This past Friday night the stars of tomorrow in basketball took the floor at the Barclays Center in one of the most exciting all-american games in recent memory. Off first impression the class of 2014 has everything to offer from a strong group of big men, shooters, future NBA floor generals and some great potential NCAA stars.
This class has a lot to live up too after the likes of Wiggins, Parker, Randle, Embiid and Ennis all exploded in their first year in college. While this class does lack potential “superstars” there are some players that may be great pros down the line. Here are the top six prospects from the Jordan Brand Classic.
*** *** ***
6. Tyus Jones – Duke
I finally got a chance to see Tyus Jones up close and I was amazed at his poise and maturation. He is, without a doubt, one of the purest point guard prospects to come out of high school in a very long time. Jones put up an all-around impressive stat-line in the game with 10 points, 12 assists and 7 rebounds. It might be early but he has a lot of CP3 in him due to the way he can control the game and guide his teammates on the court. He told reporters that CP3 is a guard that he models his game after: “We approach the game somewhat similarly; try to pick the defense apart mentally. He’s also a smaller guard in terms of height, and I am as well so that is someone I watch a lot.”
Throughout the week in practices, he dished out some beautiful passes that made reporters clap a few times. Next year at Duke, the tandem of Jahlil Okafor and Jones is going to be a beauty to watch. They showed off a couple times during the game their chemistry on the court and displayed a couple pick-and-roll plays that worked out successfully. Just like Tyler Ennis was not on the one-and-done radar early last year, Jones has the potential to elevate his stock if he plays exceptionally well and leads Duke far.
5. Stanley Johnson – Arizona
Stanley Johnson was the alpha dog throughout the week in practices and the game. There is a reason why he won four straight state titles in high school. He is a relentless player on the court and gives 100 percent on both sides of the ball. He is built like Hercules and has an incredible knack of getting to the rim.
Johnson is a coach’s dream because he does everything in order to win games. He is the most versatile player in his class and can run the point if asked. He scored 24 points and contributed three assists in the game. Next year at Arizona he is going to fit in perfectly on a stacked Wildcats team, despite the departures of Aaron Gordon and Nick Johnson. Johnson already has a pro body and will be one of the main reasons why the Wildcats will have the chance to make to the Final Four next season. As for pro potential, Johnson is going to be one of the first names called next summer as his game translates to the pros. He is going to be a very good NBA player no matter the case… whether he is a star or the energizer a team needs.
4. Cliff Alexander
Cliff Alexander is a man-child, there is no other way to put it. He looked like a grown man compared to his fellow peers. He captured the MVP after a dominating performance with a stat-line of 23 points, eight rebounds and five blocks. In the practices he dunked almost everything. He is incredibly strong and was the only big man that did a good job of trying to contain Okafor throughout the week. He does an exceptional job contributing on both ends of the floor and is going to be a problem for defenders next year in the Big 12.
With his massive size he is ready to battle some of the toughest big men in the country and in conference, such as Iowa State’s Georges Niang. He compares a lot to Amar’e Stoudemire and Andre Drummond and can develop into a beast on the next level.
If he continues working on expanding his midrange game he is going to be one of the most sought-out prospects this upcoming NCAA season.