Over the last five years, Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas has become the destination stop for the opening night of the NCAA's third July live evaluation period. There is always top grassroots teams battling it out with top-notch matchups featuring some of the nation's best players and this July 22 is no different. Four of the games featuring national recruits such as Josh Jackson, Dennis Smith Jr., Rawle Alkins, Thon Maker and Marques Bolden will be STREAMED LIVE by BIL between 5pm-10pm PT.
Fab 48 Tip-Off Challenge
July 22, 2015
Bishop Gorman High School (Las Vegas, Nev.)
(Court 1 Schedule; Subject to Change; All four games below will be STREAMED LIVE on Ballislife.com)
BIL LIVE STREAM SCHEDULE & PREVIEWS
1 Nation (Under Armour Association)
Won-Loss Record: 1 Nation lost to Team Canada, 69-57, in the opening round of the UAA 17U finals in Suwanee, Ga. On the 3-stop UAA circuit, the team finished 6-6.
Josh Jackson, Prolific Prep (Napa, Calif.) via Southfield, Mich. 6-7 SF 2016 (Nation's No. 1 ranked prospect by 247Sports.com) 18.3 ppg, 10 rpg in 16 UAA circuit games. Offers from every major NCAA title contender in the country.
Devon Daniels, Kalamazoo Central (Kalamazoo, Mich.) 6-5 W 2016 (13.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg in 15 UAA circuit games. Minnesota, Utah, DePaul, Drake, Buffalo offers.)
Spencer Littleson, Rochester Adams (Rochester Hills, Mich.) 6-4 SG 2016 (7.5 ppg, 37.8 % 3-point in 15 UAA circuit games)
What To Watch For vs. Belmont Shore:
1 Nation is built around Josh Jackson, one of the nation's top three consensus recruits and a future NBA big guard/wing. Jackson is one of the most explosive players in the nation and offensively this team can play with anyone. On the defensive side, however, is where there are some question marks. Jackson is often the tallest player on the floor and often has to guard the opposition's best post player. 1 Nation is going to have to keep Belmont Shore from getting easy looks in the paint and keeping P.J. Washington off the glass. Watch out for Littleson. If Belmont Shore focuses too much defensively on Jackson, Littleson can hurt them with his perimeter shooting.
Belmont Shore (Independent)
Won-Loss Record: N/A - This grassroots team, which was founded and is coached by FAB 48 co-director Dinos Trigonis, has competed in a myriad of national grassroots events since its inception in 1993. The club won the Las Vegas Easter Classic in 2004 and 2010 and the Reebok Summer National Championship in July 2007 behind the play of 2008 National Player of the Year Brandon Jennings, one of the many numerous pros to play on Trigonis' club over the last 20 years.
P.J. Washington, Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) 6-8 PF 2017 (Nation's No. 7 ranked junior by ESPN.com) Offers from Arizona, Baylor and Texas among others. Washington is the consummate Windex Man who works hard on the boards and is a terrific finisher in transition. He's also good at creating second chance points with his work around the basket.
Ethan Thompson, Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.) 6-3 CG 2017 (Nation's No. 72 ranked junior by 247Sports.com) Oregon St., Washington State offers, brother of Oregon St. freshman Stevie Thompson Jr., whose father is on the Oregon St. staff and is a former NBA player.
K.J. Smith, IMG Academy (Florida) via Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) 6-2 PG 2015 (Will spend a year of prep school after helping Mater Dei to the CIF Open Division title game as a senior. Late-blooming point guard is the son of former NBA point guard and TNT analyst Kenny Smith)
Jacob Hughes, Servite (Anaheim, Calif.) 6-10 C 2017 (One of the West Coast's top center prospects in the rising junior class, Hughes is rapidly improving after beginning to play in seventh grade. He can score with a soft hook with either hand and is underrated defensively.)
What To Watch For vs. 1 Nation:
Belmont Shore doesn't have a player the caliber of Jackson, but Trigonis' team is usually prepared for the big stage and will get some open looks against 1 Nation. Belmont Shore is most dangerous when its guard play is at a high level, so if Smith and Thompson step up it will put a lot of pressure on 1 Nation. Hughes can end up being a major factor if he can keep up with the fast pace of the game on this big stage because of 1 Nation's lack of size. P.J. Washington and Charles O' Bannon Jr. of Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), a 2017 McDonald's All-American candidate, will get a crack at checking Jackson, but it's on offense where O'Bannon can make a difference with his ability to stroke from the wing.
D.C. Premier (Under Armour Association)
Pro Skills (Nike EYBL)
Pro Skills went 10-7 in Division A of the EYBL and qualified for the Peach Jam EYBL Finals. In its pool at Peach Jam, Pro Skills finished 2-3 and did not qualify for eight-team bracket play to decide the EYBL champions, which turned out to be the Georgia Stars.
Marques Bolden, DeSoto (DeSoto, Texas) 6-11 C 2016 (Nation's No. 6 ranked prospect by Rivals.com) 13.7 ppg, 5.9 rpg in 17 EYBL games. Offers from all the big boys including Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina and Louisville. A powerful finisher around the basket, Bolden turned into a legitimate McDonald's All-American candidate with his play on the EYBL circuit. He's now considered the nation's top center prospect in his class by Scout.com.
Andrew Jones, MacArthur (Irving, Texas) 6-4 CG 2016 (Nation's No. 91 prospect by 247Sports.com) 11.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg in 17 EYBL games. He's not a consensus Top 100 prospect yet, but Jones is one of the nation's July breakout performers. He averaged 18.4 ppg at Peach Jam to lead Pro Skills in scoring and recently picked up offers from Arizona and Texas.
Schnider Herard, Prestonwood Christian Academy (Plano, Texas) 6-10 C 2016 (Nation's No. 41 prospect by Rivals.com) 8.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg in 17 EYBL games. Herard is still a work in progress on the offensive end, but he's an imposing physical presence who works on the boards and must be accounted for because he runs the floor well for his size.
What To Watch For vs. DC Premier:
Pro Skills is a physical imposing bunch and with Bolden and Herard will be a load for DC Premier to handle. Bolden battled nagging injuries on the EYBL circuit, but he'll be ready for the big FAB 48 stage and if DC Premier doesn't get physical enough on the block it could make for a long night for them. DC Premier's Joe Hampton will have to play big against Bolden. Watch out for JaColby Pemberton, a rising senior for Lancaster, Texas, who is a good athlete.
Canada Elite (Under Armour Association)
Canada Elite advanced to the championship game of the UAA 17U finals in Suwanee, Ga., losing to Team Charlotte 56-46 after the game was tied at 41-41 with three minutes remaining. In its division (Humble) Canada Elite tied with Team Charlotte with a 9-3 record. Canada Elite defeated Team Charlotte in New York, the third stop of the UAA circuit.
Thon Maker, Athlete Institute Academy (Toronto) 7-0 PF 2016 (Nation's No. 5 ranked prospect by 247Sports.com) 15.5 ppg, 8.5 rpg on the UAA circuit, considered one of of the best NBA prospects for the 2017 NBA Draft after declaring he will remain in high school for the 2015-16 season. Arizona St. and Indiana are the major players in the Maker sweepstakes.
Justin Jackson, Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) 6-7 SF 2016 (Nation's No. 28 prospect by Scout.com; UNLV COMMIT) 12.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg on the UAA circuit. Jackson can defend in the post and on on the perimeter and is a crafty scorer around the basket. Once he gains more consistency from the outside, he'll turn into a highly-productive college player.
Marcus Ottey, St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, N.J.) 6-2 PG 2016 (10.1 ppg on UAA circuit) Ottey turned a lot of college coaches' heads with his play at the UAA Finals in Suwanee, Ga. The FAB 48 Tip-off challenge could be another breakout event for the lefty guard. Ottey is nearly as quick as he is explosive and that's saying a lot. He can play both guard spots.
What To Watch For vs. Team Loaded:
The Canadians don't have a perimeter player with the ability of Dennis Smith, but they won't be overmatched. Ottey is an explosive playmaker and point guard Godwin Boahen of St. Louis Christian Academy in Toronto is capable of putting up points in a hurry and is a solid defender. Thon Maker's ability facing the basket could be a big program because Team Loaded may have to double him if he gets going offensively. That could free up space for Justin Jackson, who is a strong candidate to have a big game.
Andrew Wiggins Team Loaded (adidas Uprising Gauntlet)
On the first stop on the Gauntlet in Dallas, Team Loaded went 2-1. On the second stop in Indianapolis, Team Loaded won the 17U Lillard bracket to qualify for the Finale. The Gauntlet finale hosted the top eight finishers from bracket play in Indianapolis, as well as eight at large teams. Team loaded lost in the round of eight at the Gauntlet Finale in Atlanta during the first July NCAA viewing period to eventual champion NY Rens, 57-54.
Dennis Smith Jr., Trinity Christian School (Greenville, N.C.) 6-3 PG 2016 (Nation's No. 4 ranked prospect by ESPN.com) Offers from almost every big-time program in the country, including Duke and North Carolina. Smith led the adidas Gauntlet with 6.9 apg, and also averaged 16.2 ppg and 4.8 rpg. In the argument for the nation's top point guard along with De'Aaron Fox of Houston Hoops and Lonzo Ball of Big Ballers VXT, Smith is the most explosive of the three around the rim. His jump shot is a work in progress, but he finds ways to keep teams honest and impact the game even when the jumper is not falling.
Edrice Adebayo, Northside (Jacksonville, N.C.) 6-9 PF 2016 (Nation's No. 7 ranked prospect by Rivals.com) 14.7 ppg, 9.1 rpg in adidas Gauntlet games. Adebayo was one of the top five performers at the prestigious NBPA Top 100 Camp in June and is a consensus Top 10 recruit. "Bam" is not quite as tall as he looks, but because of his chiseled physique, strength and mobility, he more often than not plays like the biggest player on the floor. He goes after missed shots with reckless abandon and has made great strides offensively over the last year.
What To Watch For vs. Canada Elite:
Maker vs. Bam is must-see, and if Bam can move his feet well enough to stay out of foul trouble Team Loaded will have a chance down the stretch (each player gets six fouls in the FAB 48). Team Canada gets in trouble when it can't get Maker the ball inside, so if Team Loaded's perimeter defense can cause trouble by denying entry passes or making them difficult, it will cause less double teams and mismatches. The play of Jaylen Fornes, a 6-foot-2 shooting guard out of Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh, N.C., will be key because he's not a consistent threat with the outside shot. If he's on, Team Loaded will gain confidence.
Each 1 Teach 1 (Nike EYBL)
E1T1 went 13-4 in Division D of the EYBL, one game behind eventual EYBL champion Georgia Stars in the division. The team qualified for the Peach Jam EYBL Finals where it went 4-1 in pool play to qualify for the eight-team championship bracket to decide the 2015 champion. E1T1 fell to the Team CP3, 74-70, in the quarterfinals.
Jonathan Isaac, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) 6-10 SF 2016 (Nation's No. 9 ranked prospect by Scout.com; FLORIDA STATE COMMIT) 14.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg in 17 EYBL games. Isaac has great long-term potential and is only beginning to scratch the surface of it. At the Nike EYBL Minneapolis session, he showed the makings of a future pro as a prototype 4-man with 3-man skills. Not strong yet, Isaac needs to improve finishing in traffic.
Kevin Knox, Jr., Tampa Catholic (Tampa, Fla.) 6-8 SF 2017 (Nation's No. 12 ranked junior by Scout.com) 7.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg in 17 EYBL games. Knox is in the same boat as Isaac in many ways in that he'll be a much better player down the line. Knox is a great athlete who shoots the ball well at his size. He's also a great quarterback prospect on the football field, but his future is on the hardwood.
What To Watch For vs. NY Rens:
Rawle Alkins and Mustapha Heron are matchups nightmares for E1T1, but on the flip side Isaac creates a matchup problem as well with his length. If E1T1 can hold the Rens to one shot per possession, they will be in position to take control of the game if they don't get physically overpowered in the backcourt. That's where Tony Bradley Jr., a 6-foot-10 rising senior from Bartow, Fla. comes into play. He's an excellent rebounder (8.6 rpg in the EYBL) and a double-digit scorer. If Bradley has a big game, E1T1 has to like its chances.
New York Rens (adidas Uprising Gauntlet)
The Rens got off to a rough start at the Gauntlet stop, going 1-2 in the same pool as Team Loaded. They turned it around in Indianapolis to qualify for the adidas Gauntlet Finale, July 8-10, in Atlanta. There the Rens stormed through bracket play, defeating Brookwood Elite (78-61), Team Loaded North Carolina (57-54), Indiana Elite (87-77), and the Atlanta Celtics (80-66) in the championship game to capture the 17U championship.
Rawle Alkins, Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.) 6-5 SG 2016 (Nation's No. 13 ranked prospect by 247Sports.com) 23.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg in 12 adidas Gauntlet games. Alkins has all the big schools after him, but he won't be back at CTK for his senior season because of an athletic eligibility issue. He was dominant for the Royals as a junior, leading them to a CHSAA Class AA title and state runner-up finish. Alkins excels in transition and is much too physically imposing for most guards or wings on the high school level to handle. He's also a solid shooter and capable ball-handler, but must continue to develop on the defensive end.
Mustapha Heron, Sacred Heart (Waterbury, Conn.) 6-5 CG 2016 (Nation's No. 17 ranked prospect by Scout.com) 17.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.0 apg in 12 adidas Gauntlet games. Heron was originally committed to Pittsburgh but is now wide open in his recruitment. St. John's and new coach Chris Mullen would love to have Heron or Alkins or both join the Redmen. The MOP of the 2015 Pangos All-American Camp, if Heron wasn't the camp's most impressive performer, then it was surely Alkins.
What To Watch For vs. Each 1 Teach 1:
Like his running mate Alkins, Heron is a winner, as he led his high school team to a 28-0 record and No. 26 national ranking in the Grassroots Hoops FAB 50 as a junior. Heron had 19 points and 12 rebounds vs. the Atlanta Celtics in the adidas Gauntlet championship game, so he could be primed for a big game on a big stage vs. E1T1. As it that wasn't enough, Alkins had 34 points in the championship game. Heron is not quite as efficient from the field as Alkins, so if the E1T1 is going to have to pick its poison, it might make sense for them to concentrate on slowing down Alkins. If both of them are on their game, the Rens will be extremely tough to beat because everyone on the team thrives in their role. The Rens will also have to show they can handle E1T1 on the boards.