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Posted On: 06/28/18 1:15 AM
Fairfax Summer Classic: Biggest Surprises
LOS ANGELES, CA—It was a bit of a tease, but for a small portion of time there was air conditioning in the Fairfax High School gymnasium. Those of us that have made that trek north to Fairfax, have endured the suffocating sauna-like conditions because the hoops were so worthy of our attention.
Despite some air conditioning malfunctions, the “hoops” action rivaled that of the heat in the gym as Ziaire Williams and Sierra Canyon backed up their reputations as the Best Prospect (Williams) and Best Team (Sierra Canyon) in the event. The first installment of “Francisco’s Finest” will feature those “Biggest Surprises”.
Julian Rishwain (Sherman Oaks/Notre Dame)
2019, SG, 6-foot-4, 180 pounds
Joel’s Take: One of the more prolific shooters in So-Cal is Rishwain. When he is on balance and his feet are set, his shot is textbook. Did he knock in some deep jump shots? Yes. However, the other aspects of his game were a bit alarming. He forced the issue off the dribble and launched a number of jump shots–some of which would be considered questionable. He has the length and shooting prowess to play Division 1 basketball, but playing with more poise and improving his ability to finish over length and through contact will elevate his game.
Javon Jones (St. Francis)
2019, SG, 6-foot-3, 180 pounds
Joel’s Take: Jones is strongly-built wing-type that can score at the rim or from deep. He gets good lift on his shot and he uses his frame and a knack to score to finish in the paint area. Improving his ball skills against pressure will take his game to a new level.
Brandon Wilson (Woodland Hills/Taft)
2019, SG, 6-foot-4, 190 pounds
Joel’s Take: When it comes to having a scorer’s mentality, Wilson checks off all the boxes. He is a mid-range pull-up marksmen and he has the size and athleticism to finish through contact. Playing with a consistent motor and assertiveness at both ends will attract coaches—and Wilson does just that.
Kobe White (Santa Monica)
2019, WF, 6-foot-3, 185 pounds
Joel’s Take: Coming into the game against Notre Dame, I was familiar with Quincy McGriff. However, after taking in the action, I was consistently taking down notes of White’s impact on the game. He complimented McGriff nicely as SAMO was thoroughly outplaying Notre Dame for most of the game. White was knocking in deep jump shots and his assertiveness at both ends was impressive. In transition he has a knack of getting to the basket and if the path gets cut off he’ll pull up and convert the mid-range jump shot.
Demetrius Calip II (Woodland Hills/Taft)
2020, SG, 6-foot-3, 170 pounds
Joel’s Take: Calip II has been known as a 3-point sniper his first two seasons in high school, but now his overall game is gone to a new level. His jump shot was rolling from deep—although it does have an awkward release at times—and he threw down a few bang outs as well. However, the biggest sign of his evolving game was his ability to score in the mid-range. He still needs to play with physicality off the bounce, but he’s trending up.
Yi Jia-Hao (Sierra Canyon)
2021, C, 7-foot, 235 pounds
Joel’s Take: Anytime I see or hear a player being listed as a 7-footer, I get skeptical. Well, that is not the case with Jia-Hao (who goes by Howard). The 7-foot-1 “big” is a towering presence, and he has a blossoming game that screams upside. He is still quite gawky transitioning from one end to the other and he needs to bend his knees and play with a stronger base, but he has a nice soft touch, good hands, as well as a nice dose of nastiness.