Posted On: 04/24/18 7:52 PM
IRVINE, Ca. – The adidas Gauntlet – the Southern California version – was held at the place-formerly-known-as-The Misty May Center (now known as “The Momentous Sports Center) over the weekend.
And, yep, I maneuvered my way all around all of those courts watching all of those games played Friday night thru late Sunday afternoon during the first of the NCAA’s two spring “evaluation periods”.
Here are five Southern California-based seniors-to-be (Class of 2019) that I’d watched numerous times over the past seven months but who were receiving their first wide-spread exposure to a multitude of college coaches.
Their respective performances, no doubt, convinced a lot of those coaches to take further looks – this weekend (the second of the NCAA evaluation periods), into the rest of the spring and then into the July evaluation weekends:
Sedrick Altman (6-3/Ontario Colony)
Altman, one of the taller players in his high school program, has impressed me over the past few years, not only in high school but with the Inland Empire Basketball Program.
But – and, with the apparent blessing of the IEBP directors – Altman joined the Dream Vision program in the spring in hopes of gaining a tad more exposure to college coaches while playing with, and against, a lot of quality prospects.
And, coming off the bench for a squad with the likes of Kyree Walker, Jake Kyman, Pierre Crockrell II and Jonathan Salazar, Altman played with a lot of energy – at both ends of the floor – and continued to show off an improving jump shot.
Jarred Hyder (6-3/San Bernardino Cajon)
Hyder is just the latest standout guard for Marvin Lea’s Team ELEATE.
He’s a “combo” right now with the opportunity to blossom into a full-time “point guard”, per se.
He had a strong junior season for the Cowboys and it’s not a stretch to suggest he’ll be one of the elite guards in Southern California next season.
Shengzhe Li (6-10/Santa Margarita)
Li, who is from China, didn’t become eligible for Santa Margarita (in Rancho Santa Margarita for all of you Orange County neophytes) until early January.
And it’s progress has nothing short of sensational as he has gained a “feel” for American high school hoops and how to best utilize all of that impressive strength and well-advanced ability to shoot with either hand in and around the lane.
He held up quite well in Pump N Run’s win over Salt Lake City-based Exum Elite, during which he was often matched against 7-3 Matt Van Komen.
He’ll be in the middle of one of the best and most skilled high school frontcourts in the country with Jake Kyman and Max Agbonkpolo next season.
Kyle Owens (6-6/Encino Crespi)
The left hander, who plays for one of the better programs (under Coach Russell White) in the west, has become much more assertive as both a rebounder and scorer — even since his team’s season ended with a loss to Chino Hills in the second round of the State Southern Regional D-I playoffs in March.
His jump shot’s range and accuracy have steadily improved, as was demonstrated over the weekend while playing with Pump N Run.
Jonathan Salazar (6-6/Bellflower St. John Bosco)
Like Shengzhe Li (who plays in the oh-so-competitive Trinity League as well), Salazar – who is from Panama – didn’t become eligible until a few days into the new year.
And his progress – and, often, dominance – was even more pronounced that Li’s as he helped the Braves get to the Southern Regional D-I final at Long Beach State, where they were knocked off by eventual-state champion Chino Hills.
Salazar (PICTURED) helped Dream Vision go 4-0 in the Gold Division and there wasn’t a better rebounder – of any age or size or in any division – who rebounded more forcefully than he did over the weekend.