Saturday, May 11, 2013, Sunday, May 12, 2013, & Monday, May 13, 2013
There was no clear-cut best player based on performance at the John Lucas Resources International Middle School Combine, which was held over the weekend at St. John's High School in Houston, TX. However, when the dust had cleared, it was pretty clear that 6'2 8th Grader Jalief Felton from Mullins (H.S.) SC was the most naturally gifted player in the gym and it also is hard to argue with his world-class athleticism and incredible pedigree. If you will recall, Felton is the nephew of former North Carolina All-American Raymond Felton and now that this appears to be a trend (he had 19 points, five assists, four turnovers, five steals, 7-15 field goals, and 5-10 3-pointers and did it all within the context of the game when we saw him last December at the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, SC), we think that a strong case can now be made for this prolific scoring combo guard being ranked as the second best player in the class, behind 6'9 8th Grader Cody Riley from Chatsworth (Sierra Canyon Middle School) CA. He can beat you inside, outside, and from mid-range, has a terrific basketball IQ, is a real competitor, and, just like his uncle, is a class act and a great kid. And to drive home the point even further, Felton was in pretty fast company this weekend with the likes of 6'6 8th Grader Jarred Vanderbilt from Houston, TX, 6'3 8th Grader Chris Giles from Plano, TX, 6'5 8th Grader Darren "D.J." Harvey from Owens Cross Roads, AL, and 6'6 8th Grader P.J. Washington from Frisco, TX, all of whom ranked among the top 10 players nationally in the Class of 2017. And Harvey gets the nod as the #2-ranked player on our list below. He's a match-up problem waiting to happen, thanks to his strength and athleticism, aggressiveness around the basket, and ability to score in a variety of ways. We also were really impressed with 6'5 8th Grader Michael Porter from Columbia, MO, who is about 75 spots too low at #88 nationally on our current list of the top players in the Class of 2017. He clearly was one of the most competitive players in camp, has an excellent shooting touch from out on the perimeter, has great hands, and gets more than his share of rebounds. On the other hand, Porter's high skill level shouldn't come as much of a surprise in light of the fact that his father is an assistant coach basketball coach for the women's team at the University of Missouri. And even more intriguing, his mother is 6'4 and she tells us that her oldest son has three younger brothers, two of whom are projected to be 7-footers, who also have a chance to be good players. There also was 6'5 8th Grader Kelvin Calhoun from Warrenville Heights (H.S.) OH, who is a physical special and a beast inside. This also is a guy who has not previously been on our radar screen, but has surprising mobility for somebody his size, does a great job of running the court, is very aggressive on the boards, and has a knack for being able to either find a way to score or overpower the defender in the low post. Rounding out our top five-ranked players in camp was 6'6 8th Grader Jarred Vanderbilt from Houston, TX. But, quite honestly, we wanted more out of this multi-dimensional athlete. He's almost too smooth for his own good and has not developed the outside shooting necessary for him to evolve into the perimeter player that he is projected to become. Instead, he's more like a point/forward, as he has pretty good ball handling and passing skills, is adept at bring the ball up the court, and is a match-up problem with his size, quickness, and athleticism at the defensive end. One more player who deserves special mention is 5'11 8th Grader Marcus Shaver from Honolulu, HI. He really knows how to score, is terrific off the dribble, is explosive in transition, has a high basketball IQ, is a tremendous competitor, and was one of the best defensive players. The fact that Shaver also just gets better and better every time we see him makes his story all the more interesting. The HOOP SCOOP's Ranking of the Top 50 Players based primarily on performance in the John Lucas Resources International Middle School Combine is as follows: 1) 6'2 8th Grader Jaliek Felton from Mullins, SC, 2) 6'5 8th Grader Darren "D.J." Harvey from Owens Cross Roads, AL, 3) 6'5 8th Grader Michael Porter from Columbia, MO, 4) 6'5 8th Grader Kelvin Calhoun from Warrenville Heights, OH, 5) 6'6 8th Grader Jarred Vanderbilt from Houston, TX, 6) 5'11 8th Grader Marcus Shaver from Honolulu, HI, 7) 6'5 8th Grader D.J. Russell from Orange Park, FL, 6'3 8th Grader Chris Giles from Plano, TX, 9) 6'6 8th Grader P.J. Washington from Frisco, TX, 10) 6'7 8th Grader Ira Lee form Hidden Hills, CA, 11) 6'8 8th Grader Wendell Carter from Fairburn, GA, 12) 6'1 8th Gra'der Deondre Bourne from Brooklyn, NY, 13) 6'5 7th Grader Ladarius Marshall from Jackson, MS, 14) 6'3 8th Grader Victor Bailey from Urbana, IL, 15) 6'8 7th Grader Oumar Keita from Jackson, MS, 16) 6'4 8th Grader Brian Bowen from Saginaw, MI, 17) 6'2 6'2 7th Grader Stanley Cassius from Encino, CA, 18) 6'5 8th Grader Nickolas Alikakos from Westchester, PA, 19) 5'10 8th Grader Ricky Nelson from Houston, TX, 20) 6'5 7th Grader Michael Barber from Jackson, MS, 21) 5'10 8th Grader Willie Herenton from Chicago, IL, 22) 5'9 6th Grader Tyger Campbell from Austin, TX, 23) 5'10 7th Grader Deven Nelson from Fountain, CO, 24) 6'3 8th Grader Kolejuan Brown from Far Rockaway, NY, 25) 5'11 8th Grader Jacob Wiley from Houston, TX, 26) 6'2 8th Grader Philip Flory from Wisconsin Rapids, WI, 27) 5'9 7th Grader Courtney Ramey from St. Louis, MO, 28) 6'2 7th Grader Michael Feinberg from Hidden Hills, CA, 29) 6'2 8th Grader Bradley Belt from Meridianville, AL, 30) 6'1 8th Grader Charles O'Bannon from Las Vegas, NV, 31) 5'10 7th Grader Quade Green from Philadelphia, PA, 32) 6'2 7th Grader Christian Popoola from Las Vegas, NV, 33) 5'11 8th Grader Alex Fernandez from Austin, TX, 34) 6'7 8th Grader Landon Walker from Gering, NE, 35) 6'1 8th Grader Ahmad Onezime from Lafayette, LA, 36) 6'10 8th Grader Chineduvictor Uyaelumnd from Miami, FL, 37) 6'2 7th Grader Ahmad Williams from Ft Washington, MD, 38) 6'0 8th Grader Ethan Thompson from Gardena, CA, 39) 6'5 7th Grader Hunter Quick from Lake Jackson, TX, 40) 5'9 8th Grader Josh Williams from Houston, TX, 41) 6'3 8th Grader Caleb Simmons from Phoenix, AZ, 42) 6'3 8th Grader Chaundee Brown from Clermont, FL, 43) 6'3 7th Grader Diante Wood from Anniston, AL, 44) 6'4 8th Grader Cody Bowes from Miami, FL, 45) 6'6 8th Grader Morningstar Takapu from Goodyear, AZ, 46) 6'7 7th Grader Russell Barlow from Garland, TX, 47) 67 7th Grader Reginald Crawford from Florissant, MO, 48) 6'5 8th Grader John Petty from Huntsville, AL, 49) 6''4 7th Grader Joseph Jones from Buffalo, NY, and 50) 6'3 8th Grader Jonathan Dockery from Houston, TX.