Here is a look at five players flying a bit under the radar whom I am excited to see more from. Don't be surprised to see their recruiting stocks boost in the near future.
Leo Vincent, PG (Bensalem, Pa./Bensalem)
The last time I saw him was in early April and he captivated me with his approach, shooting ability and leadership qualities. After two games (albeit vs. subpar competition) my evaluation was nothing less than a mid-major player. So far, Vincent has zero scholarship offers.
“He had a pretty good summer,” Bensalem coach John Mullin said. “He’s a great kid, with good grades. He’s playing the point guard in the summer. I haven’t got any feedback. I don’t understand.
“He’s a 2 guard for me so we can get our five best out there. I can’t understand this. Someone has to make the move and then they’ll all get on him. People got on his coattails and then really never committed to him.”
What his coach is saying is that not a single college has him evaluated properly. What's going to happen is one school will offer him and a cavalcade of offers will come in. Happens all the time. My point to the college guys is why wait? This kid's a gem.
By the way, when Mullin says you can shoot (and he says Vincent can), he knows what he’s talking about. The coach’s brother is Hall of Fame guard Chris Mullin. Drexel, Robert Morris, Rider, Quinnipiac, Central Connecticut, Northeastern and Hofstra are presently doing homework on Vincent. He’s worth it.
Wesley Iwundu, SG (Houston/Westfield)
There are more players coming out of Texas than ever before. The sheer volume of the crop from the state rivals just about any other talent-rich area and I’m not talking football. Iwundu ran with the Harrison twins on the circuit, thus the reason for his slow play nationally.
Iwundu is a major student-athlete (yes, in the real sense of the word). He can score off the bounce and he’s got mid- to high-major game. In the last two weeks he’s visited Kansas State and SMU. Drake, Colorado and Lehigh also like him.
Seth Berger, SF (Seattle/Ballard)
One of my favorite days of the summer was the final day at Reebok’s Breakout Challenge. When you see a player for the first time and then he tells you he’s receiving Division II recruiting interest, you know you’re on to something. Berger busted out at Reebok. He did so because of his basketball IQ, capacity to make 3-pointers and overall feel for his game. Imagine that. In a wild camp setting, someone stood out for his cerebral play!
Berger has Massachusetts coming to see him the first day of the open period and he’s visiting there in September. The Minutemen stumbled onto him just like I did, at Reebok. Santa Clara is his other school and the Broncos love him.
“I’m going to verbal as soon as I can,” Berger said. “I want to sign those papers in November.”
Lennard Freeman, PF (Washington, D.C./Oak Hill Academy)
He didn’t need to transfer for the exposure, but he’s at Oak Hill for his senior year. Here’s the deal: Freeman doesn’t turn 17 until December! There’s a chance he opts for a post-graduate year. My question is why?
Freeman keeps getting taller and with each evaluation, he gets a little better. He used to be an introverted guy -- not now. Coming out of your shell is a leading indicator among big men that they believe their time is coming.
As a senior now or post-grad down the road, Freeman’s got options. Bigs are impossible to come by this year, so he gets the natural bump in recruiting because the supply can’t meet the demand. Memphis, Xavier, UAB, Indiana, Temple and Villanova would like to get him. “The kid has so much potential,” Team Takevoer coach Keith Stevens said.
Joel Embiid, C (Cameroon/Gainesville (Fla.)/The Rock)
On Thursday, I wrote about him in depth. In a nutshell, he’s almost 7-feet tall, who has only been playing the game 18 months and has a basketball body to die for.
In two weeks, I’ll have a chance to spend more time with him at the Nike Team Florida Fall Workout. Frankly, it’ll be exciting to see his improvement and gauge where he is. For the time being, he’s a guy that begs to be evaluated and must be recruited.