Double Pump Spring Hoop Fest: Best of the Freshmen (Part II)

Grassroots
Southern California

Posted On: 04/30/18 4:30 PM

Anaheim, Ca. — With most of SoCal’s big name club teams playing out of state for the second live viewing period of the spring, it was a little more difficult to navigate which games to watch at the Double Pump Spring Hoop Fest at American Sports Center.

Fortunately for me, and my colleagues Aaron Burgin and Joel Francisco, a handful of 16s and 15s EYBL teams didn’t make the trip to Indianapolis for the second session of the EYBL Circuit, providing us with some viewing pleasure on Friday and Saturday.

Here is the second set of top freshmen performers from Anaheim this weekend:

Everett May, Cali Rebels 15 Elite

May is the son of a coach (Russ May of Cerritos College and formerly of Los Alamitos High where Everett plays) and it certainly shows. The 6-foot-3 shooting guard has a smooth shooting stroke from both the 3-point and mid-range levels and makes high IQ basketball decisions in the half-court and transition settings. May had multiple 20-plus point scoring outbursts on the weekend, helping lead Cali Rebels to semifinals of the 15U Division.

Chris Nickelberry, Prodigy Elite 15

Nickelberry pulls all the right strings as the point guard for the young and talented Prodigy 15 squad. At 5-feet-10 and 140-odd pounds, Nickelberry probes the lane with his crafty ball skills and quick first step and ability to change speeds and direction on a dime. Nickelberry led his team to a semifinal appearance in the 15U Division where it lost to eventual champion Cal Supreme.

Thomas Notarainni, Las Vegas Prospects 16

Notarainni is a load to deal with in transition. At 6-feet-4 and a strong 185 pounds, the Cathedral Catholic High-product gets downhill in a hurry and absorbs and finished through contact better than most wings in the class. One of Notarainni’s best attributes is his ability to rebound both in and out of his space on both ends of the floor.

Tyler Powell, Cal Supreme 15

Powell was a dominant force for Cal Supreme as it won the 15U Division title. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound wing is a freak athlete both in the open court and in space. He finishes off fast breaks with powerful dunks, but attacks equally well off the bounce in the half-court setting. Powell has turned up the consistency on his catch-and-shoot 3-point shot, as well.

BTI guard Kenneth Simpson, Jr. led BTI to the 16U Gold Division championship.

Kenneth Simpson, BTI Prospects

Simpson’s physical driving and relentless attack mentality helped pave the way for BTI to take home the 16U Division championship. The 6-foot-1 combo guard sheds defenders with ease when getting low on drives to create separation for paint finishes. The Chaminade High freshman is also an engaged defender who sits down in stance and makes opposing guards work hard for any and all offensive opportunities.

Alex Wade, Las Vegas Prospects 16

Wade provides the Prospects with a steadying force at the point guard spot. He has all the passes in the book at his disposal, plays with an unselfish attitude, and seemingly always makes the right basketball decision. He knows the strengths and weaknesses of his teammates and puts them in position to be successful.