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Posted On: 06/15/18 12:04 PM
Bellflower, Ca. — Thursday’s summer league hosted by St. John Bosco featured some of the top teams in Southern California, including the host Braves, Damien, Harvard-Westlake, Long Beach Poly an St. Augustine of San Diego.
Here are five storylines from the afternoon and evening of games.
Bosco’s Scotty Washington considerably improved from last season
St. John Bosco head coach Matt Dunn was so loaded on varsity last season he had the luxury of having three talented freshmen log big minutes at the junior varsity level. One of those freshmen, Scotty Washington, showed Thursday that he used the heavy playing time to his advantage. Washington looks markedly improved with the ball in his hands, creating shots for himself off the dribble. Right now, the lanky 6-foot-3 rising sophomore is more comfortable scoring around the basket with layups and floaters, but must become a better perimeter shooter, especially off the catch from 3-point range.
Harvard-Westlake’s Mason Hooks expanding his offensive game
It’s not every day you see a 6-foot-10, 240 pound 16 year-old center is stepping out on the perimeter and knocking down 3-pointers comfortably. Mason Hooks was doing just that Tuesday with the encouragement of coach David Rebibo. Harvard-Westlake has two young big men in Hooks and sophomore Truman Gettings and need one of them to spread the floor to keep driving lanes open for wings like Johnny Juzang and Brase Dottin to take advantage of.
Poly’s Justin Rene is an elite scorer when focused
On Tuesday it was Long Beach Poly guard Giordan Williams who came out cooking offensively, but Thursday it was Justin Rene’s turn. The smooth 6-foot-3 scoring guard had it going from all three levels against Harvard-Westlake, knocking in rhythm 3-pointers and mid-range jumpers while also beating his man with ease, getting into the paint and finishing around the basket.
Malik Thomas showed improvements on a weakness
Damien sophomore Malik Thomas is one of the most gifted offensive players in the 2021 class, and while his go-to moves are usually downhill drives and finishes in the paint, he showed some offensive diversity Thursday. The 6-foot-3 wing drilled a handful of catch-and-shoot 3-pointers with no rhythm dribbles required. This advancement in Thomas’ game is key for the Spartans’ offense as its free wheeling approach requires open driving lanes and its players to be able to hit open jumpers off of drive and kicks.
The addition of Jarred Hyder reinforces Damien roster
Speaking of Damien guards, the Spartans came up on one of the best combo guards in Southern California when former Cajon standout Jarred Hyder enrolled. The 6-foot-3 Hyder softens the blow of losing Cameron Shelton to graduation as he plays with a similar mindset to the hard-nosed Shelton bound for Northern Arizona. Hyder might not as good of a rebounder from the guard position as Shelton was, but he is more gifted as an all-around scorer, especially with his jump shot.