High school basketball: Lone Peak finishes impressive AAU run
Laura Seitz, Deseret News
Highly successful Lone Peak coach Quincy Lewis essentially keeps his high school team intact throughout the summer.
Lewis' talented bunch has been doing the circuits around the country as an AAU team, and if this past weekend is any indication, both Lewis and BYU coach Dave Rose should be very pleased with the talent and chemistry between Lone Peak's players, three of whom have pledged to sign with the Cougars.
What unfolded last weekend can't do anything but help Lone Peak right now, and it certainly gives BYU basketball a look at its future.
Quincy's team, the Utah Reign, made it to the semifinals of the Under Armour Summer Jam in a high school gym just outside of Milwaukee. The squad defeated Team Nebraska, 73-67, and Wisconsin Swing, 69-62, before losing to the Houston Defenders, 52-49, in bracket play.
But the thing that stood out to experts and nearly every major college recruiter who had representatives on the scene was the chemistry and smart play of this Utah squad.
"They played as one," noted one ESPN recruiting expert.
"They stood out as a group and were fun to watch," said Evan Daniels, a national recruiting analyst for scout.com, in a telephone interview Wednesday from Las Vegas where he's covering the Las Vegas Fab 48 Tipoff Challenge at Bishop Gorman High School, the Adidas Super 64 at Rancho High and the Las Vegas Classic at Durango.
Daniel's work at these tournaments runs through Sunday, the final day in the NCAA's allowable evaluation period. More than 1,040 AAU teams are in Vegas as part of this circus. Utah Reign is done for the season after Milwaukee.
Still, with all this dizziness of rosters, faces, players, coaches and recruiters from Milwaukee to Vegas the past seven days, Daniels remembers clearly what he saw out of BYU-bound guards Nick Emery, T.J. Haws and BYU-bound 6-foot-8 center/forward Eric Mika.
"Mika really impressed how good he was in the post. He was strong and physical. He's got size and he is very aware of what he's doing inside the key. He rebounded hard and showed a nice touch on offense."
Emery, brother of former Cougar guard Jackson Emery, has been known for his shooting ability and range for years and it was no different this past week at the Under Armour event.
"He can shoot it deep and he's not afraid to launch it," said Daniels. "He's confident but also showed the ability to take defenders off the dribble, get inside the key and to the hoop. He hit some long balls, but he also showed a nice touch inside the arc. I've followed him before and he is an impressive player. He's crafty and explosive."
Daniels said the player who seemed to hold it all together was Haws, a 6-3 guard.
"He looked like the leader of that team. He has a very high basketball I.Q. He is good with the ball and makes great decisions. He keeps defenders off balance, can pass it and showed a great touch from outside and in. He is a lot faster than you'd think he is and he is just a tough overall player. He really plays well on the ball."
Daniels said the Cougars certainly have a trio onboard that will be a force in years to come.
College coaches are not allowed to comment on recruits at these tournaments due to NCAA restrictions. Rose and members of his staff have been in attendance at these tournaments in July, however.
One in-state coach not affiliated with BYU was asked by an observer after his return from Milwaukee if he were to have a draft and could pick from this trio of Lone Peak players, who'd he take first?
"No question, it would be Haws."
Daniels filed a report for scout.com highlighting six of the outstanding players in the Milwaukee event, and two of the six were BYU commits, Haws and Mika.
Utah-bound point guard Julian Jacobs from Desert Pines High in Las Vegas is part of the Las Vegas Prospects 17-under team playing in Fab 48 Tip-Off this week. Also on that team is Findlay Prep senior Chris Wood, a 6-10 post player who has committed to UNLV.
The consensus top prospect in the 2013 class is Chicago Simeon forward Jabari Parker, an LDS athlete who plays for the Mac Irvin Fire AAU team. Parker, who has been featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, recently announced he trimmed the list of colleges he is considering to 10 finalists including BYU.
According to reports out of Chicago, Parker will not play this week after suffering a fracture in his foot several weeks ago when in Lithuania with the USA national 17-and-under team. Parker was to be the "showcased" player in Vegas this week.
Because these AAU events have hit Vegas this week, there have been more than a few snafus. Apparently folks who organized the Fab 48 have talked to lawyers and are considering legal action against Nike for interfering with their gig.
If you've got the time and money and like discounted Vegas hotels in July, this is the place to go cross-eyed watching the bouncing ball, following potential future college stars.
Promise you — and bet you — if you try it you'll be begging for some pool time.