The NBA Players Association has been giving back for a minute now. Not bound to allegiances with any particular shoe company, former and current NBA ballers not only give back to those who could be following in their footsteps, but get a jump start on potential coaching careers. High school players and former NBA players alike are led by someone who has enjoyed great success as both a player and a coach: John Lucas.
The top pick in the ’76 Draft and currently Rockets player development coach has been through it all. His personal struggles are well known and now, his goal in life is to try to make sure that those involved with the game don’t follow down the path that led him fighting an uphill battle for redemption. Comprised of various high school scouts, the NBA Top 100 selection committee jets throughout the country during the year looking for not just the elite but also the sleepers who have long term NBA potential and are still not getting the love they deserve.
Led by guys like Ricky Davis, Jason Terry, and Rajon Rondo, the high school campers were given some guidance on what to do (and what not to do) if they hope to have a successful career in the League. The NBA counselors keep it brutally real with the campers, regaling stories of struggles both in their personal lives and dealing with coaches on the court. Keeping the effort level right, lead guards such as Jason Terry, Will Bynum, and John Lucas III showed their leadership by bringing up the intensity during the games. The inspired play and super deep talent pool led to numbers that were widely dispersed across the board, but still served as a platform for a number of players to seriously rise their stock.
While the camp was loaded with rising seniors, there were a number of elite underclassmen who were invited to the camp. Here are a few of the ones who put on a show:
Matthew Hurt, 6-9 PF, Rochester John Marshall (MN), 2019
One of the most skilled forwards in his grade, Matthew Hurt is the epitome of today’s new age face-up forward. He showed range out to the NBA line, can take slower defenders off the bounce, and has the moves to post smaller defenders. The versatility that he offers on the offensive end is what makes him Minnesota’s top big man, as well as one of the very best nationally in the Class of 2019. With his brother Michael already playing for the Golden Gophers, many expect Matthew to follow his big bro’s footsteps and become a program changer for Richard Pitino.
Cassius Stanley, 6-5, PG/SG, Harvard Westlake (CA), 2019
While the aerial magic that Cassius Stanley brings to the table is well known, not many understand the improvements he’s made as a point guard. He’s learned how to play pick and roll basketball, showing off his explosive burst and making solid decisions with the ball in his hands. Add in the fact that he straight up put the clamps on people at either guard spot and you understand why Stanley was arguably the best guard at the Top 100 Camp.
Cole Anthony, 6-3, PG, Archbishop Molloy (NY), 2019
It was clear that Cole Anthony came to Charlottesville with a chip on his shoulder and he definitely proved how deadly he could be as a scoring point guard. The explosive guard has a number of acrobatic takes to the rim, made great reads off of ball screens, and seemed hyped for any big matchup that was put in front of him. Finishing 7th in the camp in scoring and 4th in assists, it’s safe to say that Anthony cemented himself amongst the nation’s top lead guards, regardless of class.
Ashton Hagans, 6-4, PG, Oak Hill Academy (VA), 2019
As far as blowing up, not too many have exploded the way that Ashton Hagans has this spring. The 6-4 lead guard ran the show for Game Elite’s 17U on the adidas Gauntlet and killed. He didn’t light it up in the scoring column, but led the camp in both assists and steals. The big point guard controlled the tempo of the game, locked down on defense, and showed immense growth running a team since we first saw him over a year ago. Hagans is now regarded by some services as the top point guard in the Class of 2019 and literally has just about every elite program in the country fighting for his services.
Patrick McCaffery, 6-8, SF, Iowa City West (IA), 2019
Another new age forward, Patrick McCaffery is still flying a little under the radar because everyone assumes that he’s automatically going to play for his Pops at Iowa. While that is likely the case, he’s not as sexy of a prospect for recruiting analysts as the dude who just blew up and got four ACC offers. Regardless, he can straight up ball with the best of them. Having hit a late growth spurt, Patrick has the skills of a guard and the size of a forward. The deceptive athlete is remarkably agile, can shoot the lights out from deep, and is a threat to dunk on you in transition (as seen by his final play at camp). While Patrick definitely needs to get stronger, he’s got all of the makings of a five star prospect.
Tyrese Maxey, 6-3, PG/SG, South Garland HS (TX), 2019
A player who continually gets better, Maxey has stood out at every event that we’ve caught glimpse of him at (others being Pangos All-South and EYBL LA). The power guard is incredibly shifty, had a number of creative finishes at the rack, and locked down on the perimeter. Maxey is already a high priority of the entire Big 12 and is on the way to being the next McDonald’s All-American out of Dallas.