basketball Edit

Baker, Harvey, Hampton shine on first night of evaluation periods

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. — The opening night of the July evaluation periods brought some of the best to the outskirts of Atlanta for the Under Armour Finale. The coaching masses were out, and a large volume of eyes were watching Wednesday’s standouts, including Will Baker,Zach Harvey and RJ Hampton.

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Will Baker made the switch to the Under Armour platform for the month of July, but it didn’t take long for him to become accustomed to his new digs.The super-talented, modern-day center displayed added dimensions to his game as he created for himself off of the bounce, finished through contact with his off hand and made some plays out of high-low sets. His motor was running at an all-time high, but his usual toughness didn't drop off, and that toughness helped him produce whenever physicality was needed.

The star of the evening, Baker remains a priority for the top programs nationally, and head coaches from Texas, Stanford, Kansas, Georgia, Texas A&M and UCLA were all on hand. The Bruins remain the team to beat, especially after a solid 48 hours spent in Westwood last month for his first official visit. Either way, Baker stole the show and cemented his standing as a can’t-miss prospect out of the 2019 class.


In a battle between four five-star prospects, it was four-star guard Zach Harvey who improved his recruiting profile the greatest. A do-it-all guard who stands over 6-foot-4 but is best used on the basketball, Harvey checks all of the boxes. His recruitment has been in a stall pattern in recent months, but that could change drastically as a slew of offers are coming. Thanks to his ability to make others better, his understanding of how to get open and his ability to guard all three perimeter positions, the time is now to buy stock into Harvey. Scottie Lewis, Bryan Antoine and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl each had a few of their own moments, but Wednesday night’s affair was highlighted by the Zach Harvey coming-out party.

And there were plenty of heavy-hitting coaches in attendance. Head coaches from Pitt, Duke, Oregon, Louisville, UCLA, Penn State, Wake Forest, Kansas, Arizona, Georgia, Nebraska, Stanford, William & Mary, NKU, UConn, Texas A&M, Richmond, WVU and DePaul were all on hand for the Team Rio And KC Run GMC contest, which featured Lewis, Antoine, Igiehan, Robinson-Earl and Harvey.


R.J. Hampton is beginning to slide fully into the lead guard position of his class. And while his team went down in defeat, it was encouraging to see the five-star guard put his body on the line for his team, even though the outcome of his game was decided. A tremendous play-maker - especially around the basket - Hampton, who has been known in the past as a scorer first, was more about creating for others. To see someone of his stature play so hard - and on each and every possession - shows just how good he wants to become.

Speaking of which, the belief that he is one of the best was reflected by the coaches on hand for him on Wednesday. Head coaches from Texas, Oklahoma State, Kansas and UCLA took in his evening contest, as did assistants from Kentucky and Duke, as Hampton remains one of the best in the high school ranks. A possibility to reclassify into the 2019 class remains on the table but, either way, Hampton is an obvious talent.

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