Wednesday, May 31, 2017

UA Next Combine Series West-Final Report

Earlier, we posted our picks for the top 5 players at the UA Next Combine in LA on Monday.  Below are players ranked from 6th-10th based on our evaluations. Devin Askew (6'3/PG/2021/Anaheim, CA) started the combine on fire as he went basically uncontested in one-one drills early (see video).  In fact, Askew's size for position, tight handle and his ability to beat his defender of the bounce were impressive. He's also one heck of a playmaker, he defends well and is always a threat to knock down an open shot. He checks in at #6, but it could me argued that he made a case for top 5 consideration.  We thought Derrick Nettles looked great in drills (6'5/WF/2021/Perris, CA), but we liked him even better in the games.  Nettles has a good combination of size and skills.  He can bang on the inside and step out side and hit the trey as well. In fact, we saw him drain catch and shoot threes consistently.  He also rebounds well and pushes the rock in transition with purpose. As his reward for a good day, Nettles is our pick for #7.

Although we really liked the collection of wings at the event, the point guard play was also at a high level.  One of the better PGs we saw was Hercy Miller (6'0/PG//2021/Chalmette, LA). Miller is super quick, aggressive to the cup and always in attack mode. Although he's more than able to get to the basket and finish, Miller is a floor general who can find teammates for easy buckets with his excellent court vision and passing skills. We also really liked Kobe Stroughter (5'11/PG/2021/Las Vegas, NV), who is a pass-first PG with good change of speed and direction. Stroughter has great ball skills, which helps him get into the paint often and get off a nifty little floater. We also liked Stroughter's on ball defense and the fact he played the passing lanes and caused multiple turnovers.

Devin Askew, Derrick Nettles, Hercy Miller, Kobe Stroughter & Isael Silva
In our initial story early on Monday we mentioned Isael Silva (6'0/PG/2021/Sacramento, CA) and his ability to finish highly contested layups.  Well, in the games, Silva showed the ability to score at a high level while also making plays for teammates. He's smart, patient and excels at the pick and roll game. He's also crafty, changes speed and direction well, and makes great decisions with the rock.  If that wasn't enough, Silva also defends well and lives in the passing lanes where he converts turnovers into layups. Zaon Collins (5'11/PG/2021/Las Vegas, NV) was another excellent floor general. Collins does everything you want in a PG; he distributes ball, makes the extra pass, rebounds well for his position, works well in transition and defends.  The more we watched him the more we realized how productive he was. He just seems to always make the right play.

He impressed us during the one-on-one drills and again during the games. Anthony Swift (6'5/combo forward/2021/Las Vegas, NV) has a ton of upside potential. Long, athletic with good footwork and the ability to finish at the rim best describes Swift's game. He also defends well with his length and can drain the mid-range jumper if left undefended. He may have been the youngest player at the event, but Christian Moore (6'5/WF/2022/Los Angeles, CA) was still one of the better kids. Possessing great length for his age, Moore shoots it well, has nice form to his jump shot and is super athletic. Moore projects well with continued growth and development! We did not see much of him, but what we did see of Solomon Jones (6'6/C/2021/Long Beach, CA) we liked! With great size and length as an 8th grader, Jones' upside was as good as any player at the combine. 

As we stated earlier, there was ample talent in LA.  Some of the other standouts we saw included: De'Kquante Hayes (6'2/CG/2021/Las Vegas, NV), Ben Krystkowiak (6'1/WF/2021/Sandy, UT), Truman Gettings (6'7/C/2021/Calabasas, CA), Will McClendon (6'3/WF/2021/Las Vegas, NV), Brandon Perez (6'1/PG/2021/Valencia, CA), Elijah Willis (5'7/PG/2021/ Bakersfield, CA), Cole Anderson (6'1/PG/2021/Fresno, CA) and Dimitrios Stragalinos (6'3/WF/2021/Fairfield, CA). The next stop for the UA Next Combine Series is Dallas, where we're sure to find another group of very talented players.

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