Scout.com talked to more than 100 college coaches to get their take on who was the most competitive player they saw during their July travels.
For recruiting purposes, July is a vital month for college coaches.
The month consists of three five-day evaluation periods, where coaches can be on the road evaluating and gathering information on players.
The final evaluation period concluded at 5 p.m. on Sunday. On Monday and Tuesday, I reached out to more than 100 head coaches and assistants to get there take on who they thought was the most competitive, most underrated and best overall player they saw during the month.
The first of this three-part series focuses on the players that the coaches voted on as the most competitive.
Out of 106 total votes, Chris Clarke
, a 6-foot-6 combination forward out of Virginia Beach (Va.) Cape Henry Collegiate, received the most with 14.
Clarke was a big part of Boo Williams’ run to the semi-finals at the Nike Peach Jam, as well as the AAU Super Showcase championship. He’s active on both ends of the floor and relentless on the glass.
“Chris is a ferocious defender, always playing with a relentless motor,” one high major coach said. “He impacts the game in so many ways. He is a team guy who just cares about winning and plays with a blue collar mentality each and every possession."
At Peach Jam, Clarke showed he could impact a game in a variety of ways. He averaged 15 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.6 steals a game.
“I loved Chris Clarke's competitiveness because he seemed to be shot out of a cannon compared to the rest of the players,” another college coach said. “I saw him at a 9 a.m. game at Peach Jam and you could just tell that everyone else was sleep walking but it mattered to him. He was a beast. The coaches never had to run one play for him and he was the best player on the court on both ends.”
Donovan Mitchell, a senior-to-be at Wolfeboro (N.H.) Brewster Academy, received the second most votes from college coaches with 11.
The 6-foot-3 guard was one of the biggest stories of July. He was a known recruit, but unranked by Scout.com. That will change when rankings are updated in a couple of weeks. Mitchell is a tough, physical guard that attacks the basket with aggression and defends with intensity.
|Mitchell is due a jump in rankings
“He had some moments where you just saw the competitive juices come out of him,” one college coach told Scout.com.
“He is a rare combination of full effort and total control,” The City coach Arjay Perovic said when asked about Mitchell. “He is the total package.”
Isaiah Briscoe, who led the NJ Playaz to a Peach Jam championship, and Cheick Diallo were tied for the third most votes with six. Grant Weatherford and Jaylen Brown each received five votes.
Other players that received multiple votes in this category include Chris Silva
, Dillon Brooks
, Luke Kennard
, Rayjon Tucker, Allonzo Trier
, Ben Simmons
, Edrice Adebayo, Jalen Brunson
, Kentrell Barkley
, Terrance Davis, Thomas Bryant
, Tyler Davis
and Chase Jeter
. In all 44 players received a vote.
Like the college coaches I was out every day of the July evaluation periods. When thinking about the most competitive players I saw this July, I quickly narrowed my list to choose from to three – Cheick Diallo, Chris Clarke and Donovan Mitchell. While the later two received the most votes from college coaches, Diallo is the player I’m going with. Don’t get me wrong, Clarke and Mitchell are competitive and tough players and great choices for this category. But Diallo’s effort and energy has stood out to me for a while and that continued in July at the LeBron James Skills Academy and at Peach Jam. At 6-foot-9, he plays physical and is an aggressive rebounder and shot blocker. I think he consistently plays harder than the opposition night in and night out.