Breakout Performers: Under Armour Memorial Day Kickoff
Indianapolis was the weekend destination for the UA Memorial Day Kickoff. This was a loaded event with with some of the best programs in the country all facing-off under one roof at the Pacers Athletic Center.
With plenty of nationally recognized prospects taking the court, there was no shortage of star power in the building. But the platform also provided opportunity for the following under-the-radar gems to take advantage of the spotlight.
Zy Morite (2022/6’4/2022)
Morite may have been the biggest revelation of the weekend. He certainly passed the eye test in the layup line at 6’4 with a college ready frame. During game action, Zy displayed elite athleticism when he hammered down a vicious transition dunk on a 6’10 defender with some serious verticality + explosion. More than just a quick-twitch athlete, the under-the-radar guard looked very comfortable when he connected on a catch-and-shoot three from the corner with good mechanics. Off the bounce he looked good attacking a closeout and was able to change direction with a live dribble before converting through contact. Zy is absolutely a prospect that mid-major to high-major coaches should have on their radar heading into the live evaluation periods as an explosive athlete with nice potential as a two-way player at the next level.
Luke Jungers (2022/6’8/KC Run GMC)
This was our first live viewing of Jungers and we came away impressed. The 6’8 forward connected on multiple triples and displayed great mechanics with a high release point, good balance, nice arch and no unnecessary motion. While his ability to stretch the floor is undoubtedly his biggest asset, we were intrigued with his ability as a back-to-the-basket scorer as well. Luke was able to get shotblockers off their feet with a series of impressive shot-fakes and pivots before finishing at the rim. He was also able to score in a set Rip action/cross-screen set when he elevated over the opposing big with a jumphook over his left shoulder. Currently holding two offers from Tennessee Tech and Coastal Carolina, Luke is an undervalued prospect that will definitely add to his offer sheet in July. He projects as a mid-major/mid-major plus stretch PF that is a floor-spacing shooter in pick-and-pop action that can punish mismatches on the block.
Ja’Kobi Gillespie (2022/6’0/BMaze Elite)
After watching Ja’Kobi extensively this weekend, we are surprised the Tennessee native hasn’t attracted more attention from regional programs. Gillespie is a very good athlete that possesses outstanding leaping ability, good body control, above average first-step acceleration and straight-line speed. He routinely put that leaping ability to use by simply out-jumping bigger defenders and finishing at the rim or connecting on floaters. We were really impressed with the perimeter shotmaking ability from the rising junior, as he hit jumpers in a variety of ways. Ja’Kobi buried triples off DHOs and catch-and-shoot attempts while burying multiple pull-ups from midrange. As an on-ball shot creator he has some shiftiness to him game, as he easily created space with change of direction/speed dribbles. Perhaps the most undervalued part of his skillset comes as a playmaker. Gillespie routinely collapsed the defense with dribble penetration and found teammates for assists on kickouts and dumpoffs in both the half-court and in transition. Ja’Kobi is certainly a Division I level prospect that low-major/mid-major programs should look at as a shotmaking lead guard with athleticism and vision.
Max Nelson (2022/6’8/Wisconsin PGC)
The most consistent shooter in the gym, Max made 11 threes during the two games we took in. He likely shot over 60% on his three-point attempts and didn’t have a single “bad miss” that we viewed. His mechanics are crisp with solid lower-body lift, nice balance, a one-motion shot, high release-point and good rotation on the ball. What we loved about Nelson most is that he wasn’t restricted to stationary catch-and-shoot attempts from the perimeter. At 6’8 he consistently hit threes in pick-and-pop action and off movement after relocating. Max has great spatial awareness and made timely cuts to optimize passing windows and create wide-open opportunities. A lethal perimeter shotmaker, he did show some promise elsewhere by scoring as a roll-man in PnR on a few occasions. Nelson has scholarship opportunities from three mid-majors as of now, but he projects to the mid-major plus/potentially high-major level as a stretch PF. With shooting/spacing at a premium in contemporary basketball, Max does that at a level that few in the 2022 class can reach.
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