As we enter the thick of the new travel ball season, it’s an ideal time to review the outgoing senior class (2024) and how things ironed out. While many prospects are still fielding offers or deciding where they’ll ultimately further their playing career, numerous guys have pledged commitments. This exercise is meant to look beyond the obvious difference-makers like (Drake Powell, Isaiah Evans, etc.) and focus on those who were steals for their respective schools.

1. 6’7 Kam Taylor (Carmel Christian-UNC Asheville)

After recently committing to Asheville, we can finally look back on Kam Taylor’s recruitment and try to make sense of everything. Between June and December, he earned offers from UNCG, Chicago State, Radford, Chattanooga, Ohio, and Asheville. He shined as the clear, undisputed leader of a talented Carmel Christian group that outperformed expectations prior to being ousted in the playoffs. Taylor posted gaudy averages of 24.2 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.2 SPG, 1.0 BPG with 59/36/78 splits. Even after watching him throughout the season, those numbers still don’t fully encompass his dominance. He notched five 30-point games and never had a single-digit scoring performance. In addition to the production, Taylor definitely passes the eye test. At 6-foot-7, he possesses the length, skill, athleticism, and versatility to cause a ton of problems for opponents. The scary part? Taylor is still physically developing and truly has the tools to continue trending upward.

2. 6’7 Ari Fulton (Westover-NJIT)

Although kids from the major cities tend to receive more attention from college coaches, it doesn’t make Ari Fulton’s recruitment any less perplexing. After earning an East Carolina offer, the 6-foot-7 forward would collect scholarships from Hampton, Presbyterian, Arkansas State, NJIT, Queens, and Milwaukee over a three-month span. Fulton would’ve inevitably made this list from choosing any of the listed schools, as he has the ability to be an immediate contributor. Regardless, NJIT secured a commitment from a versatile forward with excellent instincts as a defender and rebounder. Fulton is fairly skilled for his size, displaying an appealing blend of IQ, vision, and ball skills. He’s made clear strides as a creator, both for himself and others, and overall shooting threat—and the numbers reflect this notion. This season, Fulton averaged 19.1 PPG, 10.9 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.7 SPG. 0.7 BPG with 56/40/75 splits as the focal point for a 29-2 Westover squad. They eventually lost in the final four, but Fulton still proved himself as one of the top players in North Carolina.

3. 6’10 Wyatt DeGraaf (Cary Academy-Brown)

While it might seem less eye-popping than the previous two entries, Wyatt DeGraaf should be a seamless fit in the Ivy League. It’s no secret that big men develop slower than perimeter players, but he’s already progressed into a very useful piece. DeGraaf shared touches with several other talented players, but was highly efficient when afforded the opportunity. He averaged 9.8 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 1.1 APG, 1.0 BPG, 0.4 SPG while shooting 72% from the floor. Going forward, DeGraaf should find opportunities through his rebounding, rim protection, and general feel as an offensive threat. At 6-foot-10, he’s a fluid athlete with soft touch and nice passing instincts. DeGraaf finishes above the rim and scores with his back to the basket, but also understands how to survey and make proper reads with the ball. Don’t be surprised if he emerges as a quality piece for the Bears.

4. 6’2 Sebastian Akins (1 of 1 Academy-Denver)

After becoming one of the most enticing guard prospects in the state last summer, Sebastian Akins pledged his commitment to Denver. Beyond the simple fact that he’s a highly talented, dynamic player, it’s interesting to envision the possibilities following someone like Tommy Bruner (who finished second in NCAA scoring). Although it seems far-fetched to ask Akins to replicate the production of his predecessor, it’s not an impossibility. Though the stats are inconclusive, we don’t need to look at numbers to know that his pace, craftiness, and overall polish separates him from other guards. Akins can fill it up as a scorer while consistently generating offense for his teammates and making his presence felt defensively at the point of attack. It genuinely wouldn’t be surprising if he were one of the more electric players in the Summit League.

5. 6’9 Brayden Crump (Winston-Salem Christian-Elon)

Different than every prospect listed, Brayden Crump is a unique case. Due to injuries, the viewings of Crump have been very limited over the recent years. However, he’s clearly a massive difference-maker whenever he’s on the court. At 6-foot-9, he’s a knockdown shooting threat with size, footwork, and ball skills. Crump is a solid athlete with nice strength, mobility, and quality instincts on both ends of the floor. He possesses vision, rebounding ability, and touch around the basket. While there are some health concerns, Crump is an incredibly useful player. There’s basically only upside with his commitment to Elon.  

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