Seal Beach, CA – The 2nd July NCAA Live Period took place from Wednesday, July 20th through Sunday, July 24th and featured numerous events throughout the Western Region of the United States. However, the location and event that would host the top teams and top prospects from top to bottom would be the Adidas 3 Stripe Select Basketball Open tournament held at AIM Sports Complex in Seal Beach. This club season, the three shoe companies would hold a total of 12 events, with 11 of those events being held from the Midwest to the East Coast. The Adidas Open would serve as the only shoe circuit event to be held west of Texas, which is interesting considering how much talent comes out of California alone. The event started on Wednesday with a showcase format and schedule of games before play-in games and bracket play kicked-off on Thursday.
I tried to see as many of the boys 17u and 16u clubs as possible but given the number of teams and the schedule overlap of games per division, I was not able to see every team in attendance. This article takes a look at 15 of my personal Top 2023 Performers at the event, and is based on how well they played when I watched them live. Although this article is my Top 15 2023s, the players are listed in alphabetical order, not a ranked order. For each player, I provide a brief evaluation of their skills, how they played at the event, the player’s name/height/graduation class, school they attend, and their club team name. I will follow up this article with a look at the top underclassmen I watched at the event, which should be released later this week. I begin with Marzuoq Abdur-Razaaq.
2023 6’6 Marzuoq Abdur-Razaaq (Overland/Aurora CO)-Colorado Hawks:
Abdur-Razaaq is a physical and high motor guard/wing that can lock-up on defense and make tough baskets through contact. Abdur-Razaaq asserted himself throughout the Hawks first round win over Jalen Green Elite, as he bullied his way through his defender routinely and finished with 12 points. Abdur-Razaaq has a strong handle on the ball, gets downhill with a good burst of speed when attacking off the perimeter, the strength to muscle through traffic at the basket, and draws fouls getting to the free throw line. Defensively, Abdur-Razaaq uses his quick hands and aggressive on ball defense to create turnovers that lead to transition buckets, is active on the glass, and plays with a relentless motor on every play.
2023 6’3 Finley Bizjack (Byron Nelson/Trophy Club TX)-Southern Assault:
Bizjack is a crafty and skilled true lead guard that makes plays for others, as well as being able to create his own offense. The Butler commit had a solid performance against Compton Magic in the Round of 16, as he made quality decisions all game long, hit some timely threes, kept pressure on the defense, finished with 14 points, and was key in helping Southern Assault get to the Final 4 of the event and finishing 3rd Place. Bizjack keeps the ball on a string, has tight handles to weave through the defense, nice moves to change direction with the ball keeping the defense off balance, strong finisher through traffic, showed he can score the ball from 3-levels effectively, and has a smooth stroke on his perimeter shot. Bizjack has good court vision and makes quality decisions when attacking off the dribble to make tough passes in tight windows with accuracy.
2023 6’2 Jordan Clayton (Bradford Christian Academy/Lawrence MA)-Mass Rivals: Featured in Picture
Clayton is an athletic combination guard that impacts the game in various ways on both ends of the court. Clayton had a huge game on Day 3 of the Adidas Open in the Round of 16, as he went for a game high 18 points and played a key role in helping Mass Rivals win the 17u Division this past weekend. Clayton has a tight handle on the ball, great burst of speed when attacking off the dribble, does not waste dribbles and gets downhill into the teeth of the defense, is a creative finisher over height around the basket, and is enough of a threat from the 3-point line to force defenders to over pursue, allowing him to attack driving lanes. Defensively, Clayton is a lock-up perimeter defender, has quick hands that disrupts his opponents dribbling space, and generates turnovers that lead to easy offense.
2023 6’6 Arden Conyers (Westwood/Blythewood SC)-Upward Stars:
Conyers is a lengthy wing/guard that can create with the ball in hand or get open for shots off the ball. Conyers had a hot start in Upward Stars first round game against Team Lillard and finished with a team high 12 points to advance to the Round of 16. Conyers would connect on several threes that kept the lead from reach, as Upward Stars defeated Southeast Elite in the Consolation Bracket. Conyers is efficient from beyond the arc off the dribble, has the handles and makes good use of the wide crossover to create separation from his defender, uses his long strides to get by his opponent, and is a creative finisher at the basket. Conyers is a solid rebounder with the handles to push the ball up the court and initiate the transition offense.
2023 6’6 Freddie Dilione (Word of God Christian/Raleigh NC)-Team Loaded NC:
Dilione has great size and a solid frame playing at the lead guard position with good feel and quality decision making when running the point. Dilione has great court vision with the ability to see over most perimeter defenders, makes good reads to open teammates when attacking off the dribble in the half court setting or pushing the ball in transition, and has the build to get to the basket through traffic in the paint. As a scorer, Dilione has the moves and handles to get by his initial defender, has good touch on mid-range shots with the ability to hit stop and pop jumpers and more difficult fadeaways and one-footers, and is efficient with the 3-ball off the dribble. Dilione rebounds well, can defend multiple positions effectively, and finished with a team high 16 points in his team’s win over Southeast Elite to advance to the semifinals of the Adidas Open.
2023 6’11 Baye Fall (Accelerated Schools/Denver CO)-Colorado Hawks:
Fall is a lengthy and skilled forward/center that holds down the paint on both ends and can space the floor with his perimeter shooting. Fall was one of the top nationally ranked prospects at the Adidas Open and one of the top performers at the event and catalyst for the Hawks; who made it to the Elite 8 before falling to eventual runner-up Dream Vision. After a relatively quiet first half in the opening round of bracket play against Jalen Green Elite, Fall would take over in the second half, as he finished with 20 points and at least 10 rebounds to lift the Hawks to the Round of 16. Fall has great size, length, and athleticism to dominate the boards on both ends, gives himself countless putback opportunities and limits the opponent to single shot possessions, is an elite shot block with the ability to extend out to the perimeter to alter shots, and showed some versatility as a defender when forced to defend smaller players coming off ball screens. Fall has nice touch around the basket, looks to dunk anything close to the cup, is very accurate on his mid-post shots from ten to twenty feet, and has the ability to connect on the 3-ball to open up the court. Fall has enough handle to push the ball off the glass and initiate the transition offense.
2023 6’3 Christian Hammond (Colorado Virtual Academy/CO)-Utah Prospects:
Hammond is a two-way combination guard that can score, make plays, and lock-up on the defense end. Hammond showcased his ability to score from various spots on the floor and create perimeter turnovers leading to easy offense against JSizzles at the Adidas Open. Hammond is a knockdown 3-pointer shooter off the dribble, has solid handles and shifty moves to put pressure on the defense, the court vision to find open teammates when attacking the interior, and has a nice stop and pop mid-range shot. Defensively, Hammond has quick hands, gets into his opponents dribbling space, and jumps passing lanes to generate turnovers and get into the open court. He had a few lobs to teammates that further displayed his quality court awareness.
2023 6’10 Jayden Hastings (Orlando Christian Prep/FL)-Southeast Elite:
Hastings is a strong and athletic forward/center that protects the rim on defense and is looking to throw down anything near the rim. Hastings had some monster dunks in Southeast Elite’s Day 3 and Day 4 games against Team Loaded NC and Upward Stars. Hastings is an elite rebounder on both ends, gets numerous scoring opportunities on putbacks, and showed good touch on finishes within 10 feet. Hastings, with elite bounce and height, is a superior shot blocker and rim protector, limits opposing offenses to single possession chances to score, and has the agility to close off the lane when guards try to attack off screens and switches. Hastings showed that he can connect on mid-post shots and was one of the most dominant bigs at the event.
2023 6’6 AJ Johnson (Taft/Woodland Hills CA)-Jalen Green Elite: Featured in Picture
Johnson is an elite lead guard with the height, skill, and feel to know when to create for himself or make plays for others. Johnson has jumped up the national rankings since the April NCAA Live Periods and is expected to be a top 25 prospect for the class of 2023 across various national rankings before the 2022-2023 high school basketball season. Johnson was one of the top performers at the Adidas Open and he had his offensive arsenal on display in the opening round game against the Colorado Hawks, finishing with 17 points (8 points coming off free-throws). Johnson has elite ball handling skills, shifty moves to keep his defender off balance, makes good use of the hesitation move to freeze his opponent with the ability to accelerate and get to his shot spots, and can score with accuracy from all 3-levels. As a playmaker, Johnson has impressive court vision, finds teammates in tight windows off the dribble penetration, and is able to break down defenses with his ability to see over most opposing perimeter defenders.
2023 6’4 Kenyon “KJ” Lewis Jr. (Duncanville/TX)-Southern Assault:
Lewis is a strong and athletic combination guard that can bully his way to the cup or knock down tough perimeter shots with accuracy. Lewis was one of the top overall performers at the Adidas Open and had a strong showing in Southern Assaults win over Compton Magic in the Round of 16, as he would take over in the second half scoring 12 of his game high 16 points. Lewis has elite moves and handles to create off the perimeter, gets downhill with force and the physicality to finish through contact, solid footwork to work off his pivot foot and make difficult mid-range shots, and is effective from the 3-point line to open up driving lanes. Lewis is active on the glass, which allows him to push the pace of play in the open court where he can get a head of steam and go coast to coast or pull-up from the perimeter. He is a versatile defender with the agility to defend on the perimeter and the strength to defend bigger players on switches.
2023 6’11 Andrew McKeever (Granada/Livermore CA)-Team Lillard:
McKeever is a center/forward that makes his presence felt in the post on both ends with the ability to space the defense with accuracy from the perimeter. McKeever is dominant on the glass, gets his team multiple possessions on offense while holding the opponent to single possessions on the defensive boards, and is a productive rim protector altering and blocking shots. McKeever has nice touch on finishes around the basket, good footwork and post-moves to finish around or over defenders with equivalent height in the post, and draws a lot of fouls earning numerous trips to the foul line, where he was over 80% in the two games I watched him play. McKeever had 12 points and 9 rebounds in Team Lillard’s opening game against Upward Stars.
2023 6’4 Mavrick Miller (Houston/Germantown TN)-Arkansas Hawks:
Miller is a true shooting guard that can light it up from the 3-point line. Miller was key for the Hawks on Day 4 of the Adidas Open as he hit numerous timely threes that prevented BTI Select from being able to close the gap, as he connected on four threes and finished with 12 points. Miller moves fluidly off the ball and off screens to create space, squares his body up nicely to be ready for catch and shoot opportunities, has a smooth stroke on his shot with a quick release, and gets good lift on his jumpshot to create more space between him and his defender. Miller rebounds well for his position, gets the ball to his ball handlers, and gets up court to his shot spots ready for transition perimeter shots.
2023 6’7 Pryce Sandfort (Waukee Northwest/IA)-D1 Minnesota:
Sandfort is a wing/forward that is continuously moving without the ball and can light it up from beyond the arc. Sandfort did all he could to keep D1 Minnesota close in their opening round game against eventual Adidas Open 17u Champs, Mass Rivals, as he finished with 14 points and connected on 3 threes. Sandford has good court awareness, moves fluidly off the ball and screens, gets to his spot to be ready for passes, and has a quick but sweet release on his perimeter shot. Sandfort is a knockdown 3-point shooter, has enough handle to pump fake and get to the mid-range area, and has good touch on his jumper.
2023 6’10 Brock Vice (Houston/Germantown TN)-Arkansas Hawks:
Vice is a physical and skilled power forward that can impose his size in the post, as well as space the defense with accuracy from beyond the arc. Vice had an impressive 22-point game on Day 4 against a solid BTI Select 17u squad, as he displayed his versatility as a scorer and a presence in the post on both ends of the court. Vice has the size and strength to finish through contact around the basket, showed he can operate on the perimeter with enough handle to get to the basket off the dribble, is effective from the 3-point line pulling the opponents bigs away from the basket and opening up driving lanes for teammates, and generates fouls to get the the free-throw line where he showed consistency. Vice does a great job on the glass, alters shots around the basket, and is effective setting ball screens and either rolling or popping off the screen for open looks. Stretch four that can play inside-out or outside-in.
2023 6’8 Mayar Wol (Moravian Prep/Hudson NC)-Team Loaded NC:
Wol is a lengthy and athletic wing/forward that makes his presence felt on both ends of the court, whether in the post or on the perimeter. Wol had a good showing with 14 points in the quarterfinals of the Adidas Open, as he had a four to five minute stretch in the second half scoring the ball and causing turnovers that gave Team Loaded a lead that Southeast Elite never recovered from. Wol is dominant on the glass, gets rebounds out of his area, uses his wingspan and agility to alter shots in the post or on the perimeter, has the handles to push the pace of play in transition, and can defend multiple positions at a high level. Offensively, Wol uses the long crossover dribble to create separation from his defender, the moves to get by his opponent using his length to extend for finishes at the basket, the lift and height on his jumper to shoot over any defender from the perimeter, and showed he is effective knocking down a pair of threes. Impressive ability to impact the game in countless ways.