College basketball recruiting news: Kansas hires MJ Rice, Oregon hires Dior Johnson and Duke hires Caleb Foster to shine at Top Flight Invite


Typically, the unwritten rule in Las Vegas is that what happens there stays there, but a handful of players taking part in the Top Flight Invites last weekend put in performances that were just too good to be. kept secret.

Here are some of the things we have seen in the West.

RELATED: MJ Rice Focused On Getting Kansas National Title

Dior Johnson’s ball defense is underestimated.

The gift and curse of being an elite point guard with a three tier scoring ability, high basketball IQ, and an exceptional feel is that these attributes tend to trump everything else.

Johnson, a starter from Oregon, is also capable of coming from the offensive end, and that’s a true definition of the cliché sporting phrase ‘extension of the coach to the field’, but that’s his defensive prowess. which are often the most overlooked part of his game.

Johnson plays with a fiery advantage on defense, stalking opposing leaders over 94 feet, frustrating them with active hands and anticipating moves to beat them on points.

The bottom line is that Johnson’s ability as a defender on the ball makes opposing guards uncomfortable and when that happens the guards tend to rush, get off balance and out of rhythm. It’s quietly one of the main things that makes Johnson an elite.

MJ Rice’s chip takes his game to the next level.

Rice, a Kansas player, has been one of the nation’s most consistent players over the past year, averaging 23 points per game at Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) As a junior, then with 23 points and seven rebounds. and five assists per game for Team Loaded-NC last summer on the grueling adidas 3SSB.

Still, Rice didn’t feel like he was getting the respect he was due nationally and it has created a basketball-sized chip on his shoulder since late summer. .

Ironically, this elevated his game to a level that undeniably bolsters his stature as the top 10 prospects for the 2022 class in the SI99 rankings for the 2022 debut in December.

Rice is at his best when in constant attack mode, blowing through his defender and maneuvering into the lane to finish strong at the edge. This allows it to effectively drain the three points.

Last weekend at the Top Flight Invite, Rice seized the opportunity by winning back-to-back duels, first with elite winger Chris Livingston, then with consensus No.1 prospect Shaedon Sharpe, who both head to Kentucky.

Rice rose to the challenge defensively as well, asking to protect every player and force them to unusually dismal offensive nights.

Rice averaged 21 points in the event.

Consistently staying at that level of commitment in every game is a tall order, but Rice sees the benefits and seems determined to earn her old-fashioned respect.

Jared McCain is an elite scorer on all three levels.

Jared McCain warns 2023.

If McCain’s production at Top Flight Invite last weekend surprised you, you clearly didn’t pay attention.

The 6-foot-2 goaltender averaged 25.6 points per game against some of the best teams in the country, but his dominance was simply the result of a productive summer with Team Why Not (Calif.) In the Nike EYBL. .

Despite sharing the backcourt with Kylan Boswell, one of the top pointers in the 2023 class, McCain managed to average 20.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists per game and led Why Not under Peach Jam E16.

Two months earlier, he had helped Centennial (Corona, Calif.) Win the CIF Open Division title, knocking out the much-loved Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.). McCain is not happy with his name ringing, it is clear from his playing that he considers himself one of the best guards in the country, regardless of his class, and is coming for this date.

Caleb Foster makes perfect sense.

Last month, Foster made a commitment to Duke, subsequently making an already big target, as one of the top prospects in the 2023 class, even bigger.

To combat the extra attention, Foster upped his level of play across the board, averaging 17.5 points, seven rebounds and seven assists to lead Virginia Gold (Oak Hill Academy) to the Top Flight Invites title. Last weekend.

Foster plays with great poise, has elite vision and always sets the tempo; his mid-range jump shot is automatic and opens up avenues for him to exploit defenders in other facets.

Foster has a legitimate chance to be the best leader in his class.

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