Posted On: 07/25/18 1:34 PM
The Premier Summer Championships took place this past weekend in Salem and in addition to the top rising seniors, many of the top players from the Classes of 2020 and 2021 were also playing in the 15U, 16U, and even 17U divisions. Here’s a look at how some of them performed.
Class of 2020
Payton Richardson (2020 Western Mennonite HS/Team Fly Largent) – Team Fly Largent is the third AAU team Richardson has played for this off-season (Rose City Rebels and Hoop Salem were the others) but the way he played over the weekend he fit right in. Part of the reason – good or bad – is the fact that Ricardson seems to lack a defined position at this point in time. He can operate on the wing, fight for rebounds down low, and in the games we watched him play in the tournament he simply made plays by being around the ball. There’s no doubt he still needs to work on his outside shooting and perimeter play but the potential is there.
Emorej Lynk (2020 Kennedy HS/Hoop Salem 16U) – Lynk is blessed with a mature athletic body that physically is near impossible to match up with the 16U level. In the games we watched he mainly set up down low or on the baseline and successfully posted up and finished well near the rim. The team doesn’t need him to play on the perimeter, but he showed some decent ball-handling skills, especially in transition.
Kaelan O’Neil (2020 Churchill HS/Hoop Salem 16U) – Fresh off of getting a scholarship offer from Eastern Washington, O’Neil showed why the Eagles are intrigued by him. At 6-foot-5 (and possibly still growing) with a solid frame that should easily add on more strength, the wing passes the look test and his combination of size, skills, and shooting ability give him promise as a big wing at the next level. O’Neil’s ball-handling and decision making could use some fine tuning but the base is definitely there.
Isaiah Wallace (2020 Churchill/Dribble Drive Elite 17U) – Playing up at the 17U level, you probably wouldn’t have guessed Wallace was a class below as he more than held his own with the older players. The 6-foot-2 guard played at both spots in the backcourt, equally hitting shots from distance and driving to the basket. What really stood out with Wallace was the fact he was constantly in motion – it was almost as if he had ants in his pants. All joking aside, Wallace played with intensity and especially on defense in the press, was draped all over opponents applying pressure.
Tucker Pellicci (2020 Franklin HS/Rose City Rebels 17U) – The Rebels were caught without a lot of size with the absence of Sataievior Ayilola, so Pellicci stepped in to help in the frontcourt. As the saying goes you can’t teach height and Pellicci has plenty of it at 6-foot-10, but he was able to show some skills over the weekend. He has a fairly soft touch facing the basket and while he needs to work on getting more physical and aggressive, in the C bracket finals he managed to drive and throw down a dunk in the lane. More experience at the varsity level – which he will play at the first time this winter – will be key in Pellicci’s development.
Jasper Reinalda (2020 Corvallis HS/Team Fly Largent) – The tallest player playing over the weekend, Reinalda at 7-foot-3 (and possibly still growing) defines the phrase “developing big man”. But once seen as a major project, it is clear that the rising junior is developing from when we first saw him Memorial Day. While still a bit lumbering, his ability to run up and down the floor is improving and his aggressiveness near the basket on both ends has gotten better. We didn’t see him throw down any dunks, according to Team Fly director Kendall White, Reinalda certainly had his share of them all weekend, and what we did see is that his shooting touch is soft. There is no question Reinalda is a player to monitor this next season and beyond.
Class of 2021
Ben Gregg (2021 Columbia Christian HS/Rose City Rebels 15U) – Of all the members of the Class of 2021, Gregg probably had the biggest individual performance of the tournament when he scored 30 points against Friends of Hoop – a game that led to his first scholarship offer, from Eastern Washington. In that game he simply dominated in every part of the game – scoring at all three levels on offense, dominating the glass, and blocking shots – he simply did it all. His performance in the 15U title game was more uneven as he had trouble putting the ball in the basket, but he hit a couple of key threes and free throws down the stretch to help seal the win. The scholarship offers is easily the first of many to come with the talented and still physically developing forward.
Nate Rawlings-Kibonge (2021 Jefferson/Rose City Rebels 17U) – The only member of Oregon’s Class of 2021 to play up at the 17U level, you would have never guessed he was younger if you saw Rawlings-Kibonge play. The 6-foot-6 post competes with an edge you can’t teach, and he didn’t back down from anyone the Rebels played. He was a beast on the boards and in particular, used his wingspan to block shots – especially running out to shooters on the perimeter to tip their shots. Offensively, he attacked the basket from the post and threw down some rim-rattling dunks. The only drawback to his game is he tends to get into foul trouble at times, but learning how to avoid the whistle will come with experience. Portland State coaches were at all of the Rebels games and the word is he has already made an early impression on the Vikings.
Kamron Robinson (2021 Jefferson HS/Rose City Rebels 15U) – At 6-foot-8 and over 250-pounds, Robinson is simply an impossible load to handle in the paint for opponents. But Robinson isn’t simply about being big – he has good hands, solid footwork, and a willingness to work hard and fight for offensive rebounds. Often times when posting up, if his initial shot didn’t go in, he would work himself into position to tap the offensive boards back to himself where he could put it back in. Conditioning is a bit of an issue for Robinson at this time as at times it limits his court time, but if that is addressed the sky is the limit for this likely still-growing big man.
Darius Gakwasi (2021 Central Catholic/Rose City Rebels 15U) – Gakwasi starts at the three for the Rebels but often times he operates as a point forward, taking the ball up the court in transition where he could find the open man or drive to the basket for himself. A really good athlete with good length at 6-foot-5, he understands how to get to the basket and shots up. Shot selection and decision making are his main areas of improvement at this time – he shot 5-fot-15 from the field in the 15U finals and struggled with turnovers – but those should come along with additional coaching and experience.