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April 27, 2014

Brown stars at Jayhawk Invitational

MORE: Class of 2014 Rivals150

GARDNER, Kan. -- On day two of the Jayhawk Invitational the big names continued to impress. However, it was a high school freshman that captured the attention of Rivals.com as Troy Brown of the Las Vegas Pro is well on his way to putting his name up there with high school basketball's elite players.

Brown a big talent

It won't be until the end of July that Troy Brown turns 15 years old. The product of Las Vegas (Nev.) Centennial is also playing on the Las Vegas Prospects 15-and-under team, meaning he is on a level where elite talents can feast. But make no mistake about it; the 6-foot-5 freshman has all of the tools to develop into an elite talent.

Spending most of his time running the point, Brown scored high marks all across the board. Decision making, control of his dribble, ability to shoot from deep, defensive instincts and a great frame, Brown simply has every tool you could want. While his ability to hit shots from deep, finish on the break and aggressive rebounding were impressive, it was his passing that really stood out. Will he always be a point guard? We aren't sure, but his floor vision is high level. Not only that, Brown whips hand breaking missiles from 30-40 feet in transition and always has his head up surveying the floor.

Surprisingly, the only school in the gym watching the likely five-star talent was Arizona. Both of Brown's parents went to Texas A&M (dad played hoop and mom volleyball, according to Brown) and his sister plays hoops at Kansas. Brown took an unofficial visit to Kansas during the season but was unsure if the Jayhawks have watched him yet and he said that he hasn't heard from the Aggies.

Early offers have come in from USC and UNLV and Brown also listed Oklahoma, Gonzaga, Harvard and Columbia has having shown early interest. That list will grow exponentially in the near future.

"I feel pretty comfortable as a point guard," Brown told Rivals.com. "I think schools will recruit me as that or a combo guard. I'm just getting started."

Gotti's boys

MWA draws eyes whenever they took the floor and a lot of that has to do with the fact that the top junior in the class of 2015, Malik Newman, is the star of the show. The team's benefactor is Portland Trailblazer Mo Williams, whose nickname is Mo Gotti and his team shows some love to him by displaying that they are Gotti's boys on their uniforms. They also show him love by hooping.

Led by Newman and 2016 five-star Terrance Ferguson, MWA navigated their way to Sunday's finals. As usual, Newman was dominant with the ball in his hands. The game comes incredibly easy to him on the offensive end and even when it seems like he's just cruising he's putting 30 in the scorebook. Newman had the pull-up jumper cooking again on Saturday and once again used his explosive first step to get into the lane in a hurry. Once there, Williams finished strong in the paint and asserted his dominance.

A 6-foot-6 wing with deep range and big time athleticism, Ferguson tends to be an up and down player. Saturday, he was up and a lot of that had to do with his long range bombs dropping through on a regular basis. He hit seven threes in an early game and also had a few high flying finishes on the break. On days like Saturday, it is easy to see why he is quickly becoming a high major priority throughout Texas and Big 12 country.

Seizing an opportunity

The live period is all about seizing opportunity and junior guard Anthony Bonner did that on Saturday. A 6-foot-2 product of Lawrence (Kan.) High who plays for the always tough Team YOBO, the three-star guard entered the day with offers from Missouri State, Florida Gulf Coast and Colorado State. Undoubtedly, he finished things up with his name scribbled down on the lists of many more coaches.

During games against Earl Watson Elite and the Las Vegas Prospects, Bonner had outstanding stretches scoring the ball. He showed a solid jump shot, poise and the ability to score off the dribble or via the jumper. He hit from deep, attacked the rim and never seemed out of control while causing defenders headaches.

Bonner said that he has also heard from Tulsa (since Frank Haith got the job), Iowa and UMKC and after a nice weekend he should be seeing more attention.

More Saturday notes from the Jayhawk

After two days, it has become apparent that Washington bound power forward Marquese Chriss is ranked too low at No. 76 in the class of 2015. Every bit of 6-foot-8 and maybe pushing 6-foot-9, Chriss is a live-wire athlete who can run the floor, rebound in and out of his area and step out to hit mid range jumpers to keep defenders on their heels. He shook off a tough Friday night start to play high level hoops on Saturday.

2015 three-star Landry Shamet also had a nice bounce-back day after a slow start on Friday night. With his ability to hit jumpers from deep, create off the dribble and find teammates for easy baskets he showed why he has offers fromColorado, Creighton, Wichita State, Drake and Northern Iowa. The Shockers Gregg Marshall stalked him for the first few days and he mentioned other interest from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State (who he visited during the winter) and Iowa State. Shamet said he would like to have a solid five by the end of the summer and mentioned Wichita State (where he has also been unofficially) as one likely to get an official visit.

Rivals150 guard K.J. Walton checks in at No. 107 in 2015 and the combo guard from Brownsville (Ind.) High who is playing with Grassroots Indiana backed up that ranking. At about 6-foot-2, he is a strong scorer who plays with confidence and doesn't shy from contact. That love of contact helps him to live at the fee throw line when he is attacking. He listed offers from Illinois State, Xavierand Minnesota. Walton also mentioned interest from Indiana, Saint Louis, Butler, Purdue and "most of the Big Ten".

A teammate of Walton's on the Indiana squad, 6-foot-5 wing Sean McDermott has been one of the better shooters in attendance. The three-star prospect listed offers Indiana State, New Orleans, UNCG and preliminary interest from Virginia, Purdue and Indiana.

Three star power forward Kevin Puryear of KC Run GMC is a solid 6-foot-7 playe with a strong frame and good skill. Puryear mentioned offers from San Francisco, Creighton, Oklahoma State and Miami (Ohio). He also has interest from Kansas State, San Diego, Wichita State.

Puryear's teammate Jimmy Whitt had a huge day. The four-star shooting guard was as good as anybody in attendance at creating his offense off the dribble. Another KC Run GMC player, guard Jarred Dixon picked up an offer from UNCG to go along with a previous Drake offer.

Four-star guard Marcus LoVett ranks No. 41 in the country and is still a bit of a mystery man. A flashy ball handler and explosive scorer, he is in KC with the Las Vegas Prospects and showed plenty of flashes of why he is so highly regarded. It is clear that he can make the flashy plays, but this summer coaches will be interested to see if he can make the kind of plays needed to run a college basketball team full time.

Anotehr who has raised his stock at the Jayhawk is 6-foot-5 shooting guard Brandon Sampson. The junior from Louisiana has good size, is a smooth athlete and shoots with confidence. According to his coach Jeff Jones, Sampson has offers from LSU, St. John's, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Louisiana Tech, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, West Virginia and Arizona.

We liked what we saw out of SYF Players sophomore wing Damien Jefferson. At 6-foot-5 or 6-foot-6, the East Chicago (Ind.) Central product is an athletic kid with a great frame, excellent motor and slashing skills in the open floor. The physical tools are all there and he didn't look afraid playing up for SYF's 17U team.

Finally, three-star power forward Dean Wade for Mid Kansas opened some eyes. He is lean but has a body that is starting to get stronger and he can make plays happen on the offensive end. He has a good motor, good skill and was very active on the offensive end and running the floor.

Eric Bossi is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. You can click here to follow him on Twitter.



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