Francisco’s Finest: Southern California Tip Off (Biggest Sleepers)


Posted On: 04/15/18 11:47 PM

Francisco’s Finest: Southern California Tip Off (Biggest Sleepers)

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.

Emmanuel Taban (Apollo/AZ) Club Team: AZ Factory

2019, 6-foot-7, 175 pounds

Taban is that prototypical wing-type that is putting his overall game together

Joel’s Take: Taban has a willowy frame with long arms and overall great length. He plays the game a good pace. His ball handling is solid in the open court, but physical defenders can give him issues while penetrating. He can nail the deep jump shot and his passing (makes good decisions) is impressive. Going forward how his lean frame puts on weight will be key to his development when he attacks the rim in the paint area.

Dexter Akanno (Blair Academy/NJ) Club Team: BTI Select

2019, SG/WF, 6-foot-4, 185 pounds

Joel’s Take: Akanno is a post grade who will be heading to Blair Academy in the Fall. The athletic versatile guard has his fingertips all over the game. His motor allows him to pursue rebounds over taller opponents and he is a fearless attacker in transition. Defensively, he can guard multiple positions due to his motor and instincts.

Sean Harlston (Dominguez) Club Team: Pump N Run Elite

2019, SG, 6-foot-2, 170 pounds

Dominguez guard Sean Harlston is benefitting from complete focus on basketball.

Joel’s Take: Harlston is no longer playing football and his basketball skills have evolved nicely this past season. He is an ultra-competitive two-way player who impacts the game in many ways. He can stick the jump shot, rebound consistently for his size, and he can get to the rim off the dribble. His game is still raw in terms of handling the ball against pressure and making others better, but he is intriguing.






Ronnie Latting (Mission Bay) Club Team: San Diego All-Stars

2019, PF, 6-foot-7, 220 pounds

Mission Bay teammates Boogie Ellis and Ronnie Latting are quite the tandem

Joel’s Take: Latting is a big-bodied 5/4 who knows what he is—a blue-collar post player who plays with a no nonsense attitude. At this stage he is college prospect for the D II level or NAIA. He lacks bounce, but he does have long arms, soft hands, and a willingness to rebound at both ends. Offensively, he can finish over either shoulder, but he needs to be more productive playing against length. This will be the key to attract more college attention.

Lazar Nekic (Bishop Montgomery) Club Team: Cali Stars 17 Elite

2019, C, 6-foot-10, 220 pounds

Joel’s Take: The physical tools are there for Nekic. He has long arms, solid hands, runs well in transition, and his overall skill set is on the rise. He shows an elbow shooting touch and he can finish with either hand on the block. He needs to be more assertive as a rebounder, finisher, and rim protector. This coming season I expect to see great improvement as Head Coach Doug Mitchell and the Knights will need his presence to stay at the upper echelon of the high school ranks.