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Posted On: 08/25/18 12:09 PM
August 19, 2018 marked Day 1 of the inaugural Get Right! camp directed by Luis Medearis. The camp had a wide range of ages, including some of Northern California’s top prospects from the 2022 and 2023 class. This article looks to highlight a handful of players from the 2022 and 2023 class that caught my eye and went to work Day 1.
The nationally ranked, incoming freshman PG took no time making his mark at Get Right! With his team down double digits, Malik subbed in and immediately made everyone on his team better. For someone his age, Malik has the rare ability to dictate the proper pace of the game. He knows when to push and when to slow it down. For example, after stealing the ball when picking up his opponent full court, he quickly realized he had no numbers. Many players would have forced a shot, particularly after the rush of a steal. Malik calmly backed the ball out, waited for his teammates, and set up the offense. His unselfishness was on full display when he saw his big man have an advantage on the low block and fed him a perfect entry pass for a drop step lay-up. It is those type of small winning, high IQ plays that often make the difference in a game.
Two other plays that highlighted Malik’s IQ were two pick and rolls. For the first example, Malik saw the pick defender hedging hard and stepped around his hip, all while keeping his head up, and delivered a timely bounce pass to the roller at the rim. For the second example, Malik saw the help defense begin to sag into the paint and calmly delivered a kick out pass to his teammate for the knock down jumper. His aptitude to read defenses in a split second at this age comes from two things: 1) an innate feel 2) consistent reps on the court contributing to the game slowing down for him.
At one point, Malik scored or assisted on 20 straight of his team’s points. His ability to know when to finish and know when to pass is hard to teach. Having to respect both the pass and drive will open the floor for Malik as he continues to face longer and more athletic defenses. Expect big things to come for this Freshman, especially as he becomes more consistent with his outside shot.
Kiku Parker Jr.
Tenacious. That’s the word that comes to mind after watching Kiku Parker Jr. play. The highlight of Day 1 was watching Kiku and Malik Rose go at for 40 straight minutes. Kiku, a rising 8th grader, fully embraced the challenge of playing against the older Malik. One of Kiku’s biggest asset is his endless motor. His motor enables him to constantly keep attacking the paint. I do not recall Kiku settling for one jump-shot the entire day.
Kiku knows how to use his quickness and body positioning to his advantage. With an explosive first step, he consistently beat his primary defender. Once he has a step on his defender, he has the strength and handle to keep him on his hip until he is at the rim. And, once at the rim he does not shy away from contact.
To paint a picture, I asked Kiku his favorite player. His response- Colin Sexton. He emulates Collin in many ways. Not only on the offensive end, but also on the defensive end. Both games I watched him play, Kiku picked up the best player on the other team every possession, often picking up the player full-court. As Kiku continues to grow and improve into his already solid frame, I see him being a major problem for his opponent, especially over the course of an entire game.
Collin is a composed, combo-guard that lets the game come to him. In the first few minutes of his first scrimmage, Collin showed off his shooting ability, knocking down 2 threes and an elbow jumper. As of now, I think Collin’s greatest asset is his spot up shooting. Once he moves to the next level and defenders continue to become stronger and faster, he will need to rely on his shooting to open up the rest of the court. One aspect of his shooting ability that stood out was his movement to the open area prior to receiving the ball. He consistently made the right read, finding the open space on the floor, and making an easy target for his teammate to find him.
By no means is Collin just a shooter though. When the primary ball-handler subbed out, Collin took over PG duties. Collin displayed a package of different dribble moves to break down the defense. When he had his defender beat and the help defense rotated, he made a series of great passes to his teammates.
When I asked Collin his favorite player to model his game after, he said James Harden. That comparison makes sense, as Collin does not seem to lack any real offenses weaknesses. Like Harden, Collin is great at taking advantage of lapses in the defense, whether that be with or without the ball in his hand.
One of my favorite players to watch over the weekend was Anthony Gutierrez. Anthony has a solid frame for someone his age and as an incoming freshman, can handle the physicality of high school basketball. Accompanying Anthony’s size (and his flow) is a very cerebral player that has taken the time to learn the fundamentals. Anthony seemed to be one step ahead of the game. For example, when rolling to the basket after setting a screen, Anthony screamed “skip, skip”, informing the ball handler that the help defense was sagging into the paint from the weak side and that the opposite corner was open. He also was the best passing big-man at the camp, as his outlet, post, and transition passing were on full display.
On top of his passing ability, Anthony has a silky-smooth jumper. If given the time, he can knock down shots from anywhere on the floor. He uses his legs well to create a consistent stroke. He finds easy jump-shot opportunities by reading the defense as the screener on pick and pop plays.
I love Anthony’s versatility. He is always a threat on the offensive end, whether it be through his facilitating or scoring. Big men who can keep the fluidity of the offense intact at this age are relatively rare, but Anthony consistently makes the right plays. In short, he is a winner- a coachable big, who does whatever the team needs.
Logan came to play in both games on Day 1 of camp Get Right! An instinctive scorer, Logan puts points on the board in multiple ways. He demonstrated the ability to knock down shots off the dribble and by spotting up. He also showed he can get all the way to the rim or finish with a variety of floaters. His aptitude to the score the ball in different ways is accompanied with good patience. He knows he can score anywhere on the court, so he takes what the defense gives him.
Logan also showed off his hustle. He had multiple put back lay ups and was consistently the first one back on defense and the first one out on the break. You love to see that type of energy and heart out of someone his age.
When I asked Logan who he is trying to model his game after he stated the incoming Vanderbilt 5 star recruit, Darrius Garland. He said he hopes to continue to hit the gym hard this summer and work on his ball handling and body. I am confident he will improve those areas of his game and be a force to be reckon with this upcoming season.