Now that the dust has settled from the Jordan Brand Classic at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, here is a look at all the top Big East-related storylines from the Jordan Brand Classic. There are updates on the recruitments of the nation’s top prospects like Brian Bowen (Creighton target), Jordan Tucker (Villanova target), Tremont Waters (Georgetown and Creighton interest), and Trevon Duval (Seton Hall target), as well as small features on Villanova’s incoming freshmen trio, DePaul target Greg Calixte, and 2020 guard Posh Alexander, who holds a St. John’s offer.
Brian Bowen Opens Up On Creighton and His Final List of Schools
Indiana’s top recruit, Brian Bowen (Saginaw, Mich./La Lumiere, Ind.), put the bow on his illustrious high school career, with a MVP performance at the Jordan Brand Classic Boys’ National Game on Friday night.
Bowen made it look easy on the biggest stage of the Jordan Classic. The 6-foot-7 forward was able to score from almost anywhere on the court. He boasted a smooth three-point shot that almost never missed and an agile, quick first step to beat his defender off the ball to attack the basket inside.
The consensus five-star recruit finished with a game-high 26 points and a pair of blocks. He was 10-of-13 overall and was 6-of-7 from deep.
“It felt great, I worked hard, and I came in here knowing I had to make a statement,” Bowen said. “I played hard and my teammates helped me get the ball, and I hit the shots. It felt good.”
“I think New York is my spot,” he then said, laughing.
With the Jordan Brand Classic over and done with, it’s now time for Bowen to take the next step.
"During these all-star games, I’ve just been worrying about having fun overall and now, it’s business,” Bowen said. "It’s a part of business, it’s a business decision.”
He will be choosing between Michigan State, Arizona, Creighton, Texas, and N.C. State.
"Coming in and scoring the ball is the biggest thing for them,” Bowen said of his Creighton offer. "That’s really what they need, scoring the ball. They’ve got a couple pieces that they’ve got, a couple shooters, and being a one-two punch with Marcus (Foster) there--it’s a big time deal.”
While there’s a certain allure to playing in a Power 5 conference, Bowen himself is not buying the hype completely. He’s enjoyed what he’s seen from the Big East since realignment.
“Not at all; last year, a Big East team--Villanova--won it all,” said Bowen, when asked if not playing in a Power 5 conference would affect how he looks at Creighton. "This year, they had the biggest percentage of teams in the Tournament, or something like that, but no not at all. They’re on the rise right now. Honestly, a lot of people are sleeping on that conference, but it’s a truly great conference.”
As for the other four schools, this is what Bowen had to say about each of them.
On Michigan State: "They’ve been recruiting me for a very long time now. Four years coming. Coach [Tom] Izzo, he’s a great guy overall. He’s talked to me a lot, coming in and being an impact guy. They have Miles [Bridges] coming back now, so it’ll be a great one-two punch right there. Just making my hometown proud, and my home state proud.”
On Arizona: "Coach [Sean] Miller and his staff were great people. They have to fill another assistant spot now. He really stresses the amount of NBA guys that they got, and all the guys they have going to the league in the wing position. I play the wing, so that’s a big deal with that. Playing with [Allonzo] Trier, it could be a great team, and DeAndre (Ayton) as well."
On Texas: "Really the biggest thing with that is with Matt Coleman, and possibly Mohamed Bamba—that could be a great trio with the pieces that they already have. Coach Shaka [Smart] has told me to come in to be the most versatile guy, to show up and be the most versatile guy.”
On N.C. State: "I finally talked to the new head coach, Coach [Kevin] Keatts, he’s a great guy. I haven’t got to learn about his style really. His track record has been pretty good at the schools he’s been at."
Villanova's Incoming Freshmen Trio Play in Jordan Classic Regional Game
The Jordan Brand Classic Regional Game was a preview of sorts. Yes, the quadruple-header was a showcase to put the best high school basketball talents on display, seeing what they would be able to do against next level competition.
However, the Regional Game featured Villanova’s incoming freshmen class all on the same team—Collin Gillespie (Warminster, Pa./Archbishop Wood), Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree (Philadelphia, Pa./Neumann-Goretti), and Jermaine Samuels Jr. (Weston, Mass./The Rivers School).
"It’s been fun,” Samuels said. "It just shows what’s ahead, and how we can work off of each other.”
At one point, in the closing minutes of the game, Gillespie served up an alley-oop pass for Samuels to flush down. Although, they were on the losing end of a 170-162 game, they enjoyed their time together on the court.
Gillespie finished with 16 points and was 4-of-9 from the three-point arc. He also added seven assists to just two turnovers. Meanwhile, Samuels had 14 points and four rebounds. He was nearly perfect on the floor, making 6-of-7 shot attempts.
It was a little sample of what they can bring to the court together, as teammates.
"I’m really excited, playing with Jermaine and Dada,” Gillespie said. "I’ve known Dada for a while know, he’s been playing on my league. I’ve known him since my freshman year, and we’ve been good friends.”
Unfortunately, Cosby-Roundtree had to miss out on the fun, as he was sidelined from the Regional Game and in a walking boot.
"It was something that happened over the season,” Cosby-Roundtree said. "I overused it. There were cracks in my bones or something. I just had to let it heal. There’s nothing wrong with it. I could’ve played if it was me, but they told me to stay off it to let me heal.”
It was the first time the three got to be together. Gillespie and Cosby-Roundtree knew each other from their battles on the court. Most recently, this season, Gillespie led Archbishop Wood to win a Philadelphia Catholic League title over Cosby-Roundtree’s Neumann-Goretti, which also features Kentucky-bound Quade Green.
However, the two got to play together in the Donofrio Classic in Pennsylvania.
As for Samuels, he had met Cosby-Roundtree long before and the two saw each other on visits. It was his first time meeting Gillespie in person. He also says that three have texted each other and kept in contact almost every other day.
"We’re basically just talking about school and summer sessions for the we’re going to be up there, and basketball,” Gillespie said. "Our main goal is to definitely win a national championship and win a league championship, but right now we’re just talking about the basics—just school and working out.”
The conversation might be light now, but come November...
Top 100 Prospect Jordan Tucker Narrows His List to Three Schools, ‘Nova out
Four-star recruit Jordan Tucker has been a highly coveted target for many colleges, especially as one of the last few remaining top unsigned wings.
Originally Indiana seemed like his destination, but the recent shakeup surrounding the firing of Tom Crean expectedly made him back out.
For a while, he was on Villanova’s wish list, and the two sides had been in back-and-forth contact. Once Indiana was seemed less like a possibility, many had been quick to speculate his arrival to the Main Line. On Friday, Tucker officially put an end to that conversation.
"I haven’t heard from them in a little bit,” Tucker said. "I already took my visit. They already gave their pitch to me, they already told me what they want from me. It’s just, they’re not really pushing it anymore. I have a good relationship with those guys off the court. I talk to those guys, like Coach [Kyle] Neptune, I talk to him on the regular all the time.”
Competing in the Regional game, Tucker started on the Red Team. Unfortunately for him, his final high school basketball performance was a bit forgettable, only scoring five points off of 2-of-9 shooting.
Regardless, he’s looking forward to making a decision between Oregon, Syracuse, and Georgia Tech—his final three. He expects to announce by the first week of May.
"I’m really in between all of them--Oregon, Georgia Tech, and Syracuse,” Tucker said. "Once I finish these visits, after every visit, I just feel like I really want to go to those schools because it went so well. I guess I get so lucky, because I haven’t had a bad visit. All of these schools bring something different to the table, especially after being in different regions.”
On Syracuse: Contact went cold between the two schools from the end of summer to Tucker’s senior season. The departure of Tyler Lydon has changed all that and the two sides are talking again.
“Coach [Jim] Boeheim has always wanted me to come to Syracuse. Even with me not playing that much from freshman year...Gerry McNamara called me first and we talked for a long time about how it was, because I thought they just weren’t interested in me anymore. It wasn’t really anything for me to do to produce for them because everything was filled.”
On Oregon: "I haven’t really spoken to them that much. I haven’t spoken to Coach [Dana] Altman that much. He’s really focused on the season because they went so far. I wasn’t talking to him as much. I was talking to Coach Stubbs [Tony Stubbenfield], he really wants me to go there. He thinks I can just fill a void.”
On Georgia Tech: “They’re turning things around.They weren’t expecting the season they had. It was just a good way to piggyback on what they’re doing this season and continuing it next season. Jose [Alvarado] is calling me everyday and trying to get me to come. It makes sense, I’ve played with him on the NY RENS and I won’t have to develop a new relationship with a point guard."
Tremont Waters’ Recruitment Still Up in the Air
The Barclays Center crowd was on their feet every time Alabama-bound Collin Sexton and Tremont Waters (West Haven, Conn./Notre Dame HS) faced off, begging for whoever had the ball to ditch the gameplan and give the fans a one-on-one show. They did just that, as they went back and forth, a few times in the Jordan Brand Classic Boys’ National Game.
Waters displayed his fine handles and his explosiveness. While he and Sexton were a fun battle to watch, neither of them really blew up the stat sheet. Waters finished with eight points off an efficient 4-of-6 shooting performance and had four turnovers.
For those keeping track, Waters’ recruiting journey hasn’t been an easy one to follow. The 5-foot-11, 165 pound guard originally committed to Georgetown. However, after the John Thompson III firing, the four-star prospect decommitted.
Since then, he’s said a lot of schools have reached out since making himself available and even some new schools added themselves to the mix. He said he’s keeping an open mind and seems nowhere near a decision, but on Friday night, he mentioned five schools—Creighton, Georgetown, UConn, Western Kentucky, and Syracuse.
Connecticut’s Gatorade Player of the Year said he likes the familiarity of his home team, “I visited them growing up. I went to camps and everything, so I think I have a pretty good feel of how they run things, how they do things.”
Waters says Western Kentucky and Syracuse are newcomers, but that the Orange haven’t officially recruited him and “everyone is saying to come to Syracuse” on Twitter.
He did state that he has spoken to Creighton, but it’s his rekindling relationship with Georgetown that seems most intriguing.
“He pretty much re-pitched stuff to me that would be different, like the offense and how he would run things,” said Waters, in regards to his meeting with recently appointed Georgetown head coach Patrick Ewing. “He would have more of a NBA-style offense, because obviously he played in the league for a very long time. He compared me to Kemba Walker. It was good.”
One crucial factor that may play into Waters’ decision is stability.
“Going into Georgetown, I didn’t really look at how the coaches were being talked about,” Waters said. “I just heard about [Thompson] possibly being fired and everything, but I didn’t really listen to it. I watched the games, watched the season and how everything went. It didn’t go too well, so they actually ended up firing him. I just got to make sure I look into the coaches more this time around.”
Whatever happens, don’t expect a decision soon, as he says there is no timetable for when an announcement would be made.
DePaul target Greg Calixte Chooses George Mason
Just a couple of days before the Jordan Brand Classic tipped off, Greg Calixte, a 6-foot-8, 230 pound power forward from New York powerhouse Mount Vernon, made his college decision.
Calixte will be heading down to Fairfax, Va. this fall, where he will become a member of the George Mason Patriots.
"As soon as I went there, I just felt comfortable,” he said. “From the players to the coaching staff to some of the students, everybody made me feel at home. The coaching staff have a plan for me. Everything about it was good, I liked everything about it.”
Calixte chose George Mason over offers from VCU, St. Bonaventure, USF, Quinnipiac, DePaul, and eight other schools.
"They offered me but sort of pulled out,” Calixte said of his DePaul offer. "That was something. I wasn’t really sure about. They weren’t really sure either. It was the coaches…It all worked out though, I’m going to George Mason.”
Calixte visited the Chicago school back in late September, before beginning a high school season that culminated into another state championship for Mount Vernon (N.Y.).
He only had two points through 10 minutes of play in the Regional Game, but he’s looking forward to the future.
"George Mason, they have a lot of young guards, a lot of good guards,” Calixte said. "Hopefully, I’m that big that they needed to be that last piece so we can be good over the next couple of years."
2020 guard Posh Alexander Talks About his St. John’s Offer
The Jordan Brand Classic Global Showcase featured some of the best U-16 talent from around the globe. One of the game’s standouts, came from right in the Barclays Center’s backyard.
Posh Alexander (Bronx, N.Y./Our Saviour Lutheran School) looked confident on the floor against players from around the world. The 5-11 guard was draining shots from deep and was able to get to the basket a couple of times to rip down some rim rattling dunks, and he’s only a freshman in high school.
Alexander finished the game with 13 points off 5-of-12 shooting, and had six assists to just two turnovers.
He dished out some excellent passes and some that went above and beyond, like alley-oop passes off the backboard to teammate N’Faly Dante (Mali/Sunrise Christian, Kan.) or the eventual MVP Addison Patterson (Canada/Athlete Institute).
He already has offers from Saint Louis, Stony Brook, and St. John’s. He also says that Stanford, Tennessee, and a few other schools have reached out to him.
"I don’t really want to focus on it, I don’t want it to get to me or get cocky,” Alexander said. "I don’t let it get to me. I just look at what’s ahead, moving forward.”
He was able to speak on his recruitment for the local, hometown team, St. John’s.
"When they had games, I was going to their games, showing them some support,” Alexander said. "I got the offer when I was in eighth grade. Really don’t matter, I kinda like it.”
As nice as it may be to wear the red and white to rep the Johnnies--while playing at Madison Square--Alexander said he wishes to be a part of the blue bloods.
“My dream school is Kansas, North Carolina, or Kentucky,” he said. "Since I was four, I always wanted to go to those schools, that’s something I always wanted to do. To me, I think they have a good school, a good team. Every year, they bring in someone who’s ranked into the country in. Everybody that goes there go to the NBA. They play the style of basketball that I like to play.”
Seton Hall Target Trevon Duval’s Night in the Jordan Classic Boys’ National Game
As a starter for the East Team, it didn’t take long for Trevon Duval (Bradenton, Fla./IMG Academy) to introduce himself to the crowd of over 10,000 people at the Barclays Center or to the many more watching the Jordan Brand Classic Boys’ National Game on their televisions at home. The 6-foot-3 point guard drilled the opening three-pointer seconds after the opening tip.
Duval showed off his quickness and explosiveness as a ball handler, and even knocked down a few shots from long range.
The 6-foot-3 point guard logged just eight points off 3-of-5 shooting, four assists, and four turnovers in 17 minutes of play.
While his night was pretty quiet, the conversation surrounding his recruitment remains buzzing.
Duval, a five-star, consensus top 10 recruit, is the also ranked as the top overall point guard in the country. He also happens to be undecided in his college choices.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t available for comment after the Jordan Classic, but he’s remained adamant on deciding between his final five schools—Arizona, Baylor, Duke, Kansas, and Seton Hall—all of which, he’s been in close contact and interaction with over the last month.