Every monday, MLH will show MixTapes of some of the best high school/JuCo/International Youth players out there. This is to give you a glimpse on some of the best up and coming basketball players. Videos are courtesy of Ball is Life, HoopMixTape and Home Town Hoops. Definitely check out those sites for more MixTapes of the best players coming up the ranks.
Theo Pinson, 6'6, 190 pounds, Wesleyan Christian Academy of Greensboro, North Carolina, Signed with North Carolina
A McDonald's All-American and Jordan Brand Classic participant, Pinson is an explosive guard that will stay home in-state and be expected to contribute immediately for Roy Williams at North Carolina. Pinson is the 10th best prospect according to ESPN, and the 3rd best guard prospect as well. After struggling to find consistent talent in the past five years, Williams seems to have a player that could not only have impact, but live up to his considerable hype.
Pinson is an athletic, tall guard who offers a variety of skills. He displays a strong ability to get to the basket and can finish in a variety of ways. While he can thunder it down, I chose the "non-dunking" MixTape to display his multiple abilities as a guard. He can finish in traffic extremely well, either by layup or the pull up jumper. Furthermore, he shows good vision and passing ability in traffic as well, as Pinson on a consistent basis was able to find cutting teammates for easy layups and alley-oops. What also strikes you about Pinson's game is his intensity. He's a strong competitor who plays hard on both ends, and that is a trait that will cater well to Williams' intense style of coaching. The Tar Heels will be losing some key cogs to the draft this Thursday (James Mcadoo and PJ Hairston, who was ineligible last season), but Pinson looks like he can soften the losses for Williams and keep this Tar Heels competitive once again in the ACC.
Tacko Fall, 7'5, 270 pounds, Liberty Country High School of Taveras, Florida, Undecided
Nicknamed "Taco" because of his first name, Fall is one of the most intriguing senior-to-be prospects in the nation. At 7'5, he would be the tallest NBA player if he entered the draft today, and he has been a bit of a highlight reel player that has packed venues wherever he has played so far.
Fall is still a bit raw as a prospect, as he doesn't crack the ESPN 100 and is only rated as 18th best center prospect according to ESPN. Originally from Senegal, Fall has only been playing basketball since arriving in the United States, and he has experienced a lot of ups and downs in his development as a player. He doesn't really have much of a motor, and his footwork still needs a lot of work, as he is prone to shuffle his feet at times when receiving the ball down low in the post. However, Fall utilizes his height well and uses his size and strength to overpower opponents not only on the offensive end, but defensively as well. As of now, his game is very similar to Hasheem Thabeet, but only a senior-to-be, it is possible that Fall will continue to develop his game and skills to hopefully surpass that projection. Fall is undecided now, but apparently has offers already from LaSalle and Xavier, and is also looking at Baylor, Houston and Princeton.
Dennis Smith, Jr, 6'2 180 pounds, Trinity Christian School of Fayetteville, NC, Undecided
Smith is only going to be a junior next season, but that hasn't stopped him from making waves as one of the best guard prospects in the nation currently. Smith can wow people with exceptional ball handling skills and explosive athleticism. For a guard, he can easily cut through the defense and finish at the rim with exceptional dunks and layups on a consistent basis. One of the strongest aspects of his game is his explosion off the hesitation dribble, as he routinely made minced meat of opposing perimeter defenders with the move which led to either easy dunks or points for Smith, or assists to teammates for effortless buckets.
Smith is rated as the No. 1 point guard prospect and 6th best prospect overall in the Top 247 according to 247 Sports. He apparently is strongly considering to commit to Duke, as evidenced by 10 of 12 of the recruiting experts polled on 247 sports listing Duke as his college landing spot. The decision by Smith would be a solid one, as Coach K has a reputation of developing strong point guards such as Bobby Hurley, Jay Williams, Nolan Smith and most recently, Kyrie Irving. Smith is someone to be paid attention to, especially since he has two years left of high school eligibility.