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October 14, 2012

Lindsey stands out

LOUISVILLE -- The John Lucas Midwest Invitational camp tipped off Saturday afternoon on the eastern edge of Louisville at the Hoops basketball facility. Comprised of mostly freshman and sophomores, the camp also featured some juniors. The best player in the gym was class of 2014 four-star wing Jalen Lindsey, and he headlined a strong first day.

Lindsey has tools for more

Ranked as the No. 33 player in the class of 2014, Jalen Lindsey was the second-highest ranked player taking the floor on Saturday (JaQuan Lyle, No. 19 in 2014, was the highest). By the end of the day, nobody had put together a stronger performance than the 6-foot-6 small forward from Nashville (Tenn.) CPA.

A big-time athlete, Lindsey got out in transition over and over again to finish with loud and stylish dunks. In the halfcourt setting, Lindsey had his jump shot working very well out to the three point line, and he appeared to have a tighter handle and improved left hand during station work.

As one of the most well-known guys in the gym, Lindsey did exactly what he was supposed to do. But at the same time, it's not like there was much resistance offered up against him. We don't know if it was favorable matchups, nerves or what, but nobody seemed to recognize that he was the best player on the floor and make an attempt to really challenge him. At times, Lindsey didn't make them pay quite as much as he could have, and the development of that true killer instinct on the offensive end is still something that is in progress.

Lindsey already has offers from places such as Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Memphis, N.C. State, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Virginia and Cincinnati. With continued improvement of his ball skills and the addition of strength, there could be more on the way.

Tapping the Kegler

Last year, Malik Newman burst onto the scene as a freshman at Jackson (Miss.) Callaway. As it turns out, there's going to be another freshman making waves out of Callaway this season. Six-foot wing Mario Kegler was pretty easy to identify on Saturday as having one of the highest ceilings for potential of anybody in the gym.

A long and lean wing who is already a fine athlete, Kegler shows signs of being a pretty good off-the-dribble attacker of the basket. He's pretty good at using ball screens in the halfcourt, has a decent looking jump shot, and he can definitely get out and finish in transition. Also in his favor is that he's not skinny and weak for a freshman and is willing to compete physically.

He's certainly going to become much better known to scouts and fans down the road, but the likes of Ohio State, Memphis, Auburn, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, N.C. State and more are already tracking him on the college front.

Look at for Haas

During the summer, coaches got their first look at seven-foot junior Isaac Haas when he took the floor with the Atlanta Celtics in July. The Hokes Bluff (Ala.) High prospect intrigued with his legit size and strength but also looked a bit lost at times adjusting to the speed of club basketball. In Louisville, Haas looked much improved and appears to be somebody to keep an eye on down the road.

The obvious is that he takes up a lot of space in the lane, plays strong and sets terrific on ball screens. He appears to have pretty good hands and decent touch around the basket, and watching him move from station to station it's clear that he's a hard worker.

"It was pretty new to me and I didn't get to show a lot," Haas said of playing in the summer. "I feel pretty good out here and I hope the work is showing."

A true five man who doesn't venture outside of the paint when he's not setting picks, Haas plays with physicality and has a good-looking future. According to the junior, Florida State (where he recently visited), Clemson, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Mercer, UT Chatanooga, Auburn, Ole Miss and West Virginia have all been in to see him or in contact. He feels that he has offers on the table from everybody but the Mountaineers.

More Saturday notes

Rockwall (Texas) High's Austin Grandstaff looks like he should be in the pretty select group of 2015 prospects who get at least four-stars when we start assigning them to the sophomore class later this week. A 6-foot-4 guard who plays in attack mode on the offensive end, Grandstaff's skill, aggressiveness and versatility really stand out on the offensive end. He's already a heavy target of high-major programs with Oklahoma, UMass, Arizona, Texas A&M giving out early offers while Syracuse, TCU, SMU, Texas, Nebraska, Alabama, Duke and Marquette have all been in to see him or shown early interest.

He'll be a bigger focus for us on Sunday, but 6-foot-6 Canadian Justin Jackson appears to be a pretty good looking prospect. The 2016 wing has good size on the wing, gets to the rim in a hurry and is an athletic, physical wing prospect. He has a pretty good handle that allows him to create off the bounce, and his physicality and athleticism allows him to overwhelm a lot of other young players.

Another 2015 prospect who will be under consideration for an early four-star designation is Cleveland (Ohio) Villa Angela St. Joseph big man Carlton Bragg. A 6-foot-8 post player, Bragg is thin but you can see him starting to turn it on a bit. Pretty fluid in the open floor, Bragg has pretty good hands and will compete some around the basket. He tests opponents shots and is fairly aggressive offensively for a young post player.

From the Peach State, freshman wing Kobi Jordan-Simmons already has a pretty big reputation with programs like Auburn, Georgia, Baylor and some others giving early interest. The 6-foot-4 guard showed why he's got people buzzing on Saturday with his impressive work attacking the basket and shooting the ball from deep. The freshman is one who will be watched quite closely moving forward.

A three-star combo forward out of Clayton (N.C.) High, 6-foot-7 junior Gary Clark had an impressive day on Saturday. He played with a high level of energy and intensity around the hoop and wasn't allowing anything easy around the rim. He blocked shots, snatched rebounds above the rim and ran the floor well for finishes at the hoop. His jumper doesn't appear to be that bad, but his handle looks like it will need some work if he wants to play on the wing full-time. According to Clark, the three schools that have been ramping up their interest the most are Clemson, VCU and Wake Forest.




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