Updated: Oct 26, 2021
In the latest edition of ‘P.I. Pulse’, Pro Insight’s Matt McKay recaps the second-annual GEICO Top Flight Invite by counting down the top-10 prospects in attendance and spotlighting some additional eye-catchers who showed well this past weekend in Las Vegas, Nev.
After a successful maiden voyage in Phoenix in 2020, Border League returned for year two, highlighted by the event’s top division, also known as the GEICO Top Flight Invite. Eight club basketball teams from five states went at it in a three-day tournament at Coronado High School (NV). For those not in the building or able to catch the coverage on ESPN, here’s our synopsis:
GEICO Top Flight Invite Review
Without National Spotlight (FL) in town to defend their 2020 crown, the 2021 field was wide open heading into the weekend. Aside from Dream City Christian (AZ) breezing through Vertical Academy (NC) 85-69 on night one, all of the first round games were decided by single digits, highlighted by some late-game heroics from 2022 Kentucky commit Chris Livingston to lead Virginia Gold (VA) past LV Orange (NV), 70-69. Prolific Prep (CA) and CBC (CA) also won their opening round games, locking in the semi-final match-ups: Virginia Gold vs. Prolific Prep, followed by Dream City Christian vs. CBC.
In the first semi-final, Virginia Gold was propelled by 2023 Duke commit Caleb Foster’s 20-point, 11-assist double-double as well as some hot outside shooting from LSU commit Devin Ree, resulting in an 84-71 victory over Prolific Prep. In the nightcap, CBC snuck by Dream City 71-68 thanks to a Herculean effort on the glass by 2022 USC commit Kijani Wright, who gobbled up 26 rebounds, in addition to his 17 points. CBC was also aided by sophomore Isaiah Elohim, one of the most polished prospects in the country, who led all scorers with 25. This set up a Virginia Gold / CBC final, which was headlined by blue blood commits and blue chip prospects on both sides. A combined 46 points from the ultra-talented CBC backcourt wasn’t enough to stop Caleb Foster, Chris Livingston, ‘23 Justin McBride and co. on their way to the GEICO Top Flight Invite championship, as Virginia Gold was able to fend off a late comeback effort and win, 70-67.
We’ll get to our ‘Top-10 Countdown,’ but this recap would be incomplete without calling attention to what we found most notable in consolation play, including:
Pop Isaacs’ scoring barrage
2022 Texas Tech commit Pop Isaacs (Air Nado/NV) followed up his first round performance (33 points) by dropping 39 off 8-14 from deep in a 79-59 win over Vertical Academy. Isaacs led the event in scoring at 31.3 points per game. His advanced stats checked out, as well, as he ranked third overall in the event based on Cerebro Sports’ C-RAM metric, with a ‘gold’ score of 12.2.
Jared McCain’s well-rounded production
The event’s second-leading scorer at 25.7 points per game was Jared McCain (Hoop Nation/CA), who dropped 27 on just 12 shots in a consolation win over LV Orange on Saturday. The 2023 top-25 prospect followed up that performance by putting up 17/10/5 in a win over Air Nado, securing a 2-1 record on the weekend.
Donovan Dent’s steady efficiency
McCain’s backcourt mate, 2022 New Mexico commit Donovan Dent, put on a masterclass in Hoop Nation’s win vs. Air Nado by dishing out 12 assists while turning the ball over just once (earning our ‘efficient’ post-event superlative) in 30 minutes of action. He paced his team in points that game as well, scoring 21. Dent also achieved a ‘gold’ C-RAM grade per Cerebro, with a score of 10.9 on the weekend.
Treymane Parker’s ridiculous stat line
2023 top-175 prospect (per 247Sports) Treymane Parker likely moved himself up at least a few spots on the national charts based on his scoring explosion in the event’s final game as he poured in a weekend-high 42 points to go with 5 rebounds, 9 assists and 4 steals. He was the lone bright spot for his team as Vertical Academy got caught on the wrong end of an offensive onslaught vs. Bishop Gorman. Nonetheless, the 6’2“ Parker showed he’s more than capable of flourishing while sharing the floor with other mid-to-high major caliber prospects and will be one to track, moving forward.
Bishop Gorman’s final performance
After two hard-fought battles ending in losses on Friday and Saturday, Gorman’s young, talented roster seemed determined to end the weekend on a high note against Vertical Academy — and did they ever. In a game that never felt competitive, all five of Gorman’s starters scored at least 15, led by sophomore Jase Richardson’s 20 in just 21 minutes (off 7-8 shooting, to go with 11 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals). They broke 100 with several minutes to go, and the final score read 113-94.
Top Flight Invite ‘Top-10 Countdown’
This year’s Top Flight Invite player pool was a deep one. It was quite the chore to whittle down the list and omit so many worthy performers. With that said, the following list is who we deem the best of the best, in reverse order from 10. For context, when ranking, we took into account acute performance in Vegas as well as long-term viability. And with that, here are our top-10 prospects from the 2021 GEICO Top Flight Invite:
10. Jase Richardson
Bishop Gorman HS (NV) | 6’1” Guard | 2024 | 16.0 years old
Event Stats: 3GP, 17.0PPG, 5.7RPG, 3.7APG, 0.7SPG, 53.3FG%, 37.5 3FG%, 100.0FT%
The freaky vertical athleticism may not be there (yet), but the son of 14-year NBA veteran Jason Richardson has some unavoidably strong basketball genes. Comfortable playing on or off the ball, the 16-year-old lefty has a budding offensive repertoire and is capable of carving up defenses in the halfcourt, making plays for himself and teammates in transition, and stretching the floor well beyond the high school three-point line.
9. Mike Price
Sierra Canyon (CA) | 6’3” Guard | 2023 | 17.7
Event Stats: 3GP, 17.3PPG, 3.7RPG, 2.0APG, 3.3SPG, 46.5FG%, 30.8 3FG%, 61.5FT%
One of the most advanced offensive guards in attendance, Price built upon the strong glimpses he flashed in EYBL this past summer with Strive For Greatness with an impressive weekend in Vegas. His Top Flight numbers don’t jump off the page, but it’s how he gets to his spots and generates his production that causes the most intrigue. His defensive prowess popped as well as he came up with 10 steals in three games. At his third high school in three years, Price looks to have wasted no time assimilating into the Sierra Canyon program.
8. Yohan Traore
Dream City Christian (AZ) | 6’10.25” Big | 2022 | 18.7
Event Stats: 3GP, 17.0PPG, 4.0RPG, 1.0APG, 0.3SPG, 58.6FG%, 37.5 3FG%, 66.7FT%
After a dominant spring and summer split between Southern Assault (TX) and Dream Vision (CA), Traore vaulted into a top-10 prospect in the 2022 class. An ankle injury cut his 3SSB run short, so it was encouraging to see the French big man back in action this past weekend. His production fluctuated a bit between the three games, but there are plenty of reasons to be bullish about his future, starting with his fluidity as a rim-runner, his second jump and overall quickness off the ground, his improving passing acumen, and shooting touch for his size.
7. Chris Livingston *Kentucky commit
Oak Hill Academy (VA) | 6’6” Wing | 2022 | 18.0
Event Stats: 3GP, 17.0PPG, 7.7RPG, 3.3APG, 1.3BPG, 1.0SPG, 43.5FG%, 29.4 3FG%, 75.0FT%
The consensus five-star recruit wasn’t as efficient as you might like throughout the tournament, but when things mattered the most, the Lexington-bound Livingston consistently delivered: he hit a momentum-shifting three a few possessions before hitting the game-winner on night one and did most of his damage down the stretch in the second half of the Top Flight championship game, which prompted the Pro Insight ‘clutch gene’ post-event superlative. In addition to being absurdly naturally gifted from a physical tools standpoint, Livingston is a plus-rebounder for his position and an improving court surveyor — it was highly encouraging to evaluate him within the Oak Hill infrastructure, reaffirming that he can impact winning in a multitude of ways, after a rough summer in the win-loss column with We All Can Go (TN).
6. MJ Rice *Kansas
Prolific Prep (CA) | 6’5” Guard | 2022 | 18.7
Event Stats: 3GP, 21.3PPG, 3.0RPG, 1.0APG, 1.3SPG, 46.9FG%, 17.6 3FG%, 65.2FT%
Rice, the future Kansas Jayhawk, is nearly unparalleled in his endearing eagerness to engineer a bucket for his team. He’s close to impossible to stop once he gets a head full of steam, and though he didn’t get going from outside at the Top Flight Invite, he got to the free-throw line around eight times per game and routinely created easy scoring opportunities by leveraging his physical tools, high motor and knack for getting past the first line of defense, no matter the opponent. As he moves up levels, Rice will likely be able to plug-and-play at the 2-through-4 spots, bringing a uniquely versatile positionless skill set to the table.
5. Adem Bona
Prolific Prep (CA) | 6’10” Big | 2022 | 18.6
Event Stats: 3GP, 10.0PPG, 10.0RPG, 1.3APG, 2.7BPG, 0.3SPG, 61.9FG%, 57.1FT%
Despite battling foul trouble for stretches, Bona was an absolute force in the paint for Prolific. From a physical standpoint, the Nigerian big man who plays in the Turkish national team program is reminiscent of a cross between Karl Malone and Zeus. He’s somehow gotten bigger, stronger and more athletic than the 2020-21 version and will undoubtedly terrorize opponents on The Grind Session all season. His athleticism and motor are major differentiators and it’s tough to discount the sense of pure joy emitted by Bona whenever he’s on the court.
4. Jared McCain
Corona Centennial (CA) | 6’2” Guard | 2023 | 17.7
Event Stats: 3GP, 25.7PPG, 7.0RPG, 3.7APG, 0.7SPG, 0.3BPG, 50.0FG%, 45.0 3FG%, 85.7FT%
Pound-for-pound, McCain is one of the most enjoyable high school prospects to watch in the country. There’s very little he can’t do on the basketball court and paired with his competitive streak and intangibles, number-four on this list could realistically wind up being too low, four or five years from now. Despite sharing the backcourt with a formidable teammate in Donovan Dent, the keys to the Corona Centennial car are now in McCain’s hands following the transfer of 2023 five-star PG Kylan Boswell. If his play in Vegas was any indication, he appears primed to drive them toward a successful defense of their 2021 CIF Open Division championship.
3. Isaiah Elohim
Sierra Canyon (CA) | 6’4” Guard | 2024 | 16.3
Event Stats: 3GP, 19.7PPG, 3.7RPG, 2.0APG, 1.0SPG, 0.7BPG, 55.3 FG%, 25.0 3FG%, 80.0FT%
Just the second-youngest prospect on this list, but one of the most mature, natural scorers you’ll find, Elohim has the look and feel of a future 10-year pro. As a scorer, he was a bit of a throwback during CBC’s Top Flight championship run, shooting just four threes in 76 minutes played on the weekend — what’s funny is he didn’t need to shoot from range when he was getting to the rim with regularity and deep into the paint at will, yielding a healthy amount of trips to the free throw line. Impressive for someone twice his age, much less a high school sophomore, Elohim has the ability to self-create at an elite level and score in bunches, whether in transition or manipulating the defense to his advantage in the halfcourt.
2. Caleb Foster *Duke
Oak Hill Academy (VA) | 6’4” Guard | 2023 | 17.3
Event Stats: 3GP, 15.0PPG, 4.7RPG, 6.3APG, 2.7SPG, 0.7BPG, 32.6 FG%, 23.5 3FG%, 76.5FT%
Duke locked up the Oak Hill PG early and for good reason — he’s everything you could ask for in a lead guard: positional size, high-level basketball IQ, elite body control, shifty and elusive with the ball, creative, timely and accurate as a passer, three-level scoring, deep range as a shooter, and the list goes on. Foster is a legit threat to score 30 or dish out double-digit assists on any given night. He’s never sped up or rushed and has a special innate ability to dictate the flow of the game on his terms. He’s a much better range shooter than he showed in Vegas (ex. shooting 53.3% from deep at GEICO Nationals, last spring) and is still growing into his big guard frame as an athlete — which is a scary thought.
1. Shaedon Sharpe *Kentucky
Dream City Christian (AZ) | 6’5” Guard | 2022 | 18.4
Event Stats: 3GP, 19.7PPG, 8.7RPG, 1.3APG, 1.7SPG, 1.7BPG, 51.2 FG%, 36.8 3FG%, 58.8FT%
Canadian native and future Kentucky Wildcat Shaedon Sharpe isn’t the most refined scorer and doesn’t play with his motor revved as often as some might prefer, but he is simply enchanting as a prospect. He’s a world-class athlete and in a day and age when it’s become increasingly difficult to ‘shock and awe’ an audience, Sharpe is someone that forces fans not to blink every time he steps onto the court. Even more impressive from an evaluator’s perspective, his quick twitch muscles translate impactfully to the defensive end, as well, to the tune of 3.4 stocks per game on the weekend. Beyond his athleticism, Sharpe brings a ton of intrigue with his range shooting prowess, and not just in catch-and-shoot situations — the 6’5”+ guard/wing with a reported seven-foot wingspan flashed some eye-opening off-the-dribble shot-making throughout EYBL and based on what he showed in Vegas, it is a true differentiator for him. The term has become overused, but Sharpe projects as a no-brainer 3-and-D piece at the highest level, and we’ll set the over/under for NBA Slam Dunk titles at 2.5.
Bishop Gorman HS (NV) | 6’3” Guard | 2022 | 18.4
What stood out: lights-out shooting and owning his role
Donovan Dent *New Mexico
Corona Centennial (CA) | 6’2” Guard | 2022 | 17.9
What stood out: poise, pace and selflessness from the PG spot
Coronado HS (NV) | 6’8” Big | 2023 | 17.8
What stood out: improved mobility and rim protection
Pop Isaacs *Texas Tech
Coronado HS (NV) | 6’2” Guard | 2022 | 18.2
What stood out: confidence and consistency as a volume scorer
Dior Johnson *Oregon
Prolific Prep (CA) | 6’3” Guard | 2022 | 17.7
What stood out: grittiness on D and creativity on O
Ramel Lloyd, Jr. *Nebraska
Sierra Canyon (CA) | 6’6” Guard | 2022 | 18.0
What stood out: elite positional size and versatility on the perimeter
Bishop Gorman HS (NV) | 5’11” Guard | 2024 | 16.2
What studio out: functional handle and touch from five feet all the way out to a stride in from halfcourt
Bishop Gorman (NV) | 6’6” Forward | 2025 | 14.8
What stood out: natural athleticism and seemingly unlimited potential
Prolific Prep (CA) | 6’6” Wing | 2024 | 15.6
What stood out: positional size, length and fluidity as a mover
Devin Ree *LSU
Oak Hill Academy (VA) | 6’8” Forward | 2022 | 17.6
What stood out: elite wing size and range shooting ability
Milos Uzan *Oklahoma
Dream City Christian (AZ) | 6’4” Guard | 2022 | 18.8
What stood out: feel for the game, decision making and positional rebounding
Prolific Prep (CA) | 6’6” Wing | 2022 | 17.7
What stood out: offensive versatility and self-creation upside
Corona Centennial (CA) | 6’10” Forward | 2023 | 17.6
What stood out: growth spurt, length and motor
Vertical Academy (NC) | 6’2” Guard | 2023 | 17.3
What stood out: physical maturity and flashes as a passer
Kijani Wright *USC
Sierra Canyon (CA) | 6’8” Big | 2022 | 18.8
What stood out: relentless rebounding motor and overall sense of urgency