Posted On: 04/10/18 10:09 PM
Francisco’s Finest: Southern California Tip Off (Best performances)
GARDEN GROVE, CA—The club basketball season has arrived and it was time to make a trek down to the Next Level Complex for the Southern California Tip Off. Gerry Freitas, a Nor Cal basketball guru who puts on events during the spring and summer, did another outstanding job of corralling the best teams and players from around the area. However, at the end of the day it would be highly touted sophomore by the name of Nico Mannion that would steal the show.
Nico Mannion (Pinnacle/AZ) Club Team: WCE UAA
2020, PG, 6-foot-3, 180 pounds
Joel’s Take: Mannion, who is rumored to be reclassifying to 2019, dominated the tournament from the onset. He has gotten stronger and more explosive which has increased his efficiency at the rim as well as attacking aggressive defenders. He pushes the ball hard in transition, doesn’t over handle the ball, and excels at driving and either exploding to the rim or kicking it out to an open shooter. He plays with a great pace, can knock in the 3-point shot, and his mid-range pull-up is potent.
Best of the Rest
Jaime Jaquez (Camarillo) Club Team: Truth EYBL
2019, 6-foot-6, 190 pounds
Joel’s Take: When it comes to listing the best scorers in the West, at the top of the list may be Jaquez. He has a terrific 1st step, can score at all three levels, and is relentless with the ball in his hands. He puts defenders on their heels and has a knack of finding a way to the rim no matter how many defenders. He needs to work on not forcing the issue (getting teammates involved) and implementing a jump stop in the lane, but overall his offensive package is high-level.
Drake London (Moorpark) Club Team: BTI Select
2019,WF, 6-foot-5, 180 pounds
Joel’s Take: This jack-of-all-trades wing-type impacts the game in a number of ways. He oozes moxie as he rebounds at a high clip, puts defenders on their heels with his aggressive mindset, and can explode to the rim for the dunk. He has some point forward skills within him due to his passing ability and he can knock in 3-point shot as well. Will it be the gridiron or the hardwood for this multi-talented athlete?
Iverson Molinar (Covenant Christian) Club Team: Team Why Not
2019, SG, 6-foot-4, 190 pounds
Joel’s Take: A Panama native was the biggest surprise of the weekend. He has the prototypical scoring guard frame with long arms and his athleticism is off the charts. In transition he attacks the rim and it appears he can just hang in the air while finishing over length. In terms of energy, he picks up full court and has the length and active hands to be a lock-down defender. Definitely one to watch this spring and summer.
Jonathan Salazar (St. John Bosco) Club Team: Dream Vision
2019, WF, 6-foot-6, 225 pounds
Joel’s Take: Salazar’s stellar play during the playoffs continued during this event. The bruising wing-type attacked the rim with a vengeance. He has the strength, quickness, and bounce to finish over length and he rebounds at a high level. He has a quick 1st step to get by his defender or he can knock in the 3-point shot. To take his game to another level, he needs to improve his ball handling (specifically his left hand) and his decision making (tends to force the issue).