Posted On: 01/30/18 10:30 PM
NORWALK, Ca. – The eight-game Rolling Hills Prep State Preview, presented by Scorebooklivecom Saturday at Cerritos College, proved not just a showcase for some terrific teams but it also displayed some of the best players from the western region.
Here are the players from the Class of 2018 that most impressed me (in order of how well they played):
Riley Battin (6-foot-8/Oak Park): The University of Utah-bound Battin was easily the dominant player in what was a pretty much sloppy affair between the Eagles and Corona Centennial, with Battin leading his team to a 57-54 victory in overtime.
Battin, the most offensively skilled senior post in Southern California, scored 32 points (including the go-ahead bucket just 30 seconds into overtime) to go with 11 rebounds and five assists.
Matt Bradley (6-4/Mt. Pleasant, UT, Wasatch Academy): Bradley (PICTURED), the former San Bernardino High standout who signed with the University of California (the Berkeley chapter) in November, showed off just how complete a player he is during his new program’s 76-61 victory over L.A. City power Taft.
The left-handed Bradley went for 22 points, eight rebounds and six assists as his team was never really threatened throughout the 32-minute affair.
Kihei Clark (5-8/Taft): His Toreadors were never really in the hunt against Wasatch Academy
But it was certainly not because the University of Virginia-bound point guard wasn’t outstanding throughout as he scored a game-high 29 points via his usual quota of clever drives and finishes in lots of much taller traffic.
Ofure Ujadughele (6-4/Chino Hills): The Huskies have the premier junior – and player, regardless of class – in the west in Onyeka Okongwu, so it may be easy to overlook Ujadughele has played this season.
But he’s among the very best of the “most underrated” guards in the region and he was more than Santa Monica could handle in the Vikings’ 75-66 loss, scoring 19 pounds and snatching 15 rebounds.
David Singleton (6-3/Bishop Montgomery): The unbeaten Knights’ balance and depth preclude any one player from consistently scoring 20-plus points per game.
But, as he showed in his team’s 60-43 decision against L.A. Fairfax, Singleton – a future UCLA Bruin – is capable of hitting jumpers, powering for layups or creating shot opportunities for teammates.
Singleton led his team with 16 points while adding four rebounds and three assists.
Next five . . .
Fletcher Tynen (6-6/Bishop Montgomery): His averages might not be overwhelming.
But the future Boston University Terrier is such an exceptional all-around player – most notably on the defensive end of the floor – that it wouldn’t be a surprise if, assuming the Knights repeat as the division champion, he’s the CIF Southern Section’s Open Division Player of the Year.
Chris Austin (6-3/Maranatha): His team wasn’t particularly competitive against Las Vegas Durango (losing, 72-56).
But Austin, who signed with Fordham University in November, was easily the best player on the floor (on the offensive end, at least), hitting jumpers from all over while scoring 24 points.
Payton Moore (6-4/Santa Monica): Moore, liked Ojadughele, Austin, Alex Garcia (Rolling Hills Prep) and Daryl Polk Jr. (Long Beach Poly), remains one of the more under-appreciated guards in Southern California.
The future Rice Owl (where he will play for Head Coach Scott Pera, who coached James Harden at Artesia High and Arizona State) scored 16 points in the loss to Chino Hills, keeping his team close until midway in the fourth quarter.
Alex Garcia (6-3/Rolling Hills Prep): On a day when no one shot particularly well, Garcia scored a team-high 11 points as the Huskies improved to 14-6 via their 44-33 win over Loyola.
Thon Rice (5-11/Long Beach Jordan): Rice, a very strong off-the-bounce scorer, led the Panthers with 14 points in their 63-54 loss to Crean Lutheran in the opening contest of the day.