Jamal Crawford was doing his thing in another Seattle Pro-Am game. This game (this highlight, for all intensive purposes) also featured Cali-bred Marcus LoVett Jr., the soon-to-be high school senior point guard recruited by the likes of Michigan State, Indiana and UCLA and one of a solid handful of names to keep in keep you occupied during the home stretch of the dog days of sports summer. Here is your YouTube-primer on five from the Class of ’15.
Oakland, CA | ESPN #1, Rivals #4 | Undeclared
6’11” and a whole lot of tools for the latest and greatest out of the Yay Area. Big man moves, smooth footwork, and the ability to finish with either hand around the hoop. Good hands and handles away from the hoop, with court vision and the makings of a decent jumper. Oozes pro potential looking like a bigger, bouncier Nic Batum or even a beta-version Anthony Davis.
Melbourne, Austrailia | ESPN #2, Rivals #1 | Louisiana State University
What Andrew Wiggins is for this generation of Canadian basketball, Simmons could be that for the Aussies. Yes, he didn’t grow up in America. But after similar academy schooling and balling stateside, Wiggins and Simmons both play an American game. Approximately the same size but not quite as explosive as the Clevesota CavaWolf Wiggins, Simmons might posses a more refined game than the #1 pick-turned-trade asset. Able to start the fast break, and finish it, and has a variety of ways to score in half-court. If he and Dante Exum pan out to their potential, Australia’s golden generation could be upon the horizon.
Jackson, Mississippi | ESPN #3, Rivals #2 | Undeclared
Newman isn’t your average athletic combo guard. The boost and bunnies create easy comparisons to Jackson’s own, Monta Ellis. But getting by his man and finishing is not what makes him special. That jumper. Picture perfect. He’s undeclared currently, but I certainly would not be surprised to see him as the next in line at Coach Cal’s Kentucky talent factory.
Roxbury, Massachusetts (ESPN #33, Rivals #26) University of Connecticut
UConn has won four national championships in the last 15 years (while no other school has won more than twice). Each of those teams were built around their dominant guard(s): Rip Hamilton + Khalid El-Amin in ’99, Ben Gordon in ’04, Kemba in ’11 and Shabazz in ’14. It’s almost a shame that he couldn’t have been two years older to play on this last team and past the torch list ‘ba did to ‘bazz during 2011. Adams is more athletic than those before, but he’s also still raw. If the Huskies’ brass can keep Kevin Ollie in Storrs long enough (and avoid the never-ending slew of NCAA allegations), I would not be surprised to see Jalen cut down their fifth net in two decades.
Plano, Texas (ESPN #86, Rivals n/r) The Ohio State University
Mitchell has a game that would fit well as a Spur in San Antonio or in the Southern-most parts of America. He has a Ginóbili-like (Ginóbilily?) creativity on the court and in the air, a similar lefty set shot, and hops never had by Manu. He’ll be a fun one to watch, as long as you aren’t a non-Buckeye Big Ten fan.
I look forward to the day where Jim Nance drops his elaborate mouse-related pun during March Madness when Micky makes an athletic, yet awkward, game-shifting play for tOSU.