The 2018 Sunflower Showcase basketball tournament presented by RecruitLook Hoops will tip-off July 26th (Thursday) and run through July 29th (Sunday) in the Greater Kansas City area. The 18th year of this event is shaping up to be one of the best events in the entire country with over 1,500 high school recruits set to compete over the 4 days.
Each year the Sunflower Showcase features some of the best high school prospects for college coaches to evaluate. Prospects can expect to see high-major college coaches all the way down to division three coaches in the gym scouting their next big-time recruit.
“We don’t play for any type of trophy in this event. We try to get as many quality teams in the field and match them up accordingly for college coaches to get a good evaluation,” says Mike Enright, Tournament Director. “The trophy recruits are competing for is a scholarship offer.”
There have been a lot of athletes that have come through this event that go on to play in college, and coaches are finding everything from NBA caliber players to hidden gems.
“There were 4 first round NBA picks in the 2017 draft and 4 more in the 2018 draft that played in the Sunflower Showcase. There is big-time talent in the gym as you can see from the NBA draft picks, but the reason so many college coaches attend the Sunflower Showcase is depth in the talent pool we’ll get at the Sunflower Showcase,” says Enright.
The now NBA players Enright was referring to are:
Jayson Tatum (AAU: St. Louis Eagles)
John Collins (AAU: Florida Flash)
OG Anunoby (AAU: St. Louis Eagles)
Tony Bradley (AAU: Southern Stampede)
Colin Sexton (AAU: Southern Stampede)
Josh Okogie (AAU: Southern Stampede)
Landry Shamet (AAU: KC Pacers)
Ray Spalding (AAU: Travelers)
Those players along with the likes of Bradley Beal, Jayson Tatum, Derrick Rose, and Blake Griffin are just a few of the other NBA players that have once competed at the Sunflower Showcase.
Over 200 college coaches attended that 2017 Sunflower Showcase, and there should be similar coaches in attendance for the 2018. Preceding the Sunflower Showcase this year is the Larry Hughes Elite Camp presented by RecruitLook Hoops. The Larry Hughes Elite Camp runs July 24th-25th and will feature a who’s-who of national recruits. College coaches have already started registering for both the Larry Hughes Elite Camp and Sunflower Showcase — taking full advantage of the talent that will be in Kansas City over the 6 days.
“We founded Larry Hughes Basketball Academy as well as our BTS (Basketball Training System) to develop athletes’ basketball abilities and basketball IQ — as well as their character and life skills,” says Larry Hughes, Founder of LHBA and BTS. “We share the same vision [with RecruitLook Hoops] when it comes to assisting youth within the sport of basketball. We’re excited to build leaders on and off the court.”
The Sunflower Showcase is open to the public and will cost $10 per day. It runs all day Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and half a day on Sunday.
Here is a preview of some of the players and teams that will be there.
***Important*** All offers listed were gathered from AAU coaches, JUCO coaches, VerbalCommits, Rivals, ESPN, Scout, PrepHoops, and 247Sports. I apologize for any inaccuracies.
Michael Foster, 2021, Wing/Forward, 6’8”, plays AAU for Kevon Looney Elite. Ranked #3 overall in his class by ESPN.
“On top of an impressive looking physical frame, Foster is super-skilled and wields a feathery jumper with deep range. He was unstoppable playing up two age groups on the 17u level. Foster is a legit contender for the number 1 spot in 2021.” –Eric Bossi, Rivals lead college basketball writer
Offers: Foster recently de-committed to Arizona State, and says ASU is still on his target list. Recently added LSU and Texas A&M offer.
Adrian Griffin, Jr., 2021, Shooting Guard, 6’5”, plays AAU for PSA Cardinals. Ranked #17 overall in his class and the #1 SG by ESPN.
Griffin has the chance to be truly special. He’s got the genes with his brother going to Illinois and his dad, Adrian Griffin, spending six seasons in the NBA and now an assistant coach with the Toronto Raptors. Griffin has a little bit of everything in his bag…scoring at all 3-levels, mid-range, long-range, good handles, and gets after on the defensive end. It’s impressive what he brings to the court each day. Griffin was one a few selected in his class to participate in the Nike Elite 100 Camp this summer.
Offers: Wake Forest, Maryland, Providence, St. Louis, Seton Hall, St. John’s and others.
Franck Kepnang, 2021, Center, 6’10”, plays AAU for PSA Cardinals. Ranked in the top 50 overall in his class.
Kepnang was also one of a select few 2021 players invited to the Nike Elite 100 Camp, and he was recognized as being one of the best shot blockers at the camp. Kepnang is a freak athlete that is only starting to tap into his immense talents. We know he is a beast on the defensive end, and his stock will continue to rise as his offensive game catches up.
Offers: Pittsburgh, Washington, VCU, Dayton, St. Louis and others
Terry Armstrong, 2019, Shooting Guard, 6’7”, plays AAU for Kevon Looney Elite. Ranked #55 overall in 2019 class.
It’s probably easier to say “who hasn’t offered” Terry Armstrong at this point. The super-skilled wing is a playmaker that is being recruited by just about every high-major in the country. Armstrong is capable of playing at the highest level, and not just the highest collegiate level…he has NBA potential. Shooting 48% from the field and 38% from 3-point at 6’7” is going to get coaches interested. Mix in his athleticism, bounce, and college-frame…he’s going to get a ton of coaches looking at him this July. There are things that Armstrong does that separate him from other recruits… ability to shoot the three in transition off the pass or bounce, shooting the three off the 1-on-1 matchup, overpowering players going to the basket, and a freak athlete in the open court.
Offers: Michigan State, Arizona, Wake Forest, Xavier, LSU, Oregon, Arkansas, Georgia, Georgia Tech, UNLV, Arizona State, Oklahoma, Florida State, and others.
Roman Wilson, 2019, Power Forward, 6’10”, plays AAU for KC Pacers. Ranked #74 overall in 2020 class before reclassifying this year.
A great looking prospect that has made huge strides the past couple of years. He’s really developed some inside moves going to the left or right and finishing with both hands. He’s athletic and can dunk just about anything. High majors like Kansas, K-State, and Mizzou all started tracking the local KC product is freshman year – liking the 6’10 player that can move like he can move, and can handle the ball and shoot it some on the perimeter. His game is starting to take shape with his ability to put the ball on the floor to create shots or scoring opportunities at the basket. He’s also a big-time shot blocker and inside presence on defense.
Offers: Tulsa and Wichita State. Interest: Kansas, Mizzou, Nebraska, K-State, Creighton.
Akol Arop, 2019, Forward, 6’5”, plays AAU for OSA Crusaders.
Arop is an intriguing prospect. He’s a big small for forward position at the high major level, but he’s got high major talent. Trying to figure out where this athletic, bouncy prospect fits best is a challenge. However, what we do know, Arop has high major talent and coaches are starting to realize. He’s picked up a handful of D1 offers since the start of July live periods. As Arop develops a better presence on the perimeter and becomes a threat to score consistently from 3 – he’ll be on the radar of tons of high majors.
Offers: San Diego, Nebraska, UAB, Towson, Drake, and others.
Zach Loveday, 2020, Center, 7’0, plays AAU for Louisville Magic. Ranked #71 overall in 2020 class.
Loveday is skilled and fluent with his movement for being a 7-footer. He’s really good at going North-South with and without the ball. An uptempo college game wouldn’t be an issue for him, especially since he can shoot it from deep. And the southpaw has a pretty sweet jumper! He’ll start to separate himself from the rest of the 2020 bigs as he continues to work on his lateral movement & explosiveness. All the other tools are there!
Offers: Florida, Indiana, Purdue, Louisville, Xavier, Ohio State, Stanford.
Bryce Thompson, 2020, Combo Guard, 6’5”, plays AAU for Oklahoma Run PWP. Ranked #46 overall in 2020 class.
Thompson is listed as a combo guard, but we think he is best suited to play out of the shooting guard spot. He’s a guard that has tons of moves and different ways to get buckets. Very creative and intelligent with and without the ball as he looks to score and get his teammates involved. He’s constantly moving and always in a scoring threat position…sign of a well-coached player. Active defender with quick feet and hands. He’ll be able to guard the 1-3 once he gets more muscle on him.
Offers: Kansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Iowa, Colorado and others.
Kalib Boone, 2019, Power Forward, 6’8”, plays AAU for Oklahoma Run PWP. Ranked #104 overall in the 2019 class & #1 overall in the state of Oklahoma.
Keylan Boone, 2019, Small Forward, 6’7”, plays AAU for Oklahoma Run PWP. Ranked #152 overall in the 2019 class & #3 overall in the state of Oklahoma.
The Boone twins are both committed to Oklahoma State University. A huge pickup for the Cowboys! Kalib is more of post presence than his brother, while Keylan is more of a shooter and slasher. Kalib is long and athletic with an abundance of energy around the basket. For a slender frame, he plays much bigger than he looks and is a beast on the offensive glass. Keylan is a deadly shooter that can play inside-out. Gets most his scoring in transition and from the mid-range game out. He’s tough to defend as he’s equally good at going left or right to get his shot.
Tyler Cochran, 2019, Combo Guard, 6’3”, plays AAU for Hoopers Basketball Club. Ranked #18 overall in the state of Illinois.
Strengths: High major programs are wanting to see how he develops this spring and summer. Cochran has all the talent in the world to play Division 1 basketball, but coaches are still trying to figure out if he is a true PG or more suited for the 2 spot. He does a little bit of everything throughout the course of the game and is a true “stat sheet filler”.
Offers: Western Michigan, Northern Illinois, Toledo, UIC and others
Jamarion Sharp, 2019, Center, 6’11”, plays AAU for Pocket City Basketball.
Jamarion Sharp is starting to get some attention on the recruiting scene, recently visiting Western Kentucky University. Sharp has some work to do on the offensive end of things, but he is a long-lanky defensive presence down low. Moves well for almost 7′ and is a tremendous shot blocker. Projects to be Mid-Major Player.
Offers: Jacksonville State, UT-Martin
Xzavier Jones, 2019, Wing, 6’5”, plays AAU for Playground Elite. Ranked #9 overall in the state of Wisconsin.
Fearless. That is the best way to describe Jones’ game. He loves having the ball in the big moment, always wants to guard the opposing teams best defender, and will never back down from any player. He’s an above-average shooter, so playing the 2 at the next level is doable. He’s at his best when playing off the ball, but he has good enough handles to play some point. We think he is best playing the wing-forward role where he can use his athleticism to score, rebound, and defend multiple positions.
Offers: Bradley, IUPUI, St. Louis, Wisconsin-Green Bay
Amir Gholizadeh, 2019, Shooting Guard, 6’6”, plays AAU for Toronto Basketball Academy
Amir is one of the best shooters in the event. He has a pretty shot with a nice release. He can get his shot of going to his left or right…on the pass or dribble. Knows how to create space with ball fakes, jab steps, dribble…to get his shot off. Has elevated his game to add in the ability to score in the mid-range and attacking the paint.
Offers: High Point, Canisius
Tyson Acuff, 2020, Point Guard, 6’3”, plays AAU for REACH Legends. Ranked #11 in the state of Michigan.
Acuff is a tough matchup at the PG spot. He’s got a toughness to him that you just can’t coach/teach. He excels at getting to the lane and reading the defense quickly… pass to open defender on the outside, dish it down-low, or finish it on his own. His size and toughness enables him to play through contact as he gets to the rim. He has a good catch-and-release on his jumper – like how his shot doesn’t alter whether he’s mid-range or 3-point range.
Offers: Buffalo and Cleveland State
Caleb Grill, 2019, Guard, 6’3”, plays AAU for Next Level Hoops Academy. Ranked #3 in the state of Kansas.
Grill is a guard that does a little bit of everything…and does it well. He’s explosive with his first step and has the bounce to throw down monstrous dunks. He gets great elevation on his jumper that allows him to pull up from just about anywhere on the court. He’s athletic and knows how to play the game – son of a coach.
Offers: Texas Tech, Bradley, Washington State, Air Force, Weber State, Drake, Missouri State and others
Jaduhkiss Soto, 2019, SG/SF, 6’6”, plays AAU for Team Speights. Ranked #27 in state of Florida
Soto plays primarily on the outside as a wing but has started to develop some moves to be effective at scoring mid-range and in. A good slasher at hitting the angles to create scoring chances, he’s good at finding the open man on slashes too. He’ll get recruited based on his superb shooting abilities, but coaches will like the different skill-sets he’ll bring to the table.
Offers: Florida Golf Coast, Florida International, Wofford, VMI, and others
Dionte Ware, 2019, Combo Guard, 6’3”, plays AAU for Tennessee Tigers. Ranked #14 in state of Tennessee.
All-District and All-Region, Ware is a guard that will blowup on the recruiting scene this year. From his HS coach: “He is a Guard that’s very versatile, can score many different ways; back-to-the-basket, off-the-dribble, mid-range and from deep. He plays multiple spots for us and can score on all three levels.”
Offers: Arkansas State and Canisius
Justin Headrick, 2019, Forward, 6’7”, plays AAU for Tennessee Tigers
Headrick is an All-Area, All-District, All-Conference player, and Team Captain. A perfect big for the D2 level, and can play his way into LM/MM talk with a big summer. Plays post in high school, but we see him as a better stretch-4 in college. Headrick has a nice set of post moves and extended his game to the 3-point line this year. We saw him hit 7 3’s in one game. He can also play straight up and take defenders to the rim off the bounce.
Connor Guthrie, 2019, Combo Guard, 6’3”, plays AAU for Pocket City Basketball. Won Player of the Year in Kentucky for Region 1.
Connor Guthrie is a 3-sport standout at Mayfield HS. He also plays varsity baseball and football. However, basketball is probably is best option for college. He was just named the Region 1 Kentucky Player of the Year! A true combo guard…he plays both the 1 and 2 spots about the same. Good at getting to the lane and scoring on mid-range and floaters, good at reading the defensive angles to get into scoring position off the ball, and a flat out hustle machine. He’ll be the first to get on the floor for a loose ball.
Tobias Roland, 2021, Combo Guard, 6’3”, plays AAU for Oklahoma Run PWP. Ranked as the #2 player in the state in his class.
Roland is tough combo guard that can play on or off the ball. His handles aren’t flashy, but they are good enough to get the job done. What separates him at the #1 spot is his ability to score from all over the court combined with his passing skills and court vision. His abilities with the ball in the open court are fun to watch. He has a plus jumper with range.
Matthew Stone, 2021, Shooting Guard, 6’3”, plays AAU for Oklahoma Run PWP. Ranked as the #4 player in the state in his class.
Stone can play some point guard but is suited playing at the shooting guard spot. He’s impressive with his shooting abilities from all over the court — mid-range to NBA-range, Stone can make it. He’s an extremely smart basketball player that hustles nonstop…always getting on the floor for loose balls.