San Diego High School Showcase: 2021 standouts

High School
Southern California

Posted On: 10/6/18 8:17 PM

Corky Smith Gym in San Marcos was abuzz last weekend for the two-day San Diego High School Showcase.

Organized by Gamepoint Basketball, the field included some of San Diego’s top programs and several of the top teams from the City and Southern sections.

We’ve given you standouts, breakout performers, guys who impressed with their improvement and upperclassmen sleepers. Now, we turn our attention to a very deep 2021 class and the top performers from the weekend.

San Diego High School Showcase: 2021 standouts

Obinna Anyanwu, 6-7 F, Cathedral Catholic 

Anyanwu has two very strong skills: he shoots it impressively from midrange, and rebounds it at an elite level. He is a load on the boards and is excellent pursuing rebounds outside of the paint. As his footwork improves, he will only continue to become more of an imposing force for opponents.

AJ Burgin, 6-2 G, San Diego 

With his team severely shorthanded, Burgin did his best to keep the Cavers in games with his scoring from all three levels and improved playmaking off the bounce, including a 21-point first half effort against Orange Glen in the loss. His athleticism is also improved, as evidenced by his improved finishing around the basket.

Jessie Campbell, 6-1 G, Mater Dei Catholic 

The athletic play-making guard has made a marked leap in his perimeter shooting, and had it on display over the weekend. He has an excellent frame, impressive quickness and can get into the paint at will. Campbell’s next area of development will be his shot selection and decision making against pressure.

Hayden Gray, 6-0 PG, Santa Fe Christian

In the opening game of the day against LCC, Gray had his way in the second half against the Mavs back court. Using a quick first step and crafty handle to get into the paint, Gray was able to locate open shooters or finish plays himself at the rim. The best word to describe his game? Slick. 

Chris Howell, 6-6 PG, San Marcos

Howell, who was mentioned in our All-Showcase Team report, was tremendous all weekend setting the table for teammates, defending multiple positions and scoring when necessary. His versatility can not be understated. 

Kailon King, 6-0 G, Mater Dei Catholic 

The long and crafty point guard plays with excellent pace and has good feel in the half court. Operating off of ball screens, King slithers his way into the paint and finishes with a nice floater package and has the requisite body control to finish around contact. A noted shooter, King is nearly automatic when his feet are set. His status for this season is up in the air due to CIF transfer rules, but this weekend gave us a great preview of Mater Dei’s back court when he becomes eligible. 

Keavie Love, 6-1 G, El Camino

Mentioned in our “most improved report,” it is worth repeating how much more comfortable Love appears with the ball in his hands on the perimeter. 

Adam Nieves, 6-3 F, Orange Glen 

In the age of positionless basketball, Nieves value to his team is tremendous. He makes things happen with his high-level motor, aggression on the boards and nose for the basketball. He also showed improvement handling the ball on the perimeter as he transitions from an undersized post to more of a wing for the purposes of next level recruitment.  

Thomas Notarainni, 6-3 W, Cathedral Catholic

Notarainni was on the attack against Temecula Valley, slashing to the basket on strong right-hand drives and finishing through contact. He’s streaky as a catch and shoot guy, but made a couple of big threes and looks more comfortable from that distance. Like most of his teammates, one of Notarainni’s underrated attributes is that he competes every possession.  

Tyson Robinson, 5-11 G, El Camino

Tough as nails, athletic and rugged on defense, Robinson teamed with Love and his back court counterparts to turn over opposing ball handlers by the possession. He even had a finish above the rim, impressive for a sub-6-footer. 

Melo Sanchez, 6-3 W, Mater Dei Catholic

Sanchez is the definition of a Swiss-Army Knife basketball player. He brings a plethora of tools to the table, including excellent court vision, unselfish playmaking, solid shooting and capable driving, and underrated defense, despite lacking in ideal lateral quickness. He is the quintessential glue guy.

Keatten Smith, 6-1 G, Santa Fe Christian 

Gray’s back court mate drained big threes in the game vs LCC, including several from NBA range. When his feet are set, he knocks them down with the best of them in SD. He also does a good job using the jump stop in the halfcourt to get on balance in the paint and make crisp passes to shooters and cutters. 

Nikko Taylor, 6-3 W, Vista

Taylor has very good size and length and the lefty brings a versatile skillset to the table. His athleticism has also improved notably, which has given him more confidence attacking the basket. He shoots it rather streaky from the perimeter, but has shown growth in that area as well. Continuing to gain confidence in his off hand will only make him a tougher cover in the years to come.