|Mickey Mitchell: Class of 2015|
Written by: Prospect-Central
Every year there is a new crop of talented young men thrust onto the scene of high school basketball. I am talking about freshmen of course. Now while some of these names might be new to the casual basketball fan, they are by no means a mystery to college coaches and recruiters. In this day and age, with the use of recruiting services and technology, coaches are able to keep tabs on their coveted young prospects easier than ever...and for good reason...these kids can play!!! Now it is obviously to early to call these ballers the "next anything", but when watching these young adults perform it is clear they have the talent to make a name for themselves in the world of high school basketball and possibly beyond. It is always a slippery slope however, when assessing talent that is so young because their games and bodies are constantly changing. For all I know not one of these players will play college ball (highly unlikely) but possible. While I would love to sit here and say that these 10 prospects are names that will become legends, that's just not the case. They are however very good players and worth keeping track of. With out further a due, here are 10 fresh faces from the high school graduating class of 2015. * names are in no particular order.
One of the more recognizable names on the list, Horace Spencer III has been on college coaches radar for over 2 years. When you are a 6'9'' fourteen year old it's easy to see why. While Horace is still very raw offensively and primarily uses his size advantage to do most of his damage, he is not completely un-skilled and he has shown dramatic improvement in just one short year. If you watch all of Horace's clips on my YouTube channel (they are in chronological order) you can see the improvement he has shown from the first video to the last. Horace is rapidly getting stronger and his athleticism is improving by the second. Just a year ago he could barely rise up and jam and now he is able to throw it down with ease. Along with his good athleticism and nicely developing skill set, Horace has a fantastic basketball body. If Horace Spencer III is able to fulfill most of his potential, then there is no telling how good this young man can become.
If you are wondering why there is a grown mans picture next to 9th grader Kejuan Johnson's name, I don't know what to tell you. He is definitely in the early stages of developing the "James Harden" look. Kejuan is obviously well built beyond his years and subsequently has been a dominating force in his class for quite sometime. He uses his tremendous strength and good basketball skill set to get to the rim with ease and finish with authority. Kejuan recently played at the prestigious John Lucas International Basketball Combine; a camp featuring 100 of the best 8th and 9th graders in the world. He left the camp as one of the top performers and cemented himself as one of the best players in the class of 2015. Obviously Kejuan is far from a finished product. He needs to continue to work on his overall game, in particularly his rebounding and defense. As players in his class catch up to him physically, Kejuan will have to adjust by developing new facets to his offensive repertoire. All in all, Kejuan Johnson is a highly touted prospect despite having yet played a game of high school basketball.
Stephen Zimmerman c / 6'10'' 200 / Las Vegas, NV
Stephen Zimmerman is the latest young prospect to be offered a college scholarship even before he has officially entered high school. After putting up an impressive performance at the Adidas 64 club tournament, three powerhouse basketball teams offered Zimmerman a full ride at their schools; the UCLA Bruins, Uconn Huskies and Kansas Jayhawks. UNLV Runnin' Rebels' have offered a scholarship as well, but that's a given since he lives in their back yard. Not too shabby for the 14 year old if I say so myself. Stephen will be 15 in September and will attend Bishop Gorman who of course is led by senior sensation Shabazz Muhammad. I am not sure how much playing time the young freshman will receive because Bishop Gorman is returning many well established upperclassmen, but he should get a chance to display his nice basketball skill set and excellent athleticism for his size fairly early in the season. It will be very interesting to watch Stephen develop throughout the up coming years because he clearly has the size and skill level to do big things in the game of basketball.
Tyler Dorsey sg / 6'4'' 170 / Pasadena, CA
Tyler Dorsey is a nice developing prospect out of the southern California area. He was recently one of only three 8th graders (Steven Zimmerman & Horace Spencer III) invited to the prestigious Pangos All-American basketball camp. Dorsey has nice handles and a quick first step. This allows him to blow by defenders and get to the rim where he has shown the ability to finish through contact. Tyler needs to continue to add muscle and work on his outside shooting because at times it can be suspect. Despite being so young, Tyler has been a name that has been known throughout the AAU circuit for quite sometime. Back in February, he led his Cali Styles team (along with Steve Zimmerman) to the 14U AAU championship at the "Clash for the Cup". His 20 points along with Zimmerman's 16 were the deciding factor in the victory. If Tyler is able to grow 2-3 more inches he can stay at his natural wing position. If not, he will have to handle the rock more like a point guard, which I believe he can do.
Malik Newman sg / 6'3'' 170 / Jackson, MS
It is a given, like death and taxes, that every upcoming high school basketball season will have a prospect labeled as the "best" incoming freshman. Malik Newman MIGHT be that freshman. Blessed with excellent athleticism and a tremendously advanced skill set for his age, Malik Newman has been called a basketball "prodigy" by some. While I tend to hate to put such lofty expectations on a 14 year old, it is clear Malik has some serious game. He has been compared by some scouts to NBA star Tyreke Evans because of his natural ability to score points in a flurry. Once again, maybe a little too soon to compare a 14 year old to an NBA star, but people who have had a chance to see Malik play live have been thoroughly amazed. From what I have seen he is more than capable of beating his man off the dribble and his jump shot is very impressive to say the least. Whether Malik Newman is in fact the "real deal" or not, I have no idea. What I do know is he seems to have enough talent and athletic ability, that if coupled with a good work ethic and mind set, could take him very far in the game of basketball.
Where do I begin with "young" (year older than classmates) Mickey Michell??? Of all the names on this list, Mickey Mitchell is the first name I remember hearing about....and for good reason. To sum it up, "Dude has more game than Milton Bradley!!!". Even though Mickey is a year older than his peers, I still believe he would be one of the best players in his class if he wasn't. He recently put up a fabulous performance at Clay Dade's Fab Frosh All-American Camp as well as helping his AAU team Texas Titans to an 8th grade national championship. I watched him play in the semi-finals and finals of that tournament and I was very impressed to say the least. He has the ability to play a "point forward" type of role ala Miami Heat's Mike Miller. By no means am I comparing the freshman to a legitimate NBA'er, but his ball handling and passing ability is extremely impressive for his size and he has shown the ability to hit a consistent 17 footer as well. One glaring issue with Mickey is the fact that he is also a highly coveted football prospect. This could hinder his development as a basketball player. I am not sure what the future holds for Mickey Mitchell, but it is clear it looks very promising.
Isaiah Briscoe pg / 6'2'' 180 / Union, NJ
Isaiah Briscoe comes from a family of point guards. His cousin is the 2011 NBA #1 draft pick Kyrie Irving and he is not shy in letting that be known. Like Irving once was, Isaiah is a highly coveted prospect despite his young age. He has already received two scholarship offers from Seton Hall and Rutgers respectively. After watching Isaiah play this spring and summer, I am sure those are not the last offers the 9th grader will receive. Because of a significant growth spurt, Isaiah has transformed his once chubby body into a strong, solid 6'2'' frame. He is able to use his tremendous strength to bully his way into the lane and finish through contact or dish the rock for an assist. Shows incredible poise with the basketball, Isaiah possesses a very high basketball IQ, which allows him to truly run a team like a point guard should. While Isaiah is not the most athletic player on this list, he is still quick enough to beat his defender off the dribble as well as stay in front of smaller, faster guards. If Isaiah continues to show a steady work ethic, he should be one of the better point guards in the class of 2015.
Karl Towns, Jr. c / 6'10'' 220 / Piscataway, NJ
Karl Towns Jr. might not be as well known as some of the other names on this list, but his game should change that this upcoming season. I have only seen a little bit of Karl play, but form all appearances it seems he is a legit prospect for the next level. Standing 6'10'', the fourteen year old obviously has the size to compete at the high school level and beyond. It is his advanced skill set however, in particularly his shooting, that really sets him apart from the rest of the players in his class. Karl has tremendous range on his jump shot and is able to get it off quite easily due to his impressive size. Add this to his rapidly developing post play, and it appears Karl Towns Jr. will be a serious problem for almost any defender this upcoming season. He also seems to be more than capable of getting after it on the defensive end as well. Karl has displayed a solid work ethic which you love to see from prospects with his size and talent. Along with his physical tools and solid basketball skill set, Karl Towns Jr. has all the makings to be a serious force in high school basketball for the next four years (unless he pulls a "Jeremy Tyler" of course). With the amount of emphasis his parents put on education, that does not seem likely.
Jamar Ergas sg / 6'3'' 170 / Scarborough, Ont., CAN
If you haven't seen any Jamar Ergas highlights on YouTube yet, then I don't know why you are reading this article because you are clearly not a fan of high school basketball...lol...JK. But seriously though, this Canadian sensation has to be the most exciting player to watch in the class of 2015. He is able to jump through the roof and throw down outlandish windmill and tomahawk jams with ease. Jamar is more than just a freak athlete. He has very nice handles to go along with good court vision and a willingness to pass the ball. His elite athleticism and unselfishness allows him to create easy buckets for himself or his teammates. He also has shown very active hands on the defensive side of the ball. As of right now, Jamar's jumper is a bit streaky. If he can develop a consistent stroke, he might be near impossible to guard. Whether he chooses to play his high school ball in Canada or the United States, Jamar Ergas will be dunking over his classmates for sometime to come. *Jamar Ergas will be playing in the United States for his freshman season at the well renown Montverde Academy in Florida.
Skal LaBissiere pf/c / 6'9'' 190 / Memphis, TN
Skal LaBissiewhoooo??? If you don't know who Skal LaBissiere is, you're not alone. Besides college coaches and recruiters, Skal (might be Skai) LaBissiere is relatively unknown. Skal has only been in this country for 8 months due to the devastating earthquakes in his homeland of Haiti. While he hasn't played much in this country, Skal does have some decent statistics to look at (HERE) from his youth club performances in the spring. He really had his coming out party however, at Clay Dade's Fab Frosh All-American Camp back in July. In the All-Star game of that camp (watch it HERE), Skal showed great ball handling abilities despite his 6'9'' frame as well as very active hands and feet. Even with his highly developed basketball skill set, what impressed me the most from watching that All- Star game was his beautiful stroke and deadly accuracy from long range. It appears Skal LaBissiere is another talented young freshman ready to make a name for himself in the world of high school basketball.