An impressive assortment of talent was on hand April 12 and 13 at the Southern California Hoop Review, organized by basketball scout and former coach Gerry Freitas.
More than a dozen San Diego travel basketball teams took the jaunt up Interstate 5 to OC for the spring showcase that often serves as an accurate preview for the rest of the spring grassroots season.
A number of the region’s players and teams had impressive performances, starting first and foremost with DeAndre Ayton, who lived up to the billing of being the nation’s top freshman prospect.
Full-Time Hoops watched a number of the local teams and has the first of two recaps. This recap will include superlatives in a number of categories, while the second report will include other standouts, including non San Diego players who played on San Diego teams.
DeAndre Ayton, 6-10 200 PF, Balboa City Schools/Supreme Court 16u: Ayton certainly lived up to the billing as the top 2017 prospect, even with another competitor for the title, Cal Supreme’s Cody Riley, in the gym as well. Ayton athleticism, length, and instincts on defense are off the charts. He has nice touch on his shot out to about 12 feet and has some solid face-up moves, though he still needs to improve his back-to-the-basket game, as well as playing in a lower, more athletic position.
Tim Harrison, 6-8 190 F, Francis Parker/ Gamepoint 16u Black: The willowy post product has a lot of work on his fundamentals and approach to the game, but no player in San Diego outside of Ayton has they physical tools of Harrison, a long, springy forward who projects well at either forward position. He plays with great energy, and continues to be an asset as a defensive rim protector.
Beni Mokili, 5-11 G, Rancho Bernardo/ Gamepoint 16u Red: I knew very little about Mokili other than a viewing in the fall at the San Diego showcase, but the wiry, athletic combo guard is a player. He’s got very long arms and is both vertically and laterally explosive, which makes him an imposing perimeter defender. He has made some major improvement as a perimeter shooter in a short time as well, combined with his ability to handle the ball at the point, and you are looking at a true 2016 sleeper, cut from the same mold as Torin Webb, a junior guard from Temecula Great Oak.
Jack Peterson, 6-0 180 SG, St. Augustine/ San Diego All-Stars 15u Gold: Peterson has always been a solid shooter, but what really stood out this weekend was his comfort level making plays off the dribble. He is a crafty ball handler who uses hesitations, change of speed and change of direction to get to the rim and finish through contact.
Simion Habetmichael, 6’5 180 G/F, Balboa City Schools/ Supreme Court 16u: The lefty wing type is a smooth operator and possesses a very solid shot off the catch. He’s got great size for an off-guard, but needs to continue to improve his penetrating ability, as well as his decision making off the bounce (thinks too much).
Abdul Shanun, 6-8 210 PF, TBD/ Coastal Elite: Shanun has the most college-ready body of any of the 2015 prospects in San Diego. He has freakish length, big broad shoulders and explosive athleticism. He finishes above the rim in transition and in the half court with power, and was one of the most impressive finishers in the gym all weekend. His overall skillset is still quite raw, as he possesses limited moves in the post, and, despite his impressive athleticism, is an average rebounder for his position. But his upside is undeniable.
Justin Davis, 6-5 200 F, Morse/ San Diego All Stars 16u Gold: Davis continues to improve his overall feel for the game, and has a beastly frame for a wing. He still, however, is somewhat of a tweener, as his repertoire of moves on the wing is still limited (solid spin move). Still, like the progress that Davis has made over the past year.
Armstrong Chungkwu 6-8 220 PF, Mission Bay/ San Diego All Stars 15u Gold: The well-built freshman is an imposing force in the paint, with broad shoulders and a solid build. He does a good job challenging shots on defense, and on offense does a good job finishing plays around the rim. His game on the offensive end is quite raw, so developing post-up and face-up moves will be imperative moving forward.
Jackson Strong, 6-4 190 SF, Torrey Pines/ Gamepoint 16u Red: This stocky forward doesn’t look the part of a sharpshooter, but he was arguably the best shooter on hand during the weekend, regardless of class. His quick-trigger release allows him to get his jumpshot off in the tightest of situations, and his size allows him to elevate over smaller defenders. Strong will need to work on his frame (doughy), which will give him greater foot speed on both ends of the floor.
Jack Beach, 6-1 175 SG, Torrey Pines/ Gamepoint 17u Red: Beach came up big for the Red squad when he hit five threes in a tight contest against the Arizona Magic Elite. Beach is a tremendous spot-up shooter whose floor-spacing ability is a great complement to the team’s star point guard, Justin Simon. Beach still needs to continue to improve his lateral quickness and ball handling, as he right now is still exclusively a shooting specialist.
Terrence Becvar, 5-9 G, Valley Center/ Coastal Elite 16u Orange: The diminutive guard prospect has impeccable shooting form and release, making him one of the few shooters in the gym that you felt every shot he took was going in.
Kurtis Pilbin, 6-4 175 SF, Fallbrook/ Coastal Elite 17u Premier: Pilbin, an intriguing wing type, Pilbin has the size to get his his shot off with regularity, and the results are usually positive. He also is a crafty slasher who can attack the basket, though his lateral quickness is still an area where he needs to improve.
Jack Langborg, 6-3 180 SG, Santa Fe Christian/ Gamepoint 17u Black: Langborg caught fire during the Black team’s victory over Team ‘Zona, hitting three 3-pointers in a 3 minute span to put the game out of reach. Langborg has a quick release and the rotation on his shot is picturesque. We’d like to see Langborg gain more confidence as a slasher and ball handler, which would open up more scoring opportunities for him.
Eric Monroe, 6-1 165 PG, St. Augustine/ Gamepoint 17u Black: Very few lead guards can control a game like Monroe, the bespectacled sophomore point guard, who definitely has shades of Steve Nash in his approach on the offensive end. His creativity with his handle and passing have both improved year over year, and he has become more assertive as a penetrator, opening up drive-and-kick opportunities for teammates. He has also made great strides with his lateral athleticism, which allows him to be a stronger on-ball defender. The release on his jumpshot, which is solid when he’s open, needs to become quicker.
Steve Hickman, 5-10 150 PG, Torrey Pines/ Gamepoint 16u Red: Hickman, who started on the Falcons junior varsity team, was one of the surprises of the weekend. He carved up the Double Pump 2016 Elite team that included Los Alamitos star guard Eyassu Worku. He is a heady, unselfish point guard who has made tremendous strides as a ball handler and penetrator, and he almost always makes the right decision in pass/score situations. Defensively, he is an underrated, scrappy on-ball defender. We will be monitoring his spring progress with great interest.
Tommy McCarthy, 6-0 180 PG, La Costa Canyon/ Earl Watson 17u Silver: McCarthy was solid in several games this weekend, including an impressive performance in the head-to-head matchup with Kendall Small of Superior Athletes. He’s a solid lead guard who does a good job initiating the offense, and punctuating sets with pull-up jumpers or spot-up threes. He’s gotten notably stronger in the upper body since the end of the season, and is a willing defender, but his lack of lateral quickness still is an issue on both ends.
Reid Johnson, 6-6 220 PF, Cathedral Catholic/ Gamepoint 16u Black: Savvy is often a description reserved for guards, but Johnson’s high basketball IQ and passing ability from the mid and low post make him one of the savviest sophomore bigs in the class. His savvy also is present in his array of post moves on the low block, which allows him to be an effective offensive weapon against bigger defenders.
Travis Fuller, 2015 6-8 190 F, La Costa Canyon/ California Supreme: Fuller was impressive in his role as stretch four for a very deep EYBL team. Part of what made his performance impressive was because he played within himself and played to his strengths: his shooting and assertiveness on the boards. As a specialist, Fuller definitely has a ton of upside and value.
Marco Cobian, 2016 6-2 180 G, Ramona/ Coastal Elite 16u Orange: It had been a while, admittedly, since I have seen the Ramona product, but I was extremely impressed with the leap he has made as a shooter and ball handler. He looks really comfortable on the wing, looking more like a right-sized guard than an undersized forward. While Cobian is a talented football prospect, his improvement on the court will no doubt boost his stock in that arena.
Lucas Johnson, 6-3, 175 G/F, Mt. Carmel/ Coastal Elite 16u Orange: Johnson looks the part of a Division 1 shooting guard, and has the smooth release to match. He reminds me a lot of a poor man’s Stevie Thompson Jr. with his length, athleticism and smoothness to his game. While his handle has come around, it is still an area that needs to be tightened.
Jordan Alexander, 6-4 190 SF, Hoover/San Diego All-Stars 17u Gold: Alexander missed all of the year due to academic issues, but looked no worse for the wear throughout the weekend, displaying the freakish athleticism that put him on the map as a top freshman and sophomore. He explodes to the basket and is a quick leaper, and finishes with disdain at the rim. His handle and shooting on the wing have improved but the former still needs to get tighter, and he needs to improve his overall feel for the game and his decision making.
Brady Twombly, 6-6 200 SF, La Costa Canyon/ Gamepoint 17u Red: Twombly continues to drop pounds, which allows him to be a much improved driver and finisher at the rim, where he tries to dunk everything and on everyone. He has also made big strides this year with his consistency shooting the ball from the perimeter, making him a very viable scorer at all three levels.
Lots of upside
Burke Twyman, 6-6 190 PF, Mission Vista/ Coastal Elite 16u Orange: Twyman is a springy stretch four who has progressed since the last viewing at the San Diego Super 80. On the defensive end, he uses his length, bounce and timing to block shots and grab boards. On offense, he is a versatile face-up four who has range out to 20 feet.
Justin Young, 6-7 180 PF, Eastlake/ Gamepoint 17u Red: Young is one of the most intriguing prospects, and his game, reminiscent of Oregon’s Jordan Bell, continues to progress. He has elite instincts on the defensive end, where his length and athleticism allows him to play much taller than his 6-7 height. He continues to grow as an offensive player, with improving face-up and back-to-the-basket skills.
Miles Norris, 2018 6-6 170 PF, Mater Dei Catholic (fall)/ Earl Watson Elite: The willowy four man is a tremendous prospect with great length and a high-basketball acumen. He can face up and hit the 15-foot shot, and he has several moves with his back to the basket. Getting stronger is a priority, but will likely come with his continued development.
Taeshon Cherry, 2018 6-6 175 PF, St. Augustine (fall)/ Gamepoint 15u Black: Cherry is yet another slightly built four type that projects to be a high-level face-up four man. His strength is his face-up game, where he uses his quickness to blow by slower defenders and attack the basket, or shoot the mid to long-range jumper. Like Norris, he will need to add strength, as well as play within himself, as he sometimes tries to do too much with the basketball.
Alex Cho, 2018 6-0 175 G, La Jolla Country Day (fall)/ San Diego All-Stars 15u Gold: Cho is a well-built combo guard who has made the leap from undersized youth forward to viable guard prospect. He possesses good quickness off the dribble and is a deft passer and streaky shooter from the perimeter. As he continues to develop, it will be interesting to see how much more foot speed and lateral quickness he can add to his game.
There is a palpable sense of change in the air of the San Diego hoops community.
Players are getting bigger, stronger, faster. Teams are getting more respect. Shoe companies are taking notice. Colleges coaches are offering.
Starting with this weekend’s major showcases, including the Southern California Hoop Review, the rise in the level of San Diego hoops will be on full display for the rest of the region to see.
Full-Time Hoops, your one-stop shop for all things HS basketball in San Diego, will be at the Southern California Hoop Review and will be covering the grassroots travel circuit during the spring and the summer, starting with the release next week of updated 2015, 2016 and 2017 rankings.
Our coverage will focus on the major travel basketball organizations in San Diego - Gamepoint, San Diego All-Stars, Top Gun, Coastal Elite, San Diego Cougars, San Diego Warriors, Supreme Court and Force Athletics and Next Generation - and regional teams that have San Diego players on their rosters, including Compton Magic and Earl Watson Elite. Players who are ranked in the new rankings that are not on any of the aforementioned club teams will also be given priority.
Here are some of the major storylines entering the travel circuit season:
1. Who’s No. 1 in 2015?
A solid, yet unspectacular class of 2015 recruits have done little to separate themselves over the past season. Which one of the prospects will elevate their game above the rest?
As many as seven prospects could wind up being San Diego’s top for the 2015 class, including LCCs Tommy McCarthy (Earl Watson Elite) Brady Twombly (Gamepoint) and Travis Fuller (Cal Supreme); Poway’s Dalton Soffer (Gamepoint), ex-Hoover SF Jordan Alexander (SDA), Escondido PG Khy Kabellis (Gamepoint) and 2015 San Ysidro PG Lynard Steward (SDA).
A dark horse for the 2015 crown is 6’8” F Abdul Shanun, who recently moved to San Diego from New York (Troy High). Coastal Elite Director Dante Carey described Shanun, who will play for Coastal Elite, as an athletic “freak” who can finish in the post with either hand and runs the floor well. Look for Shanun to crack the Full-Time Hoops 2015 rankings following a viewing at the Hoop Review. Shanun holds an offer from Umass, per published reports.
2. 2016 and 2017 brimming with talent
The rising sophomore and junior classes in San Diego are among the most talented the region has ever seen. 2016 is headlined by a quintet of players who will be recruited at basketball’s highest levels - TJ Leaf (Foothills Christian/ Compton Magic), Brandon Cyrus (Torrey Pines/ CIA Bounce), Justin Moore (Mission Bay/ SDA), Johnny McWilliams (San Marcos/ CM) and Tim Harrison (Francis Parker/ Gamepoint).
Other 2016 standouts include the Nash-like Eric Monroe (St. Augustine/ Gamepoint), 6’9” post prodigy Tommy Rutherford (Grossmont) and forward Martin Tombe (St. Augustine/ CM).
2017 ups the ante, as the region is home to the nation’s top recruit, 6’11” PF DeAndre Ayton, who will be playing with Supreme Court/ Force Athletics. Mater Dei PG Jaylen Hands, who burst onto the scene first as an 8th grader at the SD Super 80 and as a freshman with his performance at the Under Armour Holiday Classic, will suit up with the Compton Magic, alongside fellow 2017 F Robby Robinson (Kearny). Morse C Brandon McCoy, who will be one of the most coveted bigs in the nation, will participate with Ground Up, a team coached by local basketball figure Shaun Manning. Orange Glen PG Michael Diaz, who is reminiscent of a young Russell Westbrook, will play with Coastal Elite. Richard Polanco of Army Navy, a powerful wing/post, will play with SDAs 15u and 16u. Finally, 6’9” C Jake Gilliam, an emerging young center at Torrey Pines, will play with Gamepoint.
3. Gamepoint a member of Adidas Uprising
The North County-based basketball program made waves earlier this spring when it scored a coveted sponsorship from Adidas. Several Gamepoint teams will participate in the Adidas Uprising tournament series, which kicks off April 25-27 in Dallas, TX for the VIP Exclusive Run.
Gamepoint has put together 3 impressive teams on the 17u level, which include five-star PG recruit Justin Simon (Temecula Valley), La Costa Canyon F Brady Twombly and PG Patrick Fisher, St. Augustine PG Eric Monroe Escondido PG Khy Kabellis and Poway SG Dalton Soffer, among others.
4. SDA forms “sweet” 16u
San Diego All Stars has quickly assembled a talented 16u team that will compete in 17u divisions of tournaments throughout the spring and summer. Headlined by Mission Bay sophomore Justin Moore, the team boasts several local standouts, including Morse’s Justin Davis, La Jolla Country Day’s Bruce Edwards, Otay Ranch PG Nikko Paranada and 2017 Army Navy standout Richard Polanco.
SDA gives San Diego two nationally ranked 16u teams: Gamepoint’s 16u team was one of the top programs in the nation last year and returns its entire roster, headlined by 2016 Francis Parker F Tim Harrison, Temecula Valley SF Riley Schaefer and Vista Murrieta G/F Austin Beech.
4. International men of mystery
Several local teams will rely on an infusion of international talent on the grassroots circuit, including SDA, which has Polanco (Dominican Republic) and 2017 Mission Bay F Armstrong Ojunkwu, as well as 2018 Army Navy G Juan Carlos Canahuate, also from the Dominican Republic. Coastal Elite also has an intriguing rising senior, 6’8” F Abdul Shanun, who will attend a to-be-determined San Diego school during his senior year after coming from Africa via the East Coast.
Look for Coastal Elite to have a solid 17u team that includes unsigned senior F Khor Tut and rising seniors Joey Lagrua (G, Calvin Christian) and Will Christmas (PG, Oceanside).
5. Prep school movement hits SD circuit
San Diego had two prep schools open during 2013, and the teams will continue play this spring and summer as travel ball teams. Players from Balboa Prep, which did not play any organized games this past season, will play with Supreme Court, which will be headlined by the top 2017 player in the country, DeAndre Ayton. Balboa Prep will also have an unsigned senior team playing under the moniker “Force Athletics,” and includes such standouts as 2014 Hoover PG Miles Nolen-Webb and Temecula Valley SG Ryan Schaefer, among others.
Diego Hills Prep, which just concluded its inaugural season at both the high-school and post-grad levels, will team up with the San Diego Cougars program during the grassroots circuit. Among the players to watch in the program include unsigned 2014 Lincoln G Steve Garrett, 2015 Gompers G Kajahn Patton, 2016 Diego Hills guards David Wheeler, Morrie Neeley and Murrell Vailes, among others.
5. Small-school players take big stage
The travel circuit does a great job of leveling the field so that players who play at small schools during the regular season have an opportunity to do big things during the spring and summer. In San Diego, look for Calvin Christian G Joey Lagrua to have a big year with Coastal Elite, Adonis Dillahunty, a rangy 6’5” athlete from the Preuss School, to play a substantial role on SDA’s 16u team, and Kajahn Patton, who scored 40 points three times during the year for Gompers, to break out with the San Diego Cougars.
Other storylines to watch:
* Dem Misssissippi Boys: Kearny’s Rising seniors Austin Knox and Xavier Browne, and rising junior Takoda Browne, the reigning player of the year in the Central League, will suit up for Next Generation 17u. All three have a chance to play college basketball at some level and are coming off of a Division 3 title victory in March.
*LA influence: Several players from outside of San Diego will play major roles on local clubs, including Campbell Hall duo Kahlil Simplis and Colin Bell (Gamepoint), Fairfax G LJ Currie (Gamepoint), Long Beach Poly F Jordan Dallas (Gamepoint), Chino Hills F Nnamdi Okungwu (Gamepoint), Lynwood unsigned G Kevin Miller (Coastal Elite), Fontana Summit pogo stick Darrion Willies (Gamepoint) and Norco C Ashtin Chastain (Gamepoint).
*Earl Watson Elite has three San Diego prospects on its rosters: LCC PG Tommy McCarthy, Torrey Pines 2016 SG Jack Heller and 2018 Mater Dei Catholic F Miles Norris.
* Taeshon Cherry, a gifted 2018 F attending St. Augustine, will suit up for Gamepoint’s 15u team this summer. Top Gun also has two very good 2018 players on its 15u roster, Jordan Starr and TJ Lowery.
*Top Gun had a nationally ranked 14u team last season, and while the team suffered several key defections (Jaylen Hands to the Compton Magic, Justin Woodley to Gamepoint), the current 15u should remain competitive. Key holdovers include La Jolla High freshman standout Reed Farley (6’3” SF) and La Jolla Country Day guards Marcus Perry and Josiah Esselstrom.
As Porky Pig would stammer at the end of Looney Tunes cartoons, “That’s all folks.”
With the naming of our All Freshman, Sophomore, Junior and senior teams, Full-Time Hoops is closing the book on its first high school season and transitioning to coverage of the spring and summer travel circuit.
But before we do that, it’s not too early to look ahead to next season, and we’ll do that with a final HS edition of “Five Burning Questions.”
1. Who will be the preseason No. 1 in San Diego?
La Costa Canyon won the CIF Open Division title over St. Augustine, and started four juniors and graduate just one major contributor. With that type of returning firepower, the Mavericks enter the 2014-15 campaign as the prohibitive favorites for the Open Division crown.
2. Which top teams have lost the most?
Mater Dei Catholic had a banner year, winning the Division 2 title and advancing further in the state playoffs than any other local team. But they lose a lot - try the entire starting lineup. While I don’t think the Crusaders will tumble too far, especially considering its one key returner is Freshman of the Year Jaylen Hands, the rest of the supporting cast is very young and unproven.
Hoover’s golden age under Ollie Goulston sputtered following Goulston’s abrupt departure just before the start of last season, and might be headed to an even harder stop due to the loss of seniors Damonte Holiday and Miles Nolen-Webb and the uncertainty surrounding the return of Jordan Alexander. If he doesn’t return, the Cardinals could take an even bigger step back.
3. Who are some sleeper teams?
There are a couple of teams that traditionally hover under the radar that could be really good next year. Mt Carmel made a surprise run in the Division 2 playoffs, and return major components in Mike Keegan, Johnny Mallak and Lucas Johnson, plus add 6’8” transfer Matt Younggren, who sat out this season after transferring from Mission Hills. In the East County, Valhalla gave Sweetwater all it could handle in a Division 3 playoff game and returns a slew of experienced underclassmen, including rising seniors Jacob Hammett and Jake Bassette and talented rising juniors Cole Henderson and Tre Schimke. Up north, Vista suffered a down year due to injuries and academics, but could rebound with returning leading scorer Jordan Henry, athletic power forward Davin Lemon-Rodriguez and a pair of unheralded rising sophomores in Anthony Anderson and Jordan’s younger brother Cameron Henry. Also, don’t be surprised if Patrick Henry and Mira Mesa make a push in the Eastern League, as both teams return a ton of young talent.
4. Who’s going where?
Transfers have become a staple in prep basketball since the loosening of transfer rules changed the penalty for moving schools to only 30 days as opposed to a year. This year, we’ve already seen one major move in 2016 Serra F Omajae Smith moving to Foothills Christian, which is already loaded with returners. Word out of SD is that several high-profile players are at least considering a move, including one out of the area that could potentially cripple one of last year’s top teams.
But the movement isn’t reserved to players. There is a near-record number of coaching vacancies throughout the county, including several very high-profile jobs: El Camino, Rancho Bernardo, Carlsbad, Santana and Bonita Vista. Who fills those positions will tell us a lot about the trajectory of those teams. Stay tuned.
5. What’s the preseason top 10 looking like?
Well, it’s too early to tell, as already we’re hearing word of some major players possibly on the move during the summertime, but as it stands now, here are 10 teams to keep your eye on, in no order:
La Costa Canyon- see above
St. Augustine- graduates Trey Kell, Johnny Peterson and Dallas Haupt, but has a load of talented returners, headlined by Eric Monroe and Martin Tombe. Look for Taeshon Cherry to step in and play a role from Day 1.
Torrey Pines- Sam Worman and Zack Wagner depart, but a load of returners head back, including rising junior Brandon Cyrus and rising seniors Dominic Hovasse, Jack Beach and Connor Milmoe.
Kearny- The Mississippi trio of Takoda Browne, Xavier Browne and Austin Knox, super rising soph Robby Robinson, talented glue guy Jeremiah Jorden all are back. Transfer Gianni Ortiz is a talent.
Foothills Christian- TJ Leaf, Luis Salgado, JR Rivera and Javier Guerrero are all just rising juniors. Add another talented 2016, Serra transfer Omajae Smith, and the Knights look special.
Escondido- Khy Kabellis, Marcus Hentley and Keegan Cummins are all returning. Enough said.
Morse- Rising soph Brandon McCoy looked like a POY candidate by season’s end. Add tough rising junior Justin Davis, rising senior defensive specialist Dante Foster Jr., and an eligible Taylor Muldrow, Morse could be poised to control the Eastern League.
Francis Parker- Parker loses its heart and soul in Evan Fitzner, but almost everyone else returns, including talented rising juniors Andrew Cross, Tim Harrison and Michael Pelaiz, and ever-dependable rising seniors Paulo Cruz and Khaleel Jenkins.
Cathedral Catholic- Even in a down year, the Dons competed at the top of the Western League. Cameron Moore and Reid Johnson return along with intriguing rising junior Peter Xue, but word is that other reinforcements are on the horizon.
Army Navy- Warriors weathered the storm of losing standout Devin Watson to El Camino. Now, the entire lineup returns, including stud rising sophomore Richard Polanco, top rising seniors Caleb Morris and David Torres, and underclass guards Ed Fenzi and Connor McClurg.
Sweetwater- Lose the leading scorer in school history, Spencer Mattox, but return a potent trio of CJ Cadua, Oscar Picazo and Raven Middleton. With little resistance in the Metro Pacific League, SUHI could live once more.
Others to watch: San Marcos, El Camino, Mission Hills, Vista, Poway, San Ysidro, Mater Dei Catholic, La Jolla Country Day, Orange Glen, Valhalla, Patrick Henry, Steele Canyon, Rancho Bernardo
A little over a year ago, a list appeared in the San Diego Union-Tribune that listed the top players in the county entering the 2012-13 season.
There were several notable omissions, but one stood out.
A lot has happened since that apparent snub.
Starting with his coming-out party at last year’s Under Armour Holiday Classic, Kell has been on a tear, earning two All-League First Team awards, winning league and CIF player of the year this year, and leading his team to two straight state playoff berths.
You can say that Kell has gone from snub to superstar.
For this, Kell, who is signed to play basketball at San Diego State University, is your Full-Time Hoops Senior of the Year.
Here are the rest of the Full-Time Hoops All Senior Team performers:
Trey Kell, 6-4 200 SG, St. Augustine- The San Diego State signee averaged 24 points per contest and willed the Saints to the Open Division finals and a state Open Division berth, as well as Western League and CIF Player of the Year Honors. The unquestioned top player in San Diego from start to finish of the season.
Spencer Mattox, 5-10 180 G, Sweetwater- The heart and soul of the Red Devils magical season, the compact scoring guard averaged 24 points and 6 assists per contest en route to a berth in the CIF Division 3 Finals. He was named MVP of the Metro Pacific League and All CIF First Team.
Devin Watson, 6-0 170 PG, El Camino- The Army Navy transfer dazzled per the usual during his senior campaign, propelling the Wildcats to within 1 points of an Open Division finals appearance. Watson was the MVP of the Avo West League and a first-team All-CIF selection.
Evan Fitzner- 6-10 200 PF, Francis Parker- Known for his perimeter shooting skills, Fitzner developed a toughness during his final campaign, taking on double and triple teams en route to 21-point and 12-rebound averages, with the Lancers making an appearance in the Division 2 Finals. The Saint Mary’s signee was Coastal League MVP and All CIF First Team.
Israel Seales- 6-5, 180 SF, Mater Dei Catholic- After teasing basketball followers for three years with his immense physical potential, Seales had a breakout season for the Division 2 champs, earning Metro Mesa League MVP and All CIF First-Team Honors. Seales is currently unsigned, but don’t expect that to last for long.
Ben Perez- 6-3 160 SG, San Marcos- Written off as too slight of frame to play Division 1 basketball, Perez exploded during his senior year and took the Knights to the cusp of a Division 1 title. After earning Avo East MVP and All CIF First Team, Perez silenced doubters by committing to Air Force.
Marcus Graves- 6-0 170 PG, Westview- While there are no WARP (wins above replacement player) stats in prep sports, anecdotal evidence suggests the Wolverines would have struggled to make the playoffs before Graves fell into their laps. Recently committed to Sacramento State after being named to the first team of the All Palomar League team.
Sam Worman- 6-5 200 F, Torrey Pines- The two-time Palomar League first-team selection averaged 15 points and 6 rebounds a game, but meant much more to the open division semifinalist Falcons. Was named to the All CIF First team in recognition of his contributions.
Riley Adams- 6-6 190 F, Canyon Crest - Adams had a massive year for the Ravens, averaging 21 and 15 rebounds per contest, which topped the county. Despite his team’s struggles, he was named to his second All-League first team, though in a major miscarriage of justice, was not named to the All-CIF team.
Iman Chatman- 6-1 180 G, Mater Dei - The rugged guard was the leader of the Crusaders team for a second straight year, providing the physical defensive presence in the back court and clutch baskets, highlighted by his huge fourth quarter and overtime against LCC in the finals of the American Division of the Under Armour Holiday Classic. All Metro Mesa First Team and All CIF Second Team honors for a second consecutive year.
Jah’mere Michell, 6-2 180 G, Morse- Led Tigers to a Division 1 title as the 12 seed.
Damonte Holiday, 5-11 180 G, Hoover- Another big statistical year for the Cardinals.
Robert Harris, 6-6 190 PF, Mater Dei Catholic- Interior defensive ace for the Crusaders.
Spencer Vering- 6-7 220 C, Mater Dei Catholic- The big man in the paint gobbled up rebounds and bullied his way to buckets around the tin.
Zach Kissel- 6-3 170 SG, Steele Canyon- Hot shooting wing led Cougars to the semifinals of a strong D2 field.
Fritz Eibel- 6-5 200 F, La Costa Canyon- Unsung hero of the junior-laden Mavs.
Dane Norman- 6-8 190 PF, Foothills Christian- Air Force signee made a major leap during his senior campaign after transferring from Parker.
Tommy Erb- 5-9 170 PG, Poway- True point guard led the state in assists for the Titans.
Brian Finley, SG, Santa Fe Christian - A supporting cast member last year, Finley became the Eagles leading scorer and earned All Coastal League First Team honors.
Austin Clyde- 6-3 180 SG, Del Norte - Two-time Valley League MVP averaged 23 points per contest.
Steve Garrett, SG, Lincoln- Emerged from the shadows of the Robinson twins to become one of the county’s leading scorers.
Miles Nolen-Webb, PG, Hoover- Emerged as the Cardinals leading scorer during his final campaign.
Calvin Crockett, SG, Serra- Scoring wing finished his stellar career for Q’s by making second straight All Eastern League first team.
Brendan Smith, PF, University City- All Western League second teamer helped lead Centurions to a quarterfinal berth in the D1 playoffs.
Dominick Mattoni, SF, San Pasqual- All Avo East first teamer led the Golden Eagles in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and blocks.
Khor Tut- 6-6 200 PF, Orange Glen- One of the most improved players in San Diego led his team to a Division 4 championship.
Kalyn Thomas, SG, Orange Glen- Only played half of the season due to transfer rules, but once eligible, led the Patriots in scoring and was a catalyst of their D4 title run.
Holden Haskett, F, Horizon - The Rock Academy transfer led the surprise Panthers in scoring and rebounding.
Tyler Green, SG, Poway- One of the better stories in SD this year was the emergence of the Titans marksman as one of the county’s leading scorers.
Isaiah Milan, SG, Mission Bay - One half of the Bucs’ potent halfcourt duo, Milan averaged 16 points and 4 rebounds per contest.
Brenden Brocious, SG, El Cajon Valley
Zack Wagner, PG, Torrey Pines
DeAnthony Evans, PF, Montgomery
Tony Stanich, F, Mission Hills
Chase Ogden, F, Carlsbad
Marcos Meza, G/F, Eastlake
Orlando Quinones, PF, San Ysidro
Daniel Melifonwu, C, Lincoln
LeAndre Powell, PF, Eastlake
Christian Bell, G, Helix
Carston Nyenhuis, C, Vista
Dallas Haupt, SG, Saint Augustine
David Gazale, SG, Valhalla
Dakota Orr, G, El Camino
Jordan Carrillo-Fowler, G, Crawford
Jonathan Dutra, PG, Mater Dei Catholic
Chad Morrison, F, El Camino
Jean Luc Williams, PG, Mission Hills
TJ Hanks, SG, Mission Hills
Chase Parsons, PG, West Hills
Johnny Peterson, Saint Augustine
Honorable MentionTrace Dimeff, San Marcos
Will Smith, Vista
Marc Pacia, San Marcos
Tivon Plummer, Lincoln
Matt Duniphan, Escondido
JD “Cheese” Fox, Escondido
Ty Gibson, San Dieguito Academy
Mikah Holder, Oceanside
Matt Tomaneng, Carlsbad
Logan Casteel, Carlsbad
Taylor Bloomquist, Carlsbad
David Moa, Kearny
Rashad Russell, Kearny
Alex Wilbourn, Mission Bay
Lamarriel Taylor, Mission Bay
Max Gardner, Cathedral Catholic
Kevin McNeela, Cathedral Catholic
Nic Skala, La Jolla
Joaquin Kinnamon, Olympian
Keion Wallace, Olympian
Jordan Fagan, Olympian
Ivan Palofox, Hilltop
Noel Jeffers, Hilltop
Corwin Feerick, University City
Quinn Skillin, University City
Michael Sohikish, University City
Taylor Denosta, Scripps Ranch
Matt Lizanich, Bishop’s
Judah Rosenzweig, San Diego Jewish Academy
Alvaro Santana, Vincent Memorial
Jakob Salgado, Central Union
Arturo Torra, Eastlake
Nick Katz, Eastlake
Dillon Wirkus, Rancho Bernardo
Carlos Ayala, Vincent Memorial
Scott Stransky, Ramona
Caleb Hoffman, Foothills Christian
Omar Ali, Health Sciences
Mitchell Hooper, High Tech NC
Max Schoonderwoerd, High Tech NC
Jordan Jackson, Monte Vista
Alex Bulkin, Del Norte
Raymond DiBella, Sweetwater
Alvin Imperial, Sweetwater
Scott Root, El Capitan
Deion Moore, Montgomery
Andres Preciado, Mar Vista
Patrick Gonzalez, Mar Vista
CJ Clark, Santana
Jacob Stout, Calvin Christian
Jeremiah Stout, Calvin Christian
John Luke Reinke, Tri-City Christian
Ben Giese, Tri-City Christian
DeSean Berger, Tri-City Christian
Kealin Jackson, Health Sciences
Shawn Pablo, Hoover
Jeremy Grisafi, Patrick Henry
Charlie Smith, Mt. Carmel
Kory Fox, Mt. Carmel
Nate Cho, Westview
Basel Al-Shehab, Westview
Ben Huff, Fallbrook
Mason Pennock, Madison
Curtis Anderson, Madison
Jake Wambaugh, Point Loma
DeAndre Benson, Point Loma
Andrew Manning, Granite Hills
Brandon Rumley, El Cajon Valley
Jemeil Jackson, Monte Vista
Thomas Walker, Monte Vista
George Fakhoury, Valhalla
Jordan Qsar, Valhalla
Brent Wilder, West Hills
It was the dunk heard round San Diego - or at least Jenny Craig Pavilion.
With just minutes before halftime of the CIF Open Division Finals, La Costa Canyon Junior Brady Twombly found a crease on the right wing and drove strong to the basket.
Saint Augustine forward Daniel Lara, a burly 6-foot-5 forward, slid over to his right to attempt to take a charge.
Twombly elevated higher than he probably has ever jumped in his life, and, with his posterior firmly planted in Lara’s face, threw down a one-handed jam that sent the Mavericks’ fans - and some Saints faithful, too - into a frenzy.
Two quarters later, the Mavericks stunned Saint Augustine 62-60 to win the inaugural open division crown.
This dunk might have been in the middle of the game, but it was a culmination of sorts for Twombly, who spent most of the first half of the season in the shadows of his more heralded teammates, Tommy McCarthy and Travis Fuller.
Scouts waffled with Twombly’s prospects at the next level, expressing concern that he wasn’t athletic enough to play on the wing, or laterally quick enough to defend the same positions in college.
Halfway through the season, McCarthy came down with a sinus infection and mononucleosis, which thrust a noticeably leaner - and meaner - Twombly into the spotlight. He responded by leading the Mavs in scoring in 7 of the teams last nine games and guiding them to the open division title.
That dunk represented his arrival, once and for all, as a legitimate Division 1 college wing prospect, and will serve as a springboard into a critical spring travel ball season and upcoming senior campaign.
For these reasons, Twombly is the Full-Time Hoops Junior of the Year.
Here is the rest of the All-Junior Team:
PG- Tommy McCarthy, La Costa Canyon - The sweet shooting half of the Mavericks’ two-headed point-guard system averaged 17 points, 4 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game en route to All CIF Second Team honors.
PG- Khy Kabellis, Escondido- The most improved junior in the class had a huge year for the Cougars, leading them in scoring, assists and steals and taking them to the cusp of a Division 1 title berth.
PG- Lynard Steward, San Ysidro- Was among the county’s leaders in scoring 26.5 points per contest and assists at 7.3 per game, earning All CIF First Team honors in the process.
SF- Dalton Soffer, Poway- The hot-shooting wing averaged 20 points and 7.1 rebounds per contest and had a knack for taking - and making - huge shots when his team needed them the most.
PF - Travis Fuller, La Costa Canyon- Skilled forward had a strong start to the season, and quadrupled his outputs from last year.
PF- Samuel Bockman, El Camino- The beastly power forward often gave up 3 to 4 inches against other teams’ centers, but prevailed in individual battles due to his strength, athleticism, and motor.
PG- Patrick Fisher, La Costa Canyon- Jack of all trades point guard is one of the top individual defenders in the county.
PG- Charles Jordan “CJ” Cadua, Sweetwater- Flashy point guard helped lead Sweetwater to the D3 title game.
SF- Quen Meadows, El Camino- High flying pogo stick was one of the region’s most exciting players on a nightly basis.
SF- Caleb Morris, Army Navy - Unheralded shooter took his game to a new level this year, earning All Coastal League First Team honors.
C- Justin Young, Eastlake - Arguably one of the two best interior defenders in the county, regardless of age.
SG- Khaleel Jenkins, Parker- Feisty on-ball defender was an All Coastal League first-team selection.
PG- Will Christmas, Oceanside- Scoring guard led Pirates to a Division 2 playoff berth.
SG- Ethan Underwood, Horizon- Sweet shooting guard lead Panthers in scoring and two a Division 2 quarterfinals appearance.
G- Joey Lagrua, Calvin Christian- Underrated scoring guard led tiny Calvin to Division 3 semifinals.
G- Anthony Jensen, Madison- All Central League first-team performer can shoot it with the best of them.
SG- Jack Langborg, Santa Fe Christian- Marksman from deep made the All Coastal League’s second team.
SG- Dominic Hovasse, Torrey Pines- Crafty combination guard was an unsung piece of the Falcons’ open division semifinal run.
PF- Austin Knox, Kearny - Mississippi transfer made All Central League First team after leading the Komets in rebounding.
Honorable mention: Jack Beach, Torrey Pines; Connor Milmoe, Torrey Pines; Timmy Saunders, Torrey Pines; Jordan Henry, Vista; David Torres, Army-Navy; Danny Finley, Santa Fe Christian; Matt Beeler, Poway; Connor Kennedy, Mission Hills; Davin Lemon-Rodriguez, Vista; Xavier Browne, Kearny; Jeremiah Jorden, Kearny; Oscar Picazo, Sweetwater; Raven Middleton, Sweetwater; Charles Crawford, Montgomery; Adam Day, Montgomery; Dylan Hamlett, Steele Canyon; Mark Bakker, Calvin Christian; Scott Nalbandian, Pacific Ridge; Evin Shepherd, Eastlake; Adam Wallace, Monte Vista; Ibrahim Ali, El Cajon Valley; Paulo Cruz, Parker; Landon Budenholzer, Westview; Jacob Laundaroche, Westview; Kris Wixted, Scripps Ranch, Michael Keegan, Mt Carmel; Johnny Mallak, Mt. Carmel; Micah Porter, Lincoln; Mylik Steen, Castle Park; Christian Hayes, La Jolla Country Day; Eric Yu, Bishop’s; Jordan Terry, University City; Montrice Johns, Del Norte; David Christopher, Lincoln; Joshrey Estelle, Rancho Buena Vista; Kurtis Pilbin, Fallbrook; Devin Goodloe, Rancho Bernardo; Julian Ruiz, Clairemont; Mario Acosta, Coronado, Jr.; Kajahn Patton, Gompers; Ryan Bratlien, Santana; Evan Kaplan, LCC; Cedric Hoskins, Orange Glen; Chris Johnson, Mira Mesa