THE BEST OF THE BEST FROM THE AAU CIRCUIT
Participating in AAU basketball has become a must if you are a high school player with aspirations of playing in college. The summer is when high school players are seen the most by college coaches. AAU basketball has risen dramatically in popularity over the last 5 years, so much so that tournaments are now covered on ESPN and other stations. Fans want to see the future of tomorrow, today.
In this article, we are going in-depth on players and teams who have all been a SummerStar during this AAU summer cycle. All of these players are in the class of 2017, and will be seniors in high school starting in September. We have watched these featured players on T.V. as well as their individual game films/highlights. In the coming months, we will be publishing our Class of 2017 High School Elites player profiles. To view our 2016 Elite player profiles, CLICK HERE.
There are numerous tournaments with hundreds of players participating so it was very difficult to select the following players who stood out to us, especially when we weren’t present at the tournaments. However, we watched as much basketball as possible. The class of 2017 in our opinion is very good. Is it better than the class of 2016? No. However, there are future NBA players and high draft picks at every position. The categories we chose to highlight each SummerStar were:
- BEST OVERALL PLAYER
- BEST PLAYMAKER
- BEST POINT GUARD
- BEST BIG-MAN
- MOST TALENTED TEAM
BEST OVERALL PLAYER: MICHAEL PORTER JR. (SF)
For this upcoming year, PG Markelle Fultz will be running the show for the Huskies and he has the look of being a high lottery pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Heading to Washington in 2017 might just be the most talented of them all. Washington was considered a favorite to land Porter as his father is an assistant coach for the Huskies.
The 6’8″ small forward showed why he is a top 3 player in his class. He was part of the USA Under-18 (U18) Gold Medal team. Then he showed the country while playing on ESPN his vast all-around game, leading his MoKan Elite (KS) AAU team to the famous Peach Jam Title, which was sponsored by Nike. He showed the ability to score from 3, slash to the basket, and also a low-post game.
While he will need to gain strength for the college level, his skills are a sight to be seen. Porter will be in the running for National Player of the Year as a senior. He is being compared by many to Rudy Gay of the Sacramento Kings.
BEST PLAYMAKER: TRAE YOUNG (PG)
Porter wasn’t a one man show for the MoKan Elite (KS) AAU squad. He had help from a 6’2″ guard. At first glance, Trae Young doesn’t look like a top 15 player in his class, until you see him play. Young made shot after shot against big time competition at the Peach Jam, solidifying his ranking.
The 6’2″ PG averaged over 25pts and 7reb in 8 games at the Peach Jam. While showing a great shooting stroke, Young was equally impressive making plays for his teammates. Driving the lane for easy lay-ups was a constant sight. He showed he can make the spectacular as well as the routine and correct play on offense.
Young is undeclared right now as BIG-12 schools such as Kansas, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma are gunning to gain a commitment. Something tells us that Kentucky head coach John Calipari will end up being in the hunt for Young’s services, as Calipari loves point guards who can shoot and create like Young can. Pairing up with Porter at Washington is not out of the question, either.
BEST POINT GUARD: COLLIN SEXTON (PG)
Sexton raised his stock perhaps more than any other top high school player with his phenomenal play in the last 8 months. He wasn’t highly thought of before having a great junior high school season. He parlayed that into making the Team USA (17U) team that won the gold medal where he stood out.
We like his overall game slightly more than Trae Young’s. This is not a knack on Young but more of a compliment for Sexton.The 6’2″ PG from Georgia is very explosive. He is more of a scoring point guard at this stage in his development.
What makes Sexton even more valuable is his ability to play both guard spots, which we believe he will continue to do when he gets to college. His speed and quickness reminds us of incoming Kentucky freshmen guard Malik Monk. Both players seem to always be attacking the rim with aggression, which is a very crowd pleasing way to play the game and highlights his athleticism.
Sexton is undeclared right now and has every big name coach coming after him. Alabama seems to have a good chance to land him and it would be a major boost to their program if they did. Former NBA veteran Avery Johnson is the Crimson Tide’s head coach and we are pretty sure Sexton would learn a lot from Johnson, who is considered one of the better teachers of the game in the profession.
BEST BIG-MAN: DEANDRE AYTON (C)
Ayton is already being projected as the possible number 1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. High School players with his size, athletic ability, and overall skill don’t come around very often. Born in the Bahamas, the 18-year old has drawn NBA comparisons from Tim Duncan to David Robinson.
As expected, Ayton was dominant at the Peach Jam AAU tournament as he played for California Supreme. The 7-footer is one of the better big-men we have seen in a long time, possibly since Greg Oden almost a decade ago. We believe he is a better prospect than Oden because he has more athletic ability, which is crucial in today’s NBA game.
If Ayton was in the class of 2016 he would be the number 1 player. He is a future first or second overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. All the major schools are obviously courting him. It will be interesting to see which college he chooses. Ayton will be the most talented center we will have seen in college in a very long time. The sky is the limit.
MOST TALENTED TEAM: (SPORTS U (U16)/ TEAM IZOD)
We are a little biased in this category considering all of these players are from New Jersey and we have seen all them play numerous times for their respective high school teams. However, the talent on this elite AAU team is nothing short of spectacular, who are coached by former NBA player, Darryl Dawkins.
The “FAB 5”. That is what everyone is calling the starting unit of this NJ based team. Nazreon Reid (6’9″), Jahvon Quinerly (6’0″), Luther Muhammad (6’3″), Atiba Taylor (6’3), and Louis King (6’6″) are all high major caliber players.
Everyone except Taylor are considered top-50 prospects in the class of 2017. The highest rated, Reid, is also the one who we believe has the most potential. Coveted by virtually every top program in the country, Reid will be the leader next season for perennial NJ powerhouse, Roselle Catholic High School.
Quinerly, Muhammad, and King will be suiting up for the same high school in the fall, Hudson Catholic (NJ). Taylor attends Pope John high school, also another very good program.
Seton Hall University made waves when they offered all 5 of these players full scholarships. While it remains to be seen what happens as none of these players are committed to a college, we wouldn’t be surprised if other colleges take the same route. Sports U won the Under Armour (U16) championship against another NJ team, Team Rio.
Reid, Quinerly, and King were selected to participate in the Under Armour Elite 24 game in August. This is quite an honor for all 3 players and solidifies how much talent is on this team as well as in the state of New Jersey. Whatever happens, the future is extremely bright for these 5 players.
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