One of the best showcases for high school basketball talent took place on Saturday night, with Team Do Be Doo used a huge second-half rally for a 111-110 victory over Team EZ Pass in the Under Armour Elite 24 game.
Even though the outcome doesn't ultimately matter, as recruits are trying to make an impression on scouts and coaches watching, it was an entertaining affair. EZ Pass blew a 17-point first-half lead in the loss.
Defense tends to be optional in these exhibition games, as it was in this contest, but it's hard to complain when the offensive firepower is so electrifying.
Using 247Sports' 2016 recruit rankings, Josh Jackson of EZ Pass was the best talent playing in the game. He's listed as a 5-star prospect at shooting guard, drawing tremendous fanfare from scouts such as 247Sports' Jerry Meyer before the Under Armour Elite 24 game:
Jerry Meyer @jerrymeyer247
I've never seen a more talented prospect w such little national fanfare as 2016 Josh Jackson. Best SG I've scouted. http://t.co/mpNqGuDcXw2015-4-14 16:27:58
One day before the game, Jackson was dazzling fans and scouts in attendance by winning the slam dunk contest with a dazzling exhibition that included a between-the-legs windmill slam (via Next Up Recruits):
The best part of Jackson's game is that he doesn't want to be one-dimensional. He's already an outstanding defensive player, holding his own against Rawle Alkins, with ESPN's Jeff Borzello calling the California native the best defensive player in next year's class:
Jeff Borzello @jeffborzello
Rawle Alkins and Josh Jackson developing a nice head-to-head battle. Alkins going at him, Jackson showing why he's the best defender in 16.2015-8-22 23:38:39
Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports called Jackson a "freak athlete" who can guard four different positions and that will generate Andrew Wiggins-like expectations during his freshman year.
Those are lofty expectations for any player, especially considering Wiggins went from college to being the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA draft and winning NBA Rookie of the Year.
Since Jackson is drawing those comparisons already without scouts immediately rolling their eyes, it's on him to continue growing to justify the hype.
However, Edrice "Bam Bam" Adebayo was the star of the game for Team Do Be Doo. The power forward was named the game's MVP after scoring 21 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in the win.
There was also a moment when Adebayo tried to do his best Shaquille O'Neal impression by bringing down the entire hoop (via Jamie Shaw of Phenom Hoops):
Jamie Shaw @JamieShaw5
Bam Adebayo Brings The Entire Hoop Down at #E24X 💪💪 http://t.co/OnpASojMCV2015-8-23 00:33:00
In addition to being a jaw-dropping moment, it speaks to Adebayo's present strength and power that he can pull down a basket. He's listed at 6'9" and 232 pounds, but he has the frame to hold a lot more weight. Additional strength will make him a force in the paint at the college level.
Alkins, a New York native, was a crowd favorite playing in his home state and delivered some dazzling moments. His best was a crossover against Jackson early in the second half that resulted in an easy layup.
Rothstein was quick to give Alkins high praise, while acknowledging there are areas he can work on:
Jon Rothstein @JonRothstein
Rawle Alkins is a fullback playing basketball. Bullies opponents at will. Needs to get better defensively. College ready body. #E24X2015-8-23 00:01:23
If Alkins were a complete player, he would be in the mix for the nation's best prospect in 2016. He's still fantastic, ranked 17th overall by 247Sports, and the ability to create his own that was on display Saturday night shows he can be an instant star.
Looking at how basketball teams are being constructed now, starting with the point guard and building everything else, Trevon Duval is going to be an attractive recruit for teams. The New Jersey native won't reach college until 2017, but he made an impression in this game.
Rothstein went so far as to call Duval the best point guard in all of high school basketball already:
Jon Rothstein @JonRothstein
Trevon Duval is the best PG in HS bball regardless of class. Changes directions better than anyone. Handle is tighter than tight. #E24X2015-8-22 23:56:18
That's immense praise considering there's a recruiting class that will come out before Duval gets his moment in the spotlight. It's also scary to think that the young point guard is that good already, with two years of high school development and coaching ahead of him.
Duval is currently the No. 5 player in 247Sports' 2017 recruiting rankings, but he is the only point guard in the top five.
High-profile All-Star games are an excellent way to evaluate top talent, especially in high school. These players have been the best in their area virtually their entire lives, so getting them against young athletes just as talented—or more talented, in some cases—is an excellent way to separate the true stars.
This year's Under Armour Elite 24 game featured a lot more of the star talent, like Adebayo and Alkins, solidifying elite-recruit status and college coaches increasing their recruiting efforts.
Rankings and measurements via 247Sports.