LAS VEGAS – The West Coast has been down in recent years but that should change over the next few…
Fullcourt Press Easter Classic, Day Two
Darnell Taylor, SG, Belmont Shore: His academic status is still unknown, but if the grades are there, Taylor will end up at a respectable school next season. He doesn't bother shooting much, but he's a high level athlete that relentlessly attacks the basket. With the exception of maybe Shabazz Muhammad, no one in Las Vegas is finishing as violently at the rim as Taylor is. His athleticism and hustle on the court will allow him to be a good defender at the next level. If he can qualify, schools needing backcourt depth next year will be recruiting him. Ben Carter, PF, Las Vegas Lakers: Overshadowed by some talented teammates at Bishop Gorman, Carter gets the opportunity to show off for himself in AAU. He's a hard working four who is at his best when he gets the ball in the high post, where he can either hit the midrange jumper or take his defender off the dribble to get to the hoop. He's going to have to bulk up to defend the four at the next level, but that same added strength will also help his offensive game, as he currently relies on quickness and skill to get the job done. Grant Jerrett, PF, Belmont Shore: In his first matchup of the day, Jerrett had a rare game for him where his shot wasn't falling, so he did what any good player should do and came up big on defense. He blocked shots, deflected passes and rebounded relentlessly. Jerrett's offense was back on in his second game, which meant the usual array of creative post moves and crafty drives to the hoop. Jerrett has to continue to get stronger, but he's already made strides in that area and still has a year and a half to go before college. Shabazz Muhammad, SF, Dream Vision 17U: Muhammad came out firing, scoring 7 of his team's first 10 points and he never turned back from there. In a 35-point effort, Muhammad hit a couple threes, but for the most part he did what he does best in nailing the midrange jumper and attacking the rim for lay-ups, dunks and trips to the free throw line. Muhammad is talented enough as it is, but the effort he gives on a possession to possession basis makes having a bad game almost impossible for him. There are countless kids on the circuit who should watch Muhammad and learn the meaning of playing hard and to win. He gets it. Robert Upshaw, C, Dream Vision 17U: Upshaw was slow to get started and only scored three points in the first half against Arizona Dream Team. In the second half, he did a good job of demanding the ball, and it led to a much better showing, as he finished the game with 14 points. Once Upshaw catches the ball around the basket, he spins off his opponent and attacks the rim. It's a relief that he doesn't spend too much time away from the post; he's a center and unlike many big men, he knows it. He's almost impossible to stop at this level once he gets the ball around the hoop, and when his teammates find him down low, he usually takes advantage. It's hard to believe there will be too many high major programs that decide they couldn't use a kid like him, if they could get him. Joe Rahon, PG, Dream Vision 17U: Rahon is getting recruited by schools at all three levels and you can see why there would be a varied opinion. The one thing Rahon definitely brings to the court is his shooting ability; like his older brother James at San Diego State, Joe can definitely light it up from beyond the arc. 12 of his 19 points against Arizona Dream Team came from three. His point guard skills are improving and the progress he makes in that area will dictate his ultimate level. Eric Cooper, Jr., SG, Belmont Shore: The Arizona commitment has spent a long time off the court with a knee injury, and you'd like to wait until he's comfortably back before fully evaluating him. He's done a good job of losing weight and getting back in shape. For now, he's mostly playing the role of distributor on a talented team. Stanley Johnson, SF, Belmont Shore: Physically built for a freshman, Johnson loves to drive and he does a great job of getting to the basket and finishing with either hands. He has a nice stroke from three and is definitely a threat from there, but is still a bit inconsistent. With repetition, he'll likely be just as big of a threat from there as he is to take the ball to the hoop in time. Before long, Johnson and his 2014 Mater Dei teammate Shaqquan Aaron should make up one of the best duos in high school basketball. Shabazz Muhammad's father, Ron Holmes, mentioned Duke, Kentucky, Memphis, Louisville, North Carolina, UCLA, Arizona, Washington and Kansas as schools involved in the recruitment. He said they hope to take unofficial visits to Washington, Arizona, UCLA and USC. Isaac Hamilton claims offers from USC, Fresno State, Houston, TCU, Oklahoma State and Arizona. He says Arizona, USC, Washington and St. John's are recruiting him the hardest, but that Arizona currently stands out. Stanley Johnson very temporarily doesn't have any offers. He said some of the schools he grew up rooting for were USC, North Carolina and Stanford. Joe Rahon holds offers from Boston College and San Diego. He's receiving interest from San Diego State, Washington State, Colorado, St. Mary's and Yale. Ben Carter's offer list includes Boston College, New Mexico, Arizona State, Colorado, Nevada, Oakland and U.C. Irvine. He'll unofficially visit Arizona State next weekend. Demetris Morant says that Memphis and San Diego State his leaders. He claims offers from those two schools, as well as USC, UNLV and Arizona State. Dalante Dunklin, a 2012 point guard from San Diego Parker, is hearing from Princeton, Harvard, San Diego, Cal Poly and Penn. He plans on visiting Cal Poly next month and Penn in June for its elite camp, and then will likely choose between those two schools. New Mexico head coach Steve Alford has been in attendance to watch his son, Bryce Alford, who plays for Danny Granger Hurricanes. UCLA assistant Phil Matthews has been on hand to watch his son, Jordan Matthews, who plays for both Dream Vision 16U and Dream Vision 17U.
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