Vegas Semipro League to Target 2016 High School Stars Like Josh Jackson | Zagsblog
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Sunday / July 14.
  • Vegas Semipro League to Target 2016 High School Stars Like Josh Jackson

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    Josh JacksonAfter missing out on landing any 2015 McDonald’s All-Americans for his startup Las Vegas Dealers semipro team, Cerruti Brown confirmed Thursday that he will now target Class of 2016 stars, including Josh Jackson.

    “The game plan is No. 1 is to show that we have a stable league that has great competion with players that played at the highest level of Division 1 basketball,” Brown, the organizer of the fledgling eight-team league, told Thursday by phone.

    “With that when we go into the homes and talk to certain members of the Class of 2016, once they see that we are stable and viable, then the selling point becomes more easier to sell the high school player.”

    Brown told this summer that the Las Vegas Dealers, which will now be one of the eight teams in the new AmeriLeague, were prepared to offer up to $1.25 million for a 2015 McDonald’s All-American.

    Sources said the Dealers targeted current Kentucky freshmen Skal Labissiere and Isaiah Briscoe. Despite a report to the contrary, Brown said the league never had discussions with incoming Kentucky point guard Jamal Murray, a Canadian.

    The league remains in discussions with former Syracuse commit Moustapha Diagne, who is now expected to enroll at Northwest Florida State after he was unable to qualify for Syracuse, Brown said. reported Thursday that the league had targeted Briscoe and would target 2016 stars like Jackson.

    Jackson’s mother, Apples Jones, did not immediately respond to a text message seeking comment, but in August she said her son planned to take his five official visits and then attend an American college. He recently visited Maryland unofficially and she said she he planned to take officials to Arizona and Kansas after his standardized test scores come in. Jackson himself also mentioned Michigan State, among others.

    “He’s definitely going to take those five [official] visits and shortly after that I think Josh will be committing,” she said in August. “If not November, April. I know he takes that ACT test in November.”

    Following the Maryland visit, Jackson told at the Elite 24 Game that he could envision himself at Maryland.

    “Josh Jackson has at the potential to be a DeMar DeRozan-type scorer if he can improve the range on his jump shoot and strength,” one NBA scout in attendance told

    Brown conceded the Dealers got involved too late with Class of 2015 stars.

    “I’ve pretty much put my foot in my mouth because we got started late and a majority of those guys had already gotten commitments and signed,” he said.

    “They go back to the college coach and [the coach] is going to bash it. Once we’re up and running and the league is what it is, what else can you say about it?”


    In other AmeriLeague developments (yes, I just typed that):

    **Brown and Zach Charles, the agent for David Harrison, confirmed that he had been offered $200,000 to sign with the league, not the Dealers. As reported, Harrison was the 29th pick by the Indiana Pacers out of Colorado in 2004.

    **The league is also in discussions with Royce White, the No. 16 pick of the Houston Rockets in 2012.

    “Ultimately I believe I can play in the NBA and I want to do whatever I can to get back there,” White told ESPN. “I’m 24 and to this point my career has had little to do with my ability. There’s a lot of misinformation out there that I require a lot of special accommodations and that’s not the case. I’m willing to fly, and flew several times to play in Orlando this past summer.”

    “Any belief I can’t fly is baseless,” White added. “I played with anxiety my entire year at Iowa State and did just fine. I continue to deal with it, but it doesn’t keep me from playing. If the teams feel I’m too risky, I’m going to continue to play basketball and this league is intriguing and is something I’ll take a look at.”

    **Brown confirmed the league had signed former Arkansas commit Ted Kapita and was also in talks with former Duke standout Nolan Smith and former Hawaii guard Negus Webster-Chan, a Canadian.

    **The league plans to have a draft Oct. 22, Brown said.

    “They’re going to have a draft Oct. 22 but a couple of sponsors that we’re about to lock in in Vegas, they only care about the names, especially if you can get an ex-NBA player or somebody that has NBA in the future,” Brown said. “So we’re pushing hard to get Royce White because he only got drafted got three years ago.”

    **Brown said he’s had discussions about putting teams in Nevada, Yakima, Wash., and in Canada. That team would feature only Canadian players.

    “We’re also in talks with some good people in Canada,” he said. “We’re talking about a team with all-Canada players.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

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