It felt great to be back in the USA again, and specifically in my home State of Texas, evaluating players for Adidas Grassroots Basketball, The D1 Nation and for the large number of colleges and universities who consult with me on basketball prospects.
Dallas, Texas was the epicenter for recruiting in the Midwest this past weekend and the D1 Nation was represented by teams from Colorado (Colorado D1 Chaos), New Mexico D1 Ambassadors, Louisiana D1 Ambassadors and Texas D1 Ambassadors. All fielded multiple teams in one of the 5 bigtournaments in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex.
Adidas Silver Gauntlet: New Mexico D1 15, 16, 17
Dallas Live: New Mexico D1 Unsigned
Great American Shootout: Texas D1 West Texas 17
Great American Shootout: Louisiana D1 Unsigned
NY2LA: Colorado D1 15, 16, 17
I did my best to see as many of the 17U teams as possible, but it was difficult to navigate with gyms up to 45 miles apart. Great job, guys!
When you have two book ends in 6'9" Michael Ou (Albuquerque, NM/Menaul) and 6'10" Jacob Harvey (Somerset, TX) coaches need to stand up and take notice.
In fact, Ou, the Chinese National has picked up two D1 offers in the last week; Northern Arizona, and Cal State Northridge. I've got it from a good source that he'll sign today and wrap up his recruitment. He'll go to the Big West Conference, and commit to Cal State Northridge and new Coach Mark Gottfried.
Ou has improved dramatically in the last two years under the tutelage of Menaul HS Coach Gary Boatman. He runs the floor well, is processing the American game better which makes him much less robotic than this time last year. I expect great things from Michael because he's so conscientious and is a hard worker.
2018 Jacob Harvey of Somerset, Texas has not turned 18 yet. He could potentially be a 7 footer. Despite being a youngster, he runs the floor well, is above the rim and is skilled. His biggest deficiency can be easily fixed, it's strength. Harvey is considering prep school options, but ideally he'd be a steal for a mid major that can afford to red shirt him for his first year. Harvey will play in Dallas again this coming weekend for the New Mexico D1 Ambassadors unsigned group in the Great American Shootout.
There are athletes by the bucket full in Louisiana, and my two sleeper picks for the spring are 2018 Latrell Jones ( Athens, TN/Believe Prep). Jones is originally from New Orleans. LA/Shaw. He's a 6'4" high flying wing guard who is a highlight reel dunker. A late qualifier, every mid major program in the country with perhaps the exception of Gonzaga, Butler and Wichita State should be chomping at the bit for this young man. He's a good kid from a quality family, who's more than only a high flyer. He's a skilled ball handler and has a nice shot to go with his crazy ABOVE THE SQUARE athleticism. Jones scored at will all weekend, including one 35 point effort. You can view Jones' HUDL highlights from his senior year which are phenomenal. Keep in mind that we are one year later with a year of prep school under his belt.
2018 D J McQuarter (Athens, TN/Believe Prep) also played his high school basketball in Louisiana for powerhouse Baton Rouge, LA/Glen Oaks. At 6'6" McQuarters is incredibly active defensively where he can guard the one, two or three and offensively where he can also switch to either the one, two or three to create mismatches. He's also a late qualifier who's long and athletic. College coaches feel free to contact me about either of these young men. They will be playing this weekend at the Battle Grounds Tournament in Memphis, TN.
Playing in the Adidas Gauntlet, the New Mexico D1 Ambassadors 17U made noise, going 3-1 in the event. In all four games they started slow, digging themselves a hole with double digit deficits. Each time they stayed the course coming back to win, and in the case of their last game dropped a one point overtime decision to Team Rush (MO) 68-67.
Team Rush (MO) 68 New Mexico D1 Ambassadors 67 OT
2018 David Patterson (Rio Rancho, NM) led the way with 28 points. The Air Force commit was unconscious from beyond the arc and automatic from the charity stripe. 2018 Zanen Zeller chipped in with 16.
New Mexico D1 Ambassadors 66 Mississippi Kings 63 2OT
2019 Wing Jalen Munn ( Rio Rancho, NM/Cleveland) led the way with 23 points and Patterson added 15.
New Mexico D1 Ambassadors 83 West Texas Blazers 68
Patterson again led the way with 19 points, Munn added 15 and 2019 Guard Zanen Zeller (Los Lunas, NM) had 14 in a game where everyone contributed in the win.
This is a team which will make noise this year as they've got a nice mix of athleticism, size, guard play and shooters. They'll be dangerous every time out.
I only had one opportunity to view the group from West Texas. They lost a close game, but it's a young team playing in the 17U division of the Great American Shootout.
Most impressive was 2019 6'5" Guard Jordan Riley (Midland, TX/Greenwood). He had 27 points, showing he could knock down shots and get to the rim.
2022 6'0" Ethan Duncan (Lubbovk, TX/Trinity Christian) shows a lot of promise, scoring 14 points as did 2020 Jim Ryan Snodgrass (Midland, TX/Greenwood) who added 14 points as well.