Franklin Agunanne isn’t quite a household name, but those in the know understand how special of a prospect he can become. Standing 6’10 with a great frame and wingspan, he has ideal size for a center and at The League’s stop in Dallas, showed that he is developing the athleticism to match.
Running with Team Texas, Agunanne was simply a best around the rim. He made some tough catches and finished drop-off passes with powerful dunks at the rim. After receiving considerable playing time on the national level this past season for St. Louis Christian, Franklin appears ready to show people on the summer circuit why he is one of the best center prospects for the class of 2018.
Keep checking CityLeagueHoops for more updates on Franklin.
Bobby Portis isn’t a guy who you’ll catch in all of the highlights, but he has quietly been one of the more successful big men from the high school class of 2013. He went to Arkansas and despite having the opportunity to leave school after his freshman year, opted to come back for one more year to make the NCAA tournament. Standing nearly 6-foot-11 in shoes, Portis has the size to play either post position in the NBA. At the workout that we took in during our time in Chicago, he brought outstanding intensity to every drill, shot it well from mid-range, and led by example the entire time that he was on the floor working with Tim Anderson and Ryan Thompson.
Here is the full interview that we did with Portis following his workout:
CityLeagueHoops: What are you looking to improve upon in the pre-draft process?
Bobby Portis: I’m just fine tuning my game. I’m working on my post game and working on my jumper a little bit. Throughout the end of the season, I started to slack on my jumper a little bit.
CLH: What do you think that you’re going to surprise teams with in the workout process?
BP: My overall physicality and defense that I bring to a team. I feel like my style of play is going to help me a lot at the next level with just being active on defense and going hard.
CLH: You had the opportunity to jump to the NBA after your freshman year. What made you come back?
BP: I just wanted to get my team to the NCAA Tournament. That’s something that Arkansas hasn’t been to since 2008. That was a big goal for me.
CLH: If I’m an NBA GM, why do I want Bobby Portis on my team?
BP: You want Bobby Portis on your team because he is always going to do everything that you say. He’s a low maintenance guy who is always going to bring it every day, both in practice and the games.
CLH: You don’t seem to be a very vocal guy, but you definitely picked up the group today with how hard you want. Are you more of a lead by example type?
BP: I’ve never been much of a vocal leader. I’m kind of a shy, stick to myself type of guy. I feel like I bring the intensity that every team needs.
CLH: What would you say that the biggest improvements you made under Coach Anderson were?
BP: Just always going hard and pushing for that second, third, and fourth effort. I felt that in high school, it was kind of easy. In college, it was more physical and I had to bring that second effort to go hard every single play.
Cliff Alexander has been a physical monster on the floor for quite some time and after an up and down year at Kansas, he looks to show people that they didn’t see all that he had to offer during his brief tenure in college. Having signed with Priority Sports, we got a chance to get in and watch him train with Tim Anderson and Ryan Thompson in Chicago. Alexander displayed an improved jumper, remarkable explosiveness around the rim, and developing moves on the block throughout the two hour workout that we took in.
Here’s the full interview that we did with Cliff:
CityLeagueHoops: What do you feel that the most important things that you learned at KU under Coach Self were?
Cliff Alexander: I learned a lot of knowledge from Coach Self. I learned the history of basketball and was just a sponge to everything that he told me.
CLH: What are you looking to improve upon most in the pre-draft process here with Tim Anderson?
CA: My skill set. I need to get my ball-handling where it needs to be and get a more consistent jumpshot.
CLH: You played both against and alongside Jahlil Okafor throughout your high school career. Do you think that helped your development?
CA: It helped me a lot. Every time we stepped on the floor, I was an underdog. I had to go out and prove everyone wrong that I could battle with him.
CLH: Do you think that you will be able to add your jumpshot as a weapon to your game in the NBA?
CA: Most definitely I plan on adding my jumper as a weapon. It’s not my mechanics. I just have to keep practicing.
Getting things going with our 2015 NBA Draft coverage, we stayed in Columbus and went to check out one of Ohio State’s very own. Training at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas yet finishing his degree at OSU, we were able to watch Thompson go through an early morning workout with Ohio State assistant coach Jake Diebler. Here’s a look at the workout, along with the full interview that we
CityLeagueHoops: What do you think you’re going to surprise teams with the most during the workout process?
Sam Thompson: I think I’m a better offensive player than people give me credit for. I’m a better creator, I was second on the team in points this season, and I can shoot the ball a lot better than I did at the end of the season. I think that I’ve made some big strides offensively and I’m excited to show it off.
CityLeagueHoops: What are the things that you’re looking to focus on the most throughout the pre-draft process working out with Coach Diebler and out in Vegas at Impact?
ST: Tuning up my jumshot. At times I have a habit of swinging it to the left side of my body, but I need to keep it tight and real compact. The other thing is my handle. I know at the next level I have to be able to put it on the floor to create for myself and my teammates. Those are really the two biggest things.
CityLeagueHoops: You played for two prestigious programs before you reached Ohio State in Whitney Young and the Mac Irvin Fire. How do you think that helped prepare you for Ohio State and beyond?
ST: Like you said, at Whitney Young and at Ohio State, I’ve been on the big stage. I’ve been on the big state for eight years now. I’ve won awards, been to state championship games, won conference championship games, and won the Big Ten championship. I”m well composed, I’ve been there before, and I’ll never be shook in a big game. I know what it takes to win at a high level.
CityLeagueHoops: You’re a guy whose stock was solid enough to bypass Portsmouth and you’re obviously quite confident in your abilities. Why is Sam Thompson an NBA player?
ST: Right this second, I”m an NBA caliber defender. I’m long, athletic, and I can really give some guys problems on the defensive end. I’m a better offensive player than people give me credit for and I’m excited to show that, but tomorrow I can come in and help a team on the defensive end. My work ethic will take care of the rest.
Jerian Grant had an outstanding run this year at Notre Dame and while his squad fell short to Kentucky in the elite eight, he helped himself quite a bit in the process. Training with Seth Cooper on campus before graduation, Grant showed off his improved range, as seen by the 15 consecutive three pointers he made from the NBA line in a workout late Sunday night.
Keep checking back for more NBA Draft workouts, courtesy of CityLeagueHoops and SLAM Magazine.
Chase Adams may just be a freshman, but has received no shortage of media attention. Having just completed his debut campaign at Marian Catholic and owning a Bradley offer, Chase is now running on the AAU circuit with Chicago powerhouse Mac Irvin Fire and is still captivating fans.
During the Fire’s final four run at Bill Hensley Memorial Run ‘N Slam, the 5-foot-2 point guard shocked fans when he did his best Nate Robinson impression by getting up to block a significantly taller Iowa Barnstormers opponent. Though the Mac Irvin Fire ultimately lost the game and Chase battled foul trouble, the pure point guard still reminded everyone in attendance why he is one of the Windy City’s best for the class of 2018.
Keep checking CityLeaueHoops for more on Chase Adams.
While the Nike EYBL stole the show in Lexington, there was a serious amount of talent in other tournaments as well. Held in conjecture with the EYBL, the Kentucky Basketball Academy held the Racing To The Rim tournament, which showcased regional talent along with younger age groups from national powerhouses. Taking home the 15U title was the Georgia Stars, and they were helped by 6’8 eighth grader Jared Jones.
Having played varsity basketball at both Arlington Country Day and Potter’s House in Jacksonville, playing against elite competition was nothing new to Jones. This was evidenced at Racing To The Rim, where he went up and dunked off of one step against his older foes. Not just an athlete, Jones showed off a soft touch to go along with his outstanding frame, making it easy to see why Florida State assistant coach Stan Jones was in the building to check him out.
Skal Labissiere and Thon Maker have long been two of the most intriguing big men in their respective classes. At the Nike Hoop Summit, they teamed up during the game for the International squad, but absolutely went to war against each other at the practices.
Labissiere simply blew away NBA scouts throughout the week. Having played in very limited events that NBA personnel was actually allowed to attend, not many had got a look at the Haitian in the flesh. At the Hoop Summit, they were able to see Skal’s silky smooth jumper, outstanding jump hook, and immense potential on the defensive end. Some even went as far as to compare him to Anthony Davis, leaving you to truly understand how impressive of a week Labissiere had.
On the other hand, Thon Maker showed why he’s likely to jump a year of high school to start his pro career earlier too. He displayed his range extending out to the NBA three point line, exceptional ball-handling for a 7-footer, and ability to go to work from the mid post. The immensely talented Australian prospect showed off his perimeter and inside game, putting forth a concerted effort to show NBA personnel why he will be ready to make the jump to the league for the 2016 NBA Draft.
Keep checking CityLeagueHoops for more Nike Hoop Summit videos.
Zhou Qi has taken the Chinese Basketball Association by storm and after his stellar campaign, showed his talented to NBA personnel at the Nike Hoop Summit. While he didn’t post a huge stat line in the game, he did enough in his limited practice time to draw enough intrigue to likely make him China’s next player in the NBA.
Standing 7-foot-2 with nearly a 7’7 wingspan, Qi has the type of insane length that scouts dream of out of a center. He is quite mobile for a player his size, as scene with his ability to run the floor and get out on ball screens. The aforementioned length that he owns has allowed him to be a solid shot-blocking threat, even though he isn’t the most explosive vertically. On the offensive side, his biggest weapon was absolutely his jumpshot. With range extending close to the NBA three point line, his potential as a pick and pop guy is immediately evident. Blessed with a strong basketball IQ, he has also shown the ability to be an above average passer from the post who is actually able to put the ball on the floor a couple of times.
His 209 pound frame will certainly have to be improved upon, especially guarding the post. While he will need to get tougher, but there is no denying that Qi has the size and talent that will get him no shortage of NBA attention.
Keep checking CityLeagueHoops for more videos from the Nike Hoop Summit.
The We All Can Go All-Stars are always one of the most talented youth teams in the country, and the class of 2019 is no different. 6-foot-5 swingman Antavion Collum is one of the super talents that joined the squad, and the Memphis wing did not disappoint. Already owning ideal size for a college swingman, he showed off his intriguing skills throughout the weekend in Nashville, including on this nasty tip-pass.
Keep checking CityLeagueHoops for more videos from The League