Six to watch during the NHSI
PGs Myck Kabongo, Quinn Cook, Tyrone Johnson highlight players on display at NHSI
Here is a look at six players we are looking forward to watching at the third-annual ESPN RISE National High School Invitational. The games will be aired on ESPN's family of networks starting with the quarterfinals on Thursday (ESPNU at 2 p.m. ET).
Austin Rivers (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park)
2011, SG, 6-foot-4, 189 pounds
The Duke signee is the most prolific scorer in high school basketball and he keeps improving. Since he was a sophomore he put up big numbers by breaking down defenses with confidence and competitiveness. He has developed many shots and moves over the years including his deep range out to 28 feet, pull-up jumpers from the mid range and floaters in the lane. Like all truly great scorers, he also knows the value of creating fouls and getting to the line. Has alredy carried Winter Park to two state championships, broke records playing USA basketball and won a gold medal last season.
Myck Kabongo (Toronto, Can./Findlay Prep)
2011, PG, 6-2, 170 pounds
The Canadian native is a one-man fast break with exceptional speed and vision in the open court. Whenever Kabongo has the ball in his hands, watch him lead the break and push the pace for Findlay Prep. The Texas signee is always looking to find his open teammates, but is also a much improved scorer. He can knock down 3s, get into the paint at will and thrives in pick-and-pop or pick-and-roll situations. Defensively, he applies excellent ball pressure and has the quickness to harass opponents into turnovers.
Quinn Cook (Hyattsville, Md./Oak Hill)
2011, PG, 6-1, 180 pounds
Cook is a battle-tested lead guard who is at his best when he looks to involve his teammates and then capitalize on scoring. The Duke signee is a big reason Oak Hill won 27 games this season. He is adept at pushing the ball in transition as he looks to score quickly or set up his team's half-court offense. When left alone, he makes defenders pay by knocking down open shots and can get by defenders off the bounce whenever he see's a path.
Tyrone Johnson (Plainfield, N.J./Montrose Christian)
2011, PG, 6-3, 185 pounds
He's a big, strong and physical point guard who can create his own shot or knock down shots off screens and will take on any challenge. Pay attention to how the future Villanova Wildcat can put defenders on his hip, carry them into the lane and finish. However, he is also someone you have to guard behind the line because he will stroke it with accuracy, if left alone. His physical makeup, mental toughness and talent will help Villanova next season.
Braxton Ogbueze (Charlotte, N.C./United Faith Christian)
2012, PG, 6-1, 185 pounds
The future Florida Gator has all the tools to be a major factor for United Faith. He is strong with a low base that helps him score and find his teammates off his penetration. Keep an eye on him in transition attacking the rim or knocking down 3s with great release and rotation in the half-court set.
Joell James (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./ Dwyer)
2012, C, 6-9, 250 pounds
He is a big-bodied, low-post player who uses his bulk and girth.to gain an advantage inside. In the post, James is able to perform an assortment of moves. His low-post skills are developing and his left-handed touch inside with deep position is hard to stop and if opponents gives him enough space, he can hit a jump shot. James also uses fakes to get defenders off balance and will power through defenders to avoid a blocked shot. In transition, he finds open teammates cutting or spotting up and overall is a highly-coveted prospect considering Miami, West Virginia and Florida, among others.
Paul Biancardi, who has been a head coach and assistant on NCAA tournament teams, is the national director of basketball recruiting. He is also one the voters for the McDonald's All-American Game and Gatorade Player of the Year. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.