Posted On: 12/30/17 1:30 PM
Torrey Pines Holiday Classic: Four Takeaways
SAN DIEGO, CA—The 27th Annual Torrey Pines Holiday Classic has had it’s fair share of outstanding prospects over the years including Stephon Marbury, Kyrie Irving, Russell Westbrook, DeMar DeRozan, and Lonzo Ball. Well, it’s time to add another name to that list in Kansas signee Quentin Grimes. The multi-faceted guard pretty much affects the game in every conceivable way possible from scoring to facilitating and much more. Here is what we learned from our time in the Torrey Pines and Cathedral Catholic gyms.
Is Ziaire Williams the best prospect in the So-Cal Class of 2020?
* The So-Class of 2020 is loaded at the top with Josh Christopher, Evan Mobley, Johnny Juzang, Chibuzo Agbo, Amound Anderson, and Jaylen Clark. However, after witnessing Ziaire Williams act in the beautiful Cathedral Catholic gymnasium it is easy to argue that Williams may be the No. 1 prospect in that class. The willowy wing-type has a feathery shooting touch out to 23-feet, can slither his way to the rim off the bounce, and is unselfish too as noted by his passing acumen. Once the strength aspect kicks in, he has the tools to be special.
Nebraska got a good one in Bishop O’Connell’s Johnson
* The Cornhuskers are not known for their basketball pedigree, but Head Coach Tim Miles will be getting a good one in Xavier Johnson. The 6-foot-2 Johnson is a chiseled point guard prospect who is a blur on the court. Utilizing his immense strength and burst he is a difficult assignment for any guard. Whether in the open court or in the half court set he is almost impossible to stop off the dribble and he possesses the strength and bounce to finish through contact. His passing is high-level with either hand and he understands how to manage a game. His jump shot will need to improve to keep defenses honest, but he is fun to watch.
Grimes and Hardy put on a show
Kansas signee Quentin Grimes is well beyond his years in terms of basketball skill and acumen. He is a multi-positional player who excels at the point guard spot. He has great size at 6-foot-5, exceptional ball handling skills, and his vision is impeccable. There is no wasted motion with is game as he is both skilled and efficient. The Jayhawks should have another McDonald’s All-American coming their way in 2018.
Elijah Hardy, who has signed with Washington, is a gifted 6-foot-2 point guard prospect. The slick lefty with good length, terrific quickness, and mesmerizing vision will make an immediate impact for the Huskies. Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) has produced some fine prospects in their storied past—Ivan Rabb comes immediately to mind—and Hardy is the latest. His jump shot and pull-up game have improved. If he can get more comfortable with his off hand (right) both in terms of finishing and handling, his game will go to another level.
San Diego has some fine underclassmen coming up
San Diego County has produced some fine prospects in the past including: Bill Walton, Jeff Withey, Chase Budinger, Luke Walton, Scott Pollard, Cliff Levingston, Chris Dudley, and Jud Buechler and more recently TJ Leaf and Taeshon Cherry. Well the talent pool isn’t becoming shallow anytime soon as 2019 has two quality cagers in 6-foot-2 Rejean “Boogie” Ellis (Mission Bay) and 6-foot-6 Chibuzo Agbo (St. Augustine)
Ellis is a bonafide scorer at all three levels. He has ideal point guard size but he is more effective off the ball as a jump shooter and facilitator. He needs to work on his attack-game as he gets bumped off the ball while penetrating but overall his progress has been excellent.
Agbo is well-built wing-type who can play inside-and-out due to his feel for the game and skill set. He can nail the 3-point shot, post up and convert on the block, or attack the defense in transition. Defensively he can guard multiple positions and he’ll rebound in and out of his area. He needs to improve his ball handling skills against pressure, but he’s a talent.