Ten Best: Tesoro-Valencia, JSerra-Irvine

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Southern California

Posted On: 12/15/17 11:48 AM

The SoCal Elite/Gary Raya Classic began Tuesday with some of Orange County’s top programs playing across five different gyms.

PrepHoops was at Irvine High Tuesday for two of those games, featuring the No. 9-ranked OC team Tesoro against Valencia of Placentia and No. 3-ranked OC team JSerra against the host Vaqueros.

Ten Best

Best Prospect: Six-foot-9 center Joel Mensah, a San Diego State-commit, had all of his tools on display. The JSerra senior is quick off the floor for rebounds and dunks and has impeccable timing on his shot blocks and contests. Mensah plays with a good motor, runs the middle of the floor on the break and is extending his range to 17-feet.

Best Scorer: JSerra wing D.J. Rodman gets the nod here. The 6-foot-4 junior had 18 points in an 82-48 win over Irvine with 14 of those coming in the first half. Rodman put points on the board in a variety of ways, including his patented catch-and-shoot 3-point shot. What stood out most about Rodman’s performance was an increased explosiveness out of the triple threat and improved finishing ability around the basket.

JSerra wing D.J. Rodman showed improved burst and athleticism Tuesday.

Best Shooter: Dalton Sloniger of Valencia canned three 3-pointers against Tesoro, which brings his triples total to 16 over seven games this season. The 6-foot-2 junior has your prototypical fundamental shooting from and is deadly with his feet set in catch-and-shoot situations.

Best Rebounder: Joel Mensah makes his second appearance on this list because he was just that dominant on the glass. Mensah rebounds well both in and out of his area, but also gets his team numerous second-chance opportunities with his effort on the defensive glass.

Best Passer: Tesoro point guard Matt Jones does a very nice job of orchestrating the Titans offense. He doesn’t over dribble, knows that getting off the ball predicates ball movement and delivers perfectly placed post-entry passes to the plethora of big men on Tesoro’s roster.

Best Traditional Big: Six-foot-8 F/C Noah Honetschlager of Tesoro is an absolute load to deal with on the block. The 220-pound (or so) junior understands how to use his body to his advantage on the block, establishing deep post position and providing his entry passer a big target to find. Honetschlager makes quick and decisive moves and finishes with power in the paint.

Best All-Around Game: Valencia guard Diego Noffal is a pure stat stuffer. The 6-foot-2 senior has his hands in everything from points to steals to assists and blocked shots. He won’t do anything to blow the casual basketball fan away, but his game is respected by those with any semblance of a basketball IQ.

Best On-Ball Defender: JSerra’s Kevin White was tasked with stopping high-scoring Irvine guard Josh Alcindor. White, a strong and physical 6-foot-3 guard, held Alcindor to 10 points under his average and made him work hard to get open looks in the half-court setting.

Best Under-the-Radar Prospect: Though Josh Alcindor struggled against an elite JSerra team, the Irvine senior showed flashes of why many junior college programs believe he has tremendous upside. Alcindor is averaging better than 20 points per game this season and is extremely difficult to contain when he gets downhill in transition. The 6-2, 160-pounder has a nice combination of  speed, strength and finishing ability in traffic.

Best Improvements Made: Tyler Broughton has made tremendous strides since last season. The 6-foot-3 junior was more of an undersized four in the way he played, but has dramatically improved his perimeter shooting and ball skills to begin the transition into a 2/3 on the high school level.