- Joel Francisco
The beginning of the high school season is in full swing, and that means a plethora of holiday tournaments to feast upon. Redondo Beach, Pasadena, Torrance and Corona were some of the California towns covered in my Chevy Silverado in the past week, and the talent was in abundance.
Long Beach Poly was the most impressive team due to the dynamic physical duo of Pac-12 signees Roschon Prince (USC) and Jordan Bell (Oregon). However, the most impressive player was ESPN 60 point guard extraordinaire Jordan McLaughlin (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Etiwanda).
Here were some of the players who caught my eye from recent SoCal holiday tournaments.
Jordan McLaughlin (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Etiwanda)
2014, PG, 6-0, 150
McLaughlin plays the game like a seasoned veteran. His burst off the dribble is awe-inspiring, as is his vision. He dazzled the onlookers with his passing prowess and then exhibited his scoring skills in the second half. He can knock down 3’s, slither his way to the rim or toss in a floater. To put it mildly, he is ahead of former Etiwanda great and current Dallas Mavericks point guard Darren Collison at the same stage.
Bishop Mency (Chino Hills, Calif./Chino Hills)
2014, SF, 6-5, 185
Mency is still a relative unknown both nationally and even out west. However, the lanky wing has a feathery jump shot, bouncy athleticism and he plays with great energy. To take his game to another level, he needs to improve his ball skills, particularly his ball-handling against pressure. He claims offers from Gonzaga, Colorado, Boise State, Pepperdine, UC Irvine and UC Davis.
Chance Murray (Los Angeles/Price)
2013, PG, 6-3, 185
Status: Signed with Arizona State
Murray has a prototypical Division I frame with long arms and overall great length. He has become more aggressive as well while attacking the basket, and he has a good feel for the game due to his improved passing. His jump shot needs more consistency, but overall he's a solid pickup for the Sun Devils.
Namon Wright (Los Angeles/Pacific Hills)
2014, SG, 6-5, 190
Wright has a quintessential wing frame with long arms and excellent athleticism. He flies in transition and his body control is outstanding while finishing through and around contact. He converts buckets in a variety of ways with either hand and he can knock down an improved jump shot to boot. He claims offers from USC, Gonzaga, Oregon, Oregon State, Oklahoma State, New Mexico and Texas A&M.
Isaiah Bailey (Compton, Calif./Compton)
2014, SF, 6-5, 190
Bailey is long and athletic and he converts buckets either in transition or by draining the 3. He is a streaky shooter, but his release has become smoother. However, for his game to elevate to the next level his fundamentals need to improve. Far too often in the game he gets off balance while attacking, and his ball-handling can get sloppy. By implementing a jump stop as well as a mid-range pull-up, his game will become much more efficient. Bailey claims offers from USC, Gonzaga, San Diego State and Oregon State, while UCLA, UNLV, Oklahoma and UConn are showing interest.
Brandon Randolph (Inglewood, Calif./Inglewood)
2013, PG, 6-1, 165
Status: Signed with Xavier
After witnessing his act this weekend, it is befuddling how the Pac-12 didn't put on the full-court press for this kid. He is yet another prospect who slipped through the cracks of a conference thirsty for a talent infusion. Explosiveness, blinding speed, strength and scoring prowess are the qualities Randolph brings to the table. There are definite similarities between Randolph and Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard in high school.
Parker Jackson-Cartwright (Los Angeles/Loyola)
2014, PG, 5-7, 140
Jackson-Cartwright plays the game well beyond his years. He splits double-teams effortlessly with the dribble, and his vision is uncanny. His jump shot has improved considerably, especially his mid-range pull-up. However, at the next level his size and lack of strength are a concern. It's a Pac-12 battle between Arizona and UCLA for his services.
Sedrick Barefield (Corona, Calif./Centennial)
2015, PG, 6-1, 160
Barefield plays at a great pace considering his youth. The strong true point guard can manage a game, score at all three levels or drop off the assist. He is definitely one of the elite prospects in his class and one of the top point guards out west regardless of class. Barefield claims offers from UConn, Kansas State, Boston College and Memphis.
Connor MacDougall (Scottsdale, Ariz./Westwind Prep)
2014, PF, 6-9, 230
Status: Committed to Arizona State
MacDougall has a bit of Tyler Hansbrough in his game due to his energy level and production. He runs hard in transition, finishes through contact and plays with purpose. His footwork is a tad mechanical, but his hands are good and he can even step out and nail the jump shot at the elbow.