Posted On: 02/8/18 12:29 AM
Nike Extravaganza XXIII: Francisco’s Baker’s Dozen (Part 2)
SANTA ANA, CA—The 23rd Annual Nike Extravaganza wasn’t as loaded as in years past with the likes of Tyson Chandler, Kevin Love, Stanley Johnson, and Lonzo Ball, but it was chock full of quality teams and intriguing prospects. The best game of the day featured perennial LA City power Westchester taking on one of the stalwarts of Orange County in Capistrano Valley. In the following recaps we’ll venture back and highlight the best of the best as well as some intriguing sleepers and eye-catching surprises.
Dawson Baker (Capistrano Valley)
2018, SG, 6-foot-3, 180 pounds
Joel’s Take: When it comes to heart and savvy, there are few players in So-Cal like Baker. He has an offer from UC Irvine, but he plans on going on his mission first. When he gets back, he will have a host of schools knocking his door to see if they can lure the multi-skilled and high IQ prospect to their campus. His jump shot needs polishing, but overall his ball skills, passing and ability to get to the rim are special.
Harrison Butler (Mater Dei)
2018, PF, 6-foot-5, 200 pounds
Joel’s Take: Butler has been pounding the hardwood for many seasons and his performance at this event may have been the best that I’ve seen from him. He always plays with a hot motor and he’s an explosive athlete, but he has a tendency to force the issue. But on Saturday night against Chino Hills, Butler, who is headed to Southern Utah, was a beast in the paint and a ball hawk on the perimeter as he put together an efficient high-level performance.
Chairman of the boards
Riley Battin (Oak Park)
2018, PF, 6-foot-8, 225 pounds
Joel’s Take: When it comes to MVPs on high-level teams in So-Cal, Battin has to be near the top. The 6-foot-8ish burly forward owned the glass, hit timely shots in the paint, and exhibited a hard-nosed type of leadership to will his team to victory.
Kenyon Martin Jr. (Sierra Canyon)
2019, PF, 6-foot-5, 200 pounds
Joel’s Take: Martin Jr. is an acrobatic 4-man with more bounce than a rabbit. When he keeps the game simple (rebounding, filling the lane, and rim protection) he sparks an immense amount of intrigue for the next level—especially in this era of position-less basketball. He possesses natural instincts in the paint and that trait was on full display at this event. Due to his length, athleticism, and motor he will attract college coaches this spring and summer, despite having limited perimeter skills for a player of his size.
It’s in the genes !
Andre Ball (Chino Hills)
2018, WF, 6-foot-8, 175 pounds
Joel’s Take: Ball, who has been training with guru Clint Parks (mentored Kawahi Leonard and Tony Snell), has seen his game and stock rise exponentially in the last few months. He has always been an athletic freak with extraordinary bounce, but now he is molding into a terrific basketball prospect—one that would be best described as a “diamond in the rough.” His range on his jump shot is out to a Ball-esque (cousin of Lonzo, LaMelo, and LiAngelo) 25-feet and his release is effortless. If his ball skills and attention to detail on the defensive end pick up he will be one heck of a Spring-time signing coup.
Assertiveness will be the key for Wang
Michael Wang (Mater Dei)
2018, PF, 6-foot-9, 220 pounds
Joel’s Take: The multi-skilled Wang has slowly, but assuredly, evolved into quite the prospect. He has a feathery touch out to 22-feet, is an astute passer, and he is playing with more assertiveness at both ends—something he did not do his first few seasons in high school. He is headed to Pennsylvania in the fall where he should make an immediate impact if he is dedicated to the defensive end.