One of the most intriguing aspects of covering the Thanksgiving Hoopfest at Duncanville (Tex.) High this past weekend was getting a close up look at three elite prospects in the three different classes.
LeBryan Nash was the big name in the 2011 class. A 6-foot-7 wing prospect out of Dallas (Tex.) Lincoln, Nash is ranked just outside of our top 10 at No. 11. After a productive weekend that led to two wins and a combined 52 points and 18 rebounds through two games, it's safe to say that the Oklahoma State signee is primed to make a jump when our next batch of rankings come out.
From a pure talent standpoint there aren't many guys in the senior class that can compare with Nash. Offensively he's a load trying to stop from getting the rim and once he's there he's capable of finishing over or through defenders. But it's not just his ability to get to the basket that impressed me, he was knocking down three-pointers, rebounds and leading his team.
Baylor commit Isaiah Austin, of Arlington (Tex.) Grace Prep, was the highest rated 2012 prospect in attendance at No. 2 in the class. Over the course of the past two years Austin, a 6-foot-11, 210-pound post player, has developed a reputation for hanging out on the perimeter a little too much. And he truly does have some impressive ball skills for a guy his size, but I've always wondered if he would figure it out and become dominant in the paint.
He's starting to answer that question. Although he didn't put up crazy numbers this weekend, I was impressed with the maturity in his game, as he spent majority of the weekend close to the basket. Defensive he was especially a force, blocking a number of shots. With his size, skill, hands, athleticism, length and mobility Austin has all the tools to be a terrific college and future NBA player.
The standpoint prospect in the 2013 class is our No. 1 prospect Julius Randle. At 6-foot-8, 220-pounds, Randle is an imposing prospect with a terrific blend of size, athleticism, power and skill. At the Hoopfest he spent quite a bit time facing up and attacking off the dribble, and it was effective. He can score in a variety of ways and also has the potential to be a terrific defender.
Although he's currently ranked No. 1, the class still has a few years to develop. The past few years it's been hard for guys to keep the top spot for the entire high school career. And there are some quality guys like Kuran Iverson, Jabari Parker, Andrew Harrison and Chris Thomas just behind him that will try and give him a run.