Kansas City area basketball fans can get their summer hoops fix this week. Three grassroots basketball events — featuring some of the top high school players in the country — will hit the Kansas City area and Lawrence over the next week.
The events include: The Jayhawk Summer Finale, which begins Wednesday at Drive 5 Sports in Overland Park (12140 W 135th St.); The Hardwood Classic, which begins Thursday and is taking place primarily at Shawnee Mission South, Shawnee Mission North and Shawnee Mission West high schools; and finally, the Sunflower Showcase, which begins Thursday at the Sports Pavilion in Lawrence.
There will be a long list of future Division I basketball players competing on courts across the area. It’s also the final weekend of the July recruiting period, meaning dozens of college coaches from power-five conferences will be in town to evaluate and recruit. Here’s a quick look at some of the players worth watching at the Kansas City events:
Jayhawk Summer Finale
1. Mitch Ballock, a shooting guard from Eudora, will play for area program Run GMC in the under-17 division of the Jayhawk Summer finale. Ballock, a 6-foot-4 guard, is rated as the No. 33 overall prospect in the country in the 2017 class, according to Rivals.com. He has offers from Kansas, K-State, Indiana, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Iowa State, among others. Run GMC will open the tournament against KC-based Team Yobo, coached by former Wyandotte and Oklahoma State guard Victor Williams, at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at Drive 5 Sports.
2. Run GMC’s 17-under team also features Barstow standout Jeriah Horne, a 6-foot-6 forward who has offers from K-State, West Virginia, Nebraska, Minnesota, Rutgers and UMKC, among many others. Horne led Barstow to the Class 3 Missouri state title earlier this year.
3. The St. Louis Eagles AAU program is slated to play in the Jayhawk Summer Finale. The Eagles usually have 2016 five-star recruit Jayson Tatum (a Duke commit) on the roster, but Tatum is scheduled to play this weekend in Las Vegas. Still, the Eagles will feature 6-foot-10 Jeremiah Tilmon, a 2017 prospect who has offers from Missouri, Indiana, Illinois and NC State.
4. Also playing for the Eagles: Tyler Cook, a 6-foot-8 senior power forward from Chaminade High School in St. Louis who has offers from Missouri, K-State, Virginia, Arkansas, Iowa State and Iowa, among others.
5. Another local player to watch: Bol Bol, who will play for Run GMC’s 15-under team. Bol, the son of former NBA center Manute Bol, played his freshman season at Bishop Miege High School and is already close to 6 feet 10. Expect to hear plenty more about him in the coming years.
1. Small forward Michael Porter Jr., one of the top-ranked players in the 2017 class, will compete for MOKAN Elite in the 17-under division of the Hardwood Classic. Porter, who lives in Columbia, is rated as the No. 2 overall recruit in the 2017 class, according to Rivals. Listed at 6 feet 9 and 190 pounds, Porter has scholarship offers from just about every school in the country, including Kansas, Missouri, Duke, Kentucky, Indiana, Washington and a slew of other major programs.
2. Playing alongside Porter on MOKAN will be rising point guard Trae Young, a Norman, Okla., native who has offers from Kansas, K-State, Missouri, Arizona, Baylor and Duke, among dozens of other schools. Young is ranked as the No. 28 overall player in the 2017 class.
3. In addition to the two local standouts, Kassoum Yakwe, a 6-foot-7 forward in the class of 2016, will compete for PSA Cardinals in the Hardwood Classic 17-under division. Yakwe, attends the same Long Island, N.Y., high school that produced Kansas freshman Cheick Diallo. Yakwe is ranked as the 57th best prospect in the 2016 class, according to Rivals, and has offers from Kansas, Connecticut, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Villanova and Pittsburgh, among others.
4. Also playing for PSA Cardinals’ 17-under team is Mohamed Bamba, the No. 4 overall recruit in the 2017 class, per Rivals. Bamba, a New York native, is listed at 6 feet 11 and 205 pounds. He has interest from Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, Texas, Villanova and a slew of top schools on the East Coast.
5. Minnesota shooting guard Gary Trent Jr., a top-10 recruit in the 2017 class, will play for Howard Pulley in the Hardwood Classic. Trent Jr., who hails from Apple Valley, Minn., is a 6-foot-4 guard with interest from Duke, Kansas, Michigan State, Minnesota and Ohio State, among others.