2014 El Camino PG Devin Watson entertained hopes of playing at the Pac-12, Big-12 or SEC at the next level. The talented scoring guard had previously committed to Oregon State before reopening his recruitment on the eve of the early signing period.
End the end, Watson announced Monday that he will sign with San Francisco, a school in West Coast Conference - a school that might end up being a perfect fit for the guard’s game and goals.
Watson, 6-0 and 170 lbs, is a dynamic scoring guard who has the ability to create for himself and for others. While he does not possess elite athleticism or quickness, Watson possesses enough of both attributes to get by his man off the dribble with an array of crossover dribbles and spin moves, get into the teeth of the defense, and score at the rim or find open teammates on the perimeter and in the paint with the lob pass. Watson has a solid feel in screen-and-roll sets and does a good job pushing his defender to the level of the screen, avoiding the hedge and hitting either the rolling big or the open perimeter shooter when the help-side defender cuts off the roller. What makes all of this possible, though, is Watson’s prolific shooting range, which extends well beyond the college three. While streaky, Watson makes enough of them to keep defenders honest, making him a handful for opposing guards. Watson does have a tendency to pound the ball on the perimeter, which then forces him to take poor shots late in the shot clock. Conversely, he will also sometimes force shots early in the shot clock, so improving his shot selection will be a priority at the next level. Defensively, Watson showed flashes throughout the year of being a capable on-ball defender, but a more consistent effort on this end will be needed at the next level.
How Watson fits at San Francisco
Watson was a huge get for the Dons, which lost starting point guard Avry Holmes to transfer after his sophomore season where he averaged 12 points and 3.5 assists per game. Holmes was a prolific three-point shooter (42 percent) who could play on the ball and off the ball in the pinch. While two inches shorter, Watson does many of the same things Holmes did for the Dons, and he will be expected to come in and contribute immediately, possibly even start as a freshman. Watson said the allure of playing and contributing immediately was one of the key things that sold him on San Francisco. In terms of fit in the conference, the WCC is filled with guards of similar stature to Watson that have had great careers, including most recently LMU guard Anthony Ireland and former Dons’ guard Cody Doolin. Watson could very well be an All-Conference freshman team performer if he plays his cards right.
Whereas in the Pac-12 or the Mountain West Conference where Watson’s slight stature and lack of elite quickness and athleticism could be considered a liability, the West Coast Conference provides him the ideal conference to showcase his strengths - his tremendous scoring IQ, creative handle and highlight reel passing. Watson has an opportunity to not only start, but to be an All-WCC level performer by as early as his sophomore year. He must improve his shot selection and his consistency as a defender, but Watson is in the ideal situation to have a successful college career.
Here are some other San Diego standouts from this weekend’s #MagicMemorial tournament:
Daniel Melifonwu, 6-9 PF/C, Lincoln/ San Diego All-Stars 17u Pump – Athletically gifted power forward is raw on the offensive end and has a fluctuating motor, but has unlimited upside due to his physical gifts.
Miles Nolen-Webb, 6-1 PG, Hoover/Supreme Court - Nolen-Webb, who is going to walk on at CSUN, is a stocky point guard who can put defenders on his hip and score at the rim, create for others. Solid on-ball defender, but needs to stay engaged in off-ball situations.
Isaiah Milan, 6-1 G, Mission Bay/ San Diego All-Stars 17u Pump – Athletic combo guard has a nonstop motor and is a capable slasher, streaky jump shooter.
Kalyn Thomas, 6-2 G, Orange Glen/San Diego All-Stars 17u Pump – Prolific scorer who suffers from bouts of erratic shot selection.
Jahmere Mitchell, 6-2 G, Morse/ San Diego All-Stars 17u Pump- Physical combo guard has really made strides with his shooting this spring. One juco stint away from being a D1 point guard.
Christian Hayes, 5-10 PG, La Jolla Country Day/ Gamepoint 17u White – Came into the spring as a rugged defender, leaves as a capable floor general, crafty ball handler and physical scorer. Perimeter shooting needs work.
Caleb Morris, 6-3 SG, Army Navy/ Gamepoint 17u White – Slimmed-down sharpshooter has improved off the dribble, rebounds and finishes among the trees. Handle still needs to improve.
Kris Wixted, 6-5 F, Scripps Ranch/ Gamepoint 17u White – Lefty forward is a mismatch at the four, where he can shoot it and slash to the basket. Needs to play with a more consistent motor.
James Schwindt, 5-9 PG, Valley Center/ Coastal Elite 17u Select – Undersized point guard is deceptively long and athletic, a solid shooter and capable on-ball defender.
Landon Budenholzer, 6-1 G, Westview/ Coastal Elite 17u Select – Athletic slasher has improved with the consistency of his jump shot, quick release. Needs to continue to hone his passing skills in the halfcourt.
Adam Wallace, 5-9 PG, Monte Vista/ Gamepoint 17u Silver – Cat-quick guard can score and finish at the rim, makes nice passes off the dribble. Perimeter shooting needs work, as well as effort-level on defense.
Isaiah Reed, 6-2 G, Vista/Gamepoint 17u Silver – Intriguing prospect has great length, athleticism, lateral quickness and decent handle. He needs to play more under control, however, and improve his decision making.
Patrick Fisher, 6-4 G, La Costa Canyon/ Gamepoint 17u Black – Slashing lead guard is strong at attacking the rim and is a solid passer in transition. Needs to improve passing in the halfcourt, especially off the dribble.
Jordan Alexander, 6-5 F Diego Hills/ San Diego All-Stars 17u Pump – Explosive athlete can score from the perimeter and off the drive. Needs to improve his scoring from mid-range, as well as playing under control
Anthony Jensen, 6-0 G, Madison/ San Diego All-Stars 17u Black - Deadeye three-point shooter is automatic if left open for even a split second. Needs to continue to improve his ball handling, lateral quickness, engagement on defense.
Oscar Limon, 5-10 PG, Otay Ranch/ Compton Magic Black – Pass-first point guard has excellent court vision, good quickness off the dribble. Solid on-ball defender. Limited offensively, needs to improve perimeter shooting and finishing at the rim.
Martin Tombe, 6-6 PF, St. Augustine/ Compton Magic Select – High-energy forward is an excellent rebounder, interior defender. Limited athletically, Tombe needs to improve finishing plays at the rim.
Michael Pelaiz, 5-9 PG, Francis Parker/ Gamepoint 16u Black – High-IQ pg has the ball on a string, is a very good distributor off the dribble. Needs to improve as a scorer, shooter, to keep defenders honest.
Cameron Moore, 5-11 PG, Cathedral Catholic/ Gamepoint 16u Black – Capable floor general is solid, albeit not elite, in most facets of his game. Needs to improve his handle going left, perimeter shooting.
Burke Twyman, 6-6 PF, Mission Vista/ Coastal Elite 16u Premier – Bouncy, long forward is a formidable interior defender and rim protector due to his length, energy. Offensively raw, Twyman needs to continue to improve his post game.
Vaso Rakovic, 6-0 G, Mission Hills/ Coastal Elite 16u Premier – Feisty slasher scores at the rim and finishes in and around contact, strong on-ball defender despite less-than-average length. Perimeter shooting and off hand need work.
JJ Overton, 6-1 PG, Rancho Bernardo/san Diego All-Stars 15u Pump – Good size and length for a lead guard. More of combo guard than a true point, Overton is making strides with his decision making off the dribble (pass vs. score).
Armstrong Chungkwu, 6-8 PF Mission Bay/ San Diego All-Stars 15u Pump – Big, athletic forward is far from a finished product, but has tons of upside, shows flashes of high-level play in the post, mid-post.
Ed Fenzi, 5-10 PG, Army Navy/ Gamepoint 15u Black – Heady point guard is a solid on-ball defender, effective passer off penetration. Needs to improve quickness with the handle, shooting and decision making.
Jack Peterson, 6-1 SG, Saint Augustine/ San Diego All-Stars 15u Pump – Silky shooter is a capable scorer off the dribble and defender, despite average quickness.
Simion Habtemichael, 6-5 G/F, Balboa Prep/ Supreme Court- Lefty shooter has a smooth stroke, decent off the one-dribble pull up, needs to improve his ball handling, struggles on defensive side of ball.
Jalen Flanagan, 5-11 G, Coastal Elite 14u Premier – Rangy, long, athletic guard can score at the rim and hit a couple of perimeter buckets. His ball handling on the perimeter needs to improve, as well as his consistency shooting from the three.
Alex Cho, 6-0 G, La Jolla Country Day/ San Diego All-Stars 14u Pump – Cho might be a better player right now than several players listed as top prospects. Scoring guard is a physical penetrator and solid spot-up shooter. Must improve handle going to his off hand, and be more efficient with the dribble (pounds it too much).
Warren Washington, 6-3 F, Escondido/ Coastal Elite 14u Premier – Long and wiry forward is a crafty scorer around the rim, needs to get considerably stronger, improve as a rebounder.
Well, it’s been a great year for the Full-Time Hoops movement. I’ve really been able to provide San Diego the prep and grassroots coverage that has been lacking for some time.
And now, Full-Time Hoops is taking the next step forward: I am proud to introduce the Full-Time Hoops Scouting Service (NCAA approval pending).
For $150 annually, Full-Time Hoops will provide college coaches of ALL LEVELS (NCAA D1, D2, D3, NAIA and JUCO) no fewer than six reports per season, plus exclusive content and advanced scouting reports delivered in print and PDF format.
Coaches who are interested in the service can email me at email@example.com with your name, title and school name and college division and I will add you to my soon-to-start mailing list.
I will be providing financial information shortly, so please stay tuned for more details!
Again, thank you so much for all of your support over the past year! Let’s make the 2014-15 season a great one for the Full-Time Hoop movement!
Magic Memorial Day Festival Report #1 San Diego Standouts
A bevy of talent from San Diego and beyond converged on the Inland Empire on Memorial Day weekend to pay homage to perennially one of the top basketball events on the holiday weekend – the Compton Magic Memorial Day Festival.
The event featured players of all ages (from 11u to 17u) and crowned five high-school champions.
San Diego was in the mix for all but one of the championships, and took three of the crowns: Coastal Elite 16u Premier won the 16u Division in convincing fashion over Team Superstar, San Diego All Stars defeated Coastal Elite Select in the 17u Open (third division), and Gamepoint 17u White won the 17u Elite Division over the Arizona Aces.
Additionally, there were a number of San Diego players who shined above the competition. Here are some of the superlatives:
DeAndre Ayton, 2017 6-11 PF, Balboa Prep/ Supreme Court – I know, it’s becoming redundant. Ayton continues to prove why he is widely held as the nation’s top 2017 prospect, and also showed some other facets of his game that are developing at a rapid pace. He possesses a tremendous frame and great athleticism and mobility for a player his size, but he also is quite skilled. He can face up and drive against slower opponents, and displayed several solid moves in the post. He is an excellent passer from both the high and mid-post, locating open shooters and passing out of double teams. He even showed some range on his shot, knocking down several shots from the college three. While we prefer him staying on the low block, it just goes to show the skill level of a kid who is blossoming before our eyes.
Jaylen Hands, 2017, 6-1 PG, Mater Dei Catholic/ Compton Magic Black – A year ago, explosive would not have been a word I would have used to describe Hands, the wiry South Bay guard. What a difference a year makes, as Hands was one of the most explosive player on hand during the proceedings. His attacking style in transition and the halfcourt gives ample opportunities to showcase his explosive playmaking ability, whether it be his strong first step or an aggressive attack to the basket, which he often tries to punctuate with the dunk. But Hands is more than just an athlete: he possesses a high-level feel for the point position, deftly uses screens to create for himself (very refined mid-range game) and others (hit the roller or popper with regularity) and thrives in drive-and-kick situations. There were some occasions where he pounded the ball too much, so we’d like to see him be more efficient with his handle moving forward.
Dominic Hovasse, 2015 6-2 G, Torrey Pines/ Gamepoint 17u White – Hovasse was the most valuable player in the very good 17u Elite Division, and got better with each game. He’s a scoring guard who won’t wow you wit explosive athleticism, but his scoring IQ is off the charts. Calling him “crafty” doesn’t do him justice – his game is predicated on an advanced understanding of attack angles, change of pace and speed and a quick trigger lefty release. He scores from all three levels, and shoots it both off the catch and off the drive. Defensively, he possesses adequate length and lateral quickness, but it his competitive fire that allows him to compete admirably on the defensive end. Hovasse entered the spring as a D2/NAIA prospect, but his progression should place him firmly on the Ivy, Patriot and similar league’s radars.
Matt Beeler, 2015 6-7 F, Poway/ Gamepoint 17u White – If Hovasse was the most improved prospect in San Diego’s 2015 class over the spring, Beeler is not far behind. The willowy stretch four really came on for Gamepoint’s third 17u group, knocking down threes from the wing and baseline, making strong drives to the basket and finishing assertively at the rim. Defensively, he did a solid job both on the wing and in the post, even at times when his opponent significantly outweighed him. What makes Beeler so intriguing at the next level because he could, quite possibly, play on the wing because of his ball skills. He will need to continue to get considerably stronger, and improve his first step if he is going to make that transition.
Mikey Howell, 2016 6-0 PG, San Marcos/ Coastal Elite 16u Premier – Howell continues to improve at a rapid level with each viewing. The cat-quick point guard, whose frame screams upside, possesses uncanny court vision; he sees plays develop before the defense does, allowing him to make some incredible passes. He handles the ball tight and low, making it difficult to trap or press him. Defensively, he is one of the top on-ball defenders in his class. Additionally, Howell showed some improvement in the area of creating his shot, attacking the basket and attempting to score through contact. As he continues to improve this area of his game, as well as continuing to get stronger, look for Howell to continue to vault past a number of 2016 guards in SD.
Abdul Shanun, 2015 6-9 PF/C, Balboa Prep/ Supreme Court – Shanun has a lot of physical tools (great frame, elite length and bounce) for the next level, but his skillset is still very raw. He thrives in one-on-one situations where he can use his sheer force to overpower defenders, and score at the rim or with a jump hook. This weekend, however, Shanun at times struggled when defenses sent double teams his way, and allowed for single defender to take him out of the game with ball denials and full fronts far too easily for a player of his dimensions. One thing that you can’t take away from Shanun is his high motor and competitiveness, which allows him to have an impact on the game even when he’s not scoring.
Tim Harrison, 2016 6-8 F, Francis Parker/ Gamepoint 16u Black – Throughout the weekend, Harrison showed flashes of his high-major potential. His combination of length and face-up skills on the wing make him a matchup problem for bigger forwards, and on the defensive end, he again has the unique ability to guard on the perimeter and protect the rim. Harrison needs to be more consistent with his decision making and have a bigger impact on the game when the ball is not in his hands, when he tends to float on the perimeter rather than making decisive cuts and off-ball screens.
Jake Gilliam, 2017 6-7 C Torrey Pines/ Gamepoint 15u – At times, Gilliam is the most imposing player on the court due to his sheer size. He has great hands, soft touch around the basket and uses his big body to carve out space against other big defenders (gave Dream Vision’s Evan Battey all he could handle in two games). But his body needs an overhaul. He struggles to rebound out of his area and as rim protector because he plays below the rim. Additionally, while he’s big, Gilliam is not necessarily strong in his upper body, which makes it difficult for him to hold his position in the post and score away from the block. With improved conditioning, these areas should improve.
Robby Robinson, 2017 6-7 PF Kearny/ Compton Magic 16u Black – Robinson is a young (14 years old), willowy forward who runs the floor well and finishes plays in transition, defends his position, can hit the mid-range jump shot and has a budding skillset in the post, including a right handed jump hook. He needs to get considerably stronger, especially in the upper body, which will help him maintain position in the post and finish plays through contact, where he struggles.
Justin Young, 6-6 PF Eastlake/Gamepoint 17u White – At 6-6, Young is an undersized true power forward, but what makes him unique is his freakish length. This allows him to be an impact player on the low block, despite giving a lot of size. He is a great interior defender and rim protector and was able to use his length to frustrate Abdul Shanun and DeAndre Ayton in Gamepoint’s win over Supreme Court. Offensively, his game is still developing, though he has a potent running hook that he gets off over bigger opponents. He needs to develop a consistent mid-range jump shot to complement his post skills, as well get stronger in the upper body to withstand the punishment he will take in the post.
Reid Johnson, 6-6 PF, Cathedral Catholic/ Gamepoint 16u Black – He might not be the best prospect on his own team, but Johnson is a model of consistency. He is a high-IQ player on the low block, who uses his footwork and crafty post moves to score on bigger opponents. Johnson has also developed a solid mid-range game, and can knock down shots off the catch from 15-18 feet. He is an excellent rebounder who also creates rebounding opportunities for others by boxing out opponents. He also is an excellent interior passer, both in high-low opportunities and out of the double team. While Johnson’s thick frame and mundane athleticism make him less attractive as a prospect than his counterparts, there is no denying that he can play the game at a high level against elite competition.
Jason Simmrin, 6-4 PF, San Marcos/ Coastal Elite 16u Premier – Simmrin is an undersized four man who is a legitimate inside-out threat with range on his perimeter shot to the college three with consistency. He uses his big body to carve out space in the post, and his nimble feet to get around athletic defenders. He struggles at times in transition, where his lack of foot makes him vulnerable to chase down blocks. Like Johnson, he might not look the part of a high-level player, but he plays hard and smart and consistently delivers results for a very good Coastal team.
Timmy Saunders, 6-2 G, Torrey Pines/ Gamepoint 17u White – Saunders could easily be in the most improved category, but we will slot him here for now. Saunders doesn’t have a single elite skill, but he also does not have a single significant weakness as a guard. While not explosive, he is an assertive slasher who finishes plays through contact. He doesn’t have elite handles, but doesn’t turn the ball over and can handle against pressure and in the open court. He’s a better athlete than you’d expect and is a formidable on-ball defender. What was once considered the lone flaw in his game, his perimeter shooting, has really come on over the course of the spring. He will need to continue to polish all the facets of his game, but his stock has risen over the spring.
Justin Woodley, 6-0 G/F, Bishop’s/Gamepoint 15u Black – For a player with no definable position, Woodley has an impact on the game in a variety of ways. Much like Saunders, he does everything well, but not great. He can handle well enough to initiate the offense, he scores off the dribble, and from the mid range, he isn’t afraid to mix it up on the boards and is willing
Charles Jordan “CJ” Cadua, 2015 5-5 PG, Sweetwater/San Diego All Stars 17u – Cadua is a very polarizing evaluation, but one thing everyone can agree on is that he is electric with the ball in his hand, especially in transition or secondary break situations. During the first half against the Southern California All Stars, Cadua was stellar against a highly regarded point guard prospect Josh Rodriguez, both in transition and in the half court, using his handle to break down defenders and create scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates. He needs to be more consistent in the half court running the screen and roll and avoiding over dribbling, which he has a tendency to do.
Eric Monroe, 6-1 PG, St. Augustine/Gamepoint 17u Black – Monroe is a gifted true point guard who possesses a high basketball IQ and excellent court vision. His savvy with the ball is beyond his years. He does a lot of things off the drive and kick for his team, either for himself (good use of the pass fake and score), or for the shooters on his team, by drawing double teams and kicking to open shooters. Monroe has limitations athletically (only fairly quick laterally) that manifests itself on the defensive end, but he compensates for it by playing hard and doing a good job getting in position to take charges against defenders who try to take him off the dribble.
Omajae Smith- 6-4 SF, Foothills Christian/ Compton Magic 16u Black – Smith’s combination of elite lateral quickness, length strength and active hands allow him to stifle the opponent’s best perimeter player. In a number of ways, he reminds me of Quartz Hill’s Jeffrey McClendon with his ability to lock down perimeter scorers. Like McClendon, however, Smith is still raw on the offensive end. He is a streaky shooter from the perimeter and his handle needs to improve. But he is a hard worker and plays with a ton of energy, so expect the offensive side of the ball to improve sooner than later.
Connor Kennedy – 6-3 SF, Mission Hills/ Gamepoint 17u White – Kennedy proved to be a pest on the defensive end, and that is said in a good way. He’s not the quickest laterally, but he is a very strong player who uses his brute strength to frustrate ball handlers and deny scorers the ball in off-ball situations. He also is a very good rebounder for his height. Offensively, Kennedy is a decent slasher and streaky set shooter, but he will need to improve his ball handling to reach his full potential on that end. Division 3 schools would be wise to monitor Kennedy during his senior year.
Best young prospects
Taeshon Cherry, 2018 6-6 F, St. Augustine/ Gamepoint 15u Black- Cherry is a long, athletic stretch four type who can knock down shots from all three levels, and has made major strides in his consistency as a shooter. He handles the ball well for the position and his passing IQ is quite high. His game reminds me a lot of another current Gamepoint player, 2015 Village Christian F Bennie Boatwright. As his game matures, we’d like to see him develop some moves with his back to the basket to complement his perimeter play, as well get stronger physically, which should come with normal development.
Jerron Bond, 2018 6-0 G, San Ysidro/ San Diego All Stars 14u Pump- Bond reminds me of a young Jrue Holiday. He possesses elite quickness and athleticism, and is a load in transition, where he can score seemingly at will. He needs to improve his perimeter shooting and decision making with the pass.
Rejean Ellis, 2019 5-6 PG, San Diego All Stars 13u/14u- Ellis is an electric scoring guard who is a tremendous ball handler and can score from the perimeter, mid-range and at the basket. He needs to improve getting his teammates more involved with the pass and avoid over dribbling.
Dalton Soffer, 2015 6-5 G/F, Poway/ Gamepoint 17u Black – Soffer had several strong performances during the event. He gets excellent lift on his shot and has a quick and picturesque release. Soffer’s shot is nothing new, but other areas of his game need to continue to progress in order for him to have an impact at the next level once his shot is taken away, namely improving off the dribble (being balanced on his pull-up jump shot) and lateral movement on the defensive end.
Terrance Becvar, 2016 5-9 PG, Valley Center/ Coastal Elite 16u Premier – Becvar is the definition of a sharpshooter. If his feet are set, it’s pretty much automatic. His quick release allows him to get his shot off against tight defense. Becvar is showing an improved ability to handle the ball, especially in transition. As he continues to grow as a ball handler against pressure, he has a chance to develop into a quality point guard who, with his ability to shoot it at a high level, will be a headache to guard.
Report #2 will name other San Diego Standouts.