Five recruiting thoughts from the LeBron James Skills Academy
SF Andrew Wiggins backed up his reputation as the top H.S. prospect in the nation
Formerly overlooked PG Wesley Clark exploded onto the national recruiting scene
Five-star talent Isaac Hamilton could wait until the spring to announce his decision
LAS VEGAS -- Many of the top prospects in the nation impressed at the 2012 LeBron James Skills Academy. Before moving to coverage of July's "live" period for college coaches, here are five things we learned.
1. Andrew Wiggins is the best player in the land. Some were quick to anoint Wiggins, a native of Ontario, as the best high school hoops prospect regardless of class. His performance at the LeBron James Skills Academy solidified that sentiment. After watching the No. 1 player in the class of 2014 in Las Vegas, there's no point in trying to deny that claim any longer.
The 6-foot-7 wing from Huntington (W.V.) Prep shows so much promise -- and everything he does seems so effortless. Wiggins has tremendous athleticism, an attention-grabbing jumper, a game-changing drive through the lane and terrific body control that allows him to dominate the competition. Even scarier: He only appears to be scratching the surface of his long-term potential.
2. Kevon Looney is for real. In April, Looney was elevated to No. 11 in Rivals' class of 2014 recruiting rankings. At the time, it was controversial. Many analysts around the country didn't see the Hamilton High product as a bona fide five-star talent.
After a few months of competition against some of the top prospects in the nation, however, that perception has changed. The 6-foot-8 rising junior has firmly established himself among the nation's elite.
A strong performance at the LBJ Skills Academy was simply another feather in the cap of Looney, a skilled and aggressive swingman. And thanks to his strong start to the summer -- and particularly his performance on the boards -- Looney has become one of the most hotly recruited players in the country. He already holds offers to Georgetown, Kansas, Missouri and Wisconsin, among others.
3. Wesley Clark will be a very hot commodity in July. Even in the current high school basketball landscape, one in which the top travel teams are tirelessly scouted, some players still slip through the cracks. Romulus (Mich.) point guard Clark is a perfect example.
Clark plays for a well-known AAU team -- Detroit-based The Family -- and participated in Nike's heavily covered EYBL circuit. Still, he showed up in Vegas outside of the rankings, with most experts viewing him as more of an upper-end mid-major prospect. Clark was seen a solid player, to be sure. But he wasn't somebody that most people were making a fuss about.
One of two things subsequently happened: Clark either had the best two days of his entire basketball career or his talent was vastly underappreciated. Coming out of the LBJ Skills Academy, the senior-to-be looks like a sure-fire high-major point guard. Clark enters the July live period with offers from Iowa State, USC and Xavier, but more should be filtering in shortly. Expect the crowd of teams courting Clark to swell greatly over the next few weeks.
4. The future is bright for Diamond Stone and Ivan Rabb. The majority of players in attendance at the LBJ Skills Academy were either rising seniors or juniors. However, thanks to a classic duel on the last day of camp, two of the camp's hottest names were sophomores. If scouts weren't fully aware of Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd's Rabb and Milwaukee (Wisc.) Dominican's Stone, they certainly are now.
Fellow class of 2015 big man Karl Towns has been highly touted, and for good reason after a standout freshman year and his qualification for the Dominican Republic's national team at just 16. However, Rabb and Stone are in the same class, and both look to be five-star prospects. Rabb offers rare length, athleticism and face-up skills, while Stone is a crafty back to the basket performer with great hands and a pure shot. Stone has stellar range all the way to the three-point line.
5. Isaac Hamilton might wait to commit. The five-star guard from Los Angeles (Calif.) St. John Bosco has impressed scouts for his entire high school career, and he did more of the same in Las Vegas. The 6-foot-4 senior uses a simple approach: relax and trust in his talent to take over.
One of the country's premier jump shooters and skill players on the offensive end, Hamilton was draining shots from all around the perimeter. And while it's fair to label him as a shooter, he's also a very sneaky athlete and clever threat off the dribble. He has an array of scoring moves and is an excellent mid-range player.
According to Hamilton, he won't start cutting down his list of schools until after the summer and will likely wait until the spring to make a final decision. He says Washington, Florida, UTEP, Baylor, Cal, UCLA, Gonzaga, Sand Diego State, UNLV and UConn are recruiting him the hardest.
For more recruiting coverage, visit the Rivals.com basketball recruiting hub.
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