Briscoe, Jackson, Dorsey Light Up Vegas Night

On Friday in Las Vegas during the final July viewing period, we spent the morning taking in Las Vegas Classic action at Spring Valley High School and Clark High school and spent the evening at the Las Vegas FAB 48 at Bishop Gorman High School.

We went off the beaten path to view mid and low major prospects at Clark High School and then settled in to watch the New Jersey Playaz and their top 10 in the country performer Isaiah Briscoe take on Belmont Shore and their highly-regarded duo of Tyler Dorsey and Vance Jackson.

It took overtime for the NJ Playaz to defeat Belmont Shore 90-86 in a game that had the Bishop Gorman main gym buzzing.

While Vegas is mostly void of the big-time matchups of elite players at the same position seen in yesteryear, the New Jersey Playaz-Belmont Shore game had that. To top it off, it was as well played a Grassroots game we’ve witnessed in recent memory from a standpoint of competitiveness, electricity and showmanship.

We that in mind, we present our top five day two Vegas performers:

Vance Jackson, St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.)/Belmont Shore (Calif.) 6-8 SF 2016

It seemed impossible to top the seven 3-pointers this sweet-shooting wing had in Belmont Shore’s early Friday win versus the Houston Defenders, but he managed to that and then some versus the NJ Playaz in the Friday night main event at the FAB 48. Jackson has always been one of the best shooters in the national class of 2016, but in this game he was aggressive on both ends, mixed it up on the boards and was as engaged on both sides of the ball as we’ve ever seen him. It was a big stage and Jackson stepped it up and had many veteran observers calling it a signature performance that could catapult Jackson into All-American status as early as next season. Jackson, who is unlikely to return to St. John Bosco for his junior campaign, finished with 32 points on 11-of-19 field goals, including 7-of-11 3-pointers, and 3-of-5 free throws. His most telling statistic, however, might have been the nine rebounds he collected.

Isaiah Briscoe, Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.)/New Jersey Playaz Gold (N.J.) 6-3 PG 2015

It’s just real unfortunate with four seconds remaining in regulation versus Belmont Shore, Briscoe went down in the key with what appeared to be a serious left ankle sprain after stepping on foot of defender. We don’t know his exact injury status, but we’d be quite surprised if he played another game this weekend. Briscoe is the nation’s best point guard in the Class of 2015 for a variety of reasons and he showed why versus Belmont Shore. He is simply too strong for nearly any high school player to handle. He can finish with a variety of moves at the rim or drop off for an assist right before the play is about to go South. Even with the West Coast’s best on-ball defender, 6-foot-2 Jeffrey McClendon (Quartz Hill, Calif.), draped over him one half of the game, Briscoe was efficient and a dominant court presence. He made 9-of-11 field goals, including 3-of-3 3-pointers and 3-of-3 free throws, to finish with 24 points. He also did a solid job defensively.

Tyler Dorsey, Maranatha (Pasadena, Calif.)/Belmont Shore (Calif.) 6-4 SG 2015

This combo guard has his fair share of critics, but it’s hard to knock his overall ability and gamesmanship on big stages. After battling with Briscoe at the Pangos All-American Camp in June, round two lived up to its advance billing. No big guard in the country puts more pressure on defenses, as he lives at the free throw line and knows how to draw contact when re-gathering on loose balls or offensive rebounds. Dorsey also doesn’t get credit for his on-the ball defense, although he does get out of position off the ball a bit more than his future college coach would like. Although Belmont Shore didn’t get the win versus the NJ Playaz, Dorsey’s performance showed it’s hard to keep him out of any credible national top 10. He made 7-of-15 field goals and 12-of-16 free throws to finish with 26 points while adding four assists.

Temple Gibbs Jr., Seton Hall Prep (Scotch Plains, N.J.)/New Jersey Playaz Gold 6-2 2016

From a family of guards, Gibbs is coming into his own as a big-time player. He’s solid in nearly every facet of the game and for this report, gets big-time credit for hitting the 45-foot desperation heave to send the game versus Belmont Shore into overtime. The NJ Playaz proved to be a lot more than just Briscoe, as evidenced by pulling out the win without him for the final two minutes. Gibbs scored a team-high 26 points. The contributions of 2017 6-2 guard Trevon Duval (17 points), including four clutch free throws late in the game, cannot be overlooked.

Ja’Michael Brown, Madison (San Antonio, Texas)/210 Jayhawks Odell (Texas) 6-1 PG 2015

In our time spent at Clark High School earlier Friday, Brown was as impressive as any player we evaluated. He’s a physically strong point guard in the mold of a poor man’s Marcus Smart. We’re not putting him in the caliber of the former Oklahoma star and 2014 first round NBA Draft choice, but he possesses many of the same qualities when it comes to physical presence and ability to run a team. Brown has an explosive first step and is a competitive athlete with a football background as a wide receiver. In a 69-59 victory over Force (N.M.) in 17U action, Brown hit 3-pointers, scored 16 points and did a good job of creating for his teammates and mixing it up on the offensive glass.