Monday, September 30, 2013
Frosh/Soph event shows West is rising
By Joel Francisco
CERRITOS, Calif. -- The Fullcourt Press Frosh/Soph Camp is further proof that the west coast is on its way back to national prominence. It's no coincidence that the Pac-12 Conference has been down the last couple of seasons as a result of a shallow recruiting pool out West. However, as Sam Cooke eloquently sang in the 1960s, "A Change Is Gonna Come."
Now, the recruiting outlook in the West is improving significantly, especially with the likes of 2016 standouts Lonzo Ball and T.J. Leaf.
Best of the 2016s
Lonzo Ball (Chino Hills, Calif./Chino Hills)
2016, PG, 6-foot-4, 175 pounds
Player comparison: Jason Kidd
As one high school legend pointed out this weekend, there is nobody that resembles Ball on the recruiting front out west or maybe anywhere. His unique blend of size, skills and off the charts savvy remind me a bit of the first time I witnessed Jason Kidd's act on the AAU circuit, although Ball is a better shooter.
Sophomore Lonzo Ball compares favorably to a young Jason Kidd, only Ball is a better shooter.
T.J. Leaf (San Diego, Calif./Foothills Christian)
2016, PF, 6-foot-8, 210 pounds
Player comparison:Cody Zeller Although Leaf doesn't possess the post skills and fundamentals of Cody Zeller, he does have the length, bounce and assertiveness that Zeller had at the same stage. Leaf also can stretch the defense with his fairly smooth jump shot.
Milan Aquaah (Pasadena, Calif./La Salle)
2016, PG, 6-foot, 170 pounds
Player comparison:Michael Caffey (Long Beach State)
Aquaah is a physically dominating point guard prospect who can burst in the open court a la Caffey, and his finishes with the left hand are a thing of beauty. Like Caffey in high school, though, Aquaah needs to continue to smooth out his jump shot.
Eric Monroe (San Diego, Calif./St. Augustine)
2016, PG, 6-foot-1, 155 pounds
Player comparison:London Perrantes (Virginia)
Monroe is the consummate point guard prospect who thinks pass with every possession. His IQ for the game is high-level, which is demonstrated by his impeccable passing. Monroe's jump shot is not as consistent as Perrantes', but Monroe's feel for the game is right there.
Jonah Mathews (Santa Monica, Calif./Santa Monica)
2016, PG, 6-foot-1, 160 pounds
Player comparison:Monte Morris (Iowa State)
Mathews is a multi-skilled guard who possesses all the ingredients to be a potent scoring lead guard at the next level. In addition to the physical similarities to Morris, Mathews also has a similar skill set with his ability to affect the game with his passing and scoring.
Brandon Cyrus (San Diego, Calif./Torrey Pines)
2016, SG/WF, 6-foot-4, 190 pounds
Player comparison:Wayne Selden (Kansas)
Cyrus is not quite chiseled up like the elder Seldon, but his physique is headed in that direction. Selden is a smoother shooter at this stage, but both use their strength and athleticism to make plays in the paint, as well as out on the perimeter.
Johnny McWilliams (San Diego/San Marcos)
2016, SG/WF, 6-foot-4, 175 pounds
Player comparison:Gary Harris (Michigan State)
Like Harris, McWilliams can convert buckets at a rapid pace from all over the court. However, if McWilliams can learn to be more efficient with his shot selection, like Harris has learned over the years, his overall game will continue to elevate.
Tim Harrison (San Diego/Francis Parker)
2016, PF/WF, 6-foot-7, 170 pounds
Player comparison:Dorian Finney-Smith (Florida)
Harrison is a sinewy 3 or 4 who can score in the mid-range but also has the ability to knock in the occasional 3-point shot. Like Finney-Smith, Harrison utilizes his length to block shots and rebound in addition to his mid-range skills. Both prospects are combo-forward types, so it will be interesting to see how Harrison continues to develop his all-around skill-set.
Shacquille Dawkins (Mission Hills, Calif./Alemany)
2016, PG, 5-foot-6, 145 pounds
Player comparison: Chaz Williams (UMass)
Dawkins is an athletic freak on the court, where he utilizes his blinding speed and cat-like quickness to either blow by his opponents for the layup or stop on a dime for the pull-up jump shot. Williams has a couple of inches on Dawkins, but both have that lethal combination of being able to get their own shot or find the open teammate with the pass.
Zach Collins (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman)
2016, 6-foot-8, 220 pounds
Player comparison:Josh Hawkinson (Washington State)
Collins is slowly, but assuredly, making strides as a skilled Division I 5-man. He can play inside and out due to his blossoming skill set. He is not quite as long or athletic as Hawkinson, but they do share similar inside-out skills and feel for the game.
Dikymbe Martin (Riverside, Calif./J.W. North)
2016, PG, 5-foot-11, 155 pounds
Player comparison:Quinn Cook (Duke)
Martin won't wow you with blazing quickness or speed, but like Cook he has a high basketball IQ and is equally adept at scoring as he is at setting up his teammates. However, going forward Martin must improve his range on his jump shot to keep his pull-up game lethal.
Lucas Siewert (Los Angeles/Cathedral)
2016, PF, 6-foot-9, 220 pounds
Player comparison: Travis Wear (UCLA)
Although Siewert is classified as a sophomore, he looks like he could be the third Wear (David and Travis) brother. Not too mention Siewert has the shooting touch and body type that is eerily similar to the brother tandem that resides in Westwood.
Alize Travis (Victorville, Calif./Silverado)
2016, PG, 5-foot-11, 155 pounds
Player comparison: Darren Collison (LA Clippers)
Collison has developed into a solid shooter, whereas Travis needs to clean up that area of his game. However, both point guards have a knack of blowing by their opponent and delivering the goods to open teammates.
Class of 2017
Charles O'Bannon Jr. (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman)
2017, WF/SG, 6-foot-4, 170 pounds
Player comparison:Dakarai Allen (San Diego State)
O'Bannon is a long-armed wing-type who physically resembles the sinewy Allen. Both prospects are a handful in the open court and they have the tenacity and physicality to be lock-down perimeter defenders.
Ethan Thompson (Torrance, Calif./Bishop Montgomery)
2017, SG, 6-foot-1, 150 pounds
Player comparison:Chasson Randle (Stanford)
Thompson is a rangy combo guard who can score in a variety of ways. Like Randle, he has the savvy to make the right basketball play on every possession. At this stage, Thompson is further ahead of his junior standout brother (Stephen Jr.).
Billy Preston (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco)
2017, PF, 6-foot-8, 215 pounds
Player comparison:Kuran Iverson (Memphis)
When describing Preston, I was going to go with Billy Owens (former Syracuse standout), but I would be shocked if any high school kids know of him. Nevertheless, Preston had the most lethal combination of size, strength, and skill in the camp, but like Iverson, he doesn't always bring it on a consistent basis.
Jalen Harris (Los Angeles/Windward)
2017, PG/SG, 5-foot-11, 170 pounds
Player comparison:D'Angelo Russell (Ohio State commit)
Russell, who is committed to the Buckeyes, is more slender than Harris, but their games are similar. Both left-handers can score in bunches off the dribble and at all three levels. Although they're scorers first, dropping off the nifty assist is part of their repertoire, as well.