Posted On: 08/6/20 6:48 PM
Travel basketball in the Spring/Summer of 2020 has been unlike any other season before, for obvious reasons. Many events across the country were shut down, there have been no live viewing periods for college coaches and some club teams have chosen not to participate. Even further, there were no shoe circuits for the first time in nearly a decade. While there has been a lot of negativity swirling around this travel season, there was some extremely high level basketball played in the month of July. Cross shoe company teams have played like never before. Events are far less watered down and players are doing their absolute best to perform via live streams that colleges and media are tuned in to. I have been fortunate to view dozens of games and events spanning from a small town in the Northwest all the way to high level national events in the Midwest and Southeast regions of the country. Below is a discussion of the best I have seen during the month of July.
Best 2022 Prospect Nationally
I have seen 5 of the top 10 prospects in the class of 2022 this Summer and 8/10 in the past with my own eyes. Just about every recruiting service, including Prep Girls Hoops, has 6’7 center Lauren BettsLaurenBetts6'7" | CGrandview | 2022State#1NationCO (Colorado Premier) ranked number one nationally and understandably so, but the best I have seen all around is 6’3 wing Janiah BarkerJaniahBarker6'2" | SFTampa Bay Tech | 2022State#3NationFL (Essence/Florida). Barker is a unique mixture of length, strength and size for position to go along with a high level offensive skill set and a big time motor on the defensive end. She can guard players in all different positions on the floor. She can shine in the half court or up and down pace on offense. Barker can play 1-5 at the high school level at 6’3. She led Essence to some impressive wins this July and she displayed the full repertoire on both sides of the ball. On pace to be a future early impact player for a top 25 ranked college program.
Best Performing Prospect in Northwest
Strictly based off of consistency and performance on the court, 2022 6’1 power forward Naya Ojukwu (Northwest Blazers Orange) is a regular double double threat, capable of putting up 20 points and 10 plus rebounds in any given game. Ojukwu also serves as a great shot blocker due to her explosive jumping ability around the basket. The high level athlete out of Idaho is the top stock riser from the month of July and could squeeze her way in to the top 125 national rankings update for the class of 2022.
Best Performing West Coast Team
There has not been an abundance of teams from the west coast that have gotten out and played at national level events, but I would have to give Colorado Premier the slight edge in this category. They gave All Iowa Attack 17u EYBL one of their closest games of the entire year and Premier also won their head to head matchup against Cal Stars 17u EYBL squad. Premier’s losses have come from Missouri Phenom (-15) and All Iowa Attack (-11). They also squeezed by an underrated Vegas Bulldogs team. 2022 Lauren BettsLaurenBetts6'7" | CGrandview | 2022State#1NationCO is highly impressive finishing around the basket with skill at 6’7. 2022 6’3 power forward Imani PerezImaniPerez6'3" | PFMullen | 2022StateCO is also very impressive with her outstanding length and agility. Premier features several more players 6’1 and taller at several positions, culminating in one of the longest and tallest teams I saw this July. When it’s all said and done, they are one of the top 15 17u teams I have seen this season.
Best Executing Team Nationally
All Iowa Attack 17u EYBL (Jensen) is a top performing team nationally once again as they have swept the Nike TOC sessions and this is in large part due to their outstanding execution on both sides of the ball. Their constant movement at all four positions off the ball regularly makes teams chase and lose their man, which allows for so many clean looks that they knock down at a high rate. On the defensive end, All Iowa Attack plays as hard as anyone I have seen and they play outstanding team defense. 2021 5’10 wing and South Dakota commit Grace LarkinsGraceLarkins5'10" | SFSoutheast Polk | 2021StateIA is as tough as they come and 2021 5’7 point guard Katie DinnebierKatieDinnebier5'7" | PGWaukee | 2021StateIA (Drake commit) is a hard working perimeter performer that can get it done on both sides of the ball. 2022 6’2 power forward Hannah StuelkeHannahStuelke6'2" | PFCedar Rapids Washington | 2022State#41NationIA who is committed to Iowa provides stretch four ability and great rebounding inside. All Iowa Attack is easily a top 3 team that I saw this July and capable of defeating anyone in the country on any given night.
Top 17u Teams (Performance, Strength of Schedule, Talent)
1) FBC United 17u – Alfred Motton “Coach Mo” has done it again. A roster with 10 top 100 prospects and several McDonald’s All American level players between the classes of 2021-2024 fill the roster including 2021 5’9 South Carolina commit Raven JohnsonRavenJohnson5'10" | PGWestlake | 2021State#20NationGA (GA), 2023 5’7 point guard Milaysia Fulwiley (SC), 2023 6’7 center Letycia VasconcelosLetyciaVasconcelos6'7" | CHoly Spirit Prep | 2023StateGA (GA), 2023 6’4 power forward Essence CodyEssenceCody6'3" | CValdosta | 2023State#19NationGA (GA) and more that are legitimate five star level talents. FBC United’s big tourney wins include War Games Alabama and War Games/Insider Exposure Atlanta. Each of these events had adidas, Nike EYBL and UAA teams such as Team Brandon Knight, Exodus EYBL, Essence, Georgia Pearls, WV Thunder, Alabama Southern Starz, Team B-Wright and more.
2) All Iowa Attack 17 (Jensen) – As previously mentioned, All Iowa Attack has swept the field in the Nike TOC events, which have featured several EYBL teams and a small number of UAA and adidas programs as well. All Iowa Attack does not possess a lot of high major talent or McDonald’s All Americans, but their team play, hard work and chemistry is as good as any team out there, hands down.
3) Sport City U – An independent program out of Ohio demolished all of their competition at the Insider Exposure Hoosier Heat event, winning the championship 48-21 over a tough West Virginia Thunder UAA team. Sports City U features 10 high major prospects across the board with elite level length and athleticism that makes it very difficult for opposing teams to score against. Sports City U won both of the events that they participated in, regularly beating talented national level teams by 30, 40 or even 50 points. 2021 5’11 shooting guard Aubryanna HallAubryannaHall5'11" | SGWayne | 2021State#40NationOH (South Carolina commit), 2021 6’3 power forward Makayla ElmoreMakaylaElmore6'3" | PFHopewell Loudon | 2021StateOH, 2022 5’11 shooting guard Cotie McMahonCotieMcMahon5'11" | SGCenterville | 2022State#28NationOH, 2022 6’3 wing Grace VanSlootenGraceVanSlooten6'3" | SFNotre Dame Academy | 2022State#23NationOH and more are all high level prospects from this competitive bunch.
Rounding Out Top 10:
Team Brandon Knight
Indiana Elite Platinum
*I have not had the opportunity to see many programs in the Southwest region such as Texas based programs