Very Good Players coming through the High School/AAU Pipeline.
I hardly follow AAU basketball. However, if one is a recruiting wonk like me, it is inevitable to click into links on AAU tourneys and the like. Generally it is the big media talking heads elevating their favorite high school / prep school hunk…promoting the kids in their hallowed top 100/150 listings.
This year I have paid more attention. Following the major media on the many kids on Creighton’s 2015 recruits list…and now mainly due to interest in Kyrie Thomas, plus the Justin Patton commit to CU. I generally give a side glance to the Iowa and Minnesota teams, and occasionally the KCMO, St Louis, and Illinois teams. Justin’s commit has helped me (and many others) to focus in on the Nebraska contingent of AAU teams.
Omaha, Lincoln, and a few towns in the hinterlands have been very productive. Nebraska High School Hoops, Nebraska Basketball Development, Omaha Elite, and the Omaha Sports Academy are to be commended, as well as the several others I am not familiar with. The OSA teams, the Omaha Elite, and the Nebraska Bison teams have captured much acclaim this year. Winning does that. But more surprising is the fact that there seems a minor explosión of talent occurring in the (former) Beef State. Akoy last year, now Thurman and Thomas, Patton and another handful in 2015, with mentions of a few in 2016 and 2017. Granted we are not talking 20-25 kids, only 4-5 here, 2-3 there, but a string of them from 2013 to 2017, including several that I am unaware of. Definitely enough talent for universities to take notice of.
Quite the shock for those accustomed to overlooking local kids. The Patton offer and commit upset quite a few folks, as no one expected the Jays to take a local – given that we are all over the country chasing 4 and 5 star kids. Very surprising that only 1 or 2 Jays diehards had even heard of Justin, let alone had seen his early play. Given that Justin has grown tremendously and blossomed as a player over this last season, it is easy to see why no one outside of Omaha would have known about him either – until these last few March-July AAU events. He has justifiably received much complimentary notice and comments after AAU tourneys in St Louis and Las Vegas.
CU routinely had Omaha kids (Bellevue West, Central), as well as the Iowa contingent, on the roster during the DA regime. Some have duly noted that Creighton has to protect its’ home turf – snatch up any home grown, high level talent that develops. I would agree with such sentiment. Perhaps we have not seen the last “surprise” offer and commit out of the state for the Jays. Nebraska HS talent indeed looks promising for the forseeable future.