Posted On: 12/29/17 12:52 PM
The Classic at Damien: Francisco’s Finest (Part 2)
LA VERNE, CA.— After a couple of days wondering from one gym to another, it was time to bust out another addition of Francisco’s Finest. Damien Head Coach Mike LeDuc and basketball guru Frank Burlison did a marvelous job of corralling most of Southern California’s elite squads. Without further ado here are the “best of the best” from Damien.
The next step
Zekiah LoVett (Redondo Union)
2018, CG, 6-foot-2, 175 pounds
Joel’s Take: LoVett is a bit like the stock market. When he is on his game (knocking in shots and attacking off the dribble) he is a sure-fire Division 1 prospect. However, there are other times he goes through the motions and doesn’t really affect the game. The length, athleticism, and skill are there. If the “want” arrives—look out.
Blue Collar with Skill
Jackson Stormo (San Marcos)
2018, 6-foot-8, 250 pounds
Joel’s Take: This big-bodied 5-man has long arms, big hands, and is fundamentally sound. He can run sure and roll, seal on the block, and his footwork while operating in the paint is quite polished. He can drop in jump hooks, play through contact, and use either hand while converting. He doesn’t have much lift, but he carves out space and he’ll play physical.
Jarod Lucas (Los Altos)
2019, CG, 6-foot-2, 170 pounds
Joel’s Take: Lucas is one of the better prolific scorers in Southern California. He attacks well in transition and shows the savvy to advance the pass to an open shooter or pull-up on a dime and drop in the jumper. His motor is always running hot and he’ll grab rebounds in traffic and pick up full court on defense.
Julian Lopez (Los Altos)
2018, SG, 6-foot-3, 180 pounds
Joel’s Take: Lopez showed signs of breaking out last season at this event and his game has gone to a completely different level this time around. He is a natural scorer who can convert shots off the catch or the dribble. He is quite potent attacking his defender and rising up for the shot and he has slashing ability as well.
Maturity beyond his years
Taurus Samuels (Vista)
2018, PG, 6-foot, 175 pounds
Joel’s Take: Samuels, who signed with Dartmouth, is a true point guard with a high basketball IQ. He can stop on a dime and convert the mid-range jump shot and has the strength to finish through contact. His leadership is of the highest-level and he knows how to manage a game.
Camren Pierce (Etiwanda)
2020, PG, 6-foot, 165 pounds
Joel’s Take: Pierce had a breakout performance at the Adidas Battlezone a few weeks ago and his all-around play continues to impress at this event. He is a true point guard who possesses a high-level burst, uncanny passing acumen, and he’s a fearless competitor. Defensively, he slides his feet well, has active hands, and he can knock in shots.
Ice in his veins
Clark Slajchert (Oakpark)
2020, PG, 6-foot, 160 pounds
Joel’s Take: It’s hard to fathom that this kid is only a sophomore. The crafty playmaker is a lights-out shooter and he can score from all three levels. He can hit the runner, mid-range pull-up, or rise up and nail the 3-point shot. However, the most impressive trait may be his stoic demeanor not matter the situation.
Anton Mozga (Riverside/Notre Dame)
2019, SG, 6-foot-4, 170 pounds
Joel’s Take: Mozga is a rangy wing-type that has an evolving skill set. He can hit shots in the mid-range area as well as out to the 3-point line. He shows savvy for the game with his passing and he isn’t afraid to mix it up inside.