- Joel Francisco
CORONA, Calif. -- The Hall of Fame Championship Series made its annual stop by the Player’s Edge facility and we came away impressed. The Compton Magic came out with a vengeance and cruised to the U17 Gold Championship by defeating Branchwest Elite, 66-47.
Daniel Hamilton (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco)
2014, WF/SG, 6-foot-7, 170 pounds
To put it simply, Hamilton was scintillating in a quarterfinal tilt against Branch West Elite. The youngest of the Hamilton trio (Jordan, Isaac) may develop into the best of the bunch. Whether he’ll be a 2 or a 3 at the next level is yet to be determined, but his skill speaks volumes about his recent development as an all-around player. The willowy wing keeps his handle tight and low and his 3-point shot is effortless. However, the best part of his game could be his innate ability to find open teammates. He is in the argument for best prospect in the Southern California region, regardless of class.
Jaron Hopkins (Chandler, Ariz./Basha)
2013, SG, 6-4, 185 pounds
Hopkins is being touted as a point guard for the next level, but after watching his game this weekend, I’m not willing to go there. However, he is an explosive talent who possesses an excellent skill set for the next level. In transition he can catapult to the rim for a rim-rattling dunk in traffic or slash his way for an acrobatic lay-in. In the half-court set he has a nice burst off the dribble and his vision is excellent as he handed out a number of nifty assists. He still needs to smooth out his jump shot and he pounds the ball a bit too much (leads to inefficient offensive possessions), but he is definitely a high-major prospect.
Namon Wright (Los Angeles/Pacific Hills)
2014, SG, 6-4, 175 pounds
Wright has improved as much as any young prospect in Southern California. He has that quintessential Division I frame with excellent length and he utilizes it well, while slithering to the rim. His jump shot is feathery out to the 3-point line and his midrange game is evolving. He has bounced around schools early and often in his young career, but it appears he has settled in at Pacific Hills and that will only improve his game.
Drew Bender (Phoenix, Ariz./Pinnacle)
2013, WF, 6-5, 200 pounds
Bender had his whole repertoire in high gear at this event. The strong 3-man with a variety of ball skills can affect the game in multiple ways. He is a fairly-bouncy athlete who can rebound, lead the break or drain deep jump shots. He has gotten better off the dribble and he uses his frame well to ward off defenders. Look for Bender to have some high-majors following him around during the live period.
Victor Robbins (Compton, Calif./Compton)
2012, WF/SG, 6-6, 195 pounds
Robbins has one of the more impressive frames in the country with an albatross-like wingspan as well as an impressive skill set. He is a long 2-guard prospect who possesses all the skills (jump shot, passing, and bounce) to be a high-major recruit. In transition, he can attack the rim or pull up for the midrange jump shot. In addition, he has a variety of midrange skills and his passing is impressive. He still needs to build his confidence and assertiveness, but he is a talent. Schools are still waiting to see if he qualifies.