Posted On: 08/2/18 11:51 AM
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. This report will touch on players I believed have made the biggest improvement, regardless of class.
Las Vegas live periods: Most improved San Diego players
Charles Williams, 2019 6-6 F, NP4 Elite
Williams has always looked the part of a high-level prospect, but only now does it appear his skill set is catching up. At 6-6, Williams has developed into a very good catch-and-shoot threat. He has deep range on his shot and has improved his release and arc on his shot. Williams also rebounds the ball at a solid clip. Williams is a decent on-ball defender, but his defensive IQ (gambles at times) and help-side defense need work. His club coach reported that Dartmouth reached out after the weekend.
Dakarai Allen, 2020 6-3 G, West Coast Elite 16u
Allen has been known for his penetrating ability, but has expanded his range considerably over the past few months. His jump shot, which was his weakness, is now playable out to the college three. He made big shots in the tight game against All-Utah basketball, but also attacked off the dribble and got to the foul line. Defensively, he uses his strong frame and lateral quickness to lock down guards on the ball.
Maurice Holmes, 2020 6-6 F, West Coast Elite 16u
Holmes has always had the physical tools, but lacked assertiveness on the offensive end. He’s showing a big improvement in that area, scoring from mid-range and close range with an improved face-up attack. He still has moments where his effort level vacillates on the defensive end, but he’s improving there too.
Caleb Nelson, 2021 6-4 WF, Coastal Elite Slayers
There aren’t many players who have improved more in the 2021 class than Nelson, who is rapidly becoming one of San Diego’s top wing shooting prospects. He has a super-quick release that allows him to get his shot off in tight spaces. But he’s also improved utilizing the shot fake to set up his pull-up from mid range, which is evolving into a formidable weapon. Nelson is also unafraid to mix it up on the boards, and plays with an edge.
Keaton Webb, 2021 6-3 WF, Coastal Elite Slayers
Coming off the bench on the Slayers team, Webb is physically growing rapidly, as is his confidence. Approaching 6-4, Webb has a feathery release and knocks down open threes with regularity. He has to improve his foot speed and lateral quickness moving forward, but for a player who wasn’t on the radar this time last year, he is now.
Jadyn James, 2020 5-10 G, San Diego All-Stars 16u
James, a Helix product, had a solid weekend on both sides of the ball for SDA. He’s playing with better pace, and as a result is cutting down on turnovers. James is also shooting the ball more consistently from three and from mid range. Expect him to be one of the breakout stars in the East County this year.
Baylor Brimmer, 2020 6-5 WF, California Select
Brimmer in a starting role for California Select showed flashes of growth in his perimeter skill set, knocking down shots from three and from mid-range off the catch, and attacking the basket and finishing through contact. More of a four than a true wing, Brimmer does a good job of spacing the floor in drive-and-kick situations. The next step for Brimmer is improving is consistency on that end, which comes with being consistently assertive on the offensive end.