bracey, 5’11”, 2016, PG, Baltimore’s Finest
Bracey is a jet quick guard that wanted the ball in his hands even though he was the youngest player on the team. He made his mark early on coming off the bench with his quick first step and ability to get by defenders off the dribble. He hit one three in the first half but then turned up his play which led to increased playing time. After a basket by the LV Prospects which put them up two with five seconds left, Bracey went coast to coast for a right handed lay-up that sent the game into overtime. He eventually miss-fired on a three pointer to put the game into a second overtime, but one has to admire his cojones.
Kani Coles, 6’6”, 2015, SF, Baltimore’s Finest
Playing forward for Baltimore, Coles attacked the offensive boards throughout the game. In the first half he scored 10 points with six of them coming off offensive put-backs. On all the put-backs Coles flew through the air for the rebound before tipping the ball in or going back up for a contested lay-up. He continued his domination on the glass in the second half and created many additional scoring opportunities for his team.
John Davis, 6’2”, G, 2015, DC Assault
DC Assault went 2-0 on the day with Davis playing a huge role as a key scorer. The combo guard was explosive and strong with the basketball and mixed in outside shots with athletic drives to the basket. In both games, Davis went for double digit points and kept the defense off balance all day long. Upon penetration, if Davis did not have a lay-up he also had enough court vision to find the open man for a lay-up.
Leroy Butts, 6’7”, F, 2015, DC Assault
The junior to be at Bishop O’Connell (VA) was the leader of the DC Assault team and led through his stellar play in both the morning and afternoon games. The lanky left-hander showed a smooth touch on his jump shot and excelled in knocking down anything within 15 feet. He also could score in the post and often caused problems on the defensive end when he guarded the other team’s center. The DC Assault team had a variety of East Coast colleges at their games, with Butts being a major recipient of their attention.
Nick Blair, 6’4”, SF, 2015, Dream Vision
In an early morning loss to Diamond Stone and the Young Legends, Nick Blair was one of the bright spots for the Nevada-based AAU team. Blair combined his leaping ability and strength to score off drives to the basket. He also showed off an outside shot connecting on two three pointers. Overall, Blair finished with 18 points and was a tough wing to contain.
Players of Interest (17U):
Daryl Gaynor, 6’2”, 2014, G, LV Prospects
A combo guard out of Nevada, Gaynor played a key role in two wins for the Las Vegas Prospects. His key attribute is his quickness which he showcased frequently in transition. In an up-tempo first game, Gaynor pushed the pace and knifed his way to the basket. In his second game, Gaynor continued to push the pace and put defenders back on their heels. Against Team Loaded – NC, Gaynor went off for 24 points on 10-17 shooting.
TJ Haws, 6’3”, 2014, G, LV Prospects
Gaynor’s back court mate in the two wins was TJ Haws, the star from Lone Peak (UT) that has been committed for awhile to BYU. With Gaynor pushing the pace, Haws was able to slide over to his more natural shooting guard position. Haws scored 13 points in the first game on 5-8 shooting and 14 points in the second game on 5-10 shooting. During the games he used several basket cuts for right and left handed lay-ups while also draining several smooth looking outside shots.
DJ Wilson, 6’8”, 2014, SF, Team Superstar
In the morning session against the LV Prospects, DJ Wilson had the college coaches buzzing with his play. Standing at 6’8” with a skinny frame, Wilson showed off a text book jump shot and went 3-3 from behind the line in a strong first half performance. His shot was smooth and effortless with range several feet behind the arc. When pressured Wilson used a pump fake to drive to the basket and finished with a soft floater. A Sacramento native, Wilson could see his stock start to rise after his first game in the tournament.
Similar to Wednesday, there were two top notch individual match-ups going on at the same time. Unfortunately coaches had to choose one or the other as the Cliff Alexander vs. Karl Towns Jr. match up was going on in a side gym, while the Myles Turner vs. Kevon Looney match-up was going on in the main gym.
Both Turner and Looney had their moments in their match-up, but it was the 5’7” Demontrae Jefferson that stole the show and helped lead his Milwaukee Rebels team to a win. While super athletic, Jefferson can often play out of control and force shots from all over the court. For the most part that wasn’t the case as he went 11-21 for 23 points and dished out six assists. Jefferson got out on the break and finished at the rim time and time again and also ran the pick and roll with Looney and other teammates leaving them with pin point passes for easy baskets. Looney finished 13 points and eight rebounds while Turner scored nine points to go along with nine rebounds. Looney’s offense came primarily off drives to the basket and shots down low, while Turner hit a deep jump shot and turnaround over Looney to go along with two baskets down low. The coaches came for the big men, but were instead treated to highlights from Jefferson.
Houston Defenders standout forward Joe Burton scored in the 30’s again as he went for 31 points on 12-20 shooting.
The Utah Prospects put on a rare performance in the afternoon holding ISTI Elite from Houston scoreless in the first half. At halftime, the Prospects had a 28-0 lead behind the shooting of Brekkott Chapman and Jared Stutzman (San Francisco pledge). ITSI featured center Tacko Fall who was listed at 7’5.” He went 1-3 from the field in a 48-12 ball game.--------------------------------------------
For those fans that wish college basketball was a year-round sport, the College Basketball Newcomers Guide paperback and Kindle book previews the incoming recruits for every team nationally. There’s no need to wait until Fall to learn about the new names in college basketball that will be starring on the hardwood.