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Posted On: 07/31/18 1:15 PM
With literally hundreds of basketball teams converging on the Mecca of summer basketball, Las Vegas lived up to the hype.
My colleagues Frank Burlison and Joel Francisco were flanked across the region, capturing as much of the action as humanly possible, from Dinos Trigonis’ Las Vegas Fab 48 (perhaps the strongest field in the even’t history), Bigfoot Hoops’ Las Vegas Classic, the West Coast Elite UA Finals and Rising Stars Invitational and the Rebound Hoops Las Vegas Finals.
For my part, I’ll be breaking down the showing of the large San Diego contingent in a series of reports, starting with the 2019 standouts, with the 2020, 2021 and 2022 classes to follow.
We know that Cross possesses elite athleticism, but his production has been inconsistent in previous viewings. In a game against a tough All-Utah Basketball team, Cross showed he’s putting it all together. This was the most assertive we’ve seen Cross, who looked to attack the basket rather than settling for jump shots. When he was open, Cross knocked down shots from both the college three and midrange. Cross used his athleticism and quickness on the defensive end and the boards, where he altered and blocked shots and pursued rebounds out of his area. The #23 prospect in Prep Hoops So-Cal 2020 rankings, Cross could continue to climb with performances like this.
Davis, a 6-2 combo guard, didn’t have to do much in a blowout win vs GBA. But he impressed us with his improved conditioning and pace. At times in the past, Davis played too fast in the halfcourt and was turnover prone. In this setting, he did a good job moving the ball in the halfcourt set, picking his spots to drive, and creating opportunities for open shooters. He also can knock down open shots off the catch. The next step will be to improve his scoring from midrange.
Riley, a physically imposing player, is an ideal prospect in the age of positionless basketball. At 6-5, he has the size, strength and agility to guard multiple positions at the high school level. Riley can rebound the ball and push it in transition and has solid enough ball skills to initiate an offense and vision to pinpoint the open man in the offense. He primarily scores in the paint, slashing to the rim at will and relying on his strength to absorb contact and finish at the rim. Riley’s shooting has come a ways, but he’s still inconsistent in that area. If he can consistently knock down shots from 15 feet to the college three, his stock will skyrocket. As it stands, St. Mary’s, UC Irvine and several mid majors are monitoring him very closely.
Stephens was very impressive for Gamepoint in wins over IEBP and Team Bradley. Blessed with an elite first step and explosive athleticism, he is almost impossible to keep out of the paint, and has improved his finishing around the basket. Stephens has made the biggest strides as a shooter, where his mechanics and release have come a long way. He now consistently knocks down open shots off the catch and with an improved pull-up. Another area where Stephens has made big improvement is his pace. It’s easy for a player with his explosiveness to play out of control, but Stephens this weekend used changes of speed to keep the defense off balance and set up teammates with the pass.
Herrmann is one of the more underrated combo guards in his class. The high-motor guard scores it from all three levels, but is best attacking the basket with reckless abandon. Herrmann looks for contact, absorbs it, and finishes through it regularly in his games this weekend. He also does a good job terminating drives in space, where he can knock down the pull-up consistently. His perimeter shot is playable, but streaky at times. An area where Herrmann needs to improve is his court vision, as sometimes he gets tunnel visioned looking for his own offense.