GARDEN GROVE, Calif. — Even though it was his last tournament of the summer, class of 2016 forward Braxton Blackwell was particularly excited to participate in adidas Nations this past weekend.
Playing alongside the likes of fellow Indiana targets Thon Maker, De’Ron Davis and Eron Gordon for Team Lillard, Blackwell said he had a good feeling just two games in that he would have a good weekend at the premier event for adidas.
“I think I’ve played pretty well, but defensively I think I could do a lot better,” Blackwell said on Saturday morning following a 98-84 win over team Canada. “There’s some great players obviously, but I think we play good as a team. We started off slow, but we’ve picked it up.”
Blackwell’s premonition proved to be accurate.
Team Lillard went on to win adidas Nations on Monday evening in a 106-78 victory over Team Wall, in which Blackwell recorded six points, three rebounds, three assists and two blocks in 22 minutes in front of a national television audience on ESPNU. He finished the five-game tournament with an average of 7.8 points per game.
GARDEN GROVE, Calif. — One of the more highly-touted prospects in the 2016 class, 7-footer Thon Maker has had an impressive summer — picking up offers from Indiana, Kentucky, Kansas, Duke and Louisville, among others, and comparisons to Kevin Garnett.
This past weekend, Maker was in southern California for adidas Nations, playing for Team Lillard, the eventual champions in a 106-78 victory in which Maker scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the effort.
On Sunday morning, Inside the Hall spoke with Maker, the No. 3 prospect in the class according to the 247Sports Composite, following Team Lillard’s 118-72 win over IU target Derrick Jones and Team Howard, in which Maker recorded a double-double — 14 points and 14 rebounds in just 18 minutes of action.
Maker discussed his ongoing improvement, what he still needs to work on and his interest in Indiana:
Another new name has surfaced on the Indiana recruiting radar for the class of 2015.
Jefferson City (Mo.) forward Ogugua “O.G.” Anunoby took a visit to Bloomington on Monday and according to multiple reports, left with a scholarship offer.
Anunoby is an AAU teammate of Indiana recruiting target Nick Marshall with Team Thad, an Under Armour affiliated program based in Tennessee.
The 6-foot-7, 200 pound wing is unranked in the latest 247Composite rankings, but has scholarship offers from Iowa, Louisiana Tech, Missouri State, Murray State and Wichita State.
GARDEN GROVE, Calif. — Class of 2015 forward Derrick Jones does not know much about his own recruitment. And that was his own decision.
Earlier this summer, he told his parents and coaches that he wanted them to handle his recruitment. He wanted to just focus on basketball.
“And once I get that over with,” he said, “then I’ll talk with the coaches.”
Jones, ranked No. 26 in the 2015 class, according to the 247Sports Composite, has been busy all summer from basketball with his AAU program, WE R1, to participating in this past weekend’s adidas Nations. He still has the Elite 24 Game and another Reebok event on tap for this summer, too.
“But I was psyched to come out here,” Jones said at adidas Nations. “It’s really just such a great experience.”
Jones has averaged 8.5 points per game thus far for Team Howard, which is playing in the third-place game today against Europe. He said he has specifically enjoyed the competition level thus far, which has given him a chance to test out some of the aspects of his game he has worked on over the summer — mainly his defending.
“I’ve been in the gym working on my jump shot and my ball handling, but when I’ve been playing games, I’ve been focusing on my defense,” he said. “I mean, I’m a good defensive player, but you can never be too good. So I want to be a lock-down defender and a bucket-getter when my team needs me.
“It’s great just being able to come out and play against the top talent in America, top talent in Africa and all these different countries.”
Three Indiana recruiting targets announced their lists of finalists on Sunday evening and the Hoosiers remain in the running for two of them.
Shake Milton, a class of 2015 guard from Owasso (Okla.) announced IU as one of his four finalists and Terance Mann (pictured), a class of 2015 wing from the Tilton School (N.H.), has IU among six schools he’s still considering.
Milton has official visits scheduled to all four of his finalists: Oklahoma (Aug. 22-24), SMU (Sept. 5-7), Indiana (Sept. 26-28) and Illinois (Oct. 3-5). Milton’s visit to Bloomington will be on the same weekend as Juwan Morgan, his AAU teammate and friend.
GARDEN GROVE, Calif. — Dillon Brooks admits he has been through a lot this summer.
The 6-foot-5, class of 2015 forward has played in FIBA Americas, AAU basketball for CIA Bounce, the LeBron James Skills Academy and most recently, adidas Nations.
But for the Ontario native who was struggling with ankle issues at adidas Nations, the past few months have been “great.” The No. 94 prospect in the 2015 class, according to the 247Sports Composite, said he has added multiple high-major offers recently — including one from Indiana — and additional high-major interest.
And still playing with an injured ankle at adidas Nations, he averaged 23.5 points per game for Canada, which finished with a 3-2 record over the course of five games.
“It means a lot to be here, like just to be with all the NBA scouts, all the adidas Nations people — they all treat us well,” Brooks said. “It’s amazing to be here in California and having a great time.”
Brooks came into this summer with little to no college interest — “I never had it,” he said — but has made a quick rise through the ranks. For those unfamiliar with his game, Brooks believes he brings “a lot of attacking, a killer instinct” to the table, along with skill in the transition game, defending and facilitating.
“I’m a playmaker,” he said. “I love to make plays and just win.”
And colleges have taken notice.
Two of Indiana’s top recruiting targets for the class of 2015 will take official visits to campus together this fall.
Indiana football will be in town that weekend for a game with Maryland at Memorial Stadium. A kickoff time is to be determined.
In addition to the IU visits, both prospects also have dates for official visits to other schools.
According to Perry, the 6-foot-9 Morgan will visit Vanderbilt Aug. 28-30 and Washington on Sept. 12-14. Milton, a 6-foot-3 guard, will visit Oklahoma on Aug. 22-24, SMU on Sept. 5-7 and Illinois on Oct. 3-5.