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 t