Spiece World 2011: Top Underclassmen
SLAMonline takes a look at the top youngsters from Spiece.
Many of the nation’s top prep stars descended upon Fort Wayne, IN over the weekend to take part in the Spiece Bill Hensley Memorial Run N Slam. The historic Spiece fieldhouse is where recent NBA draftees Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr., Daequan Cook, Eric Gordon, and Josh McRoberts refined their skills before jumping to the League.
Decked out with eight full courts, weight room, training facility, sporting goods store and elaborate snack bar, it’s far more then your normal run of the mill basketball complex. Even more compelling for hoops junkies is the history behind the place, donning over 100 game-used jerseys of the best the state of Indiana has produced, including Larry Legend himself, Shawn Kemp, and Calbert Cheaney. They also had signed jerseys of NBA stars Karl Malone, Shaq and MJ, as well as Wilt Chamberlain game-used shorts. Needless to say, you could spend a few hours there checking out the scenery and forget that the future of college basketball is playing just a few feet away.
Here’s a look at some of the top youngsters from Fort Wayne:
Jabari Parker, 6-7, SF, Mac Irvin Fire 17′s, 2013
Scout.com’s No. 1 player in the Class of 2013 put on a show playing up with the 17′s, though his loaded Mac Irvin team was sent back to the windy city a little earlier than expected. Looking in better shape each time we see him, Jabari showed off his improved athleticism when he caught this 6’11 defender slipping for the dunk of the tournament. Parker continued to make his case for top player in the class with his diverse array of skills that made him too quick for players his own size to guard and too big for more traditional wings to defend. There’s still some time to go before we see if the Paul Pierce comparisons are warranted, but at the high school level, Jabari is The Truth.
Trey Lyles, 6-8, PF, Spiece 16′s, 2014
Arguably the best freshman in the country, Lyles did everything in his power to show us why ESPN has him ranked No. 1 in the class. The skilled power forward was unstoppable playing a year up on the 16u level, capable of getting buckets on you both in the pivot and facing the cup. The Indiana recruit will definitely be a guy who will have tons of eyes on him throughout the rest of his high school career.
Marc Loving, 6-8, SF, All Ohio Red 16′s, 2013
There may not be another player standing 6’8 or bigger in the Class of 2013 that can do the things on the perimeter that this Ohio State recruit can. Once a skinny kid a la a young Kevin Martin, Loving has filled out his frame and is looking much more explosive than in the past. Marc shot the lights out of the ball and showed off an improved first step to get past smaller defenders en route to the tin. It’s going to be 2 1/2 years before the Toledo native suits up for the Buckeyes, but he has a good chance to be one of the next first round picks from the Thad Matta regime in Columbus.
James Blackmon Jr, 6-0, SG, Spiece 16′s, 2014
The son of former Kentucky James Blackmon looks like he”ll be following his pops’ footsteps as an elite scorer. With a picture perfect J and tight handle, the freshman is quite the problem to guard. Already vowing to take his services to Indiana come 2014, he’s showing the part of an instant impact player if he keeps progressing.
Kendrick Nunn, 6-3, SG, Meanstreets 16′s, 2013
The epitome of a tough Chicago kid, it is only fitting that Nunn plays for Meanstreets. Ex-Giants wideout Tai Streets is the coach and is one of the more in-your-face AAU coaches that you’ll see around. The Simeon product led his team to the finals with his efficient slashing game and ability to put the clamps on guys defensively. You’d like to see him grow a little bit more, but he’s still going to be a high major two guard regardless.
Jack Gibbs, 5-10, PG, All Ohio Varsity 16′s, 2013
Tough would be the one word in the dictionary to best describe Gibbs’ game. Not overly tall or athletic, the Columbus native used his gritty style of play to lead All Ohio Varsity to upset wins over a few more heralded, sneaker sponsored AAU teams. Jack’s ability to see the floor, lead a team, and play great defense makes him someone that just about every mid-major program in the country should be taking a look at.
Paul White, 6-6, SF, Ferarri 15′s, 2014
One of the very best players in the Class of 2014, White’s Ferrari unit got sent packing a little early and he found himself seeing inconsistent playing time throughout the weekend. When he was on the floor, it was easy to see the talent that the lanky wing brought to the table with his picture perfect pull-up J and outstanding athleticism. There is plenty of time to write the book on Paul White, but he’s definitely a guy that Chicagoans should check out before he really blows up on the national level.
Kevin Johnson, 6-2, PG/SG, Ohio Basketball Club 16′s, 2013
This explosive combo guard out of Cincy really opened some eyes with his ability to blow past cats off of the bounce and finish above the rim. He exhibited great effort on the defensive end, making you ponder how nasty of a defender he could eventually become as he continues to learn the game and grow into his body. Seton Hall offered KJ on the spot after seeing him just one time, and expect a number of other d-1 coaches to do that throughout the summer once they lay eyes on him.
Evan Bradds, 6-6, SF, CBIZ 16′s, 2013
While he’s not a household name amongst recruiting circles, Bradds outplayed many guys listed ahead of him in both state and national rankings. With a nice J and deceptive athleticism going to the rim, the sophomore often catches defenders off guard because he doesn’t necessarily look the part of a big time basketball player. Already rocking a handful of mid-major offers, expect that list to grow once July rolls around and more coaches get a glimpse of this sleeper from rural Ohio.