basketball Edit

Analysis, recruiting notes and more from GASO's "Own the State"

The AAU season is heating up, and many of the Lone Star State’s top 2022 prospects were in Duncanville this weekend for the Great American Shootout’s “Own the State” event. was on hand for Saturday’s action. Some analysis, recruiting notes and takeaways:


The event didn’t lack starpower, but no star shined brighter than Keyonte George. Against 2022 five-star Cason Wallace and a good Pro Skills team, George erupted for 41 points and hit the game-winning bucket to propel Southern Assault to the championship game. This performance came after George going head-to-head with elite 2022 guard Aterio Morris in a hyped matchup that delivered.

I can’t imagine many three-level scorers better in the 2022 class than George. Because of his range and pretty, quick outside stroke, defenders have to respect him beyond the perimeter. He feasts on that by getting into the paint and has a good feel for when to force the drive and when to let the game come from him. Perhaps that was what was most impressive about George - it hardly ever felt like he was forcing points and he was typically relaxed with a slow heartbeat while putting on a show.

In particular, George showed an impressive feel for utilizing ball-screens and understanding how to beat hard hedges and made the right read at a high level. George made a strong case as the top player in Texas and went head-to-head with his top competition for that honor - guards Morris and Wallace. George said he has a connection with Texas Tech, Kansas and now Texas. He hears everyday from new Texas assistant Ulric Maligi and was being recruited by Jerrance Howard when he was at Kansas.

Prior to George taking over the event and winning a title, the best individual game performance came from 2022 big Zuby Ejiofor in a win over a loaded JL3 Elite squad, which featured seven-footer and No. 29 overall prospect Vincent Iwuchukwu. Surprisingly, Ejiofor doesn’t have many high-majors blowing up his phone non-stop, but that will soon change. Ejiofor had the best motor at the event, showcased an impressive shooting touch for a big, competed with physicality and stayed within himself as a player.

He’s not a big looking for constant pick-and-pop touches because he can shoot the three some. When his team was in the half-court, Ejiofor often operated in or around the paint and occasionally around the perimeter. After competing with ferocity on the glass, Ejiofor was often one of the first players up the floor. There’s no doubt the Garland product is one of the best players in Texas and nationally.

While George emerged as the top guy and champion, Morris boosted his case as a future five-star product and was the most explosive player and athlete at the event. In the open floor, Morris flies up-and-down with a Russell Westbrook-like blend of speed, quickness, athleticism and ferocity. If he touches the ball on the move in transition, good luck trying to keep him out of the paint. And when he arrives there, Morris is able to quickly spring off the floor and throw down mean dunks with ease.

The flow of the half-court game can escape him at times, but when Morris is in a rhythm and has a feel for what defenses are doing, he’s dynamite in isolation and ball-screen situations because it’s extremely difficult to keep his electric first-step out of the paint. Morris’s perimeter shooting can be a bit streaky because he sometimes gets his shot off too quickly without shoulders squared, but once he found his rhythm from deep, he was capable of catching fire for long stretches. Right now, his jumper profiles a little more as a mid-range weapon than pull-up or catch-and-shoot three.

If he dedicates himself to this at the next level, Morris has all the ingredients to be a fantastic, impact defender because of his size, length and lateral quickness and he didn’t show away from competing against the other team’s best players. As for recruiting, Morris listed Texas, Kansas, UCLA and LSU as schools reaching out the most and Alabama has joined that mix too. Like George, while Howard was at Kansas he was also recruiting Morris.

He didn’t have as many huge scoring outbursts and jaw-dropping offensive moments as Morris and George. However, Wallace proved to be every bit of a two-way player who simply makes winning basketball plays at a very consistent and high level. A student of the game who was seen breaking down film with his coach before tip-off, Wallace’s pride in defense - both on and off the ball - showed and while he’s best-suited to be a future combo guard, Wallace’s point guard skill was both intriguing and impactful in the half-court. When he gets his broad shoulders turned downhill, the standout guard from Richardson High School is tough to keep out of the paint and he can finish through contact well. He has all the ingredients of a winner and big-time talent too.

Wallace listed Arkansas and Baylor as schools recruiting him consistently and said new Texas assistant Maligi told him recently they’re going to recruit him as Longhorns. “Ulric was one of the first recruiters to ever look at me,” said Wallace about the Texas assistant coach.

Speaking of two-way players, Black had to lead the event in deflections per game. Listed at 6-6, 185 pounds, Black’s urgency on defense allowed him to hunt playmaking opportunities on that end of the floor either on or off the basketball with active hands and an active hoops brain. He wants to defend the other team’s best player all over the floor, wants to be the one that sets the tone of the game with his defense and wants every rebound that comes off the rim. Black is the kind of guy who gets more fired up about forcing a five-second call than he ever would a dunk.

At the next level, Black said he wants to play point guard. In the half-court, he did show a nice feel for pace and playmaking for teammates when he was able to consistently get downhill. But with his size and all-around skill set, he could be a dynamite player on the wing at the next level. As of Saturday, Black hadn’t heard from Chris Beard - the two go way back, though - yet since he took over the Texas job, but hears often from Maligi. He also hears from Oklahoma State, Illinois, Texas Tech, Baylor and Oklahoma.

2022 guard Bryce Griggs
2022 guard Bryce Griggs

--- I didn’t catch JL3 Elite and Bryce Griggs on a good day because they were handed an ugly loss by Ejiofor and Beast Up. Griggs showed occasional but inconsistent flashes of his natural scoring ability and craftiness with the ball in his hands, but his and his team’s lack of offense affected his willingness to play defense away from the ball. Texas, Baylor, Houston and “all the Texas schools” are reaching out to Griggs, he said.

Griggs’ JL3 Elite teammate, point guard Austin Nunez, converted a really impressive drive and finish with a hard foul late in the game and showed a quick first step getting into the paint. Although his outside shot didn’t drop, you could see why the likes of Arkansas and Virginia are heavily interested in his point guard skill and shooting.

Another intriguing JL3 Elite prospect was wing Terrance Arceneaux. He started Saturday's game strong with a couple smooth scoring moves in the mid-range and as his body fills out, he could become a force on the offensive end with the requisite defensive tools to play in a switching defense. Although he was mostly quiet, like the rest of his team, in the second half, Arceneaux showed why he finished the high school season as one of the top players in the state and should emerge as one of the state's top offensive playmakers at his position.

--- Vincent Iwuchukwu provided one of the jaw-dropping moments of the event when he put the ball on the floor from the perimeter and scored with a left-handed layup through a foul. But he was in foul trouble against Beast Up and ended up taking a backseat to Ejiofor’s performance. Regardless, the seven-footer, who is hearing the most from Baylor, has elite physical tools and looks to be as talented as any big man in the country.

--- When Jordan Walsh caught the ball on the move or played in the open floor, he stood out as one of the top players of the event. At times, the 6-7 wing/forward held the ball in the half-court and got out of his comfort zone. But when he was moving his feet and running the floor, he was at home making an impact both on offense and defense. With great length and solid skill, there’s a lot of upside with his game, and one of his best attributes this weekend was his passing. Walsh said that Maligi gave him his first offer way back when the assistant was at Texas A&M prior to joining Beard’s staff at Texas Tech. He’s also hearing often from Cal, TCU, Arkansas, and now since the Maligi and Beard left for Texas he’s hearing from Texas.

--- Playing with Wallace and Pro Skills, Cameron Corhen showed he can flat out shoot the rock from beyond the arc. An active forward with a nice feel for the game on offense, Corhen also showed he’s comfortable capitalizing on low-block touches with moves to either hand. Considering he can really shoot the rock from anywhere and moves well for his size, Corhen, who played with recent Texas commit Jaylon Tyson in high school, should become an in-demand high-major target.

--- The 2022 class in the Lone Star State boasts many bigger guards or wings capable of impacting the game with their defense. Rylan Griffen is another one of those players. One of the best all-around players in Texas, Griffen made his mark in transition on both ends of the floor, was often a pest on defense lurking around the basketball when he wasn’t pressuring it, and showed a promising glimpse of three-level scoring ability accompanying some impressive bounce and noticeable athleticism. His arrow is pointing up and it wouldn't surprise me if he makes a jump in the rankings before the summer is over.

--- Early in the AAU season, there are always candidates to blow up and become big-time, highly rated prospects by the end of the summer. Southern Assault big man Yohan Traore is that guy. Traore, who was listed as 6-10, recently arrived from France and attends Prolific Prep in California. While his rim-running and athleticism immediately stand out, Traore showed he could shoot and handle the basketball too.

So, it’s not a surprise to learn he grew around five inches before arriving in the United States because it would help explain his comfort handling and shooting the basketball, which was on even better display at the 2019 FIBA U16 Europe event. If Traore is unfamiliar with the college recruiting process at the high-major level, my bet is he soon learns quickly.

--- On a loaded Drive Nation team, T.J. Caldwell’s explosiveness and athleticism stood out. He seemed to always be flying through the air to contest rebounds and in the middle of a transition break or half-court drive. I’m not surprised to see he’s already been offered from the likes of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

More under-the-radar is Southern Assault 6-5 guard Quion Williams, but he really helped himself this weekend with defensive activity, aggressiveness on both ends of the floor, and playmaking in transition. Williams was one of those players who was seemingly always moving and around the basketball.

Not an member? We have an unbelievable, limited-time deal for Longhorns fans. Buy one month, and get four months free!. No gimmicks, no hoops to jump through. Come inside, see what you think and we're confident you'll want to stick around for the long haul.

- New users, click HERE to sign up with the promo code.

- Returning free users and past subscribers ... sign in first, and start here to use the promo code.

Don't miss this opportunity to get FOUR MONTHS FREE of

---- - Buy a monthly subscription, and get an additional four months FREE. (Please read the terms of service. Your additional four free months will be granted after your first payment ($9.94 + tax) is fully processed, typically after 72 hours but within a week. Your subscription will renew at $9.95/month after the promotional period ends, unless you cancel. This offer can not be combined with any other offer from the Rivals network).