Well, there was one San Diego kid…
As most of you know, this website was set up for the evaluation and promotion of SD kids.
But every now and then we highlight prospects from other regions that have caught our eye.
This weekend, Full-Time Hoops attended Gerry Freitas’ So Cal Hoop Review Spring Showcase, which he warned in advance would have no San Diego teams.
The event, held at Huntington Beach Marina High, spanned just under 11 hours and brought kids from across Southern California, and a few from even farther.
Some players and teams came in with established reputations, but for the large part, many of the teams and players are hovering under many college coaches and scouts’ radar.
Here are some of the superlatives:
Ountae Campbell, 6’4” G of Brentwood HS 2015 (Compton Magic Black)- The first thing that jumps out at you about Campbell is his frame: he’s got great length and a slender, yet strong, build. His length allows him to play much bigger than his listed height. He’s got a very versatile skill set on offense (point forward-esque) and does a lot of things well while improving on areas that were weaknesses just a year ago, such as perimeter shooting and handling the ball against pressure. His length and (explosive) athleticism allow him to defend all three perimeter positions as well as rebound very well for a guard. He has a solid passing IQ, both in the half court and in transition. If he can continue to improve upon the progress he’s made during the July evaluation period, there’s no reason that schools in the Big West, WCC or Mountain West shouldn’t show interest.
Best young prospects
Evan Battey 6’6” 220 F of Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies 2017 (Fastbreak Sports 16u Blue)- Battey is a big bodied forward who, despite his big frame, has some solid athleticism, which he exhibited by throwing down a baseline dunk in traffic over a defender. His game is reminiscent of a young Glen Davis - nimble footed and agile, equally adept at playing in the post and the perimeter, and a matchup nightmare as a result. As it was his fifth game of the day (plays for Dream Vision’s 15u), by the time I saw him he was struggling to transition from offense to defense. Still, improved conditioning and controlling his weight should be priorities with his development. If he does, he projects to be a special talent in the 2017 class.
Deschon Winston 5’10” PG of El Camino Real HS 2017 (Pressure Basketball Club 15u Blue)- One of the surprises of the spring, Winston, a promising young scoring point guard, is one of the more polished scorers you will see at his grade level. He won’t wow you with elite length or explosive athleticism, but he can score from anywhere on the court, whether it be spot-up threes, pull-up jumpers off the dribble, or forays to the basket, which he finishes with an array of runners, floaters and scores through contact. His handle, like the rest of his offensive package, is smooth, as he effortlessly manuevers past defenders off the dribble. On the defensive end, he has quick feet and active hands and has the potential to be a strong on-ball defender. I’d like to see how he performs against elite competition, but he has the potential (with added strength on his frame) to develop into a solid mid-major guard.
Projects worth investing in:
Simon Okolue 6’10” C of Capistrano Valley Christian HS 2015 (Branch West Elite 17U)- Bob Gottlieb’s got a diamond in the rough in this athletic, defensive-minded big. Okolue has a terrific frame, broad shoulders, and elite length, and already does a tremendous job rebounding inside and outside of his area, in addition to protecting the rim. He has the potential to be an elite interior defender. Offensively, he is still quite raw, but shows flashes of some post moves (jump hook over left shoulder). Still, there are very few 2015 bigs in California with his upside, especially at a Big Sky, WAC or conference of similar profile who can develop him over the course of four years.
Muusa Dama 6’9” C of Maranatha HS 2014 (Pressure Basketball Club 17u)- Dama is the epitome of a late bloomer. He’s only played a few years of organized ball, and is rapidly improving according to people familiar with his development. He has a tremendous physique and looks the part of a Division 1 center, he just needs time to continue to hone his skill set. This could come with a prep year or at a junior college, but Dama is currently considering an offer from Division II William Jewell University in Missouri. Again, lower level Division 1s on the hunt for a big they can redshirt might want to enter the conversation.
Joshua Patton 6’8” F of Sierra HS 2015 (Manteca Nuggets 17U)- Patton is tucked away in Manteca, a suburb of Stockton, but he can definitely play with the big boys. The long, bouncy forward has a wiry frame, but is a solid rebounder and rim protector, finishes above the rim in transition and on the low block (good up-and-under, step through and jump-hook). His movement without the ball on the block allows him to get position on stronger defenders. Additionally, he showed the ability to step out and hit the 15-foot shot from the short corners. Right now, he projects to be a solid Division 2 player. Added strength needs to be a priority for Patton moving forward.
Eli Silverman-Lloyd 6’4” SG Winward HS 2015 (Compton Magic Black)- once known as a spot-up shooter, Silverman-Lloyd has worked hard to improve other areas of his game to make more of an impact on the court. He has incorporated a nice pull-up jumper off of one or two dribbles (very quick release), and his lateral quickness has improved, which allows him to have better results on defense. He’s a competitive player too who doesn’t back down from a challenge on either end.
Riley O’Hern 6’1” G Santa Ana Foothill HS 2015 (Branch West Elite 17U)- O’Hern’s jump shot is, for lack of a better word, flawless. He’s a true jump shooter with terrific mechanics and follow through. As a result, you can pretty much call it a sure thing if he’s open. He struggles on the defensive due to subpar lateral quickness, which lowers his ceiling as a prospect, but he’s right in the backyard of more than 20 small colleges that won’t find many better guard options.
Ben Taufahema 6’4” SG Ben Taufahema of Canyon Country Canyon HS 2015 (Crush 17U)- Of the shooters at the event, Taufahema was the one that has the most upside as a college prospect. He’s a very complete offensive player who can score from all three levels, and is a very capable ball handler, evidenced by the isolation sets Crush ran for him where he beat really good defenders from Fastbreak off the dribble for scores at the basket or on the pullup. Like all of the Crush players, Taufahema gets after it on the defensive end, despite average lateral quickness. A sleeper at this stage, look for Taufahema to see college interest pick up in the July period and into his senior year.
Seth Guillory 5’7” G of Long Beach Jordan HS 2016 (Long Beach Gold Varsity)- Don’t let the slight stature fool you: Guillory is one of the most potent scorers you’ll see in the 2016 class in Southern California. He possesses deep range on his shot and very quick handles, which allow him to blow by defenders and score at the rim. But it’s his in-gym range that makes him fun to watch.Not sure how much he’ll grow, but even as is, he’s an under-the-radar sophomore prospect.
Others to consider:
Garrett Ford, 2016 G Roosevelt
Kosta Jankovich, 2015 F Renaissance Academy
Marquise Mosely 5’9” PG Renaissance Academy HS 2015 (GB Blazers 17U)- The diminutive lead guard possesses elite quickness, active hands and dogged determination on the ball, which allows him to frustrate and turn over opponents. While his size exposes him to mismatches in the post, he’s got no such problems on the perimeter. Mosely was also the best point-guard prospect on hand during the proceedings.
Cameron Young 6’5” F Westchester HS 2014 (Fastbreak Sports 17u Blue)- There were a lot of unsigned seniors on hand at the event holding out hope of drumming up some last-minute interest. One who impressed with his approach (at least on the defensive end) was Young, an ultra-bouncy forward who dominates the glass, blocks shots (very good timing on his jump) and defends multiple positions on the perimeter and the post. It will be interesting to see where he ends up, but high-level junior colleges should come courting.
Malik McCowan 6’3” G Valencia HS 2015 (Crush 17u)- McCowan has the prototypical lead guard frame, impressive length and lateral athleticism, so it’s no surprise he’s a terror at the top of the High Desert Crush’s 1-3-1 trapping defense. If his offensive skill set (needs tighter handle, perimeter shooting to complement slashing) can catch up with his defensive instincts, McCowan could be a prototypical late bloomer.
Top 20 underclass prospects (in no order):
Ountae Campbell 6’4” G Brentwood HS 2015 (Compton Magic Black)-
Simon Okolue 6’10” C Capistrano Valley Christian HS 2015 (Branch West Elite 17U)
Kosta Jankovich, 6’7” G/F Renaissance Academy HS 2015 (GB Blazers 17U)-
Malik McCowan, 6’3” G Malik McCowan of Valencia HS 2015 (Crush 17u)
Ben Taufahema, 6’4” SG Canyon Country Canyon HS 2015 (Crush 17U)
Marquise Mosely, PG, Renaissance, 5’9” PG Renaissance Academy HS 2015 (GB Blazers 17U)
Nic Brooks, 5’9” PG University HS 2015 (Magic West 2015)-
Joshua Patton, 6’8” F Sierra HS 2015 (Manteca Nuggets 17U)
Akil Reese, 6’2” G Westchester HS 2015 (Fastbreak Sports 17U Blue)
Evan Battey, 6’6” F Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies 2017 (Fastbreak Sports 16u Blue)
DeSean Watkins, 5’10” G El Camino Real HS 2017 (Pressure Basketball Club 15u Blue
Seth Guillory, 5’7” G Long Beach Jordan HS 2016 (Long Beach Gold Varsity)
Jeremiah Headley, 6’5” F Redondo Union HS 2015 (Compton Magic Black)
Cameron High, 6’1” G Redondo Union HS 2015 (Compton Magic Black)
Kevin Scott, 6’5” PF Pasadena HS 2016 (Pressure Basketball Club 17U)
Kai Tease, 6’0” G Antelope HS 2016 (Franchise 17U)-
Jeremy Hamilton, 6’3” G/F Fairfax HS 2016 (Fastbreak Sports 17U Blue)
Everett Campbell, 5’11” PG Antelope HS 2016 (Franchise 17U)
Jaylen Bass 6’1” G Rancho Dominguez Prep HS 2015 (Compton Magic Black)
Ellis Salahuddin 5’8” PG Westchester HS 2015 (Branch West Elite 17U)
It’s hard to believe that the first month of the grassroots season is already in the books, but believe it.
Thirty days, a handful of tune-ups and one live period later, a number of San Diego prospects have done what they set out to do at the start of the season - improve their stock with college coaches.
Some have done more than others. Here are a few of the “winners” in the month of April.
Justin Moore- 6-3 170 PG, Mission Bay/ San Diego All Stars 16u Pump- Moore did not play until the evaluation period at the Double Pump Hoop Fest (minor knee injury), but quickly reaffirmed why he is such a coveted prospect by such schools as San Diego State and USC. The long, lanky point guard has tremendous feel for the game, is adept at running the pick and roll, and has improved his perimeter shooting. Look for other mid and high-major schools to join the chase for Moore in coming weeks.
TJ Leaf - 6-9 210 F, Foothills Christian/ Compton Magic Elite- Despite a disappointing team performance in the first session of the Adidas Gauntlet series, Leaf increased his scholarship haul to start the week by picking up new offers from Cal, Arizona State, and Oregon. The versatile forward is one of the nation’s top sophomores, so it is no surprise to see the entire Pac-12 and other high major conferences in on him this early in the process.
Eric Monroe- 2016 6-1 160 PG, St. Augustine/ Gamepoint 17u Black- Monroe finished an impressive April with a reportedly strong performance at the Jayhawk Invitational in Kansas after breakout performances in Long Beach and in Garden Grove. As a result, he’s seen his recruiting take a leap, as now UC Irvine has expressed high interest in the bespectacled lead guard. This marks a significant step for a player who was being recruited by lower mid-major schools until this point. Monroe’s physique and athleticism are coming around, and his feel and IQ remain as high as ever, so it is no surprise that mid-major schools are taking a more serious look at Monroe.
Brady Twombly- 2015 6-6, 200 SF, La Costa Canyon/ Gamepoint 17u Red- Twombly’s improved physique jumped out at us during the final month of the high school season, and it has caught the attention of recruiters. The relentless wing was one of the standouts at the So Cal Hoop Review and continued it with a solid performance at the Adidas Gauntlet in Dallas. He has turned that into new interest from schools in the Big West, Big Sky, WAC and WCC. Expect the offers to start rolling in for Twombly from this point forward.
Travis Fuller- 2015 6-8, 200 F, La Costa Canyon/ Cal Supreme 17u Black - Fuller was one of the surprises for the EYBL team, scoring 18 points in one game in Sacramento during the first sesson. Fuller’s perimeter shooting and improved play on the boards have caught the eye of scouts, including Yale, which offered Fuller this week. He will likely play a larger role moving forward for the team, which may have some roster turnover after the first evaluation period.
Jaylen Hands - 2017 6-1 165 PG, Mater Dei Catholic/ Compton Magic 16u Black- Hands, the wiry and explosive lead guard prospect, has drawn rave reviews for his play with the Magic Black. San Diego State joined USC has the high-major schools to offer the freshman prospect, and many more offers are likely on the way after a solid performance at the Adidas Gauntlet.
Abdul Shanun - 2015 6-8 200 PF, TBA/ Coastal Elite 17u Premier- Shanun, who hails from Ghana, already had a big reputation on the East Coast, where he attended school his first 2 1/2 years. He cemented that reputation locally with strong performances at the So Cal Hoop Review and the Double Pump Hoop Fest, where the agile four man displayed a solid array of post moves to complement his freakish athleticism. Portland, San Diego State, Southern Utah and UC Riverside are all now monitoring Shanun, who will likely debut as the top 2015 prospect when Full-Time Hoops updates its rankings.
Trace Dimeff- The unsigned sharpshooter parlayed some potent three-point shooting into interest from several division 2s and a recruited walk-on offer from Montana State, which we are hearing he will take.
Kalyn Thomas- Thomas scored his first offer from NAIA St. Katherine College in Encinitas for his play with SDA’s 17u Pump.
Mikey Howell- We will see if Howell’s surprising play will result in interest, but let’s say he has definitely improved his stock on the Full-Time Hoops 2016 rankings.
Anthony Jensen- Jensen’s shooting caught the eyes of several coaches, including Air Force and Division 2 Westminster (UT).
Kalyn Thomas, 6-2 175 G, Orange Glen/ San Diego All Stars 17u Pump- Thomas is one of the most mercurial prospects you will find, largely due to his inconsistency. He is a potent scorer, but the ball too often dies in his hands on the offensive end. He is very athletic and long, but fouls too often on the defensive end due to poor technique (reaches too much rides defender), and while he shows flashes of brilliance in the open court with his passing, he also displays a penchant for being out of control. When he strikes the balance of genius and madness, though, there are very few players as talented as he can be.
Daniel Melifonwu- 6-9 210 PF, Lincoln/ San Diego All Stars 17u Pump- Melifonwu is as good of a rebounder as you will find in the unsigned crop. His combination size, length, athleticism and good instincts allow him to command the boards on both ends. He is also a very disciplined shot blocker who rarely leaves his feet on a head fake. Offensively, he is still quite unpolished, and he does not play with a consistent motor. Still, very few interior prospects left on the board have his physical tools.
Isaiah Milan- 6-1 160 G, Mission Bay/ San Diego All Stars 17u Pump- The wiry Milan is an active defender, and has a high-motor, always willing to make winning plays, such as diving for 50/50 balls, making the extra pass, and defend the other team’s best perimeter player. He is a capable scorer off the dribble and will knock down the open shot, but his has a low release that makes it tough for him to get his shot off in tight situations. He needs to add some bulk to his frame, which he can probably do with a juco stint, but Milan has some nice tools to work with.
Israel Seales- 6-5 180 F, Mater Dei/ Team ‘Zona- Seales is coming off of a year where he finally produced commensurate to his tremendous potential. This weekend, however, Seales appeared disengaged on both ends of the floor. I still think there isn’t a 2014 prospect with the upside of Seales, but he must play with more of a sense of urgency to fully realize that upside.
Mason Pennock- 6-5 190, Madison/ San Diego All Stars 17u Black- Pennock is a hard working forward who has a great frame for a wing, but largely played on the interior for the undersized SDA team. He competed on the boards, battling for position and ripping down rebounds with authority. Pennock is also a solid spot-up shooter from the perimeter, which bodes well for his transition to the wing. But in order for him to make the leap, he has to clean up his footwork off the dribble (moves pivot foot before dribbling ball) and needs to become more decisive with his moves on the perimeter.
Ashawnti Moore- 6-2 220 PF, Escondido Charter/ Coastal Elite 17u Select- Moore might have been the biggest surprise for the weekend among the San Diego contingent if not for Howell’s eye-opening performance. He played with great energy and was very active, both in the post and on the perimeter. He used his size and low center of gravity to frustrate bigger defenders on the block, and pursued boards outside of his area. He shot the ball well from the perimeter and seemed very comfortable handling the ball on the perimeter. I am not sure what Moore is, or where his place is on the next level, but if he continues to improve at this rate and continue to improve his body, he has value somewhere.
Shawn Sanderlin- 6-4 190 W Diego Hills Prep/ San Diego Cougars - The Smooth scoring wing knocks down the perimeter jumpshot and can get to the rim and finish around the rim through contact. He does a good job rebounding for his size, is equally as comfortable defending posts as he is perimeter players. Sanderlin needs to improve his motor.
Khor Tut- 6-6, 200 PF Orange Glen/ Coastal Elite 17u Premier- Tut has been a strong performer alongside Abdul Shanun for Coastal’s front court. He is a capable shot-blocker and an assertive rebounder, and has an array of low post moves. Tut needs to get stronger, especially in the upper body, to make an impact at the next level, but there’s no question that he could make his mark as an undersized post at the Division 2 level.
2017 and 2018 standouts:
Richard Polanco- 6-8 210 F, Army Navy/ San Diego All Stars 16u Pump- Polanco is a physical, versatile forward who has very good natural basketball instincts, especially as a passer. He makes some high-level passes both in the half court (he threw several no-look stationary passes that were on the money) and in transition off the dribble. As an offensive player, he uses his strength to power his get to the rim and score through contact. He can handle the ball in transition, though his handle in the halfcourt needs to be tighter. On defense, he is a versatile defender whose length allows him to cover ground on the perimeter and his upper body strength allows him to body guys in the post. He needs to strengthen his lower body, however, as his legs are quite thin. He needs to continue to hone his fundamentals on both ends, which would help him cut down on turnovers and avoid foul trouble. Overall, from an upside perspective, there are few 2017 players in San Diego - or beyond - that have his ceiling.
Sean Panado- 5-9 150 PG, Saint Augustine/ San Diego All Stars 15u Pump- It was a tale of two viewings for Panado. In a game Saturday, Panado had a strong stretch where he exhibited nice quickness off the dribble (nice crossover), solid passing and scoring off the dribble and the ability to knock down the perimeter shot; and on the other end, he used active hands and quick feet to force several turnovers - all in one half. On Sunday, he struggled against Team Bibby with turnovers and keeping guards in front of him without passing. For Panado, consistency of results will be key, because he has a great motor and plays hard, which bodes well for his development.
Devin Diaz- 6-1 1/2, 150 SG, Orange Glen/ Coastal Elite 15u Premier- Diaz, Michael Diaz’s twin brother, is a nice prospect in his own right. He has a long lanky frame, plays the game at a very calm pace, and is a capable spot up shooter and a willing defender. He doesn’t possess the explosiveness that his brother does, but still does a good job of attacking the basket off the drive, but that is an area of his game that still needs to improve to complement his shooting. Much improved prospect.
Jazenn Dutra- 5-9 145, Mater Dei Catholic/ San Diego All Stars 15u Pump: Dutra is a quick point guard who, when his jumper is falling, is a tough matchup because of his ability to get by defenders off the dribble. He’s also a very active defender who plays bigger than his listed height as a result of his activity level on the ball and quick feet. He needs to improve his shot selection, as well as the consistency of his jumper, which should come in the normal process of his development.
Derek Sit- 5-9, 150 PG, Poway/ Coastal Elite 15u Premier- It was our first time seeing Sit, who had a breakout postseason with the Titans. He is a steady leader and a very fundamentally sound point guard who will not wow you with his physical metrics, but plays the game with poise, pace and doesn’t do a lot wrong. He will carve out a nice career as a solid floor general for the TItans.
Miles Norris - 6-6 175 F, Mater Dei (2018)/ Earl Watson Elite 15u Silver- Norris is a willowy skilled four man who has a versatile offensive package, both facing up and with his back to the basket, and he doesn’t look close to finishing growing. He’ll need to get stronger, but he’s looking more and more like one of the top 8th grade prospects on the West Coast.
Alex Cho- 6-0 175 G, La Jolla Country Day (2018)/ San Diego All Stars 15u Pump- Cho had another solid weekend during our viewing getting to the basket and either creating for himself or for teammates with the pass. Improving his lateral quickness as well as the pace he plays with (sometimes gets OC on the drive) are areas where he will need to improve.
Note: I did not get to see San Diego All Stars 16u Black, which has a couple of really good prospects in 2016 St. Augustine PF Daniel Lara and Bonita SG Atoa Fox, and the San Diego Cougars 16u team, which has PG Murrell Vailes, David Wheeler and Nick Smith.
Full-Time Hoops 2016 standouts:
Marcus Hentley- 6-1 175 PG, Escondido/ Coastal Elite 16u Premier- In Hentley’s first action of the spring after missing a month after an appendectomy, he did not disappoint. The strong framed lead guard is the lone player on the underrated Coastal team who can create his own offense as well as create for others. While he isn’t the quickest, he has a really explosive crossover dribble that, much like 2014 Morse PG Jah’Mere Mitchell, allows him to create the necessary separation to then power his way to the basket. He is also a very gifted passer, in both the half court and transition. As a shooter, he is streaky, from three as a result of a subtle footwork flaw (leans left), but it is a potent weapon for him when he’s on. Defensively, he did a good job on his initial defense, and also recovering if his man beat him off the dribble. Given the circumstances, this was a strong weekend for Hentley, who has quietly moved into the upper tier of San Diego’s lead guards for the 2016 class.
Justin Davis- 6-5 190 F, Morse/ San Diego All Stars 16u Pump- The slashing wing plays with a ton of passion, which rubs off on his teammates. He is a raw ball handler (still more four than three), but he does a good job attacking the basket and drawing fouls, shooting nearly 10 charity shots per game. He is a solid shooter off the catch, especially at the top of the key and the baseline three. He will need to speed up his release to get it off under pressure, and will have to develop his mid-range game, including developing a pull-up jumpshot, which isn’t in his arsenal. As previously stated, there aren’t many better rebounders in the gym, as he has a knack of rebounding both in and outside of his area.
Jason Simmrin- 6-5 210 PF, San Marcos/ Coastal Elite 16u Premier- Simmrin is an intriguing four man who brings a new definition to the phrase “stretch four.” The wide-bodied post player can knock down the perimeter jumpshot with regularity, and while he exhibits solid footwork in the post, he prefers to operate on the perimeter. While the approach is unorthodox, it had positive results for him throughout the weekend. As he progresses, he needs to continue to drop weight and tighten his frame, which will only make his game that much more effective, and potentially allow him to be more explosive in the paint to compensate for his lack of size.
Nikko Paranada,5-11 150 G, Otay Ranch/ San Diego All-Stars 16u Pump- Paranada, an undersized combination guard, does a good job finding open spots on the court and drilling spot-up jump shots and can also play the point in the pinch. He struggles against athletic, long defenders, as he doesn’t have tremendous lateral quickness and relies on hesitation dribbles and head fakes to shake off opponents. He showed flashes of high-level passing, including a really nice drop-off pass off the pentration, but he needs to improve his general feel for the point position, as he tends to over dribble and doesn’t utilize
his left hand.
Adonis Dillahunty- 6-5 170 F, The Preuss School/ San Diego All-Stars 16u Pump- Dillahunty is an intriguing project because of his frame. He’s long, wiry and can effect the game on the defensive end because of his length and energy level. He doesn’t really have a position and his skill level is very raw, but he’ll be one to monitor because of his physical gifts and his great energy.
Burke Twyman- 6-6 190 PF, Mission Vista/ Coastal Elite 16u Premier- Twyman is a very long, rangy and bouncy forward who, despite giving up inches and size in his matchup with standout 2016 C Trevor Stanback, battled and did a good job on the boards. While he shows promise as a stretch four with his perimeter shooting, he is not particularly skilled in other facets of the game, with the exception of one very important and underrated skill: energy and motor.
Marco Cobian- 6-3 180 SG, Ramona/ Coastal Elite 16u Premier- Cobian is not particularly quick off dribble, but does a good job of making one move and getting to the basket, where he uses his size and footwork to create scoring opportunities. When shot is falling from perimeter, he’s really good. Cobian has made strides with his handle, but he needs to improve his handle against pressure, as well as his assertiveness on the defensive end.
Vaso Rakovic- 6-0 175 SG, Mission Hills/ Coastal Elite 16u Premier- Rakovic is a fiery combo guard who competes on both ends, especially on the defensive end, where his tenacity makes him a formidable on-ball defender. Offensively, he has very little subtlety: he’s attacks the basket and looks for contact. He struggles going to his left off the dribble, which limits his effectiveness.