National Prep Stars
SLAM scouts the nation’s top prep school tourney.
Stefan Jankovic, 6-10, SF/PF, Kiski School (PA) (Stefan is now at Huntington Prep (WV)–Ed.), 2012
After profiling his sick play in our article from his tourney the previous weekend, it made me debate writing about Jankovic yet again. Well, he was even better thus time around. Strapped with nasty bounce, deep range, and a handle unlike most 6-10 guys, he put in major work in both games. With a number of high major programs sitting front and center vying for his services, expect the Serb to be a hot name once the AAU circuit rolls around.
Khem Birch, 6-9, PF, Notre Dame Prep (MA), 2011
Birch was the talk of the tourney in that he was once considered one of the elite bigs in the 2012 class, but opted to take his talents to Pitt and enroll a year early. The Montreal native has a developing offensive game and dominating defensive game as a rebounder and shotblocker. The aforementioned grit on D should allow him to get some PT in Coach Dixon’s rotation.
Jakarr Sampson, 6-8, PF/SF, Brewster (NH), 2011
After starting things off a little slow in his first game, Steve Lavin’s prized recruit stepped up and showed why the Johnnie’s have a bit of optimism to look forward to in 2011. He played the point forward role at times for Brewster and looked great at it, looking like a smaller Lamar Odom at times. The Akron, OH native is still rough around the edges, but his versatility and high energy level will allow him to fill up a stat sheet real quick.
Dez Wells, 6-5, SF, Hargrave Military Academy (VA), 2011
The epitome of a power wing looked even bigger and stronger than when we last checked him out on the AAU circuit over the summer. His handle is getting better, he’s still shutting people’s water off on D, and he’s getting better as a jump shooter. Oh, we forgot to mention that the crazy athlete would have had the dunk of the tourney had he not been hacked on the play. Xavier got a good one here.
Robert Brown, 6-4, SG, Hargrave Military Academy (VA), 2011
This was my first time laying eyes on Brown and I came away wondering why he’s not in anyone’s top 100 lists. He’s got nice range, is a deceptive athlete, and can slash to the rim with the best of them. Mad props to Virginia Tech for landing this sleeper out of Florida.
Todd Mayo, 6-4, SG/PG, Notre Dame Prep (MA), 2011
OJ’s baby bro has a legit game and even offers a swag similar to his big bro. He straight went at it with Kiwi Gardner, showing off his ability to get to the cup, stroke it from three, and make the right pass. Like OJ, Todd is more of a 2 than a 1 at this point, but can slide over if need be. This ability to play both spots is one of the main reasons that programs like Memphis, Tennessee, Missouri, and West Virginia are vying for his services.
Kiwi Gardner/George Matthews/John Green, Westwind Prep (AZ)
Westwind, who has been deemed by some as potentially the most athletic team in the country, was led by the strong play of their 3 big guns in CT. YouTube thriller Kiwi Gardner captivated the crowd with his slick handles, hops, and ability to get to the cup at just 5-8. He’s now a member of the class of 2012, giving videographers another year to film him. 6-5 small forward George Matthews knows how to score in a variety of ways, whether it be taking you off the dribble, posting, or keeping you honest with his J. He’s heading to Utah next season and was a very good get for them. The final member of their trio is 6-6 John Green. While he’s a little stuck in between positions, Green rebounds like a monster and can score inside/out. UC Santa-Barbara pulled a straight bank robbery by snagging Green, who looks like he’d be a great fit at a upper level mid-major program.
KC Whitaker, 6-5, SG, Fishburne Academy (VA), 2011
Whitaker was the biggest surprise for me this weekend, hands down. I’d never even heard the name mentioned of the UAB recruit by any other national analysts, yet he straight put in work versus anyone who tried to guard him. The silky smooth lefty is more than just a set shooter, based off the fact that he can bomb coming off screens either way with a lightning quick release and can catch you sleeping on his off the dribble game. UAB coach has been known for his great recruiting skills (had Josh Smith committed to Indiana and DeMarcus Cousins committed to UAB) and while this may not be such a high profile get, it’s a really good one nonetheless.