Santa Ana, Calif. The Nike Extravaganza featured a number of promising West Coast prospects…
Renardo Sidney, 6-9 C Los Angeles (Calif.) Fairfax. One day after a dominating performance in a win over league rival Westchester, Sidney had a solid 19 points and nine rebounds in a win over Whitney Young. Sidney looks to be a little heavier than he was the last time I saw him and that’s definitely a concern with him. He’s got undeniable talent, and a huge upside, but at some point he needs to get himself into great shape and show that he’s ready to fulfill all that potential. If he does get into shape, and really commit himself to being a player, he’s a top five pick in the draft a year from now.
David Wear, 6-9 C Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. Wear had a good showing against St. Benedicts, showing off his above average skill level and excellent fundamentals. Wear is an average athlete, but he competes very well and rarely makes a mistake. He’s got a decent shot out to the stripe, as well as the ability to post up on the block. He’s filled out considerably in the last couple years and he’s now able to hold his position inside. There is a question as to how much upside he has – lacks bounce/quickness – but he should end up a solid player for UNC down the road.
Solomon Hill, 6-6 SF Los Angeles (Calif.) Fairfax. Hill was actually the best player on the court for Fairfax in this particular game. He finished with 12 points and 17 rebounds, while making plays all over the court. His outside shot is still just fair, but he’s a multi-dimensional player that can beat you in a lot of different ways.
Kawhi Leonard, 6-6 PF Riverside (Calif.) King. Leonard had a terrific showing in a game against Ocean View, finishing with 38 points in a 78-72 win. Leonard is very skilled at the offensive end, with the ability to drain threes or post up strong in the post. With his body type, and relative lack of quickness, he’s likely destined to play the four at San Diego State and he figures to be a tough match up for other power forwards in the Mountain West.
Brandon Smith, 5-10 PG Concord (Calif.) De La Salle. Smith is undersized, and he’s not exceptionally quick, but he’s a true point and a terrific competitor. Outside shot is decent and that’s one area where he’ll really need to get better in order to compete at the Pac-10 level for Cal. Because at his size, you don’t see many guys having success in that league unless they’re really quick or really good shooters. He’ll never be super quick, but his shot is definitely an area where he can improve.
Tyler Lamb, 6-4 SG Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. Lamb was the best player in the game in Mater Dei’s win over St. Benedicts and it’s easy to see why Ben Howland offered Lamb a scholarship prior to his junior season. He’s got a good basketball body, with a solid frame and above average athleticism. He’s a versatile prospect who can shoot from the perimeter, create off the dribble for himself or teammates, and also play very good defense. His shot is still a bit streaky, but there’s nothing wrong with his stroke and he should eventually be a good three-point shooter.
Anthony Brown, 6-5 SG/SF Huntington Beach (Calif.) Ocean View. Brown has started to come on in recent weeks, as he’s been more assertive and aggressive at the offensive end. He’s still lacking in strength and that will probably be an issue for the next couple years. But he’s not lacking in skill level or feel for the game. When he matures physically, he projects to be one of the top wings in the class of 2010.
Jordin Mayes, 6-1 PG/SG Los Angeles (Calif.) Westchester. Mayes had a very good game in a win over Rainier Beach, as he knocked down several three-point shots and did his usual good job of decision-making. Mayes is not a true point guard and he doesn't get to play the point on Westchester, as senior Dominique O'Connor handles that chore. But Mayes has good enough ball skills, and such a great feel for the game, that I think he has chance to play some point at the next level. Mayes isn't exceptional at any one aspect of the game, but he's good at just about everything.
Avery Johnson, 6-3 SG Huntington Beach (Calif.) Ocean View. Johnson is a guy that kind of grows on you. He’s a bit mature physically, and you might question the upside, but he plays very hard and his skill level continues to improve. He’s not a shooter, but he makes enough shots to keep you honest and he finds ways to score. He’ll likely get plenty of looks at the mid to high major level.
Johnny McArthur, 6-8 C Concord (Calif.) De La Salle. Big bruiser who competes and does anything to help his team win. He’s not a prolific scorer just yet, but he can defend and rebound. He’ll get plenty of looks at the mid major level.
Norvel Pelle, 6-8 PF Compton (Calif.) Dominguez. Pelle has inexplicably played few minutes for Dominguez this year, but he got some run on Saturday and showed everyone why he’s one of the top post prospects in the west for 2011. He’s a very good athlete, with length and very good feet, as well as nice hands. He’s got more skills than he’s shown this season and he has a chance to be a force at the defensive end of the court. All this kid needs is playing time for everyone to see why he’s such a good prospect.