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July 11, 2012

LBJ Skills Academy: What We Learned

LAS VEGAS - With the 2012 LeBron James Skills Academy all wrapped up we take one final look back at the event before moving on to coverage of July's "live" period for college coaches. Here's a look at what we learned.

Andrew Wiggins is the best player in the land

Some had been quick to anoint Canadian import Andrew Wiggins as the best prospect in high school hoops regardless of class. At Rivals.com, we wanted to take some time before making that declaration. After watching the No. 1 player in the class of 2014 again in Las Vegas, there's no point in holding off any longer.

The 6-foot-7 wing from Huntington (W.V.) Prep has done enough and shows so much promise that it's hard to argue against him as the best prospect in the land. Everything he does on the floor seems to come easy. Effortless athleticism, a jumper that needs to be respected, natural drives to the hoop and effortless body control allow him to dominate the competition, and he seems to just be scratching at the surface of what he can do long term.

Kevon Looney is for real

In April, Kevon Looney was elevated to No. 11 in the class of 2014. At the time, locals filled our email inbox and voice mails with messages. For whatever reason, many Milwaukee locals just didn't see the Hamilton High product in the same light that Rivals.com did.

Now, after a few months of competing against and often dominating some of the nation's best competition, the 6-foot-8 rising junior has firmly established himself among the nation's elite.

A strong performance at the LBJ Skills Academy was simply another feather in the cap of the skilled, aggressive and high-volume rebounding swingman. Because of his strong spring and start to the summer, Looney has become one of the most hotly recruited players in the country.

Wesley Clark's recruitment will blow up in July

Even in today's world of high school basketball where the nation's major events and top travel teams are heavily scouted, guys can slip through the cracks. Wesley Clark is a perfect example of that.

The 6-foot point guard from Romulus (Mich.) High played for a major team -- Detroit based The Family -- on Nike's heavily covered EYBL circuit. Still, he showed up in Vegas outside of everybody's rankings and viewed as more of a upper end mid-major prospect. A solid player to be sure, but not somebody that anyone was making a fuss or spending much time writing about.

So, Clark either had the best two or three days of his entire basketball life, or his talent was simply under-appreciated. At this point, we're going to lean toward under-appreciated as the senior-to-be looks like a sure-fire high-major point guard and a safe bet to enter the 2013 Rivals150 post-summer. He enters the July live period with USC, Dayton, Xavier and Creighton already onboard with his recruitment, and we'd expect the crowd of teams angling for his services will swell greatly over the next few weeks.

Future bright for Stone and Rabb

The vast majority of players in attendance at LBJ were either rising seniors or juniors. However, thanks to a classic duel on the last day of camp, two of camp's hottest names were two of the youngest players. If people didn't know about Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd's Ivan Rabb and Milwaukee (Wisc.) Dominican's Diamond Stone, they certainly do now.

Fellow class of 2015 big man Karl Towns has been heavily touted, and for good reason after a great freshman year and making the Dominican Republic's national team at just 16 years old. However, Rabb and Stone are in the same class, and both look to be five-star prospects and top 10 players in the class of 2015 at this juncture. Rabb gives you the length, athleticism and skill to face up, while Stone is a crafty back to the basket performer with great hands and a pure shot all the way out to the three-point line.


Eric Bossi is the National Recruiting Analyst for Rivals.com. He can be reached at eric_bossi@yahoo.com. You can follow him on Twitter @ebosshoops.



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