Posted On: 12/30/17 12:55 AM
San Diego, Ca. — After two long days at Damien High for The Classic, it was time for a change of scenery.
The hour and 15 minute drive to a from Torrey Pines high school for the 27th annual Holiday Classic was well worth it.
The tournament feature plenty of local talent and featured a host of out of state teams with big time players, including Kansas-bound guard Quentin Grimes of College Park High in Texas, Nebraska-signee Xavier Johnson of Bishop O’Connell in Virginia and Washington-bound point guard Elijah Hardy of Bishop O’Dowd.
We’ll stick to Southern California guys for this Ten Best list, but Grimes, Johnson and Bishop O’Connell sharpshooter Matt Becht would’ve certainly made this list if they were SoCal guys.
Torrey Pines Ten Best
Best Scorer: Boogie Ellis, Mission Bay
The stud junior combo guard scored 23 efficient points in a big “crosstown” rivalry game of sorts against Foothills Christian. The 6-foot-3 junior has always been a big time scorer, but what’s most impressive about the enhanced version of Boogie is the way he’s doing it within the offense. Ellis takes what the defense gives him, is much more patient on the ball, and forces far fewer shots than he did in the past.
Best Passer: Yassine Gharram, Foothills Christian
Gharram is smooth and crafty on the ball and does a nice job of penetrating into the teeth of the defense and finding spot up shooters or dropping off a bounce pass to a cutter. The 6-foot-2 sophomore is too unselfish at times, but it’s much easier to teach a guy to shoot more than it is to shoot less.
Best Rebounder: Ronnie Latting, Mission Bay
Latting came up huge for the Bucs in a win over Foothills, scoring 18 points, while pulling down 13 rebounds. The junior is a wide body with broad shoulders that make him look more like a defensive end than a basketball player. Nevertheless, Latting uses his frame to his advantage, clearing out space with ease and tracking down missed shots with purpose.
Best Shooter: Julian Rishwain, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame
Rishwain is a long and rangy junior at 6-feet-5 and 180 pounds. He has one of the more pure catch-and-shoot jump shots in all of SoCal and he’s beginning to round out that consistency off the bounce, as well. Rishwain has a quick trigger, repeatable mechanics and lets ‘em fly with a ton of confidence.
Best Prospect: Ziaire Williams, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame
Williams had tons of eye-popping moments against Cathedral Catholic Thursday night, including the opening play of the game where he flashed to the middle of the lane, caught a pass, and exploded off the floor for a two-handed dunk. At 6-feet-7, Williams was playing some point-forward, knocking down deep 3-pointers with ease and burying mid-range jumpers.
Best All-Around Game: Chibuzo Agbo, St. Augustine
Agbo finished with 26 points and 14 rebounds in St. Augustine’s lost to College Park and Quentin Grimes. But even in defeat, it was good to see the 6-foot-6, 215-pound sophomore have a major impact on both sides of the ball as Saints will need him to be good with the recent departures of Taeshon Cherry and Kimo Ferrari. Agbo is a good downhill athlete who is always on balance and under control. He can knock down the open perimeter jump shot, but also put the ball on the deck and get to the basket and finish through contact.
Best Glue-Guy: Robert McRae, Fairfax
McRae is that guy who does a little bit of everything on the court. He can hit an open jumper, drive to the rack and finish, he makes the extra pass, he makes the right read, he rebounds, he defends multiple positions, and best of all, he plays hard. I’d be shocked if the 6-foot-5 junior forward doesn’t see an increase in his recruitment soon.
Best Big Man: Kaelen Allen, Westchester
There weren’t any guys on the Bishop O’Dowd roster who could deal with Allen on the block in the Comets overtime win Thursday morning/afternoon. Legendary coach Ed Azzamm knew he had an advantage inside and pounded the ball to Allen via a high-low look with fellow big man Maurice Tutt. Allen has soft hands, good footwork on the block and has good touch with both hands.
Best Clutch Performance: Kevin Bethel, Westchester
The Comets needed someone to step up to fend off O’Dowd and Bethel made a handful of plays down the stretch in regulation and overtime to secure the victory. The junior point guard was a steadying presence in a wild game and made the correct basketball decisions when it mattered most.
Most Improved: Jay Norton, Mission Bay
Norton is no longer the guy that you can leave open on the perimeter. The 6-foot-1 guard killed Foothills Christian with his 14 points which included four 3-pointers. Norton hit three of his four triples from the short corners.