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July 20, 2014
Eyes on Davis, Harwell
GARDEN GROVE, Calif. -- High-level 2016 big man De'Ron Davis and Malek Harwell put in some memorable performances at the Cream of the Crop Challenge on Saturday afternoon, while in the evening at the Best of the Summer, under-recruited Kyle Leufroy showed off his game.
Davis does his thing
The No. 26 player in the class of 2016, 6-foot-9 big man De'Ron Davis looks to be finding his way. At least, he has been very good during his time in Southern California with the Colorado Hawks during the second live evaluation period of July.
Playing at the Cream of the Crop Challenge, Davis looked comfortable with his own strengths and weaknesses.
A big, strong kid, Davis looks a bit like Johnny O'Bryant at the high school level. He is best around the rim taking his time, moving around defenders and scoring deep in the post. After establishing himself down low, Davis has the skill to face up and make some jumpers.
That kind of game at his size draws a lot of attention and there was no shortage of eyes on Davis on Saturday. Colorado coach Tad Boyle tracked him and so did assistants from Indiana, Arkansas, Purdue and Oklahoma State. They've all offered, along with Wake Forest, Arizona, Oregon and UCLA while Kansas, Duke, California and Louisville are taking a look.
"They like how I pass the ball and get teammates involved," said Davis of the college interest. "I like to get my teammates going early and then I can do my thing on offense."
In the past, Davis has sometimes settled for jumpers, but he has made a good effort to play from inside out and his game is now about patience and playing to his strengths.
"I think that I'm really patient," Davis said. "With my patience, I can feel things out in the post and make good decisions. I'm trying to be more focused on playing from inside to out."
Leufroy being under-recruited
The trip to SoCal has produced a lot of under-recruited options on the perimeter and 2015 combo guard Kyle Leufroy of Earl Watson Elite falls into that category.
The strong and confident scorer has offers from Lehigh, UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara, but frankly he should have more.
Leufroy has good strength, handles the ball well and is a dangerous shooter from deep. He can run the point, doesn't force too much and makes good decisions. It probably isn't fair to call him a late bloomer because he has been playing at a pretty high level for a while now.
However, Leufroy's recruitment hasn't quite taken off as much as one might expect. More performances like Saturday night against the Northwest Express, though, and the offers should begin to pour in.
Harwell rounding back into shape
For most of the last three months, Idaho shooting guard Malek Harwell has been sidelined after having a meniscus injury surgically repaired.
Playing with the Utah Basketball Club at the Cream of the Crop, the 6-foot-3 three-star shooting guard looked like he is well on his way to recovery.
Harwell shot the ball from deep, showed some bounce in his step and effectively used the dribble to create his offense. He isn't at full strength just yet, but he didn't look to be too far away.
"This is just my second tournament back from injury," Harwell said. "I'm getting there. I'd say I'm probably at 80 percent, but I feel better every game."
So far, Harwell has been good enough to draw offers from Colorado, Boise State, San Francisco, Portland, Utah State, Lehigh, Weber State, Toledo and LMU. He has additional interest from Stanford, Harvard, California, Kansas State and Memphis with more soon to follow.
"I think they see me as a combo guard," said Harwell. "I can pass well and I can score well off the dribble. My strength is shooting."
Saturday news and notes
Make no mistake, UCLA has landed a major talent in point guard Lonzo Ball. At 6-foot-5, he has the kind of ball-handling ability, all around game and vision that evokes memories of Shaun Livingston at the same age.
At the same time, though, you can't help but watch him and think he could give even more by being a bit more aggressive off the dribble. That is pretty scary, considering he went for 17 points, 15 rebounds and 14 assists during his Big Ballers squad's win over Team Access on Saturday night. Many times, Ball whipped the ball 30-50 feet up the floor for easy assists and didn't even have to cross half court. His development over the next few years is going to be interesting to watch and there is no denying that he has big-time talent.
It has been a good run for slender four man Roman Davis at the Best of the Summer. The 6-foot-7 rising senior is at his best when he operates from either elbow and between 12 and 17 feet. He can drive the ball, is a good passer off the dribble and is best shooting medium-range jumpers. Sometimes Davis settles for deep jumpers, but the activity level he has played with bodes well for the three-star prospect's recruitment.
Let's see where JaQuori McLaughlin is once he gets some physical maturity. As it is, the 6-foot-2 point guard from Washington is an impressive looking prospect. The rising junior is very skilled off the bounce, gets into the lane and is a clever finisher and passer. Despite a lack of strength, he is a very good on the ball defender who makes his man work. That lack of strength hurts him a bit as a finisher, but there is a good reason why Lorenzo Romar of Washington was watching him closely.
A 6-foot-9, maybe even 6-foot-10, post player who can run and has fluid athleticism, Drew Eubanks isn't putting up huge numbers for the Northwest Express just yet. But, he is showing flashes of being a legitimate high-major option. Relatively new to playing hoops, he glides up and down the court, elevates quickly for dunks and has some touch to 12 feet. He just looks like a player waiting to be developed and Portland and Washington State have banked on that by dropping early offers. Now, most of the better West Coast programs have him on their radar and he's going to be evaluated closely by a lot of Pac-12, Mountain West and West Coast Conference schools.
Word out of the Adidas Unrivaled camp last weekend was that 6-foot-7 four man Josh Speidel played very well. He backed that up with Indiana Elite at the Cream of the Crop. A very good athlete who likes to drive and try to dunk on his defender, Speidel also has good skill facing the hoop. Vermont, UIC, Ohio, Evansville, Ball State, Toledo, Northeastern, New Orleans and UNCW have all offered and he has interest from Drake, Gonzaga, Northwestern and Utah. At a minimum, Speidel looks like the type of player who should be a no-brainer for most Missouri Valley, Horizon and MAC schools.
Wyoming did well to lock up three-star point guard Austin Conway early. Conway checks in at around 5-foot-9, but he has serious speed. In fact, Conway is as fast with the ball as any point guard in the country and his football background shows in his toughness. He is a bulldog defender and can take his team from defense to offense in a hurry.
The Compton Magic chose to rest many of their more well-known players on Saturday, which gave Nick Pete a good opportunity. A bouncy and swift power forward, Pete isn't going to face you up and bury jumpers consistently, but he can play above the rim and is a greyhound in the open floor.
Class of 2016 shooting guard Shembari Phillips didn't have a monster game when Rivals.com watched him with the Georgia Tornadoes, but his talent is evident. He has good size at around 6-foot-5, has good athleticism and seems to have a good feel for the game. Six-foot-eight power forward Davante Cooper of the Tornadoes is a 2014 kid who is going to head to prep school. If what he showed on Saturday is an indicator of what to expect, his recruiting will pick up pretty quickly. Cooper is skinny, but he is extremely mobile, quick off his feet and chases down rebounds all over the floor.
Six-foot-five wing Brandon Smith of the OC Pride is an outstanding early pickup for UC Irvine. A lefty with a great basketball frame and good athleticism, Moore is a hard playing wing who thrives in transition and attacking the rim. His jumper is very much workable and he looks like a kid with a lot of upside.
Eric Bossi is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. You can click here to follow him on Twitter.