Every week I sit down to type this I always worry about there not being enough things to talk about.
But each week there is plenty.
Elite 100 observations
I was in the city that makes up it’s own pizza styles last weekend to take in the Nike Elite 100 basketball camp. At the end of it I was able to catch up with Josh Christopher, Moses Moody and Caleb Love.
Let me start with Love.
He looked phenomenal in St. Louis.
I spent a large part of the camp asking myself if the guys on Missouri’s radar could fit into what Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin is trying to build with positionless basketball.
Side note: If I had a nickel for every time I’ve written the phrase positionless basketball lately I’d be a rich man.
Anyway, Love completely fits that bill.
A natural point guard, he played just as good on the wing as he did as the floor general. He was a menace on defense and forced a ton of turnovers. He hit shots when asked of him and had some amazing passes. On the fastbreak and while double-teamed he found teammates all over the floor and fit some passes into some very tough windows.
Love was at Mizzou’s team camp this past week, and a source in attendance told me Love had the entire coaching staff’s attention while there. Friday marks the first time coaches can reach out to 2020 recruits themselves. I’m sure Love will be receiving a call.
As for Christopher, he too really showed off his ability to pass. A natural scorer, a scout I sat with said Christopher changed how he looks at Christopher as a player because it’s no longer fair to label him as a scorer. He’s a much more complete player. I spent a long time hanging out with Josh’s dad, Laron, and it doesn’t take much to tell that the Christophers are a basketball family.
And yes, to those wondering about the rumors, he was decked out in Mizzou gear.
Christopher told me Missouri is the only school he wants to visit right now. He also seems like a kid that isn't fully into the recruiting process yet.
I think Christopher has an excellent chance to make the USA under-17 team, but we’ll know more by the end of the weekend. I wouldn’t be surprised if Moses Moody does either.
I think people overlooked Moody a bit when he got a Mizzou offer because he plays on the same Bradley Beal Elite team as E.J. Liddell, Mario McKinney and Terrence Hargrove Jr.
People asked me, “Did they offer him to help with the other guys?”
Moody can play. I wrote about him yesterday. He’s another one that really fits what Martin wants to do. Moody can play any backcourt position and is fearless.
The thing I like about Christopher and Moody is that both told me they were advised to skip the camp to rest for USA tryouts and neither one was interested in skipping. They wanted to play and show what they can do and didn’t take the easy way out.
Those are the kind of guys you want on your team.
Speaking of Liddell ...
A little birdie told me this weekend that Ohio State pledge Alonzo Gaffney could play a role in whether or not E.J. Liddell heads to Columbus. Liddell is at the NBAPA camp in Virginia this week, and I'm told he has looked great.
He recently took a visit there, but Gaffney is a recruit that is a borderline five-star prospect. Some think he ultimately will be when it’s all said and done. And he’s an in-state guy too, so Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann has to cater to him.
I’m not pushing Liddell either direction on Interstate-70, I’m just passing on what I heard.
Side note, Gaffney plays for Garfield Heights High School in Cleveland, the same high school as former Missouri players Willie Jackson and Frankie Hughes.
2020 Michigan Guys
I decided I wasn’t done talking about the Nike Elite 100 camp.
Two other guys who stood out to me were Isaiah Jackson and Carlos Johnson.
Jackson is a 6-foot-7 wing who plays at the same high school as Rocket Watts, Old Redford Academy. I’m told Jackson could be on the move though.
To me, Jackson was one of the five best players in the entire camp. He’s an athletic freak.
There were lobs that looked like a blindfolded person threw to him, and he still found a way mid-air to adjust his body and finish at the rim.
Jackson is close friends with Maliq Carr, the son of Missouri assistant coach Cornell Mann, and the two are teammates for The Family. It will be interesting if Mann’s relationship with recruits for 2020 can help Missouri land some guys, given that his son has played with these guys forever.
Carlos Johnson, another Michigan resident, impressed me because he performed the one fundamental that I think is being lost in the new NBA: He followed his shot.
In a world where Stephen Curry heaves a 30-foot three and is jogging down the court before it goes in, it was the little things that impressed me with Johnson. He followed his own shot, and his teammates', and got a ton of rebounds and second-chance points for his teammates the whole weekend.
Score one for fundamentals!
Coming this summer …
On Thursday, Jefferson College tight end Lucas Krull announced he was going to Florida. He was also a 30th-round MLB Draft pick by the Giants and was deciding what sport to pursue.
His decision means Denton wideout Chritauskie Dove will arrive this summer instead of in January. I’m interested to see whether he plays wide receiver or tight end and if it’s the latter, what does that mean for the other young players in the room? Kendall Blanton told me this week that Messiah Swinson is going to be a problem for teams if he gets on the field.
Odom taking the good with the bad
I asked Missouri football Barry Odom this week if his stance had changed at all on early official visits now that he’s had a few to take in.
Here was his answer: “There was a period in June I think we had 11 straight days where we had official visits. It was a great experience for those kids, but I look at the time it takes away from your current team. And for the kids visiting, if they’re on our campus they’re not with their current team working out. But it’s been a positive for us. I’m speaking out of one side of my mouth but also the other side: It’s been very good for Mizzou. I don’t see it changing, but we’re going to make the best of it.”
Odom essentially said, I don’t like it, but I can’t deny what it’s done for the program. The commitment of Jack Buford gave Odom a huge boost in-state and has the program riding momentum right now.
Good for him for being a glass half-full guy.
Missouri basketball will host 2020 Chaminade wing Luke Kasubke for an unofficial visit. He's a deadly shooter, especially when he heats up and is another name to keep an eye on. I hope to touch base with him for next week's edition.