Edwards and Pettiford shine in private scrimmage with British rookies

0

Some of the best young basketball talent in the world gathered in Chicago last week for the Under Armor Next Elite 24 an event.

The crowning of the showcase came with a star clash Friday night which was played on an outdoor North Island pitch and broadcast to a national television audience.

While that game gave UK fans the chance to see six of Kentucky’s top men’s basketball rookies in action, there was another private contest featuring those same players earlier in the week.

On Thursday night, a closed-door scrimmage in front of guests, members of the media and NBA scouts took place on the 17th floor of a skyscraper in Chicago’s Fulton Market neighborhood.

The Herald-Leader was present.

Here’s what stands out from every player Kentucky recruits in the scrimmage, which featured referees and watched media timeouts consistent with the college basketball format.

ElliotGiftUANextElite3
Elliot Cadeau, the top-ranked point guard in the Class of 2024, doesn’t have a scholarship offer from Kentucky but has been in touch with the Cats. under protection

Elliot Gift

gift is the highest ranked playmaker in the class of 2024 in the 247Sports composite, but just suffered an ankle injury that cost him his entire sophomore season in high school.

Gift, which represents Sweden in international levelmoved from Bergen Catholic High School in New Jersey to startup Link Academy in Branson, Missouri.

The 6-foot-1 playmaker showed shrewd dribbling and finishing skills in the behind-closed-doors scrum, with a solid pulling shot.

Among the strongest elements of his game on display in Chicago were his dribbling skills, passing vision and ability to finish on contact while matching the physique of the defenders at the rim.

Gift doesn’t currently have an offer for Kentucky, but told the Herald-Leader he was in touch with new British assistant coach KT Turner.

Justin Edwards

Edwards was the Chicago player British fans know best, having joined the Cats in late July.

He told the Herald-Leader that making his college choice “relieved a lot of stress” and allowed him to play well at Peach Jam just before announcing his commitment to Kentucky.

This strong game of highest rated small forward in the class of 2023 continued in Chicago, as Edwards was the most athletic guy on the court.

Southpaw Edwards showed his ability to create for himself and play the rebound during the scrimmage, getting past defenders and exploding to finish on the edge with his 6-7 frame.

It’s a daunting task for a defender to simply get in the way of Edwards, let alone try to stop him.

Even if successful in this chase, Edwards can hit the three-pointer consistently (he won a three point skill challenge Friday) and also boasts solid hang time on his mid-range jumpers.

Boogie Fland

A two-time international gold medalist with the United States, Fland landed an offer from Kentucky in July and displayed critical and needed playmaking traits last week.

Classified as the Point guard #2 in the class of 2024 in the 247Sports composite, the 6-3 Fland is sneaky and keeps defenders off balance before making a deliberate and explosive move to reach the next level of defense.

He’s a decisive playmaker on one side and a pesky defender on the other, with the ability to generate interceptions and the resulting easy attack.

Fland ended Thursday’s scrimmage by pushing hard for the basket and firing a shot from the glass that was scored past a goalie.

Ian JacksonUANextElite3
Ian Jackson, the top-ranked shooter for the Class of 2024, missed some of last week’s action in Chicago due to injury. under protection

ian jackson

One of the biggest disappointments of the week in Chicago came when Jackson was injured in the opening minutes of scrimmage.

Jackson – who is 6-4 and is ranked as the best shooting guard in the country in the class of 2024 by the 247Sports composite – injured his left leg after being fouled while attempting a three-pointer.

Jackson, who has an offer from the UK, was retained for the remainder of the scrimmage but played in Friday’s display match where he had the standout dunk of the night.

One of the standout performers at the UA event, Jackson can score easily and in a variety of ways, making him both a highly entertaining and highly coveted prospect.

Tre Johnson

A 6-5 shooter who is ranked #2 At that position in the Class of 2024 according to the 247Sports composite, Johnson received an offer from Kentucky in June and has a close relationship with new British assistant coach KT Turner.

Johnson has basketball’s most important skill for creating space where there seemingly isn’t any and has above-average court vision.

When Johnson isn’t shaking his defender, he can still force his way into a shooting position.

The three-point shot Johnson showed during the scrimmage has quality movement and pace.

Johnson is a fluid player who seems to glide across the pitch in an aesthetically pleasing and extremely efficient manner.

TahaadPettifordUANextElite
Class of 2024 frontman Tahaad Pettiford, who received a scholarship offer from the UK in July, was one of the standout performers at the Chicago event. under protection

Tahaad Pettiford

Anyone who didn’t know Pettiford before his visit to Chicago should know his name by now, because the Class of 2024 leader raised his stock for a few days in the Windy City.

Southpaw Pettiford is listed at 5-11, but his back-to-back possessions went viral from Thursday’s scrimmage.

First, he dove all over Trentyn Flowers while being fouled. Then, on the next possession, Pettiford assessed Flowers, threw a few dribbling moves at him and nailed a three-pointer to his face, again being fouled.

The dunk was a standout example of Pettiford’s athleticism, but there’s a lot more to his game than he showed during the scrimmage.

Pettiford drained deep three-point shots with consistency and has a flow to his game that makes him a magnetic presence. Pettiford’s court vision was also a notable trait.

Kentucky offered a scholarship to Pettiford in July.

Cameron Drummond works as a sports reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader with a focus on Kentucky men’s basketball recruiting and the UK men’s basketball team, horse racing, football and others sports in central Kentucky. Drummond is a first-generation American who was born and raised in Texas, before graduating from Indiana University. He is fluent in Spanish and previously worked as a community journalist in Austin, Texas.



Source link

Share.

About Author

Comments are closed.