Friday, July 19, 2013
West Coast's elite heat up at the Beach
By Joel Francisco
REDONDO BEACH, Calif. -- The inaugural Battle at the Beach, orchestrated by Etop Udo-Ema, was launched at Redondo Union High School this week and to sum it up in a few words -- it made quite a splash. Start with the premier backcourt players in attendance like Jordan McLaughlin, Quentin Snider and Devearl Ramsey, then toss in a stellar hospitality room and the day was quite profitable from all angles. The frontcourt talent was scarce, but there were a number of talented perimeter prospects who exhibited elite level skills and savvy.
Let’s examine which players made an impression at the event.
Best Scoring Point Guard
Jordan McLaughlin (Etiwanda, Calif./Etiwanda)
2014, PG, 6-foot-1, 155 pounds
Status: UCLA, USC, San Diego State, Indiana, Gonzaga, Kansas and UNLV are all involved.
After an up-and-down early evaluation period, McLaughlin looked like his old self at this event. He was explosive in transition, weaving through the defense with relative ease and changing speeds at a moment’s notice. He was slippery in the open court, converted high-level transition passes and knocked in shots at all three levels. This was a vintage performance by one of the most coveted recruits out west.
Rick Pitino landed another stellar floor general in local PG Quentin Snider.
Best Floor General
Quentin Snider (Louisville, Ky./Ballard)
2014, PG, 6-foot-2, 180 pounds
Status: Committed to Louisville
Snider has ideal size and quickness and his overall game is very polished. He plays with an even keel and always makes the right basketball play. Snider can knock down the 3-point shot with regularity and he had a couple of full court drives that were of the spectacular variety.
Jermie Tyler (Indianapolis/Indianapolis Tech)
2014, CG, 6-foot-2, 165 pounds Tyler has a Jason Terry-like frame and a similar game to that of the Brooklyn Nets guard. The long-armed and bouncy combo guard gets great lift on his jump shot and his release is impeccable. He can explode in transition and is a quality passer, which allows him to play point in a pinch. Overall, he has the skills, athleticism and feel for the game to be a high-major player.
Devearl Ramsey (Chatsworth, Calif./Sierra Canyon)
2016, PG, 5-foot-8, 155 pounds There may not be a more relentless point guard in the state than Ramsey. He affects the game at both ends with his lockdown defense and burst with the ball in transition. He can explode for the dunk or drop off an assist in traffic. Ramsey can create space with the dribble and gets great lift on his jumper. His lateral quickness, strength and active hands are equally impressive. He plays too fast at times and delivers passes while leaving his feet, but he's a talent nonetheless.
Best Power Wing
Malik Yarbrough (Zionsville, Ill./Zion-Benton)
2014, WF, 6-foot-5, 220
Status: Claims offers from Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, DePaul, Loyola-Chicago and Minnesota, while receiving interest from UCLA, Florida and Butler.
Yarbrough is just a basketball player. The thick wing-type affects the game in multiple ways with his ball skills and savvy. He can face-up his opponent and power his way to the rim or step out and knock in a mid-range jump shot. Overall, he makes plays at both ends that demonstrate his feel for the game.
Most Skilled Big
T.J. Leaf (San Diego/Foothill Christian)
2016, PF, 6-foot-8, 215 pounds
Status: Claims offers from UCLA, USC and Portland
Leaf is a bouncy 4-man who can score both inside and out. He has some of former Kentucky former Kyle Wiltjer’s game in him, but is far more athletic while not quite the shooter Wiltjer is. He can face-up his defender and blow by him for a dunk or utilize his evolving footwork in the paint to convert buckets. Leaf is active in the paint area due to his bouncy nature and has excellent timing. His shot has a bit of a hitch in it, but he can knock down jumpers out to 19 feet.
No. 85 senior Payton Dastrup has come on strong recently at events like the Battle of the Beach.
Payton Dastrup (Mesa, Ariz./Mountain View)
2014, PF, 6-foot-8, 220 pounds
Status: Claims offers BYU, Virginia, Arizona, Arizona State, Utah State, Oregon State and Florida.
Dastrup has struggled at times this spring and summer, but at this event he demonstrated the type of skills that make him a coveted recruit. He runs well, has good hands and can finish in transition. Dastrup also exhibited a nice touch out to 17-feet and put together some nice finishes with his left hand in traffic.
Dalton Soffer (San Diego/Poway)
2015, WF, 6-foot-4, 185 pounds When Soffer misses a shot it's usually a surprise to observers. The burly wing-type doesn't possess ideal D-1 athleticism, but his jump shot is as prolific as any wing in his local class -- especially off the catch.
Kodi Justice (Mesa, Ariz./Dobson)
2014, SG, 6-foot-4, 175 pounds
Status: Committed to Arizona State
The more you watch Justice the more you realize there is more to him than just his shooting prowess. His jump shot is as smooth as it gets, but he has also improved his ball skills to where he can take defenders off the dribble almost at will. He needs to get stronger at finishing through contact better, but he is better than I originally thought back in April.
D.J. Ursery (Encino, Calif./Crespi)
2014, SG, 6-foot-4, 175 pounds Ursery is a long armed left-hander who is becoming a deadly marksman from deep. He sets his shot up well and his release is fairly quick. He has a nice burst off the dribble and can get to the rim, but he needs to improve his ability to go strong with his off hand and finish plays.
Best Pull-up Game
Dikymbe Martin (Riverside, Calif./J.W. North)
2016, PG, 6-foot, 155 pounds Martin has a very polished game for someone of his age. He doesn't possess elite speed or quickness, but he changes speeds very well and his crossover is tight. His forte is separating from his defender off the dribble, coming to a jump stop and pulling up for a score or his patented and potent runner.
Gardena, Calif./Serra has a promising point guard in 2016 Lafayatte Dorsey. He has the physical tools (length/burst) as well as a solid skill set for someone so young.
ESPN 60 forward Brodricks Jones (Los Angeles) needs to improve his ball skills and fundamentals to make an impact at the next level. He has always had the ideal length and bounce, but other than a few conversions in transition and a spot-up jump shot, his offensive game needs attention. He’s in the process of transferring schools so maybe he will hone his offensive game with his next team.
Kelan Martin (Louisville, Ky./Ballard), a 6-foot-6 senior, is a bulky 4-man with soft hands. He demonstrated his IQ for the game with a few nifty assists and offensive skill as he drained a few deep 3-pointers. Overall, he is one of the better all-around power forwards I've seen this summer.
Cameron Walker (Santa Maria, Calif./Righetti) is a multi-skilled wing with solid ball skills. The 6-foot-6 junior can knock in the 3-point shot or hand out high-level assists. His motor runs hot and cold, however, especially when rebounding and on defense.
2015 PF Roy Hemsley (Los Angeles/Windward) has improved his all-around game in the past year. The 6-foot-6 post has a Charles Barkley-like frame with long arms, good feet and soft hands. Despite his big frame, he can face-up defenders and his pull-up jump shot at the elbow (going left to right) is smooth.