Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Under Armour All-American Camp at opened its doors to college coaches and media for the first time on Wednesday night, the second day of the top-100 camp for players on teams in the Under Armour Association.
Those in attendance got to see each of the camp’s 10 teams in action on the two courts at Queens University, and they were treated to seeing quite a few of the nation’s top prospects going at it over the course of the evening.
Here’s a notebook from the evening’s action, focusing on a few CoBL-area prospects as well as some players getting recruited by local schools:
Myles Cale (2017/SG/South Jersey Jazz)
With a population of just around a million people, Delaware is one of the five smallest states in the country.
Yet in one of the top events of the first live period, there were two guards from the First State going head-to-head in front of a few hundred Division I coaches, when Cale and Sanford School (Del.)’s Eric Ayala went head to head.
“It’s good to see another person from my state, because my state is real small,” Cale said. “There’s not a lot of people from Delaware getting all these looks
Ayala, who plays with WE R1’s 16Us, is starting to make a name for himself on the national level thanks to offers from schools like St. John’s, Cincinnati and Temple.
But Cale, a 6-foot-4 lefty who led the entire Under Armour 16U circuit in scoring (20.3 ppg), is still lesser-known--despite offers of his own from Temple, La Salle, James Madison and Delaware.
He’s hoping that with a few good performances in Charlotte, that won’t last long.
“I think it can put me on the map a little bit more and maybe put my name out more,” he said. “Get more college looks and stuff like that.”
A pure scoring guard, Cale has the requisite size and athleticism to play at the high-major level, though his game doesn’t quite have the polish of some of his peers who have been playing against high-level talent on a regular basis for several years.
This summer, Cale said he’s working on rounding out his game, by posting up smaller guards, shooting in the mid-range as well as off the dribble, to compliment his strong spot-up shooting and ability to attack the basket off the bounce.
His college recruiting interest has already gotten to the high-major level. Maryland and Michigan are two of the power conference schools that are already in contact; he was down on a visit at Maryland’s campus last month.
“It was good, I really liked the campus, I like the coaches and the program, I like it a lot,” he said; while he was there, he got a chance to get in a game with many of the current Terps players: “I felt like they liked me a lot, I was getting off some shots.”
Even if those schools (and more) eventually offer, don’t expect the somewhat soft-spoken guard to suddenly start acting like someone he’s not.
“I just want to stay humble,” he said.
Jeff Dowtin, Jr. (2016/G/DC Blue Devils)
A few Philadelphia schools are in the running for this 6-foot-3, 165-pound combo guard out of St. John’s (D.C.), whose recruiting stock right now is in the mid-major range--though based on his performance on Wednesday night, that might not last too long.
Dowtin (pictured above) had a solid 15-point outing in a losing effort, connecting on 6-of-11 from the floor, including two of his four 3-point attempts. He had a pair each of assists, rebounds and steals.
“I can play off the ball or on the ball,” he said. “I can facilitate, I can score--a three-level scorer, not just hit 3s but get to the rim also...versatile, very versatile.”
This is the time of year when players with 20-something offer lists start to sort through what they have and figure out some favorites, and this DC-area guard seems to be doing just that.
He mentioned George Mason, Saint Joseph’s, Rice, Rhode Island and Drexel among his favorites off a list that includes FGCU, Holy Cross, Hofstra, Towson, Northeastern and more.
Both Saint Joseph’s and Drexel have made him a priority for their 2016 classes, and he likes both.
On Saint Joseph’s, he said “it was a nice visit, I enjoyed myself. Nice campus. I like the school...it’s one of the schools I’m looking at the most.”
Dowtin liked Drexel’s more city-based campus as well, and also likes Dragons head coach Bruiser Flint.
“We have a nice relationship, he tests and calls me every day, sees how I’m doing,” Dowtin said. “I told him I liked the campus, it’s a nice little fit for me.”
His plan is to take official visits in August and September before making a decision “right before the season starts,” and he’s looking for a “family environment, someplace I can call home for the next four years, I don’t want to transfer. I want to be close with the coaching staff, like a family, have a close bond with each other.”
Wyatt Lowell (2016/F/Arizona Warriors)
While many of the players participating in the camp were not in their first go-around at such a high-profile individual event, there were others who were getting their first taste of this experience.
One of those in the second group is this forward from Gilbert HS (Ariz.), who has a chance to really increase his recruiting stock with a strong opening to the live period.
“The competition’s really good and I’m starting to get the feel of the stuff,” Lowell said after contributing seven points on 3-of-9 shooting, including 1-of-5 from beyond the arc, in a 99-96 loss. “This is my first time at a camp like this so I’m starting to get used to everything, but I’m really liking what I see and I’m getting more confident in myself and I’m liking what I’m doing.
Already holding offers from schools like Rice, Colgate, Weber State and Lehigh, the 6-foot-10, 200-pound Lowell said he’s been getting some interest from Colorado, Utah and Stanford.
He knows what he needs to work on to start reeling in some of those high-major schools.
“The main thing is probably rebounding and being more physical since I’m a skinnier guy,” he said. “That’s probably the biggest thing because offensively I’m not like most people; I can shoot it, I can dribble and do all those things, so it would probably just be defensively, rebounding and all those things.”
Though he needs to show some of that toughness to get to the high-major level, it’s not his interior play that has college coaches tracking his progress. A well-developed offensive player, Lowell has a nice-looking jumper with a high release point and consistent form, even if his shot wasn’t falling at a high clip on Wednesday night.
Even if he gets some high-major looks, that might not necessarily determine Lowell’s future. A strong student, he’s weighing his options when it comes to balancing his athletic future with also getting the best education possible, though he’s not sure yet what he wants to study.
“I don’t know if I want to go to school strictly for basketball to take my talents farther or if I really want to use it for education,” he said. “Because if I want to use it for education I would probably go Ivy League, but I’m not sure what I want to do yet.”
So far, he hasn’t actually gotten an Ivy League roster offer (the league is the only one in Division I without athletic scholarship), though he said he’s been talking with schools like Harvard and Princeton while he decides on how he wants to handle that balance at the next level.
Breein Tyree (2016/PG/Sports U)
As more and more high-major schools join in on his recruitment, there’s one non-power conference school that’s staying very much involved in Tyree’s recruitment.
While power conference schools Iowa State, Kansas State, Southern Cal and Northwestern are some of the more involved programs when it comes to staying in touch with the 6-foot-2 point guard, so is one Atlantic 10 program: UMass.
“Atlantic 10 is a very big-time conference,” Tyree said. “The coaching staff has a good relationship with me and my family and my high school coach and my AAU coaches, so why not give them a chance and take them seriously in my recruitment.
UMass is just one of three schools that Tyree is planning official visits to this fall; he mentioned the weekend of September 8 as a possibility to visit the school’s Amherst campus. The other two, Kansas State and Southern Cal, are hoping to get him during a football game.
It certainly doesn’t sound like he’ll be rushing into a decision either way.
“It’ll most likely be before the season but you never know, it could be after the season,” he said. “Right now my recruiting’s wide open and I’m just looking to finish out this July live period as best as possible.”
Tyree had a somewhat quiet game in his first of the live period, finishing with five points and two assists while going up against Maryland commit Anthony Cowan, who looked spectacular in his double-double outing (see below). But he showed why he’s a high-level talent, with a very good feel for the game and tempo, and he’s got a solid, muscular body that should help him contribute right away when he gets to college.
As a junior at St. Joseph’s-Metuchen (N.J.), Tyree averaged 18.8 ppg and 4.9 apg to help the Falcons to a 21-5 record. And he knows what he needs to do to get even better.
“If I can make my left hand just as dominant as my right, I don’t think there’s many people that could stop me,” he said. “That’s what I’ve been working on from the start of the high school season to now; ball screens coming off the left, jump shots coming off the left side, stuff like that.”
St. Joe’s-Metuchen’s most famous recently alumni, Karl-Anthony Towns, was just picked first overall in the NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves after spending one season at Kentucky.
But he wasn’t too busy to give his younger former teammate some advice about handling the next few months.
“He told me to take my time, don’t try to speed anything because I’m only going to go through this process once,” Tyree said. “He said just take everything as a learning experience. I’m up next so I’ve got to get better and take this recruiting process for what it is.”
--Fully recovered from an ankle injury that kept him out most of June, Philly’s own Quade Green (2017/WE R1) looked right at home amongst some of the top players in the country, scoring 19 points on 6-of-12 shooting (2-of-3 3-pointers), collecting nine rebounds in a game that showed why the high-majors have been pouring on lately. His offer list currently includes “Syracuse, South Carolina, Villanova, Temple, Maryland, Michigan State, Missouri, Louisville, Providence, St. John’s,” with the Johnnies being the most recent school to extend a scholarship. Maryland, Villanova, Missouri, Michigan State, Louisville and Arizona State are working the hardest for the 6-1 scoring point guard.
--One other point guard with an impressive night was Anthony Cowan (2016/DC Thunder), who had a double-double with 20 points and assists, getting his 20 on just 11 shots. The Maryland point guard commit also grabbed four rebounds and two steals and turned it over just once despite having the ball in his hands quite a bit. The Terps are getting one terrific floor general who knows where he wants to get on the court and how to get there, and he didn’t seem rattled at all by a 24-second shot clock that certainly threw some guards for a loop.
--He’s been written about by every major national service, but boy did Thon Maker (2016/Canada Elite) have himself a night. The almost sure-fire No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft had 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting, grabbed 17 rebounds and did it while going up against a player in DeAndre Ayton who many say is the best overall prospect in high school basketball. At an easy seven feet tall, with the handle and shot of a two-guard, Maker is a special talent and he played like it on Wednesday night.
--Doesn’t matter how tall he is, Mamadou Diarra (2016/NY Jayhawks) gets it done. He’s listed at 6-7 but maybe is even shorter than that, but the UConn-bound power forward still came away with 18 points and 10 rebounds as he displayed the high motor that’s bringing him to Storrs.