The month of July always delivers competitive play and gives emerging high school basketball stars a chance to show their stuff on courts around the country.
This summer's full national slate did not disappoint.
Here are the 10 biggest winners of July's college basketball recruiting showcases.
Some of these players were already highly valued, but they made their case to move up in the recruiting rankings. Some of these were thought of as hopefuls at best.
Coming out the other side of July, we begin to see the sifting and shifting that takes place as the class of 2014 prepares for their senior years.
Here we go!
Bonzie Colson Jr. is a guy whose coaches can always rely on when it comes to bringing the action.
The under-sized (6’5”) PF brings a “down-and-dirty” intensity and just knows how to win.
His ESPN’s scouting report declares:
Colson is a model of efficiency and the exception to almost all rules about the requisite size needed to be a high-major caliber four-man. He's got an old-school feel to his game with terrific poise and court demeanor, the ability to thrive at either the mid or high-post, and a very high release inside the lane. He's got great length and tremendous hands, is a very good passer in the frontcourt, and makes great use of the backboard. More than anything else, he's just a winner, who has won big at every level which he has competed at.
Colson’s travel schedule validates his potential. He worked it at the LeBron James Skills Academy, participated in the Peach Jam and competed at the Global Challenge.
ESPN’s national recruiting director, Paul Biancardi, stated:
Listed as undersized power forward at 6-foot-5, he plays much bigger than his height. With an enormous 6-11.5 wingspan and a big heart, Colson battles every possession. His niche is rebounding as he averaged 8.8 rebounds per game and led the Global Challenge in total offensive rebounds with 20 in four games. Offensively, he possesses a great pair of mitts and solid footwork as he will back down his defender inside and score with a clever feel and crafty moves. He also grabs the garbage inside to collect points as he never stops moving.
Lourawls Nairn runs the point with hunger and passion.
He is a relentless competitor who pushes the action—even when he is not leading a fast break.
ESPN’s Dave Telep lists Nairn as one in a short list of players who are “Quietly Elevating their Games.” He says that the 5’10” guard’s “strong play started at LeBron (James Skills Academy) and carried over into the Peach Jam. He’s too fast to ignore.”
Earlier in the month, Telep said (Insider subscription required):
In another life, he’d be a running back. At LeBron camp, he was a vocal leader and run-the-squad guy.
If a college coach is looking for a throwback PG, Nairn has earned a look.
Kelly Oubre went into the summer looking to improve his position among the top recruits in the country—Mission accomplished!
Oubre was one of the best players in the various venues in Orlando.
ESPN’s Reggie Rankin summed up Oubre this way (Insider subscription required):
Oubre has great size on the wing, explosive bounce and he drops open 3s with regularity. He possesses the ability to get hot and force opponents to take a timeout to rethink their defensive strategy.
Though he officially plays SF, Oubre is very comfortable and competent with the ball in his hands, playing as point forward.
His tight handle and freakish athleticism help him to slash and gash. He gets to the rim without difficulty and can also pull up and stick jumpers.
Trevon Bluiett took full advantage of the opportunities that came his way this month.
The 6’5” SF from Indy stepped up his game at the Nike Peach Jam, burying 41 points when his Spiece Indy Heat squad was short-handed because of injury. The versatile power wing with a silky-smooth jumper hit 5-of-10 three-pointers.
ESPN’s senior national basketball analyst Dave Telep described his game this way (Insider subscription required):
This is a scorer, a guy who can move around and hurt you from different spots on the floor. He has a little Glen Rice Jr. feel to his game without the off-the-court issues.
He started the summer as No. 41 on ESPN’s 2014 Top 100, but there is a good chance that he will be moving on up.
Traits that usually get coaches' attention at the recruiting showcases are hustle, determination and grit.
Reid Travis has all of these in abundance.
The 6’8” PF from Minneapolis established himself as a high-octane hustler every time he took the court.
ESPN’s Reggie Rankin said (Insider subscription required):
Travis is a strong and physical true power forward with a college-ready body. He attacks the rim, can face and hit the open jumper inside the arc and rebounds with two hands in traffic. He combined with Jones to lead Howard Pulley to the Gold Super Showcase title.
Travis will do a great job of being an enforcer/bouncer for some collegiate hoops team.
Justise Winslow has had a busy summer.
Not only did the 6’6” SF torch the AAU Nationals and Super Showcase in Orlando, he also helped Team USA U19 win the FIBA World Championship in Prague by scoring 9.8 PPG (No. 4 on the team) and grabbing 6.0 RPG (No. 2).
ESPN’s Reggie Rankin said (Insider subscription required)
Heart, toughness and winning are the first things that come to mind when describing this versatile and physical wing. Winslow can defend all three perimeter positions, is unselfish and finishes at the rim.
ESPN’s John Stovall designated Winslow as the most versatile player at the Nike Peach Jam earlier this month in North Augusta, SC. He has virtually no holes in his game, excelling at some of the nuts-and-bolts parts (man-to-man defense, rebounding).
Emmanuel Mudiay is an amazing physical specimen.
At 6’5”, 190 lbs, Mudiay brings a largeness to the point that gives him passing-angle, pull-up and post-up advantages.
Mudiay is demonstrating upgraded court sense as well as a vastly improved ability to find teammates anywhere on the court and deliver the ball in scoring position.
ESPN’s Joel Francisco, in reviewing the Las Vegas Fab 48, said (Insider subscription required):
The most impressive aspect of his game, however, is his explosive burst in transition and the innate ability to locate open teammates while being heavily defended. There is not a player in this class that has his size, skill, and overall feel at the lead guard position.
As Francisco reviewed the month of July, he said (Insider subscription required):
Due to his length, vision, competitive nature, size and improved jump shot, Mudiay has the most upside in the class. Tyus Jones is more polished at this stage and will be a pro, but Mudiay has all the intangibles to be a franchise point guard at the NBA level. Mudiay will get my vote as the No. 1 player in the country when we next update the player rankings.
Stanley Johnson has become one of the elite players in the nation.
He uses his chiseled frame to post up players down low, and he can knock down shots from both mid-range and beyond the arc.
The 6’6” SF’s ESPN scouting report says (Insider subscription required):
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. In addition, he has developed a nice soft touch out to the 3-point line and he can also dominate down low with his knack to score.
ESPN’s Jeff Goodman says (Insider subscription required):
He’s strong, tough, athletic and can now score in just about every way possible. Those in the equation feel as though it’ll be a three-horse race between Kentucky, Arizona and USC.
Over the last year, Myles Turner has absolutely blown up.
He has gone from a nameless hopeful to a top 10 high-flier.
CBS Sports’ Jeff Borzello is strong in his evaluation of the up-and-coming star from Bedford, TX:
The biggest story of the spring and summer AAU scene was undoubtedly the emergence of Myles Turner.
Turner, a 7-footer from Trinity (Texas), burst onto the scene back in May at the Under Armour Invitational, followed that up with a big-time performance at the NBPA Top 100 Camp in June—and then solidified his spot among 2014's elite with an outstanding July period.
In my opinion, he is slotted at No. 2 in the class of 2014, right behind consensus top prospect Jahlil Okafor. In fact, Turner might have the highest ceiling of any player in the senior class.
When you watch Turner, you don’t get the sense that he has reached his potential.
The biggest winner of the July recruiting showcases is shooting guard Trey Kell.
Going into this summer, Kell was rated as No. 100 on ESPN's 2014 Top 100. He was slotted as a mid-major prospect, with offers from solid programs such as Gonzaga, New Mexico and San Diego State.
Because of an exceptional summer showing, Kell has now received offers from the likes of Arizona, UCLA, USC and Virginia with many more on the way. CBS Sports’ Jeff Borzello indicates that Michigan, Marquette and Georgetown are also now showing interest in the 6’4”-SG.
ESPN’s Joel Francisco described Kell (MVP of the “Double Pump Best of the Summer” event in Anaheim) this way (Insider subscription required):
He won’t wow you with high-flying dunks, but he will attract your attention with his buttery smooth jump shot and overall feel for the game. His assist-to-turnover ratio is high-level, and he's one of the smoothest jump shooters in the country.