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L.A. High School Tournaments Recap
Xavier Johnson, SF, Mater Dei: With Katin Reinhardt at Kevin Durant Skills Academy, Stanley Johnson injured and Shaqquan Aaron expected to transfer, Johnson was asked to be the man for Mater Dei. When he played hard and was aggressive driving to the basket, Johnson looked very good at times, but when the effort waned, he didn't impact the game nearly as much as he could. On Monday, there was a more of a focus going to the basket and he scored at will. That driving also opened things up for him on the perimeter. Johnson has the ability to make some high level plays driving to the hoop or creating his own shot, but with his athleticism and talent, could be a dominant player at this level around the glass, both as a scorer and a rebounder. Johnson is no question a Top 100 prospect but the difference of what he is now and what he could be with a consistent competitive spirit on the court is significant. The potential is there and it will be up to Johnson to maximize it. Zena Edosomwan, PF, Harvard-Westlake: Edosomwan's relentless energy on the court combined with his good build for a power forward and athleticism allow him to make a big impact on both sides of the floor almost every time out. He gets the most out of his talent and plays to win, which are two great compliments for a high school kid. He's becoming increasingly more comfortable with his face up game and showing a bigger variety of ways to score on his opponent, whether that be backing him in or shooting over him. A competitor on the court and a great kid off of it, Edosomwan has a very high chance of being successful at the next level. He's done enough to prove himself as a Top 100 prospect. Taj Adams, PF, Fairfax: Adams is going to be one of the more intriguing recruitments to watch on the West Coast. He has two very good talents for a face-up four with his ball handling and passing, but also showed the ability to create his own shot. The ultimate level he should play at could depend on how much he grows, but there will likely be high majors that will be intrigued enough with his talent and upside that decide he's worth taking. He's grown in the past year and the more he continues to do so, the better you feel about him defending posts at the next level. He's definitely one of the biggest sleepers on the West Coast and a kid to keep an eye on in July. Skylar Spencer, C, Price: Looking at Spencer, he's what you want out of a post both physically and athletically. He's got long arms and a frame that will allow him to be a strong but athletic post in college. He's active on both sides of the court but right now he's a defensive player that is going to have to be taught offensive skill in college. Spencer showed some good moves to the basket and isn't completely inept offensively, but he is no doubt very raw. At worst he should be a good defender in college if he wants to be. Grant Jerrett, C, La Verne Lutheran: On the AAU level, Jerrett so often struggles to get the ball and it's tough for him to show what he's capable of with such a limited amount of touches each time out. However, on his high school team he's the focal point of the offense and it allows him to show his big arsenal of post moves which are all based on his outstanding footwork. Jerrett was triple teamed at times, which is completely necessary because he's so skilled offensively that it's not a fair task for most high school kids to try and guard him. Jerrett was also terrific as a rebounder and shot blocker. Jerrett hasn't had a terrific spring and summer on the AAU and camp scene but the way he played for his high school team showed that all the tools which made him so promising a year ago are still there. Brandon Randolph, PG, St. Bernard: There has been a traffic jam at the point guard position out west all spring and summer, with guys not doing enough to separate themselves from the pack. Randolph's performance on Thursday was a great step in the right direction. He's got a terrific first step and from there he's a threat to pull up or accelerate to the basket. Randolph is best on the move but can also step out and hit the three. He's a score-first point guard and heading into Thursday's game the biggest question was his passing ability. However, he looked more to pass in the second half and did an excellent job delivering some passes on the money to open teammates. A strong point guard with deceptive quickness, the more Randolph uses his physical gifts to help his teammates, the better his future will be, but he's got the physical ability and talent to be a very good player. Chance Murray, SG, Price: At this point in his development what Murray brings to the court is his shooting ability. That's mostly been proven to be from three at the AAU level, but he did a good job from midrange on Thursday. Murray has got to continue to develop the other areas of his game, from his intensity to his penetrating to his point guard skills, as he is an undersized two-guard right now. There is still time and a big tool to build off of with his shooting, so the next year will be big for Murray and will likely determine the ultimate level he is recruited at. Eric Cooper Jr., SG, La Verne Lutheran: Often overshadowed in AAU or camp settings, Cooper was more assertive in Thursday's game and showed some crafty moves to the basket. He did a good job creating for teammates and came away with several assists in the game. He's now very slender and a tall guard who still doesn't have the quickness he once had before his knee injury, although it is too early to say he won't continue to improve athletically as he missed so much basketball over the past year. His jumper was falling and the more he builds his confidence, the better off he's going to be. Namon Wright, SG, Pacific Hills: At this point Wright is definitely one of the more intriguing Southern California players in his class. He showed a very versatile game and played hard the entire contest. Wright's shot looks good but needs a quicker release, which isn't too much of a concern at this age, especially considering it goes in and on Thursday he was hitting both from midrange and three. His ball handling and body control help him create his own shot and drive to the basket. Wright also played the right way and did a terrific job creating for teammates. The word is that he's come a long way in the past year and continued development would put him on a very good path. Scout.com doesn't typically cover kids before they enter high school but two 2015 prospects that participated in this event deserve an exception made for them: Aaron Holiday, SG, Campbell Hall: The younger brother of Jrue and Justin, Aaron is no doubt a talent. He's got the ball on a string already, has a long, slender frame and will surely grow considering his brothers' height and the fact that he's just finishing eighth grade. Right now he's wild and has to be a better teammate, but he has an excellent pull up jumper and can get to the basket. His handles get him in trouble sometimes but he's a young kid that's still learning how to play the game and the talent is very obviously there. Between his brothers' success and his own talent, Holiday will likely be recruited at a high level pretty early into his prep career. Brodricks Jones, PF, St. Bernard: Jones' development is going to be fun to watch because at this stage, he's got to be considered a very high level prospect. Jones is already tall at 6-foot-8 but long, slender and definitely appears to still have growing to do. He's a good athlete that can put the ball on the floor and can also step out and shoot. Despite being so frail, Jones competes on the defensive end and does a good job rebounding. There's not much to nitpick at this point; Jones has a significant amount of potential and with hard work he has a very bright future. Besides Brodericks Jones, St. Bernard has another very impressive 2015 prospect in Chance Comanche, a 6-foot-6 power forward with huge feet that he'll likely grow into. ... Washington Prep has a nice looking 2015 prospect of its own in Tramel Wilson, a little point guard who can handle the ball, pass and create his own shot. ... Dion Wright of Mayfair is a versatile forward who can really score. He has low-major offers right now but that will change once mid-majors check him out in July. ... 2013 Dorsey power forward Donald Muepo, Jr. is undersized but athletic and powerful. On Monday he threw down a vicious dunk on Zena Edosomwan. ... 2012 point guard Eli Stalzer continues to make plays all over the court for Mater Dei. He should get some mid-major attention if he can carry over his high school success to the way he's played recently in summer leagues. ... 2012 Fairfax point guard Landon Drew has shown the passing ability before but is also improving as a scorer. He willed his squad to win on Monday. ... A big kid that mid-majors out west will likely take a close look at is 6-foot-10 center Connor Clifford of Ocean View. He's lost weight over the past year and is a big kid with soft hands and good feet. ... 2013 forward Reggie Theus, Jr. of Fairfax continues to make strides with his shooting and work ethic. The more consistency he can show in both, the higher level he'll ultimately end up at. ... 2012 Campbell Hall forward Cole Huff, committed to San Diego State, is a face-up four most comfortable shooting the three. He has to continue to develop his offensive repertoire beyond that. ... 2014 Price center Devin Burleson is a big kid who has plenty of time but needs to keep working on his offensive skill and motor. High majors have been closely monitoring his progress. .... Keep an eye on 2013 Pacific Hills wing Maurice Jackson, a long kid with a good body and handles. Taj Adams is now being recruited by San Diego State to go with previous attention from USC, Nevada and UTEP. Brandon Randolph named UCLA, Arizona, Notre Dame and UTEP as schools he's hearing from. Connor Clifford is getting Ivy League attention from Columbia, Cornell and Yale. Namon Wright listed New Mexico as the main school he's hearing from. Skylar Spencer picked up an offer from Nevada. Other new schools he's hearing from are Utah and California. He listed Gonzaga and Florida State as his favorites. Dion Wright has offers from San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly and UC-Riverside. He's getting attention from Colorado, Santa Clara, Portland State and Denver.
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