July 6 marks the opening of the first July live recruiting period. The opening round games of the NY2LA Next Level Invitational would determine who would move on into the platinum and gold brackets for the remainder of the five-day tournament.

Here are just a few of the names who stood out in 17U action on opening night.

2017 6’8” F Logan Strom – Omaha Elite – The most impressive part of Strom’s game today was his ability to see the floor and pass the ball up ahead. He had some very nice outlet passes that led to easy buckets on the other end. He demonstrated that he could rebound the ball, take a few safe dribbles to get out in the open floor and immediately get the ball out to the right teammate. He did not score quite as well as we’ve seen him do in prior NY2LA Association stops, but it’s clear that Strom has many different facets to his offensive arsenal that make him a threat with the ball in his hands.

2017 6’9” F/C Isaiah Poor Bear-Chandler – Omaha Elite – Chandler’s skill set is that of a rim protector, rebounder and occasional scorer. While I wouldn’t label him a shot blocker, he certainly has a knack to do so when he doesn’t allow the offensive player to get by him on a drive or allow the offensive player to get into his body, which limits the space he would have to contest the shot. Isaiah is pretty mobile and he does a solid job rebounding in and out of his area. While his offensive game is still a work in progress, he can score at times on the low block and even occasionally face up to knock down the jumper.

2017 6’2” G Niekie Thomas-Fontleroy – Yanders Law – Fontleroy mainly showed flashes of his abilities on opening night, but there was enough there to be intrigued by. He’s more comfortable being a slasher and has the athleticism to do so. While he didn’t have his best offensive day, its clear there is deceptive athleticism within Fontleroy. Niekie showed he could shoot off the bounce and also knock down an open three. It’ll be interesting to see what he does the rest of the week.

2017 6’7” F/C Corey Boyd – Yanders Law – Boyd, like Fontleroy, was another intriguing prospect who showed flashes of being a college prospect. Corey is an undersized-four type who is mobile enough to cover plenty of ground on defense, while also being a solid rebounder and a surprisingly heads-up passer. Boyd showed he could find open teammates with touch passes, high-low passes and developing as a post passer. Going forward, he’ll need to develop his post game and add a mid-range jumper.

2017 6’6” F/G Simon Wright – MN Comets Elite – Wright has been a consistent standout throughout the NY2LA Association. His ability to defend multiple spots on the floor and to also score inside and out make him one of the more versatile prospects in the Association. Simon has some bounce when in space to go along with a solid frame. He brings hustle and effort to the floor at both ends and is active on defense. Overall, Wright has the instincts to produce and make an impact in a variety of ways.

2017 6’8” PF Jimmy Vollbrecht – MN Comets Elite – Vollbrecht has the upside to develop into both a pick and roll or pick and pop player at the next level. He has solid skill, plays with energy and is a willing screener. I have a feeling we didn’t see his best today, but there was enough seen to make it evident that Vollbrecht could be a solid prospect.

2017 6’3” G Demarius Jacobs – All-In Y & R – Jacobs played arguably the best defense I’d seen from any player today. He was impressive on the ball and blocking shots. He didn’t give up on plays and had a high motor nearly all game long. He’s a deceptive athlete and you learn to appreciate what he can do when he rebounds the ball well for a guard and chases opponents down for blocks from behind. While his offense wasn’t great, he did score on put backs and did a nice job finishing when he had space to do so around the rim. 

2017 6’7” F Justin Bottorff – Quad City Elite – Bottorff is a prospect small schools need to pay attention to. He has length and the ability to stretch the floor with the three. He did a solid job moving without the ball and even posted up a few times. He’ll need to continue to develop that part of his game and become a better finisher around the rim if he’s to use as a go to. Once Justin is able to balance his offensive game, there is upside that schools could see potential in recruiting. 

2017 6’8” F Connor Niego – Chicago Lockdown – Niego possess enough skill that allows him to be impactful at multiple facets of the game. He’s a solid high-low passer, can knock down the open three at times and can play with plenty of energy and effort to tie it all together. His motor and willingness to stay active allows him to be around the ball to make plays consistently for Lockdown.