High School Class of 2014 Scouting Reports, Part One - the Guards

High School Class of 2014 Scouting Reports, Part One - the Guards
Aug 31, 2013, 07:03 pm
Scouting report breakdowns on some of the top guard prospects in the 2014 high school class, including Tyus Jones, Emmanuel Mudiay, Joel Berry, Josh Perkins, D'Angelo Russell, Grayson Allen, James Blackmon, Trevon Bluiett and Jaquan Newton.

Tyus Jones, 6'1, Point Guard, Apple Valley MN

Jonathan Givony

Recruiting Rankings: 247: #5, ESPN: #3, Scout: #2, Rivals: #2

-Extremely creative and fundamentally sound point guard
-Can both score and distribute extremely well
-Possesses a superb first step.
-Can operate at different speeds
-Has very good court vision. Is a willing passer who reads the defense, anticipates well and can move the ball around with pinpoint accuracy
-Gets to the basket at will at the high school level. Draws a ton of fouls. Lives at the free throw line
-Does a good job of getting teammates involved. Makes crisp passes
-Improved 3-point shooter. Made 41% of his 3-point attempts in 23 Nike EYBL games this spring
-Can make shots with feet set or off the dribble
-Converted 87% of his free throw attempts
-Good anticipation skills in passing lanes
-Business-like approach. Carries himself impressively for his age

-Does not possess great physical tools in terms of size, frame or length
-May struggle to draw fouls and finish as effectively around the basket against taller, longer, stronger competition at next level
-Average defender. Conserves energy. Gambles. Does not put great effort in, usually by design due to the considerable offensive load he's expected to shoulder. Question marks persist about how he will fare guarding more physically gifted point guards

Outlook: Mature and intelligent point guard who can carry a team with his scoring ability as well as make others better. Has great potential on the pick and roll. Used to be a relatively poor shooter, but seems to have improved that part of his game. Average height and narrow frame are the biggest concerns revolving around just how high his ceiling is long-term.

Emmanuel Mudiay, 6'5, Point Guard, Prime Prep TX

Jonathan Givony

Recruiting Rankings: 247: #1, ESPN: #5, Scout: #3, Rivals: #3

-Possesses phenomenal physical tools. Has great size for position to go along with a chiseled frame
-Excellent athlete
-Phenomenal in open court
-Strong ball-handler. Can get to the basket thanks to his powerful first step and excellent strength. Finishes with authority
-Draws tons of fouls. Gets to the free throw line at a great rate
-Can find open man. Likes to get others involved. Shows great flashes of court vision at times
-Has tremendous potential defensively
-Outstanding rebounder for position

-Lacks polish offensively, as both a facilitator and scorer
-Limited outside shooter. Made just 6/41 3-point attempts in 13 Nike EYBL games this spring
-Needs to work on shooting mechanics. Shoots the ball on the way down. Needs time and space to get shot off
-Much better in open floor than half-court game. Playmaking, decision making still a work in progress. Not consistent with his approach. Plays in spurts at times. Has a tendency to overdribble. Doesn't always read the floor, particularly on the pick and roll. Sometimes forces issue unnecessarily. Relies too much on physical tools
-Extremely turnover prone. Ranked #1 in the EYBL in turnovers. AAU team lost more games than they won when he played

Outlook: Incredibly gifted athlete with terrific upside. Has quite a few holes in his game and needs plenty of work on his skill-level, but looks to be in a good place to improve at SMU under Larry Brown.

Joel Berry, 6'1, Point Guard, Lake Highland

Jonathan Givony

Recruiting Rankings: 247: #18, ESPN: #14, Scout: #22, Rivals: #26
Committed to North Carolina

-Strong frame
-Possesses good quickness and change of speeds
-Very effective in transition
-Terrific passer. Likes to get others involved and shows good creativity doing so
-Intelligent player with a strong feel for the game
-Capable outside shooter. Can make shots with feet set or off the dribble
-Uses strong frame to advantage. Can post up a bit. Likes to body up opponents to create space to get shot off. Takes hits around the rim

-Undersized. Only measured 6-0 in shoes at the Lebron James Academy
-Lack of size hampers him at times around the basket. Does not possess elite explosiveness. 2-point percentage is not very high
-Settles for long 2-pointers. Could stand to become more efficient offensively
-Doesn't shoot a ton of 3-pointers. Inconsistent from outside at times

Outlook: Very mature point guard who finds a nice balance between passing and scoring. An inch or two undersized and not freakishly athletic enough to be considered a top shelf prospect long-term, but possesses all kinds of intangibles that should endear him to NBA scouts after a few years in college.

Josh Perkins, 6'2, PG, Huntington Prep WV

Jonathan Givony

Recruiting Rankings: 247: #37, ESPN: #24, Scout: #18, Rivals: #28
Committed to Gonzaga

-Has good size for his position to go along with a solid frame
-Terrific ball-handler. Can operate at different speeds. Utilizes hesitation moves
-Outstanding passer. Highly creative. Sees the floor extremely well. Can really run a team
-Possesses an excellent feel for the game. Passes ahead in transition
-Solid outside shooter. Can make shots with feet set or off the dribble. Can punish the defense for going under on the pick and roll
-Has very good anticipation skills. Does a nice job of finding rebounds and steals

-Average athlete by NBA standards. Doesn't possess amazing quickness or explosiveness
-Can't always create high percentage shots for himself in the lane
-Has a tendency to overdribble at times and look excessively for the highlight reel pass
-Average defender. Gets blown by. Doesn't always put the best effort in. Gambles quite a bit
-Body language around teammates isn't always the best. Sometimes appears to be focused on the wrong things

Outlook: One of the best passers in high school basketball. Has very good potential on the pick and roll. Needs to keep honing his skill-level but has all the makings of a very good collegiate point guard and likely more than that down the road.

D'Angelo Russell, 6'5, Shooting Guard, Montverde Academy FL

Jonathan Givony

Recruiting Rankings: 247: #30, ESPN: #23, Scout: #21, Rivals: #35
Committed to Ohio State

-Good physical attributes. Solid height. Good frame. Long arms. Big hands
-Incredibly smooth. Has some unexpected explosiveness he can unleash when needed
-Talented ball-handler. Operates at different speeds.
-Gifted scorer. Not polished, but can throw the ball in the basket in impressive fashion and in a variety of ways
-Floaters in the lane. Makes tough shots off the dribble
-Good feel for the game. Makes the extra pass. Passes ahead in transition. Can find teammates creatively
-Needs to improve ball-handling.
-Fills up the stat sheet with points, assists, rebounds and steals
-Has the potential to be a good defender if he wants to

-Doesn't know how to use his talent in a consistent fashion. Plays in spurts. Tends to disappear at times
-Average ball-handler in the half-court. Rarely gets all the way to the basket. Doesn't get to the free throw line at a very high rate. Getting stronger will help as he doesn't do a great job finishing through contact
-Inconsistent outside shooter. Has awkward shooting mechanics like many lefties, but main culprit is his poor shot-selection. Made 28% of his 3-point attempts in 19 Nike EYBL games
-Loves to settle for bad shots off the dribble. Takes too many long two-pointers
-Needs to improve his catch and shoot jump-shot
-Takes plays off on defense

Outlook: Talented lefty scorer who can put points on the board with amazing ease. Shows an extra gear he can get to off the dribble that isn't readily apparent on first glance. Game comes very naturally for him, but goes through prolonged stretches of inefficiency. Will benefit from being pushed by Ohio State's coaching staff.

Grayson Allen, 6'4, Shooting Guard, Providence School FL

Jonathan Givony

Recruiting Rankings: 24/7: #34, ESPN: #27, Scout: #38, Rivals: #34
Committed to Duke

-Very good physical attributes. Strong frame. Good quickness. Explosive. Can play above the rim with ease
-Versatile scorer
-Excellent shooting mechanics and deep range. Capable outside shooter with feet set or off the dribble
-Can create own shot. Drives hard to the rim. Gets to the free throw line at a good rate
-Team player. Makes extra pass. Can drive and dish.
-Good rebounder for position thanks to athleticism, strong frame and solid intensity level
-Tough kid. Takes hits around the basket. Competes on defense

-Slightly undersized for a shooting guard
-Needs to improve ball-handling skills in the half-court, particularly with his left hand
-Only made 33% of his 3-point attempts with E1T1 at the Nike EYBL. Shooting mechanics and confidence suggest he'll become more consistent in time, but is currently prone to streakiness at times

Outlook: Late bloomer who improved significantly as his career moved on, helping him go from unknown to potential McDonald's All-American. 4.0 student. Swallowed his ego and came off the bench for E1T1 this spring/summer, despite being one of the most productive players at the entire Peach Jam, helping his team win the championship eventually. Shows impressive athleticism and versatility. May develop into more of a combo guard as career unfolds thanks to his strong feel for the game.

James Blackmon, 6'3 1/2, Shooting Guard, Marion IN

Jonathan Givony

Recruiting Rankings: 247: #31, ESPN: #25, Scout: #57, Rivals: #33

-Versatile shooting guard.
-One of the best shooter/scorers in high school basketball. Averaged nearly 30 points per-40 making 48% of his 3-point attempts in 20 Nike EYBL games in 2013
-Outstanding with his feet set, but also capable of making pull-up 3-pointers off the dribble with ease. Has a beautiful, effortless stroke with deep range
-Shifty and smooth. Operates at different speeds
-Mature player who looks very under control. Reads the floor well. Makes the extra pass. Rarely turns the ball over
-Can handle the ball and drive and dish creatively.
-Has a 6-8 wingspan which allows him to play bigger than his height

-Only 6-3 1/2 in shoes. Undersized for a shooting guard
-Good, not great athlete
-First step is average
-Doesn't get to the free throw line at a high rate, just 3.4 times per-40 at the EYBL
-Somewhat stuck between positions. 1/1 assist to turnover ratio
-Average defender. Doesn't show great lateral quickness. Doesn't get in the passing lanes
-Tore his ACL in February of 2012

Outlook: Terrific scorer who can do more than just make shots from outside. Committed to Indiana prior to his freshman year of high school, but decided to reopen his recruitment. Father was a McDonald's All-American who went to college at Kentucky and was drafted by the New Jersey Nets.

Trevon Bluiett, 6'5, Shooting Guard, Park Tudor IN

Jonathan Givony

Recruiting Rankings: 247: #54, ESPN: #41, Scout: #40, Rivals: #46

-Very good scoring instincts. Knows how to put the ball in the basket
-Efficient offensive player. 54% 2P%, 38% 3P% at Nike EYBL
-Makes extra pass. Smart, mature player. Solid feel for game
-Strong frame, can post-up a bit. Draws fouls backing opponents down
-Finishes through contact thanks to strong frame

-Average athlete. Struggles to get by opponents due to underwhelming first step. Can he create his own shot against better competition?
-Low release on jump-shot. Flings ball at basket. Shots go in at a good rate, but against better defenses he might have trouble getting his shot off as effectively, particularly off the dribble
-Conditioning is fairly poor. Very stocky. Will need to tone his body and work hard to stay in shape
-Poor defender. Doesn't put much effort in. Limited lateral quickness

Outlook: Terrific scorer and a real all-around player at the high school level in the Austin Freeman mold. Lack of athleticism may hinder him somewhat against better competition and render him more one-dimensional if he doesn't improve his frame significantly. Will likely need to raise his release point. Has great instincts, knows how to play, but will need to address his shortcomings in a serious way to reach full potential.

JaQuan Newton, 6'3, Point Guard, Neumann-Goretti PA

Jonathan Givony

Recruiting Rankings: 247: #26, ESPN: #67, Scout: #54, Rivals: #41
Committed to Miami

-Good size and a strong frame
-Crafty lead guard with strong ball-handling skills and footwork
-Very good shot-creator. Operates at different speeds. Knows how to get by opponents
-Solid scoring instincts
-Capable outside shooter. Can hit shots with feet set or off the dribble
-Good passer off the dribble. Good potential on the pick and roll
-Tough guy. No-nonsense attitude. Not afraid to initiate contact to draw fouls

-Not particularly athletic. Relies more on craftiness and feel than on quickness or explosiveness
-Doesn't finish very well inside the lane. Relies too heavily on his floater, which while relatively effective, is by nature a low-percentage shot. Will he be able to draw fouls as prolifically at the college level and beyond?
-Shot-selection isn't always great. Takes a lot of long 2-pointers and off-balance 3s. Only converted 28% of his 3-point attempts in 23 Nike EYBL games
-Very turnover prone. 4.3 turnovers per-40. Makes some very risky passes
-Needs the ball in his hands all the time to be effective

Outlook: Tough, ball-dominant combo guard who knows how to create his own shot and shows solid instincts as both a passer and scorer. Lacks the type of elite athleticism to be considered a sure-thing, so must become a more efficient player with and without the ball to improve his long-term outlook. Has some very good qualities, but easy to see why recruiting services are all over the map on him.

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