With the July recruiting period upon, here are 5 players who's progress I'll be watching this month.
#5) Carson Shanks - Minnesota Select White 17s
The list begins with the big man in the middle. Select has struggled this spring as has Shanks. Now Grassroots basketball is definitely not a big man's game so good matchups have been difficult to find. Witness the bracket game in St. Cloud where Select couldn't find a good lineup to play against a smaller, more athletic Heat Reese team. That was with or without Shanks on the floor. Shanks definitely has the skills to perform above the level he played at in the spring. Will he show that in July?
#4) Anders Broman - Howard Pulley Blue 17s
Broman took his game to another level this spring. With Tyus Jones out at the Pulley tournament, he showed the ability to run the point. He also showed quality ability to knock down open jump shots along with his usual scoring prowess. That garnered him a handful of D1 offers. The Peach Jam in the middle period is July's biggest stage. Does he move to yet another level there?
#3) Connor Voss - Minnesota Comets Hanson 17s
Voss is the other big man in the middle on our list. His story is entirely different. He sat out a large chunk of the high school season due to injury. That carried over to him missing the entire April recruiting period as well. But he's gotten his legs back over the last 2 months and its showed. His performance at the North Dakota camp earned him an offer from the (insert non-offensive NCAA complaint nickname here). Is he trending toward a July where he breaks through onto a bigger stage?
#2) Reid Travis - Minnesota Pump N Run 17s
The final 2 both fall into the category of "His team will go as far as he takes them". Reid Travis was the catalyst for the PNR 15s run to the Super 64 title game last year. For now, he's the 2014 player that has kind of been forgotten about. The PNR team is his again and needs him to play at a high level. Does he solidify a high major ranking with his play this month?
#1) Darrion Strong - Minnesota Magic Robertson 17s
I would argue that no single player has been more critical to his team's success than Darrion Strong. Before joining the Magic, they were struggling to score points and their record (albeit against a difficult schedule) showed it. It also showed when the Comets trounced the Magic 2 weeks ago with Strong not playing. Strong joined the Magic in May and has been the single most dominant offensive player I've seen in the last 2 months. He led the Magic to the Northstar Hoops Report State Championship with a virtuoso performance in the title game and to a runner up finish (double OT loss at the buzzer) at the Great Plains Alliance tournament at the end of the month. It will be very interesting to see what interest he has after the month is over.