This weekend saw a light amount of commitments and high-major offers, but Texas A&M and Memphis still were able to strike to add depth to their 2021 and 2022 classes, respectively. Additionally, a Nebraska high school sleeper made a big splash in likely the game of the weekend nationally in the high school ranks.
Senior forward Saint Thomas excels in showdown
Omaha isn’t always known as a high school hoops hotbed, but on Saturday night perhaps the best high school game in the country was found at Creighton Prep (NE) high school.
Millard North (NE) took on Bellevue West (NE) in a game live-streamed on YouTube with no less than a half-dozen future D-1 players on the hardwood. The championship game of a local Omaha tournament was an instant classic, as Millard North took out Bellevue West 94-91 in a second overtime session.
Despite fine performances from top 10 senior Hunter Sallis (a combo guard considering scholarship offers from Kentucky, Gonzaga, North Carolina, Kansas, UCLA, Iowa State, Oregon and hometown Creighton) of Millard North and Wisconsin signee Chucky Hepburn of Bellevue West, 6-7 senior forward Saint Thomas of Millard North stole the show.
Thomas shows 13 scholarship offers on his VerbalCommits profile, but it’s easy to see that list getting longer before it gets shorter given his performance on a huge stage after the early signing period. Thomas filled up the cup with 48 points (including an icing free throw with 2.5 seconds remaining) in a yeoman shooting performance from both 3-point land and near the hoop. Thomas clocked in a 19-26 shooting mark (5-9 from beyond the arc). Thomas is an able rebounder, and seems like a quality regional option for squads needing to add depth at the forward slots in the 2021 recruiting cycle.
Thomas most certainly was on another level this game, but his teammate Sallis showed why his recruitment is exclusive to bluebloods. Sallis posted 20 points, on an impressive array of long twos (including step-backs), floaters, and drives to the hoop, despite being hounded at times.
In the close loss, future Omaha wing shooter Frankie Fidler performed as advertised, leading the way with 22 points and mostly torching the net at distance. Badgers-bound lead guard Hepburn also did his thing, demonstrating a high basketball-IQ, the ability to distribute deftly, and a team leader’s mentality. While his size doesn’t overwhelm at around 6-0, he’s got definite potential as a defensive stopper, opposing guard harasser in the Big Ten.
Texas A&M lands JUCO wing forward
The Aggies added depth to a good 2021 recruiting class, which is headlined by elite high school shooting guard Manny Obaseki (a top 25 prospect). Texas A&M picked up their fourth commitment and first JUCO pledge in 6-7 forward Jevonnie Scott of South Plains JC (TX).
Scott previously played at Orangeville Prep (CAN) and averaged 9 points and 4 rebounds per game as a freshman at South Plains JC. He had limited 3-point opportunities, but cashed in at 40%, and shot 50% from the field on a good team. He has a solid frame at 240 pounds and provides a burly frontcourt option.
Given that the junior college season has yet to start, there are no early returns on Scott’s 2020-2021 results, but the fact that he’s one of just a handful of high-major bound players currently in the junior college ranks is intriguing at this stage.
As mentioned, Obaseki is the headliner in the quartet to date, and Scott joins two other in-state high school prospects in point guard Wade Taylor and post Ashton Smith. Obaseki, Taylor, and Smith all signed with the Aggies during the early signing period.
Memphis adds second pledge to 2022 backcourt
Memphis is no stranger to landing the top prospects in their own backyard, and did so again as 6-3 junior combo guard Amarr Knox of Bartlett (TN) took to Twitter to announce his pledge to the Tigers. Knox committed less than a month after Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway tendered a scholarship offer.
Knox joins dynamite guard Arterio Morris of Kimball (TX) in the class to date. Knox is currently an unranked prospect by any major scouting service, but could easily become Robin to Morris’ Batman, as Morris is ranked No. 28 nationally by 247Sports. Morris has truly elite upside, but Knox seems like a guy who could end up highly touted with a national circuit grassroots season under his belt for exposure.
As a sophomore at Memphis Central (TN), Knox averaged 16.2 points per game, to go with 2.7 rebounds, 2.3 steals, and 2.0 assists according to Digital Scout. Knox reportedly transferred from Memphis Central to Bartlett to play this season, as Memphis Central was not playing due to COVID.
Knox started the season with a bang, putting up 37 points against 2021 top 10 prospect J.D. Davison and Calhoun (AL), which may have precluded the scholarship offer from Memphis.