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July 20, 2013
MEQUON, Wis. -- The third day of the Under Armour Summer Jam at Homestead High featured the start of playoff action. Not surprisingly, the early playoff rounds included several lopsided games, but it was a good day to check in on some more under-the-radar but very good players. Detroit products Justin Tillman and Paris Bass fit the bill.
Motor City sleepers
On Friday, Rivals.com went searching for sleeper prospects and just happened to find a pair of them from the Motor City. Technically, rising senior Tillman of Detroit (Mich.) Pershing and the REACH Legends isn't a total unknown, given that he's in the 2014 Rivals150. But class of 2013 wing Bess is definitely somebody who broke out on Friday.
At 6-foot-7, Tillman is a long-armed and high-motor combo forward who runs the floor and hunts rebounds on both ends. He made his way into the back end of the Rivals150 after a strong spring, and he has always been a guy who can play above the rim. On Friday, he showed he's more than just an active dunker.
Tillman handled the ball in transition, making plays for teammates off the bounce. He hit a nice-looking 3-pointer, he didn't rush things, and he looked like a much more versatile player than he's shown in previous viewings.
Tillman isn't a stranger to college coaches, either. He mentioned that he has offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Xavier, Kent State, Bowling Green, Rhode Island, Oakland and Detroit. Keeping tabs are Marquette and Georgetown. Tillman said he would cut his list to five or so after the summer and that Iowa was standing out as a program that he'd like to visit.
Totally unknown to most watching him play for the Michigan Warriors against Texas Select, Bass, a 6-foot-7 wing, made a strong impression on the assembled college coaches. A class of 2013 prospect who graduated from Seaholm High this summer, Bass is waiting to hear from the NCAA Clearinghouse on his qualification status and will then decide whether to enroll as a 2013 player or attend prep school for a year.
If what he showed on Friday is any kind of indicator, he could be a high-quality late addition up to the high-major level. First, he has terrific size for the wing and is a quality ball handler. He can attack right or left, and he has some game. He got to the rim, hit jumpers and then dropped jaws with a silky off-handed floater from 12 feet.
"I'm waiting to hear back from the Clearinghouse," Bass told Rivals.com. "I've got Toledo, Oakland, Detroit and Louisiana Tech offers.
"If I don't make it, I'll go to prep school. I could go to one of those schools or still go prep if I make it."
Final notes from Milwaukee
For the second weekend in a row, we got a good look at the ATL Xpress 16-and-under team. Like it did last weekend, it let a team without as much physical talent hang around for a while before putting the game away late. Point guard Terrance Phillips carried the load early with timely shooting and ball control. Late in the game, Danjel Purifoy did exactly what he did the previous weekend. He finished at the rim, got a block, came up with plays that stole possessions and looked like a gamer. Near 7-footer Doral Moore isn't terribly productive, but he shows flashes of immense potential.
It had been a relatively quiet weekend for the nation's No. 2 player in the class of 2015, but once Stephen Zimmerman was fed the ball he went to work. During a first-round playoff game that was entirely too close given the talent disparity, the big man took over late and showed why so many are high on him.
From the class of 2014, five-star big man Myles Turner was relatively quiet in his first two games. During the playoff round on Friday, he started to come alive as Texas Select erased an early deficit and took control. The 6-foot-10 power forward must have blocked at least 10 shots, and he made a few of his own. Despite his size and length advantage in the post, Turner is showing more and more that he much prefers facing the hoop a la a young LaMarcus Aldridge. John Calipari, Steve Alford and Scott Drew were among the head coaches to watch Turner. All three, along with John Beilein and Dave Rice, also watched Zimmerman.
We meant to mention him in earlier coverage, but it didn't take a long look at class of 2016 guard Kyle Guy to recognize that he's a potential high-major shooter. The 6-foot-3 shooting guard wields a smooth jumper and has good size for the position, given his age.
Also good for the Detroit-based REACH Legends was 6-foot-3 shooting guard Mory Diane. He showed a good first step and was effective getting into the lane and scoring off the dribble. Diane looks like a good mid- to upper-end midlevel prospect at the two.
One of the biggest reasons that the St. Louis-based Gateway Basketball Club 16s hung with the ATL Xpress was the play of Alex Floresca. A tough and athletic 6-foot-7 power forward from Webster Groves (Mo.) High, Floresca isn't the most highly skilled four man, but he plays with a huge motor. Surely he'll be tracked closely by local mid-majors.