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Posted On: 02/21/18 1:31 AM
Francisco’s Finest: JUCO-Bound “Bigs”?
LONG BEACH, CA— As the playoffs come to a close and underclassmen are checking out their options for the spring evaluation period, it seemed like the appropriate time to list—and it’s quite an extensive list—of the kids that may not be receiving the college interest they desire, but are fully capable of making an impact at the junior college level. Here are the list of players that caught our attention during this high school season and possess the physical tools and/or skill to play at some level college after a junior college stint.
Top JUCO “Bigs”
Kaelen Allen (Westchester)
2018, PF, 6-foot-6, 240 pounds
Joel’s Take: Allen has that Barkley-esque frame with long arms and he is quite bouncy. His nimble feet, bounce, and ability to create space in the paint allow him to rebound against length. He has natural instincts in the paint as well as a soft touch. He needs to get in better shape and tighten up his bulky frame, but the tools are there to play Division 1 basketball.
Kirk Smith (Fairfax)
2018, PF, 6-foot-7, 180 pounds
Joel’s Take: Smith is a rangy 4-man who could develop into a 3 someday with improved perimeter skills. He is an exceptional athlete who has long arms and he runs effortlessly in transition. He can knock in the occasional 3-pointer or finish above the rim in the paint. With Smith it’s about consistent production and skill development heading forward.
Mathew Lanzone (Villa Park)
2018, PF/WF, 6-foot-4, 230 pounds
Joel’s Take: If you’re looking for one of the more unique prospects in Orange County, look no further than Lanzone. The burly-esque interior prospect has soft hands, good feet, and he knows how to create space using his strong frame and fundamentals. His instincts are noticed as well in the areas of rebounding and finishing in the paint. This kid is about production.
Malik Muhammad (Narbonne)
2018, C, 6-foot-7, 215 pounds
Joel’s Take: Muhammad has a strong frame with broad shoulders, long arms, and soft mitts. He snags rebounds with two hands every time and his outlet passing has improved. He can finish in transition, but he isn’t overly bouncy. He knows how to carve out space while finishing on the block and he shows a nice touch.
Jared Williams (Eastvale/Roosevelt)
2018, PF, 6-foot-6, 190 pounds
Joel’s Take: Motor, motor, motor describes this up-and-coming prospect. He affects the game with his length, quick timing, and an innate ability to always be around the ball. He sprints in transition and rebounds in and out of his area. Good feet and soft hands are part of the package and he can score through and over contact. Possesses Division 1 upside.
Quinn Collins (Redondo Union)
Joel’s Take: Like most “bigs” it takes time as Collins is no exception. He is a willowy 4-man with quick feet and excellent timing in the paint area. He can fill the lane (sprints in transition) and can finish with dexterity. His shooting touch is smooth out to 20-feet and he is quite allusive in the paint while converting buckets. He needs to get stronger and play through contact better, but he is intriguing.
Max Hazely (Villa Park)
2018, PF, 6-foot-7, 230 pounds
Joel’s Take: After watching him a full game at the Nike X I like the upside of this late-developing big man. He has a strong frame frame with good length, soft hands, and he’s sneaky bouncy. He can fill the lane in transition, finish above the rim, and his instincts in the paint appeared to be solid. He’s getting some college interest, but after a stint at the junior college level, he could evolve into a D 1 player.
Kelvin Wright (Rancho Cucamonga)
2018, PF, 6-foot-5, 190 pounds
Joel’s Take: This young thoroughbred has “blue-collar” written all over him. His frame is impressive with extraordinarily long arms and he has big hands. He plays with urgency at both ends both as a rebounder and a rim protector. He slides his feet well on the perimeter and projects well as a multi-positional defender. His ball skills are raw as is his shooting, but he makes winning plays at both ends.
Shemar Wright (Murrieta Mesa)
Joel’s Take: Wright, who plays for Team Eleate during the club season, is a late-developing power forward who has the bounce, length, and evolving skill to be a college player someday. He plays hard at both ends, runs well in transition, and shows soft hands. He can knock down the elbow jump shot or get numerous tip-ins due to his timing. Once he gets stronger look for his productions to increase inside-and-out.