While the NBA held its annual All-Star Weekend in February in Toronto, former #1 pick and head coach John Lucas made his own twist on the event after the fact in Houston. Waiting for the Texas high school season to conclude, Lucas held his annual All-Star Weekend AAU Tournament to give scouts and media a better look at the incoming freshman class. However, as any coach would, there was plenty of schooling involved.
“Too many kids have NAIA talent and are waiting on UK and Duke letters. Well, it’s not happening. Embrace your talent level and keep working,” the 62-year old Lucas told the participating players. “I wish kids would try to just be good players first. Too many players think they can just go from good to great overnight.”
With players from over 20 different states, the talent in Houston was legit. Games spanned from 8AM until close to midnight, giving everyone a preview of what the AAU grind was going to have in store. Many players were already hearing from schools participating in the Sweet 16 before entering high school, so it was evident that everyone in attendance was getting a sneak peak of the next wave of elite high school recruits.
Here were a few of the standouts from the 2016 John Lucas Enterprises All Star Weekend Tournament:
Kyree Walker, 6-4, SG/SF, God First AAU, 2020
Making a switch from his running with the Oakland Soldiers, the buzz surrounding the event was going to be Walker’s debut with God First. The big wing did not disappoint with his ridiculous court vision, ability to finish through contact, and versatility on the defensive end. Already receiving interest from a number of high major programs, Kyree has firmly supplanted himself amongst the top 5 players in the class.
Jabri Abdur-Rahim, 6-6, SF, Play Hard Play Smart, 2020
Shareef’s son may not be as tall as his Pops right now, but definitely carries the Abdur-Rahim smoothness on the hardwood. Jabri shot the ball well from beyond the arc, took slower defenders off of the bounce, and used his size to make an impact on both ends of the floor. Much like his Pops, he wasn’t necessarily killing people with his physical style of play, but more so with the extremely advanced skill level that he already owns.
Greg Brown, 6-7, SF/PF, D1 Premier, 2020
Considered by some to be the best player in the event, it was easy to see why so many scouts were in love with Greg Brown. Approaching 6-foot-8, the Texas product has the physical profile of a power forward with the game of an emerging wing. He showed off nice vision, range out to the three point line, and the ability to control the paint with his athleticism. There is still a lot of work to do with Brown, but all of the tools are there for him to be one of the best in the class.
Stayve Thomas, 6-7, PF, God First AAU, 2020
While Slim Thug was rumored to have some game of his own, it’s been verified that his son can definitely go on the hardwood. Running with the most loaded team of the event, Stayve Thomas proved that the talent pool didn’t end with his father. He was active on both ends of the court, made surprisingly nice passes, and had no problem getting buckets once he got to the rack. Like many young big guys, he is still rough around the edges, but has the makings to be a legit prospect.
Isaiah LeBlanc, 6-2, PG, God First AAU, 2020
After dropping 51 points in a middle school game this year, Isaiah LeBlanc has made himself one of the more sought after incoming freshmen in the country. He already owns great size for the position, shoots the lights out, and can finish at the rack amongst taller guys. The son of former UCONN player Michael LeBlanc has basketball in his blood and should only continue to get better.
Eric Butler, 6-1, PG, Team Blackout, 2020
One of the guys that many were not hip to prior to the event, Eric Butler immediately showed that he belonged. Blessed with legit size and nice athleticism, the Washington native was able to get to rack at will and locked down on multiple positions on the defensive end. Butler had the drive to compete against just about anyone and proved that he is in the upper echelon of lead guards for the class.
Ace Baldwin, 5-10, PG, Select One, 2020
Playing on a team loaded with future D-1 prospects, Ace Baldwin didn’t necessarily stand out with his numbers, but it was the things that didn’t show up in the box score that made him so valuable. The smooth lefty consistently made the right pass, didn’t turn the rock over, and made his teammates better throughout the weekend. Once you add in the fact that he was tough to stop going to the rack when he opted to score, it’s clear why he was one of the biggest sleepers that the event had to offer.
Zion Harmon, 5-8, PG, Select One, 2021
With a year of varsity ball under his belt as a seventh grader, Zion Harmon played up a year and helped lead a stacked Select One squad to the 14U ‘chip. His array of deep three pointers, pinpoint passes, and exciting takes to the rim made him the catalyst for the DMV based unit. Already owning an offer from New Mexico State, expect to hear a lot about Zion Harmon in the future as he continues to grow.
Chris Moore, 6-5, SF/PF, Team Thad, 2020
A physical beast, Chris Moore showed some big time improvement in his skill level since we last saw him. Showing off an explosive first step, great motor around the boards, and bounce around the rim, he straight up changed the game with his athleticism. Considered a top 25 player in the class, Moore definitely has the size and athleticism to become a big time college player.
Chris Edgehill, 5-10, PG, New England Playaz, 2020
Despite not having the pure talent or sheer size of God First, it was the New England Playaz who came through with the upset of the tournament. Edgehill showed crazy guts down the stretch, drilling countless deep three pointers and seemingly always making the right play when he had the rock in his hands. Edgehill should easily be one of the better freshmen point guards amongst the loaded prep schools that the Northeast has to offer.