175a02f0 0c2d 11ed 9dfb cd22418d118c

Bronny James, seen with Sierra Canyon High School during a 2021 tournament, had a strong showing this past weekend at the Border League event in Las Vegas. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Bronny James, seen with Sierra Canyon High School during a 2021 tournament, had a strong showing this past weekend at the Border League event in Las Vegas. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS — Bronny James started his senior season on a high note over the weekend at the Border League. The 6-foot-2 point guard made a strong statement at the fall ball tournament with some of the top high school teams in the nation, with fans packing the gym at Bishop Gorman High School.

In his first game Friday evening, James netted 31 points (including six 3-pointers) and added five assists and four steals. Sierra Canyon, playing as California Basketball Club for the fall season, struggled the rest of the tournament as they try to find their rhythm and chemistry after adding 12 new players to the varsity squad.

“We learned over the course of the weekend that execution is important,” Sierra Canyon head coach Andre Chevalier told Yahoo Sports. “I’m excited about where we can go once they understand their roles. It’s hard right now and there will be growing pains, but it’s only October and there’s a lot of potential with this team.”

James looks physically stronger from the summer AAU season, is more vocal on the court and is the obvious leader of the team this year. Previous to his senior season, James played alongside NBA players Brandon Boston Jr. (Los Angeles Clippers), Ziaire Williams (Memphis Grizzlies) and projected first-round pick in the 2023 draft who is currently at UCLA, Amari Bailey.

“I love where Bronny’s evolved to and his leadership is great,” Chevalier said. “He plays the right way and I think he still needs to be more aggressive, but that will come with time this season.”

Over the summer, James got more comfortable as the primary ball handler and improved his reads off the pick-and-roll option. This past weekend, he showcased a tighter crossover and more polished two-dribble pull-up from the wing.

Playing alongside James this year is his younger brother Bryce (sophomore), Scottie Pippen’s son, Justin, and Penny Hardaway’s son, Ashton. To see the sons of NBA greats on the same team is pretty special and a bit nostalgic.

Hardaway, a 6-foot-7 wing, shot the ball well and is a tough defender who can guard the perimeter or bang in the post down low. On Friday night, James and Hardaway combined for 40 points on 15 of 20 from the floor and 7 of 11 from three with a solid two-man game all night.

Hardaway, a senior, is currently uncommited and holds offers from Kansas, Oklahoma State and Boston College. After a strong weekend, more schools are likely to get involved in his recruitment and Hardaway is a player who could really break out this year and see his stock rise.

Top performers and scouting notes from the Border League

Cameron Boozer

6-foot-9, forward
Columbus High School (Miami), Class of 2025

Boozer, the son of Carlos Boozer, is only 15 years old and might be the best prospect in high school, regardless of class. NBA scouts were in attendance last week to watch Boozer at the USA Basketball minicamp and left the camp more than impressed with the skilled forward.

“He reads the game so well and to think he’s only 15, it’s crazy how good he is at this age,” one NBA scout told Yahoo Sports. “If you ask anyone, they’ll all say the same thing: He was the most impressive player at USA Basketball and one of the best players from the summer.”

Boozer looked comfortable being the primary ball handler at times and stepped into deep 3-pointers with confidence. He’s always looking to advance the ball off a rebound and has a natural feel for the game that many players don’t have at such a young age. Boozer capped off the weekend with a double-double and a win over Sierra Canyon, finishing with 23 points on 6 of 9 from the field and added 13 rebounds, four steals and three blocks.

Cameron and his twin brother, Cayden, are both great passers and are patient when they have the ball in their hands. Cameron has a quick first step off the dribble and runs the floor well for his size. He has early offers from Duke, Florida State, Michigan and Miami.

A.J. Johnson

6-foot-5, guard
Donda Academy (California), Class of 2023

Johnson is a long, shifty guard who transferred to Kanye West’s Donda Academy for his senior season. Prior to the start of the fall season, Johnson attended Chris Paul’s CP3 camp in Los Angeles and held his own in a few scrimmages with Paul and other current NBA players.

In games this past weekend, Johnson took a little bit of time to settle in but once he did, he showcased his incredible pace and change of speed. During Donda Academy’s second game of the tournament, Johnson shot 8 for 11 from the field, knocked down three 3-pointers and finished with 24 points and added four assists.

He needs to tighten up his handle a little bit and turns the ball over if he dances with it too much, but Johnson has high upside as an NBA prospect and has spent the last three summers working out with Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green. Johnson is uncommitted and is down to Texas, Louisville, NC State and LSU.

Jared McCain

6-foot-2, guard
Corona Centennial (California), Class of 2023

No point guard was more poised and consistent this past weekend than McCain. The Duke commit has a lethal jumper and he’ll let it fly with confidence from all over the court. His next-play mentality after turnovers or fouls shows maturity and calmness under pressure (something he’ll need at Duke next year), and there’s a lot of intention to his game and his decision-making.

McCain is an ultra competitor, always seems to rise to the occasion no matter who’s on the opposing side and he’s strong with the ball when getting downhill.

Chris Johnson

6-foot-4, guard
Montverde Academy (Florida), Class of 2023

Johnson was a little inconsistent during the summer AAU season but had a great weekend, especially the first game where he missed only one shot and finished with 23 points and five assists.

Johnson, a Kansas commit, transferred to Montverde from the Houston area and it appears to be exactly what he needed to have a strong start to his senior year. With multiple high-major prospects on a loaded Montverde team, Johnson credits team practices for the jump in his game.

“Practice is 10 times harder than any game,” Johnson told Yahoo Sports. “It’s fun. We all hang out every weekend or in the dorms and we all have bonded and click together and there’s so much talent on this team.”

Cooper Flagg

6-foot-9, forward
Montverde Academy (Florida), Class of 2025

Flagg burst onto the scene this past summer and is one of the top players in a loaded 2025 high school class. Flagg and his twin brother, Ace, transferred to Montverde Academy from Newport, Maine. Flagg hasn’t skipped a beat since this summer.

The versatile forward has a mature game for just 15 years old and has a long frame that he can still grow into. Defensively, he’s an elite shot blocker and disrupts perimeter shooters while closing out with his long wingspan. On offense, he’s a threat in the pick-and-pop and is comfortable stepping into 3-pointers. On a team full of a lot of star power, he will make the extra pass to an open teammate and shows glimpses of high-level plays, reminding everyone why he’s currently the No. 2 sophomore in the country.

Dedan Thomas

6-foot-1, guard
Liberty High School (Las Vegas), Class of 2024

Thomas was a scoring machine Friday against a top-25 program, finishing with 37 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. The crafty left-handed guard scored from a variety of spots on the court and after knocking down deep shots early, he was able to extend the defense and either score in the paint or dish to teammates. Thomas took an official visit to Houston earlier this month and has upcoming visits to Arizona and Gonzaga. Florida, UNLV and UCLA round out his final list of schools.

R.J. Jones

6-foot-2, guard
Wasatch Academy (Utah), Class of 2023

Jones transferred to Wasatch Academy from John Paul II High School in Dallas for his senior year. The sharpshooting guard also participated in Chris Paul’s camp prior to the season with NBA scouts lining the gym. Jones, a Kansas State commit, is an offensive threat with a smooth jump shot and makes his teammates better. He was most impressive this weekend in the open court, finding teammates breaking cross-court or weaving through multiple defenders to get to the rim. Jones chose the Wildcats over Texas A&M, Cal, Colorado and Boise State.

Tyran Stokes

6-foot-7, wing
Prolific Prep (California), Class of 2026

Stokes does not look like your typical freshman with his size and his elite skill set at such a young age. There are still some growing pains to his game and inconsistencies that will work themselves out as he adjusts to a new team and system. He impacts the game positively on both sides of the ball and is a player to definitely keep tabs on the next four years. Stokes picked up an offer from Louisville over the weekend with assistant coach Nolan Smith traveling to Vegas to see the talented 14-year-old play in person. Stokes also holds early offers from Xavier and Arizona State.



Source link