National Prep Showcase: Top Takeaways
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The National Prep Showcase has become the consistent starting point for every prep season. Kicking things off again in Connecticut, we take a look at some of its more pressing takeaways including talk surrounding Karim Mane, the potential in David N’Guessan and Darius Miles, and what Terrence Clarke can achieve at Kentucky.
Sides are mixed on Karim Mane. It was not a good start for the Canadian talent. Two dozen NBA personnel were in attendance to see the five-star prospect who could enter his name into the draft. His opening day 12-point performance thanks to 1-of-8 shooting didn’t pass the eye test, but his 28 points and 10 rebounds affair on Sunday morning definitely helped his chances if he does hope to test the NBA waters in the spring.
David N’Guessan helped his cause. Many of the regional mid-majors had showed heavy interest in David N’Guessan prior to the weekend, while St. Joe’s may have prioritized him the greatest compared to all others. If the Hawks were to land the talented prospect, it will not be an easy addition as the Dutch talent was one of the top stock boosters from New Haven. DePaul offered and others will follow suit. N’Guessan was mighty impressive on Friday thanks to a 23-point, 16-rebound effort, and his versatility, energy level and talent will not be taken for granted.
Darius Miles will remain a well-talked about prospect this winter. One of the few Rivals150 prospects that is not rated as a five-star to hold off from signing last week, Miles made his way to IMG Academy and has seen two SEC powers enter his recruitment. LSU and Texas A&M have each laid the proper groundwork with the skilled lefty, with the Aggies maybe be slightly ahead. No visits have been scheduled yet but ones are expected to be taken within the coming months. Two-way versatility and a solid talent base is not lacking out of Miles. Buzz Williams was at his game Sunday. Expect for a slew of others to enter his recruitment this winter.
Terrence Clarke shows good and bad. Talent and upside are in question with Clarke. Rated as a five-star, top-five prospect in the 2020 class for good reason, there are not many as gifted as Clarke and he showed that Friday evening. He took what the defense gave, showcased a fluid jumper that he can consistently hit off the bounce, and displayed sneaky athleticism at the rim. However, Clarke’s ability to make difficult shots can be a blessing and a curse.
Settling is never a good thing and once he becomes more cognizant of how great he can be once he gets to his spots, his ceiling will be raised that much more which directly impacts how far Kentucky goes next season seeing that he will be given first dibs on the go-to scoring role.
Pro route it is for KJ Martin. LaMelo Ball and RJ Hampton did it last year and Martin was expected to follow in their footsteps. A little too late in making such a decision and more of a raw prospect at the time, Martin decided against his professional ventures and instead, enrolled at IMG Academy in hoping to round out his game in the meantime.
He is not there yet, but Martin has become even more explosive around the basket. His jumper is a work in progress but the son of former NBA standout Kenyon Martin did not hold back in stating that the college route is of no interest to him. Whether it is the NBA, NBL or another professional league, Martin is the next to decline the college path and instead, attempt to earn a paycheck next year.
Things are just beginning for Gabe Wiznitzer. A member of the 2021 class competing with the Hargrave Military Academy unit, the South Carolina native was rock solid throughout his stay in New England. Never one to be known for his leaping prowess, Wiznitzer is a sturdy low post threat that can score off a quality set of counter moves down low, shoot a little facing the basket and rebound his area. DePaul and TCU just offered, while Clemson, Minnesota, Pitt, Providence and Purdue are closely monitoring the productive center.
Jeremiah Oden does not lack for intrigue. The native of Chicago showed tremendous versatility and two-way potential all weekend long. He displayed a fluid jumper to the perimeter, the ability to put the ball on the floor off of the straight-line drive attack and defended various positions in the frontcourt. Tulsa has begun to show interest but recently, DePaul, Minnesota, St. Louis and UMass jumped in with offers. Due to the continued need for multi-positional ballplayers and the dearth of such higher-level talent available, look for the recruitment of Oden to only accelerate in the coming weeks.
Underappreciated commits deserve their due. Plenty of praise was given to the Rivals150 and power conference signings last week but some of the notable performers deserve their own praise. Khalifa Koulamallah, headed to South Dakota, is a potential 3-and-D two-guard that should be a strong producer within the Summit League.
Wes Miller got a good one with Jarrett Hensley. Headed to UNC-Greensboro, the face-up forward is tough and can create his own offense, giving the Spartans a difficult mismatch for its SoCon opposition.
Lastly, Boston University may have come up with the steal of the fall. CJ Jones is an absolute flamethrower. He is an elite shooter that is tough, brings good size off the ball and might grow another inch. Remember the names because each could be busting your brackets in the near future.