LAS VEGAS – There were three championship options in 17-year-old divisions for me on Sunday’s final day of the NCAA’s basketball evaluation period.
I opted for the adidas Super 64 final between Dream Vision and Indiana Elite.
And, unlike the Big Football Vegas Classic at Spring Valley High (with Chicago Mac Irvin Fired edging Houston Hoops, 74-70) or the Fab 48 finale at Bishop Gorman High (DC Premier eking out a 50-46 victory over Louisiana Dynasty), the championship game at Rancho High didn’t have much in the way of suspense over the course of the 40-minute affair.
Dream Vision jumped out to a 7-0 advantage but the team from Indiana settled down and pretty much dominated things at both ends of the floor the rest of the way.
Tyler Cline – selected the event’s Most Outstanding Player – put on a deep jump shooting display on during the first half, hitting six of seven attempts from behind the arc while scoring 20 points as his team took at 42-31 advantage.
The 6-foot-5 Cline (Carmel, IN, High), who is committed to signing a letter of intent with Purdue in November, slowed down offensively after intermission and finished with a game-high 25 points to go with eight rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Just as importantly, though, was the man-to-man defense Cline played against one of the hottest jump shooters over the week, Bennie Boatwright (Sun Valley, CA, Village Christian).
Boatwright hit a couple of shots (including a 3) in that 7-zip start but, while shadowed by Cline, finished just five of 15 from the field (including two of eight behind the arc) for 12 points.
Indiana Elite, which beat Florida Elite in a semifinal earlier Sunday morning at the Cashman Center, also got double-figure scoring from Koch Bar (15 points and 13 rebounds), Kyle Guy (16) and Chandler White (19).
If not for the admirable performances by Chase Jeter (the senior-to-be at Las Vegas Bishop Gorman who finished with 24 points, 17 rebounds and three blocked shots), Dream Vision might have been staring a 30-point bang-out in the face.
Jeter’s teammates combined to hit just 14 of 59 shots from the field.
Here are my choices (alpha listings) as players I saw over the week. It was based upon how well each played when I watched them, not the caliber of college or NBA players I believe they could end up being.
TOP 25 SENIORS
Jalen Adams (6-2/Massachusetts Rivals/Ashburnham, MA, Cushing Academy)
Terrell Allen (6-2/DC Premier/Hyattsville, MD, DeMatha)
Bennie Boatwright (6-8/Dream Vision/Sun Valley, CA, Village Christian)
Carlton Bragg (6-9/Ohio Basketball Club/Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph)
Isaiah Briscoe (6-3/New Jersey Playaz/Roselle, NJ, Catholic)
Jaylen Brown (6-6/Game Elite/Marietta, GA, Wheeler)
Jalen Brunson (6-1/Mac Irvin Fire/Lincolnshire, IL, Stevenson)
LeRoy Butts (6-7/DC Premier/Upper Marlboro, MD, Clinton Christian)
Tyler Cline (6-5/Indiana Elite/Carmel, IN, High)
P.J. Dozier (6-6/Upward Stars/Columbia, SC, Spring Valley)
Adon Gilder (6-2/Dallas Mustangs/Dallas Madison)
Jesse Hunt (6-6/Lakeshow 17 Elite/San Anselmo, CA, Drake)
Brandon Ingram (6-8/Stackhouse Elite/Kinston, NC, High)
Chase Jeter (6-9/Dream Vision/Las Vegas Bishop Gorman)
Skal Labissiere (6-10/M33M/Memphis Evangelical Christian)
Jake Lindsey(6-5/Utah Basketball Club/Salt Lake City Olympus)
Donovan Mitchell (6-3/The City/Wolfeboro, NH, Brewster Academy)
Isaiah Moss (6-5/Mac Irvin Fire/Chicago Simeon)
Rex Pflueger (6-5/Big Red/Santa Ana, CA, Mater Dei)
Terrence Phillips (6-0/Atlanta Xpress/Mount of Wilson, VA, Oak Hill Academy)
Danjel Purifoy (6-7/Atlanta Xpress/Chatham, VA, Hargrave Military)
Kerwin Roach (6-3/Houston Rockstarz/Houston Northshore)
Brandon Sampson (6-5/Louisiana Elite/Baton Rouge, LA, Madison Prep)
Chris Silva (6-8/Sports U/Roselle, NJ, High)
Justin Wright-Foreman (6-3/New York Rens/Queens, NY, Construction)
TOP 15 UNDERCLASSMEN
Abdulhakim Abo (2016/6-10/Atlanta Celtics/Chattanooga, TN, Hamilton Heights Christian)
DeAndre Ayton (2017/6-11/Supreme Court/San Diego Balboa City)
Lonzo Ball (2016/6-5/Big Ballers/Chino Hills, CA, High)
Koch Bar (2016/6-10/Indiana Elite/Orlando, FL, West Oaks Academy)
Miles Bridges (2016/6-7/Michigan Mustangs/Huntington, WV, Prep)
De’Ron Davis (2016/6-9/Colorado Hawks/Aurora, CA, Overland)
Kyle Guy (2016/6-2/Indiana Elite/Indianapolis Lawrence Central)
Nikita Kasongo (2016/6-5/Brookwood Elite/Quebec City Champlain)
Ira Lee (2017/6-8/Oakland Soldiers/Chatsworth, CA, Sierra Canyon)
Loren Jackson (2016/5-6/Florida Elite/Orlando, FL, Victory Prep Christian Academy)
Vance Jackson (2016/6-8/Belmont Shore/Bellflower, CA, St. John Bosco)
David Jenkins (2016/6-3/Avery Bradley/NW Panthers/Tacoma, WA)
Thon Maker (2016/7-0/Team Loaded, VA/Martinsville, VA, Carlisle)
Kobi Simmons (2016/6-3/Atlanta Celtics/Alpharetta, GA, St. Francis)
Jared Vanderbilt (2017/6-8/Houston Hoops/Houston Victory Prep Academy)