This week’s Starting Five are five players in the 2019 class, regardless of current recruited level, taking a step up in their game.
Paxon Bartley, 6'3" shooting guard; Oakland City (Wood Memorial) - Pocket City
Bartley began the Spring hot, taking over as the vocal leader of the Pocket City Basketball 2019 team. A plus athlete, Bartley is beginning to gain confidence in his outside shot that is allowing his first step to be even more lethal against defenders. Transitioning from small school Indiana high school basketball to high level grassroots basketball was less of burden for Bartley so far this Spring.
For Bartley, his college level will be dependent on his willingness to take open jump shots and his ability to defend ball handlers. His athleticism combined with his strong frame make him a match up problem at the 16u age level, if he continues to develop and stays passionate.
Armaan Franklin, 6'4" shooting guard; Fishers - UA G3 GRIND
The development of Franklin's range has only made his driving ability even more of a weapon. While he still needs to drive with more certainty going to his left, his strength has been getting to the rim with his right. He's also finding teammates better off the dribble.
Franklin has improved off the ball defensively, able to make plays with his length, and a couple of times a game, he's able to get out in transition where he really thrives.
Mason Gillis, 6'5" power forward; New Castle - UA G3 GRIND
One of the best athletes in the 2019 class, Gillis has put more time toward basketball in the summer, and it's paying off. He's excellent in the paint, active on the glass on both ends. His motor overall is at a high level.
Away from the paint his game is skill set is still very much a work in progress, but it is improving. At 6'5", he's undersized for a PF at higher levels, but his ability to get the basket is improved from the beginning of his sophomore season. Gillis' jump shot will ultimately decide what level he plays in college, just being more of a threat away from the paint, but his improved mechanics (more fluid of a shot) provides a good glimpse of what his shot could be.
Max Newman, 6'7" power forward; Monrovia - Grand Park Premier - Thompson
One of the state's leading rebounders, Newman rebounds out of his area, and he can be a rip and run type of offensive threat. Getting used to better athletes in the summer season is an adjustment, but his ability to make plays in the half court off the dribble has been a pleasant surprise this summer.
Newman has 3pt range, something that will be more necessary during his school season next season, and the next step in his game will be scoring and having offense run through him. He sees the floor extremely well off the catch. Creating a shot for others will be big as he becomes a bigger focal point in Monrovia's offense.
Craig Young, 6'6" power forward; Fort Wayne Wayne - Indy Heat
If there is a better athlete among bigs than Gillis, it's Young. Young is one of the top track athletes in Fort Wayne, and ultimately, football may be his best sport. What sets him apart is his defensive ability on the perimeter, and his ability to make plays on that end of the floor. He's able to get into the gap, as well as protect the rim.
His offensive skill set is developing, and as could be imagined, he's impressive on the offensive glass. Good in the low post, he's at his best driving from mid-range.