Diablo Inferno: Five Takeaways

Southern California

Posted On: 12/3/17 12:17 PM

Mater Dei High of Santa Ana was the odds-on favorite to take this year’s Diablo Inferno championship and did just that with an 83-44 victory over Trabuco Hills in Saturday’s title game.

Monarchs’ point guard Spencer Freedman took home MVP honors as Mater Dei ran through Foothill, Eisenhower, Mission Viejo, Compton and Trabuco Hills by an average margin of 40.6 points per game.

Prep Hoops was down in South Orange County Friday night for all of the Inferno action and came away with plenty of thoughts on the event.

Five Takeaways

Harvard-bound Spencer Freedman has taken another step

Freedman is well-known for his high basketball IQ, passing ability, on-court leadership and deep shooting range, but the senior point guard showed that he’s improved upon his speed, strength and quickness. Compton was being very physical with 6-foot-1 point guard Friday, but Freedman was able to blow-by pressure in the back court with improved burst and keep defenders on his hip when penetrating the paint. He even showed a quicker and more explosive first step out of the triple threat in half court situations.

Trabuco Hills senior Quentin Watts has improved his guard skills heading into an important year.

Quentin Watts has next level potential

Watts scored 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in Trabuco Hills’ win over Mission Viejo Friday night and displayed an improved perimeter floor game in the process. Over the last three years, Watts has been an undersized small forward at 6-feet-1 based on his skill set, but an improved 3-point shot and ball skills have given him the ability to operate as a guard at the Division II level.

Mission Viejo youth movement bodes well for the future

Diablos coach Chris Zeller has opted to take some lumps this season to be better prepared for his long-term vision. Zeller starts a sophomore in Nathan Hewitt and a freshman in Langston Redfield, both of whom produce at a good clip for being so young. Redfield, a rangy 6-foot-2 point guard, has a lot of potential with his poise, decision making and high basketball IQ with the ball in his hands.

Compton’s Jabari Steward has plenty of tools

The 6-foot-6 sophomore has a lot of skills that can’t be taught. Steward has soft hands, good footwork and a natural feel on the block that few young big men possess nowadays. Steward understands his role as a big man and doesn’t try and float on the perimeter, but instead establishes good post position on offense and works hard on the offensive and defensive glass.

Foothill’s Jacob Jang is thriving in uptempo attack

New Knights coach Zach Johnson needed a point guard to push the pace of his free-flowing, transition-oriented offense and Jacob Jang is the right guy for the gig. Jang is a good rebounder for his size and position which helps Foothill get down the floor quickly and efficiently. The 5-foot-9 guard plays with good pace, has good vision and placement on his passing and he can also spread the floor with his ability to knock down the open jump shot. Jang projects as a Division III prospect.