Posted On: 11/21/18 12:22 PM
Taking advantage of the early start to the season and a spectacular venue, Montgomery High Head Coach Ed Martin organized a quality kickoff tournament in the South Bay, the San Diego Tip-Off Challenge. The four-day event pitted seven of San Diego’s top 25 programs – and one powerhouse from Southern California.
Guess who came out on top?
Sierra Canyon, the No. 1 ranked team in California according to several preseason rankings, laid waste to the field, en route to an 86-40 route of San Diego’s No. 2 ranked team, St. Augustine, in the championship game.
The Trailblazers three-game run was so dominant that Martin named the entire team MVP of the event.
We’ll try to spread the love a little bit more here, naming our standouts in a series of “Five” reports.
Next up, the “second five.”
San Diego Tip-Off Challenge – Second Five
Cassius Stanley, 6-5 W, Sierra Canyon
It might be a surprise to see Stanley in this group, considering all of the highlights featuring his authoritative finishes this week. The highly touted unsigned senior was solid over the three games, filling lanes in transition and finishing plays above – and through – contact. He also hit a number of mid-range pull-ups in the halfcourt set, but his perimeter shooting on the whole is still inconsistent at best. For all of his physical gifts, he must elevate that aspect of his game to keep defenses honest moving forward.
Amari Bailey, 6-4 G, Sierra Canyon
The 2022 prospect is as impressive as a freshman you’ll see in Southern California. Blessed with prototypical size, length and feel, Bailey racked up six assists in the title rout, delivering passes right into the shooter’s pockets. He needs to improve his off hand, as Bailey operates almost exclusively to his left. And his jump shot, while solid, tends to run flat off the bounce. Those are minor things, as looking forward, Bailey projects to be a high-major combo guard prospect.
Craig “CJ” McMillan, 6-5 F, Sweetwater
McMillan, one half of Sweetwater’s massive frontcourt duo, had a strong weekend on offense. The 230-pound sophomore has nimble feet, impressive footwork and handle for a player his size, and can impose his will on defenders on his way to the basket. He’s not just a bully. Defensively and on the boards, however, he struggled to have an impact against like-sized opposition in the St. Augustine game, in which the Red Devils were blown out. And his shot selection, at times, can leave a lot to be desired. Still, it’s clear McMillan is one of the better front court talents in So-Cal’s 2021 class.
CJ Jackson, 6-7 F, Sweetwater
The unsigned senior prospect is built like a defensive end (in fact, he played football). But his size, length and tenacity on the boards makes him a pretty solid unsigned prospect. Jackson was a beast on the boards the entire tournament, snagging an eye-popping 25 in an opening-game win over Christian. Offensively, he’s raw, but showed he could hit the occasional left-handed jump hook. But most of his scoring was off of the offensive glass, where he finishes through contact – and above the rim.
Jackson Larsen, 6-7 F, Christian
Fresh off his signing to Northern Arizona, Larsen uncorked a big opening night in a 2-point loss to Sweetwater. The springy face-up four finished with 30 points and 10 rebounds. But it was how he did it that caught our attention. He scored efficiently from all three-levels. His perimeter shooting and pull-up, once inconsistent liabilities, appear to be weapons for him in his final year. This complements his high-level athleticism and strong finishes in transition. Additionally, he is willing to advance the ball in transition to open shooters with crisp outlets. The Lumberjacks appear to be getting a prospect on the rise.