Posted On: 09/4/18 9:43 PM

Francisco’s Finest: WCE End of Summer (Most Improved)

SANTA ANA, Ca.—Ryan Silver and his outstanding staff put on another outstanding event chock full of talented seniors as well as a plethora of intriguing underclassmen. The match up of the day was between a pair of super sophomores in 6-foot-7ish Wilhelm Briendenbach (Mater Dei) and 6-foot-10 Nathan Bittle while the surprise of the day was the continued ascension of 6-foot-8 sophomore Nicholas Davidson (Santa Margarita). 

Nicholas Davidson (Santa Margarita)

2021, PF, 6-foot-8, 190 pounds

Davidson is one of the most improved players in the West.

Joel’s Take: Arguably the most improved player in the Class of 2021 is Davidson. The skilled 4-man played at the varsity level, but wasn’t ready for the physicality. However, a season later, he is evolving into a heck of a player. He has that lengthy frame that colleges covet and he is becoming more bouncy and productive in the paint. He can finish with either hand, pop in a deep 3, or finish with a dunk in transition. 

Ryan Evans (Mater Dei)

2020, SG, 6-foot-3, 180 pounds

Joel’s Take: Evans’ confidence has elevated and as a result his stock has as well. Known for being one of the best shooters in the West, he has become a much better all-around player since his sophomore campaign. His shot is impeccable off the catch or dribble and his release is quick. He needs to continue to improve his 1st step, but overall his progress has been excellent. 

Harrison Hornery (Mater Dei)

2021, PF, 6-foot-8, 205 pounds

Joel’s Take: Hornery is yet another impressive sophomore that has elevated his overall game. Last season for the Monarchs, he was strictly a spot-up shooter, but now his overall game has improved. He has gained some bulk and is “banging” inside more consistently and effectively. Defensively, he used his frame well to carve out space in the paint, finished through contact, and of course—dropped in some jump shots. 

Malik Thomas (Damien)

2020, SG, 6-foot-3, 180 pounds

Photo Credit: Devin Ugland
Damien high school guard Malik Thomas is scoring at a more efficient clip due to an improved catch-and-shoot jumper.

Joel’s Take: Thomas is a straight bucket-getter. Many guards are trying to masquerade as point guards, when their true gift is scoring. Thomas fits into this mold, at this stage of his career. He can score from all three levels and does an excellent job attacking defenders due to his strength and mindset. He needs to work on is left hand—both in the areas of attacking pressure and finishing in traffic—but overall he is one of the more gifted scorers in his class. 

Nakial Cross (St. Augustine)

2020, WF, 6-foot-7, 175 pounds

Joel’s Take: If you’re looking for one of the more improved players in So-Cal, look no further than San Diego product Nakial Cross. The willowy 3/4 was strictly an unskilled athlete last season. However, he is slowly, but assuredly, evolving into a basketball player. The bounce, quickness, and motor are still evident—but now the skill is coming together. His shot has become more consistent as are his ball skills. He has a quick 1st step, can finish in the paint, and he rebounds well despite his slight frame.