Every once in a while, college basketball coaches are allowed off-leash. They’ll be on the recruiting trail all month; read on to see which young hopefuls could be pounding the NCAAB lines in 2015.
Are you ready for the live period?
More importantly: What the heck is a live period? This is a special time of the college basketball offseason, when coaches are allowed to hit the road and spend time scouting players in the flesh. There are other brief evaluation opportunities in the spring, but this is the one that matters most. Wednesday tips off the first of three four-day live periods this month, which means there will be thousands of potential recruits hitting the gym and auditioning.
Some of these young players will have an immediate impact on the college basketball lines in 2015. So let’s take a moment to meet a few of these guys and what we might expect for future college basketball betting purposes. These are five of the top six prospects from the Class of 2015, as ranked by Scout.com (center Cheick Diallo is the other one at No. 5 overall).
1. C Diamond Stone (Dominican HS): Stone checks in at 6-foot-10 and 250 pounds, and has already received offers from dozens of top-flight schools, including UConn, Duke, Kansas and Kentucky. He can score down low, either facing or with his back to the basket, and Stone can also drain the 3-pointer. Conditioning and consistency will require some attention – like most kids, Stone has to add a few pounds and get stronger. But his footwork and his soft hands are highly sought after.
2. PF Ben Simmons (Montverde Academy): Simmons has already committed to the LSU Tigers for 2015, but he’s still expected to show off his development during the live period. The 6-foot-8, 225-pound Aussie has gotten much stronger since first coming to the United States; Simmons is already a sweet lefty shooter with giant hands and speed to burn, and the extra muscle allows him to post up and dunk with relative ease. Still needs to work on those turnovers.
3. PF Ivan Rabb (Bishop O’Dowd HS): ESPN has Rabb as the No. 1 recruit from the Class of 2015; he’s being chased down by the usual suspects, including both Duke and North Carolina, as well as both UCLA and USC. Rabb is a freakishly gifted athlete and a shot-blocking menace at 6-foot-11, but he’s also a beanpole at 210 pounds who needs to pack on the pounds in order to improve his post presence. A good showing at the live period could make Rabb the undisputed top recruit for 2015.
4. SF Jaylen Brown (Wheeler HS): Already one of the best two-way players coming out of high school, Brown is a jump shot away from being the total package. He’s got plenty of power at 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds; Brown explodes off the wing and attacks the rim with aplomb, and he can also push the tempo on the fast break with his impressive handle. Brown’s task will be to secure the ball a bit more and continue working on his jumper. Shouldn’t be a problem – his work ethic is already better than that of most professionals.
6. SG Malik Newman (Callaway HS): Newman is a very special case: not only is he the most gifted guard in the Class of 2015, he’s also formed something of a partnership with Stone, and they’re open to signing a package deal like the one Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones secured with Duke. Newman can score from anywhere on the court and appears better suited for the 2-spot, but at 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds, he’s likely destined for the point. He could use some of Brown’s work ethic to take better advantage of his skills and his smarts. Newman’s father, Horatio Webster, played for Mississippi State and was a JUCO star in the ‘90s.