NEW YORK -- With some 50 NBA personnel credentialed for the Under Armour Elite 24, Class of 2017 stars Trevon Duval, Nick Richards and Jahvon Quinerly were among those who stood out during Thursday's practice at the Gauchos Gym in The Bronx.
The 6-foot-3 Duval from the WE-R1 AAU program is the face of the Under Armour Association and arguably the biggest name in the game. He has yet to pick a high school for the upcoming school year, and is considering Maryland, UCLA, Villanova, Kansas, Oregon, Arizona and Cal, among others.
"Yeah, he can really play," former Kentucky and NBA star Jamal Mashburn, who will coach the Clutch (White) team in Saturday's game against Duval's Drive (Dark) team, told SNY.tv. "I think he's an excellent player. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out, and I told him I didn't even watch him shoot the ball."
Asked if Duval projects to be an NBA guard down the road, Mashburn said, "Without question, without question. Nowadays, when I talk to people in the NBA, everyone talks about size. He's not the biggest of guards, but he has stature. To me, if you can play, you can play, I don't care if you're 5-foot-3."
One NBA scout in attendance told me, "[Duval] would be a high-first-round pick" if he came out in 2017.
Duval threw down this dunk that Drew Ebanks of On Point Basketball captured on video and that captured the attention of the NBA decision-makers on hand.
Players won't be made available until Friday's Media Day, but Mashburn and fellow former Kentucky Wildcat Tony Delk, an assistant on Duval's team, were duly impressed.
"You can tell by a kid's feet, the way he carries himself, his competitive nature, everything else comes with more development but his speed and pace of the game," Mashburn said. "He was always under control."
Mashburn added: "He didn't always make the right play but the intent to make the right play was there."
Duval impressed Delk.
"Trevon is really good, he knows how to run a pick-and-roll," Delk told SNY.tv. "He can settle his team down. He can also be a leader on the court but he gets his players in the right decision. And he makes the right decision. And what the NBA game is about is pick-and-roll, making the right decision, settling your team down and playing defense."
Asked if Duval was a pro, Delk said, "Of course, he needs to keep playing at that level, playing against good competition and getting ready to make good decisions when he has the ball in his hands."
At one point in the 5-on-5 situation, Mashburn pulled Duval aside and shared some advice on the pick-and-roll.
"One of the things I shared with him is when you're playing the pick-and-roll and you're playing in these type of environments, playing with big guys you've never played with before, you may want to go through the pick-and-roll and go to score rather than go to pass because if you got to pass and he misses it, that's your turnover," he said.
"So you just gotta be conscious of certain things and let the big guys get their stuff off the rebound in certain situations like this. And that's how you make the big guys look a lot better because some big guys don't have quite the hands at this age but they can go up and get a rebound. That's how you make them look better."
NICK RICHARDS IMPRESSES
Speaking of big guys, the 6-11 Richards out of St. Patrick's High School and the Expressions Elite AAU program threw down six or seven dunks and also hit a turnaround 12-foot jumper in front of the NBA guys.
Kentucky, Syracuse, UConn and Indiana are among those in the mix for the Jamaican native, who has hinted he may pick a college as early as September.
"Big men that can rebound the ball, pass it out, set good screens, roll to the basket or pick-and-pop is what the game has turned into," said Delk, who now works for the SEC Network. "Being able to understand your roll. If you're a big man, you rebound, you make open shots, you rebound and you dunk everything around the basket."
JAHVON QUINERLY SHOWS OUT
Jahvon Quinerly entered without the hype of Duval but the 6-1 point guard from Hudson Catholic (N.J.) and Sports U was one of the only players to reliably hit the jumper and also showed a nice change of pace in the 5-on-5 setting.
Quinerly recently added offers from Ohio State and Vanderbilt, among others. He told SNY.tv recently that "California, Seton Hall, St. John's, Ohio State, Villanova and UConn" are among those working hardest.
"I'm working on [visits] now, I don't have any officials set," he said, adding he wants to visit Ohio State, possibly in September, and also California.
Quinerly impressed ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla during the 5-on-5 Thursday.
"I told Jahvon that he sticks out like a sore thumb because for the first day of practice with everybody racing at 90 miles an hour, he plays with such a calm composed style," Fraschilla told SNY.tv. "He's going to be your consummate college point guard. He's going to have a chance to play at the highest level because he has such a high understanding of the game."
He added: "He's a great floor general. He has deceptive speed because he knows how to turn it on and off. And if he can hit perimeter jumpers, he's going to have a fabulous college career. I don't know where he's ranked, but I can't think of many point guards I'd rather have running my team than him."
ISAIAH WASHINGTON GETS LATE CALL
Isaiah Washington, the St. Raymond's Class of 2017 point guard, was a late addition to the game, but clearly belongs.
Washington, who lists Seton Hall, Minnesota, Texas A&M and New Mexico as working hardest, went for 46 points on Wednesday night at Dyckman Park.
"I like Isaiah," Mashburn said. "The one thing I told him was when the game was down he showed me how to play the game and get back in the game. He had four free throws to get us back in the game. Little details such as offensive rebounding, little things even for his size are critical."
SID WILSON IMPRESSES MASHBURN
Sid Wilson, Washington's former St. Ray's teammate, has reclassed to 2018 and will head to Brewster (N.H.) Academy next month.
"The kid Sid Wilson I really like," said Mashburn, who starred at Cardinal Hayes in the Bronx. "He really stood out to me athletically. I'm not concerned about points, rebounds, just to be me do you stand out immediately with your athleticsim? A couple of balls he got, steals and things like that , I think he has tremendous upside. Hopefully from what I've seen New York CIty basketball is back."
Told that Wilson and others -- like Aundre Hyatt, who left Archbishop Stepinac for The Miller School (VA) -- Mashburn said he's not too worried.
"I've heard that's been the thing to do but I've always said if you're from New York City and you played in New York City and you're born and raised here, it don't matter if you go to a prep academy or whatever," he said. "You're always a New York City kid."
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