Friday, April 21, 2017

Nothing Little About Nassir's Impact

You may have seen Nasir Little skyward-bound, ascending somewhere between the hardwood and the top of the backboard this season. You may have seen clips of the multi-tooled 6-foot-6, 210-pound forward flushing extravagant and violent dunks circulating the internet this past season.

Laced with a natural adeptness around the rim,  Nassir Little has established himself as one of the highest-efficiency threats in Florida and the country.

After shooting the rock at a 59 percent clip from the field (51 percent beyond the arc), Little hovered around the 60 percent mark this past season.

 The Class of 2018 Little worked furiously at expanding his skill-set.

Creating his shot off the dribble, attacking the teeth of the defense, showcasing a pull-up game and providing adequate rim protection has rendered him an enticing high-major recruit.

His transition scoring and the fact that he's constantly active on the offensive glass garnered the attention of Florida and Louisville early in the 2016-17 campaign.

Previously unsung on the recruiting market and not equated with the same star power as others, Little is heating up at the opportune time.

  Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A & M, St. John's, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech and a bevy of others have been in steady pursuit recently.

How's this for an indication of Little's heightened stock: South Carolina, while in the midst of the unbridled focus, fame tour, fanfare and intensified media frenzy that comes with a Final Four appearance, reached out to Little that weekend.

"Nassir is the high school version of Kahwi Leonard," said Brad Augustine, who has nurtured a steady crop of local talent as the director of 1Family Hoops.

"He's a 6-foot-7 versatile wing with an elite motor who can defend the one through four.

His ability to shoot the three-pointer at such a high clip, combined with his elite athleticism make him a matchup nightmare. Add it to the fact that he sustains a 4.3 grade point average and high basketball IQ, we believe he's a Top-20."

Shaka Smart has been a steady presence in Little's recruitment from the get-go, envisioning instant contributions from the seasoned senior-to-be.

St. John's, which has been aggressive in upping the ante with Florida area recruits, has also shown love lately.

Given the return of Shamorie Ponds, who set the program's freshman scoring record and given the appeal  of playing in both the Big East and Madison Square Garden, the mutual interest is there.

Reputable high-major programs who may not have been aggressive or consistent in Little's recruitment this winter are suddenly plunking down offer's at his doorstep.

In these next few months, expect much of the same.