The first of three July live recruiting periods kicked off Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET, as coaches across the country are now able to evaluate talent in game settings.
Staffs are not allowed to have in-person contact with players, their families or their AAU coaches, but they are able to watch prospects up close and determine who they want to make a priority in the coming years.
There are so many intriguing talents to watch over the next few weeks but there are five names fans should keep an eye on.
All five have great upside and potential and while some are younger than the others, there is also areas of their games that they need to improve on. These live periods are a chance for the prospects to show the coaches how they have developed over the last couple of months.
2017 SG Hamidou Diallo (The Rens)
I attended the first Nike EYBL session in Brooklyn in April and the player that caught my eye immediately was Diallo. He is an elite offensive player because he glides with the basketball in his hands, can score effectively at the rim and in the mid-range, and has the athleticism and quickness to be a force in transition.
— Overtime (@overtime) April 17, 2016
The 6’5″ guard from Queens can certainly take his game to another gear with better handles (sometimes he struggles with his left hand) and a more consistent three point shot.
Diallo, who is ranked 12th in ESPN’s top 100, can guard multiple positions defensively though, as he has good size, length and of course, as mentioned above, athleticism.
Every major school is involved and interested in Diallo, but UConn, Duke and Syracuse are some of the top schools that have been watching him since April.
It will be interesting to see how deep the Huskies, Blue Devils and Orange go for Diallo during this week’s Peach Jam.
Also, will John Calipari continue to make a push?
2017 SF Kevin Knox (E1T1 United)
Knox, a 6’8″ small forward from Tampa, FL, was rather impressive during the FIBA U17 World Championships. He showed off his tremendous versatility, unique athleticism and superb fluidity.
Knox is ranked 7th in ESPN’s top 100 because of his ability to score at all three levels – he has the size to score on the interior, the face up game to score in the mid-range and the range to drop threes.
The Tampa native needs to continue to get tougher defensively and will have to work on tightening up his handles.
Like Diallo, Knox has offers from virtually every high major school in the book.
Will any program emerge from the pack this July?
2017 PF Malik Williams (Legit Basketball)
Williams is playing in Philadelphia this week at the Elevate Hoops Summer Icebreaker.
As one of the best players at that event, he is likely to attract major coaches, including North Carolina State, Purdue, Indiana, Louisville, Xavier and Iowa, throughout the next few days.
The 6’10”, 215 pound big man is ranked 42nd in ESPN’s top 100. He needs to build more strength and will have to develop some toughness in the paint to be successful at the next level.
2018 PF Naz Reid (Sports U)
Reid is a 6’9″ power forward from New Jersey who plays like he is a guard. He has great handles and vision for his size, often showing off his ability to grab a rebound and run a fast break immediately.
Reid’s game (not his production, skill or experience level) reminds me of Draymond Green, as he uses his physical frame and length to his advantage. He is a solid defender who can guard multiple defenders, but most importantly, he’s a mismatch on the offensive end.
The Asbury Park native is ranked 4th overall on ESPN’s top 100, and has offers from UConn, St. John’s, LSU, Kansas, Louisville, Maryland, Oklahoma, North Carolina State, Syracuse, Villanova and Virginia, amongst others.
2019 G Scottie Lewis (Team Rio)
As a rising sophomore, Lewis still has a ton of room to grow as a high school player and he is certainly not even close to being ready to play at the college level right now.
The 6’5″ point guard has great size, good athleticism and great quickness. His decision making needs to improve and is not the best of shooters, but he can do numerous things on the basketball court and his upside is through the roof.
Lewis’ teammate Bryan Antoine is another terrific talent (Antoine is more of a shooter while Lewis is the lead guard).
One thing to watch: Lewis only weighs 175 pounds. Does that impact his game during these recruiting periods? Can be out-played if defenders are more physical with him?