OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma — Nike affiliated program Team Griffin EYBL hosted and live-streamed scrimmages for their players to receive some national exposure during the COVID-19 pandemic. After traveling from Dallas to watch their players, (some for the first time in nearly a year), I came away with five significant thoughts to summarize the exciting weekend:
COLLINS HAS EXPANDED HIS GAME
Daimion Collins has been in the lab and it showed all weekend. Once known as a borderline five-star rim-runner because of his production at such a frail frame, the Atlanta native has drastically expanded his game to where he should only be considered only as a hybrid four.
Pushing 6-foot-9, Collins’ three-point stroke and coast-to-coast ability were the most breathtaking aspects of his game outside of his usual freakish athleticism and pterodactyl length. He has a good looking jumper with touch out to twenty-two feet and seemed very Giannis-like when igniting the break after securing the defensive rebound.
It is currently a head to head fight between Oklahoma and Texas for his services. And after what I saw this weekend, those services could possibly last up to six months.
THE CHIP IS STILL ON WALLACE’S SHOULDER
After a dominant showing last weekend at the King of the South showcase in Dallas, Cason Wallace made the trip to Oklahoma and was arguably the best player at the event this weekend.
The four-star guard continues to prove that he is an elite two-way guard that outplays his matchups and wins. When adding all the strengths of his game into a mathematical problem, the sum equates to winning. Illinois is the latest to offer, but expect Florida State, Gonzaga, TCU, Texas, and Texas Tech to make a hard push.
JAYHAWK FANS SHOULD BE EXCITED WITH THEIR LATEST COMMITMENT
Four-star forward K.J. Adams committed to Kansas last week and Jayhawk fans should be excited. Whether it be his extreme physicality, ability to guard the ball, high-post playmaking, or explosive productivity, all of the tools in Adams’ bag was on display and are all translatable. Expect for him to be a productive glue guy who will bring toughness and a winning culture to a winning program.
TJ CALDWELL IS MORE THAN AN EXPLOSIVE ATHLETE
Three-star guard T.J. Caldwell is known for his incredible explosion and bounce in transition or the half-court. However, while that part of his game was unveiled, his open shot-making and engagement defensively posed himself as a two-way threat.
I loved how Caldwell connected on shots with time and space from behind the arc. On the defensive end, his off-ball engagement was impressive as he intercepted and deflected passes with his head on a swivel.
The Faith Family Academy guard has just as much two-way upside as any guard in his loaded class. He currently has offers from the likes of Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, SMU, and Tulsa.
TEAM GRIFFIN SHOULD LOOK FORWARD TO THE FUTURE
While the majority of the upperclassmen stood out with their production, it was the young frontcourt prospects from the class of 2023 who stood out with their potential. Tyler Smith, David Oyona, Gus Yalden, and Brandon Garrison all have a chance to be nationally ranked prospects during their high school careers:
It was my second time getting a look at Tyler Smith and I still am excited about what he could become. A lefty at 6-foot-9 with budding ball skills and a gradually improving long-range jumper, the five-star forward should be a legitimate perimeter threat with size by the time he finishes his high school career. He must continue mastering the coordination and gaining comfort within his own frame for his potential to tap into production.
Not a ranked player nationally, Oyona has already made a name for himself in the recruiting world. Since June, the 6-foot-10 big man has received offers from Auburn, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and TCU. He runs the floor, is comfortable being vocal, and has the ideal early basketball body that is only beginning to fill out. The Sunrise Christian prospect is definitely loaded with long-term upside.
In July, it seemed as if every day I would see Gus Yalden (pictured above) pick up an offer from a high major university. This weekend I found out why as he sets terrific screens, has great touch around the basket & out to the three-point line, nice footwork, and a boatload of confidence. Yalden’s upside is in his body but his skill level makes him an elite big man prospect in the 2023 class.
I have not heard anything about Del City big man Brandon Garrison before arriving in Oklahoma City, but I left believing he is the best prospect in the state for his class. Standing tall at 6-foot-9, Garrison did not back down from the higher levels of competition and played with toughness. He has a body that could easily tone and develop to the point where he is a chiseled specimen by the time his senior season arrives. He is the only big out of this group without an announced offer, but after his showings this weekend his recruitment list is likely to inflate.