Given the NCAA’s latest restrictions on college recruiting, July has become undoubtedly the most essential month for both college coaches and players who are looking to gain scholarship offers before their senior year of high school. With limited evaluation time, college coaches are on the grind trying to find the next guy who will be able to help their program. On the flip side, prospects only have limited opportunities to show their stuff in front of coaches, so they need to ball out when given the chance. While all of the top Nike and Under Armour tams were down south doing their thing, adidas-sponsored D1 Minnesota put on their Summer Classic for prospects up north.
Held at the flat out ridiculous Colin Powell Center just outside of downtown Minny, the tourney was the type of quaint environment that you’re used to seeing in the spring. While there was no shortage of fans and coaches, it wasn’t one of those events where you had to jockey for a spot to stand on the baseline or make sure you dropped your backpack on a chair to hold your seat. All in all, it was a great weekend of hoops with a number of sick players who will be making colleges better come 2015 and beyond.
Here is a look at some of the top guys from the D1 Minnesota Summer Classic:
Skal Labissiere, 6-11, PF/C, M33M, 2015
The most highly touted player at the Summer Classic was still going through an adjustment period playing with his new (or old, depending how you look at it) club team. Having initially started off on the AAU circuit with Mike Miller’s squad, Labissiere spent the last year and a half running with the Arkansas Wings in the Nike EYBL, but is now back where he began. He showcased all facets of his game in front of head coaches such as JTIII (Georgetown) and Josh Pastner (Memphis) who were jockeying for his services. The Haitian big man hit faceup Js, turnarounds out of the post, and even stretch the D out to the three-point line. He used his nice athleticism to dunk everything around the cup and impose a massive presence on the defensive end. When Labissiere plays like he did this past weekend, he showed that he has the potential to be right there in the mix for the top player in the Class of 2015.
Tyler Johnson, 6-2, PG, Minnesota D1 U17, 2016
Playing up at the U17 level, Johnson showed that he was the truth and had no problem holding his own against his older peers. He played great D on the ball, was a blur in the open court, and showed the athleticism that big-time colleges love to see out of a lead guard. At just 15 years old and also a beast on the gridiron, the future is bright for Mr. Johnson.
Carter Ashce, 6-9, PF/C, D1 Minnesota U17, 2015
A cat who we weren’t familiar with coming into the Summer Classic, Asche immediately stood out with his inside/out game. Tough enough to anchor your D in the paint, he also showed the ability to stretch the defense with his outside jumper. Ashce isn’t the most athletic guy on the planet, but his ability to play consistent positional D and shoot the ball from deep will be enough to earn him a scholarship to a mid-major program.
Andrew Fleming, 6-5, SG/SF, M33M U17, 2015
Iowa’s most highly touted recruit for the Class of 2015 lived up to the hype in Minneapolis. He knocked down open three-pointers, showcased his surprising bounce, and proved that he could finish in the paint through contact. A well-known player for quite some time now, Fleming has continued to improve his game at every stop he’s made thus far.
Michael Hurt, 6-7, SF, D1 Minnesota U16, 2016
A guy who we weren’t super familiar with going into the weekend, we walked away knowing why many of the region’s top programs have been tracking hurt. A lights out shooter with size, the sophomore was essential in D1 Minnesota’s dominant play over the weekend. Not coincidentally, he just picked up offers from Drake and Davidson to go along with interest from the hometown Gophers.