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Posted On: 04/11/18 10:50 PM
Francisco’s Finest: Southern California Tip Off (Most Upside)
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.
Ziaire Williams (Sherman Oaks Notre Dame) Club Team: BTI Select
2020, WF, 6-foot-7, 170 pounds
Joel’s Take: Williams emerged last summer as a rising sophomore that he would be on a short list of best prospects in the Class of 2020. Well after witnessing his act in December and now this event, he is right on the heels for the No. 1 prospect along with Evan Mobley.
Williams is a willowy wing-type that has excellent ball skills, tremendous quickness, superior timing, and he doesn’t need an elevator to get to the 2nd floor. He has a calming demeanor and picks his spots, but their is a lion in there—believe me. He needs to get stronger while attacking the rim, but his jump shot is smooth and it has range out to 22-feet.
Max Agbonkpolo (Santa Margarita). Club Team: Pump N Run Elite
2019, WF, 6-foot-8, 180 pounds
Joel’s Take: Agbonkpolo has improved his game each and every season and is projected to being one of the better players in So-Cal heading into his senior campaign. The willowy wing-type excels in transition where he can explode to the rim for the dunk. His 3-point shot is a weapon as well and he is getting more efficient with the ball while attacking the defense. He needs to get stronger finishing in the paint and playing through contact, but the improvement has been impressive.
Joshua Christopher (Mayfair) Club Team: Truth EYBL
2020, SG, 6-foot-5, 190 pounds
Joel’s Take: Christopher has all the physical tools needed to be a high-level recruit. He is a physical two-guard who can score in the mid-range area (potent step back jump shot). His range on his jump shot (gets great lift) extends out to 23-feet. In transition or utilizing a quick 1st step he can explode to the rim for the high-level finish. However, he can make the game about himself instead involving his teammates—and this became problematic this weekend.
Coleman Hawkins (Antelope) Club Team: Dream Vision
2020, PF, 6-foot-9, 195 pounds
Joel’s Take: This was my first look at Hawkins and I came away impressed. He is rangy 4-man with long arms and he’s a good athlete. He can handle the ball in the open court and he possesses the feel to find open teammates with the pass. His game is perimeter-oriented and he has the ability to nail the 3-point shot. His strength will come, but I would like to see him get a bit more assertive in the paint area both as a scorer and rebounder.
Carl Lewis (Lynwood) Club Team: Truth EYBL
2019, C, 6-foot-9, 250 pounds
Joel’s Take: Lewis a mountain of a man who carves out space in the paint like no other. Once he gets the ball on the low block, it’s over as he just man handles people in the paint. He even has a nice 3-point shooting touch in his arsenal. However, he needs to improve his hands, fundamentals (keeping the ball high and staying on balance), and feel for the game if he is to reach is immense potential.
Cassius Stanley (Sierra Canyon) Club Team: Team Why Not
2019, SG, 6-foot-5, 195 pounds
Joel’s Take: Stanley may be the most explosive prospect in the country. In the open court he is a sight to see as he elevates effortless for the dramatic finish. His pull-up jump shot is a weapon as well as he gets tremendous lift on his shot. His 3-point shot as well is getting more consistent. For his game to go to another level, it’s about making the right basketball play. I prefer him as a 2-guard because of his potential as a scorer. Tightening his half court scoring skills while finding others in the process will take his game to a new level. There has been a lot of pressure on him since the 8th grade and DeMar DeRozan was a late developer as well—here’s hoping that Stanley heads in that direction.