I’m back in the A.T.L., concluding my summer travel with the Elite 24, hosted by the Under Armour Association. The Elite 24 boys basketball game is set for Saturday, August 12 at 8pm ET at Atlantic Station (ESPNU).
This is a three part series and in the first episode, I'll talk about three headlines from the two practice sessions (with some scrimmaging going towards the end of each practice) and a full scrimmage.
Ace Bailey Checks A Lot of Boxes
I haven’t had the chance to see Ace Bailey play much this year, but he pops out when he enters the game. Even in the drills, looking at him elevate and shoot, the fluidity with his athleticism and handle was present. A big wing at about 6’9 that can create his own look, make separation off the bounce and is a playmaker in the open court, Bailey also has positional size, adequate handle combined with shooting and scoring upside. Bailey showed why he’s one of the best in the national 2024 class and is intriguing to NBA Scouts.
Zoom Diallo Made Presence Known in Thursday Afternoon’s Practice
The afternoon session on Thursday was a good evaluation opportunity, especially after a morning practice and a decent break. I was looking for which player's energy would still be up and who would finish strong. Zoom Diallo, a 2024 point guard, fit that bill. A strong, pure point guard with good positional size, Diallo utilizes his strength to create space off the dribble, albeit without a crazy burst. He’s very shifty though and is an intuitive passer. Diallo also finds an off-ball cutter when in isolation or coming off a ball-screen. He also excelled when he got a paint touch, making no-look passes to the guy at the dunker spot or open at the 3-point line. Defensively, Diallo competed and moved well laterally. Zoom really impacted the session with his passing and paint touches.
Ian Jackson, Vyctorius Miller Show Out on Friday
Going into the next day, Friday’s full scrimmage run was a competitive one. Vyctorius Miller came out the gates fast, showing his adequate pull-up game, decision making and poise as the primary ball-handler. At 6-foot-5 and labeled as a two-guard, I thought Miller showed the ability to play on and off the ball effectively. Streaky as a 3-point shooter, but it’ll get better with reps and time. He has quietly been one of the better guard performers this week.
UNC commit Ian Jackson, another one of the nations' top guards in the 2024 class, made his presence known. A quick twitch athlete that’s a regular visitor of the paint. Jackson blew by defenders, showed dexterity in his finishes and just knows how to finish vs. length well. Even when guys knew he was trying to get to the rim, it didn’t matter because Jackson flashed his counters, changed speeds and got where he wanted.