NCAA Basketball Recruiting 2014: 10 Players Whose Stocks Are Soaring
College basketball's July evaluation period is the pinnacle of the recruiting calendar.
More high-level competition happens over the coming weeks than during the rest of the year.
This is the time when reputations are built and offers are extended.
The following is a list of 10 players whose stocks are soaring.
Some of these young stars have been flying under the radar. Others have already been recognized, but they are reaching new heights as we speak.
10. Brekkott Chapman (Roy, UT)
Brekkott Chapman is one of the more multi-talented frontcourt players out west.
The 6’8” lefty PF can score, create, defend, board…Okay, he can just about do it all.
At the NBPA Top 100 Camp, Chapman turned heads with his non-stop motor and intensity.
CBSSports.com's Jeff Borzello states that Chapman "has risen to No. 23 in the 247 Sports ranking."
9. Abdul-Malik Abu (Boston, MA)
What’s up with the Boston area cranking out some fierce frontcourt players the last couple years?
In a short period of time, Malik-Abu has gone from a beast with a motor to one of the top emerging blue-collar PFs in the east. The 6’8”, 230-pound rising senior has good back-to-the-basket skills that help him set up shop on the block.
Adam Zagoria mentions that Kentucky is going to be following him during the July recruiting period.
8. Isaiah Whitehead (Brooklyn, NY)
Over the years, Brooklyn’s Lincoln H.S. has unleashed some impressive hoops talent, including Stephon Marbury, Sebastian Telfair and Lance Stephenson.
Could Class of 2014 SG Isaiah Whitehead be the next remarkable Railsplitter (the school’s “unique” team name)? Based on his spring and summer performances, he’s definitely taking off.
Currently No. 17 in Rivals 150 2014 Prospect Ranking, Whitehead is showing that he’s not just a player with a big rep.
Rivals.com’s Corey Albertson watched the 6’4" combo guard at the Hoop Group Pitt Jam Fest in April. He said that, “Whitehead is a dangerous scoring threat in both the half- and full-court settings, and has enough creativity to his dribble game to draw the attention of the defense with his ability to change directions and pace to get places off the bounce.”
Whitehead is deadly on the break, able to finish at the rim and make his opponents pay for putting him on the line.
7. Craig Victor (New Orleans, LA)
New Orleans’ Craig Victor has taken full advantage of his recent opportunities to impress coaches, scouts or anyone else that has a chance to see him play.
ESPN’s Reggie Rankin said that Victor was turning heads at the NBPA Top 100 Camp:
Victor is a combination forward who goes about 6-foot-8 and 220 pounds. He is a strong, physical presence and is constantly in attack mode. Victor finishes with power on the break and makes plays off the bounce from the low wing and along the baseline. He has a nice midrange jumper from the short corners, attacks the offensive glass with urgency and is an impressive passer from the post. Victor also competes on the defensive end and can defend both forward positions with his size, strength, basketball IQ and competitiveness.
One look at Victor’s top five schools (Ohio State, Kansas, Kentucky, Arizona and LSU, according to CBSSports.com’s Jeff Borzello) shows you how he’s thought of nationally.
6. Stanley Johnson (Fullerton, CA)
SoCal’s Stanley Johnson is one of the premier SFs in the country.
Along with already winning three state championships at Mater Dei, he has been a mainstay on the USA Basketball teams.
His ESPN.com scouting report cuts it straight:
Johnson, at this level, is a man among boys most of the time. He uses his huge frame, ball skills, and tenacity to dominate games. He is tough to stop in the open court where he utilizes his strength to power his way to the rim.
Johnson is a rim attacker, a bang-on shooter and a dynamic defender.
The Courier-Journal’s Steve Jones suggests that Johnson’s game resembles Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Not a small compliment.
5. Kevon Looney (Milwaukee, WI)
He is an elite-level shooter who can score points in bunches. Detroitnews.com’s Sam Webb says that Looney is “the model of versatility.” He is just as effective on the perimeter as he is in the post.
How refreshing is it to see a super-talented player work his butt off? Scout’s national recruiting analyst Brian Snow suggests that the 6’8" combo forward is “one of the hardest playing guys in the country.”
4. Justise Winslow (Houston, TX)
Even before the summer started, Houston’s Justise Winslow was already regarded as one of the best high school wings in the country.
Now, after a booming run with Team USA at the FIBA U19 World Championships, Winslow’s status is going through the roof.
The 6’5" SF was the team’s second-leading rebounder (6.0 RPG) and fourth-leading scorer (9.8 PPG) while playing fewer than 20 minutes per game against international competition.
Along with being a punishing penetrator, Winslow is a lockdown defender.
You rarely see a high school player who is this skilled and committed to stopping his opponents.
3. Myles Turner (Euless, TX)
To say that Dallas area big man Myles Turner has shot up the national rankings is an understatement. A year ago, Turner was not mentioned in most Top 100 lists. MaxPreps' Jason Hickman suggests that, “Turner wasn't even on the radar of most basketball scouts and analysts.”
Turner is a long, energetic force on the court. He is an excellent shot-blocker and rebounder.
CBSSports.com’s Jeff Borzello said:
By all accounts, Myles Turner had his breakout event at the Under Armour Invitational in Dallas back in May. The 7-foot Trinity (Texas) product has suddenly burst onto the scene as a potential five-star prospect.
If that's the case, his performance at NBPA Top 100 camp was one heck of a second act.
Turner was named to the camp's all-star team, averaging 12.4 points and 4.8 rebounds. He was one of the most impressive players at the event, dominating on the defensive end of the floor on a consistent basis. He is also an adept offensive player from a face-up perspective, knocking down perimeter and mid-range shots with effectiveness.
Even though Turner is currently No. 10 on ESPN’s Top 100, he may not be done climbing the ladder.
2. Dante Exum (Canberra, Australia)
Australian PG Dante Exum is listed on ESPN.com’s Class of 2014 recruiting list as a 4-star recruit who does not show up on their Top 100 list.
But he may be the next rising star from a global perspective.
At the 2014 FIBA U19 World Championships in Prague this week, Exum was selected for the five-player all-tournament team.
During the nine-game tourney, Exum averaged 18.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.
Even before receiving that award, Yahoo Sports' Jeff Eisenberg named him as one of the five players who raised their stock while in the Czech Republic. Eisenberg also said this about Exum:
He is viewed as a potential first-round pick in the 2014 NBA draft, but he has insisted that he intends to play a year or two of U.S. college basketball first. Exum has done nothing to hurt his stock with his play for Australia's U-19 team thus far. The 6-foot-5 combo guard has averaged 13.8 points per game, knocked down nearly 40 percent of his threes and posted a 2.5-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
While Exum has already visited Indiana, and the Hoosiers are the front-runners in this recruiting war, other teams like Kentucky, Michigan and Louisville are making their case for this uniquely talented player from down under.
1. Jahlil Okafor (Chicago, IL)
But Okafor is not just working this summer to solidify his ranking above all of his U.S. high school classmates. He is taking on the best young players from around the world.
If anyone doubted the 6’10" center’s elite skill level, the last few weeks should erase those skepticisms.
He was not only on the Team USA roster (as a 17-year-old) that just won it all in the FIBA U19 World Championships in Prague, Okafor was one of five players selected for the all-tournament team.
In nine games, Okafor averaged 10.8 points and 4.8 rebounds. He shot a scalding 44-of-57 (77.2 percent) from the floor, best of all the up-and-coming players who battled in the Czech Republic this last week.
Even though we all thought that the current Windy City Wonder had already hit the ceiling of his high school potential, we now have another standard for his impressiveness to be gauged.