We took in two showcases on the eve of releasing our 2013-14 preseason state rankings and give a quick rundown of the events. Our preseason top 35 will be released Tuesday, November 12 at 8pm.
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As we put the final touches on our preseason state rankings after compiling the preseason Student Sports FAB 50 national rankings, we took some weekend time to check out more players and see if anything warranted a change from a team point of view.
On October 26, we attended the West Coast Super Showcase at Clovis East High School in Clovis and came away impressed with the local crop of players and a strong contingent from the Sacramento area. In what easily turned out to be the best game of the Showcase, the Fresno area team downed the Sacramento area team, 62-58.
The major find of the event was 6-3 shooting guard Daryl Edwards of Fresno High, who moved to the Central Valley from Texas this off-season. He was aggressive attacking the rim and shot a high percentage from the outside. Guards J’Veon Jones and Angel Ortiz of Fresno High also had a solid showings and if all the newcomers are eligible, the Warriors will be a Central Section Division III team to be reckoned with.
The other major talent whom emerged was 2015 guard Adrian Rico of Berkeley High School. The 5-foot-10 guard has a slick handle and nobody, not even highly-regarded 2016 guard Colin Slater of Reedley Immanuel, could keep him front penetrating at will. If he continues to improve his jumper and keep the game simple, he could become a solid D1 lead guard.
The following weekend, we attended the West Coast Showdown Showcase at Cypress College, where we saw a few well-known prospects on the circuit and a few breakout performers.
The event was put on by Superior Athletes Basketball director Don Small and the three best players in his grassroots program — Jeremy Hemsley of La Verne Damien, Stevie Thompson Jr. of Torrance Bishop Montgomery and Kendall Small of Lakewood Mayfair — did nothing to hurt their reputations as three of the best players in the Class of 2015 on the West Coast.
Hemsley had no peer, Thompson’s dunk on an overmatched 2017 defender was the highlight play of the event and Small continued to show why Mayfair will surprise many during the 2013-14 season. Thompson’s emphatic dunk capped a summer and fall season where he displayed a complete package of offensive skills, whereas last season he was primarily a spot-up shooter for Bishop Montgomery’s nationally-ranked outfit. If the Knights can find some rebounders, Thompson’s improvement will mean little fall off from last year’s stellar 32-2 campaign.
The breakout performer of Small’s event was Gerritt Beetstra, a 6-foot-7 thin, but skilled 2016 forward from Fullerton High School. He displayed a solid shooting touch and a high catch-and-release point, plus a knack for rebounding the ball. He’ll pick up some muscle as time goes by and he does need improved confidence with his handle, but he has the frame to keep growing and with his skill, he’ll be a player to watch on the circuit next spring.
Another to watch in the future is eighth-grader J’Raan Brooks of San Diego. The long and muscular athlete played the game more fluidly than when we last saw him at Joe Keller’s Junior Phenom Camp in early August. At 6-foot-7 and close to 200 pounds, he’s also highly-regarded as a pitcher in baseball.
Other event standouts included DeShon Taylor (J.W. North, Riverside) 6-2 2014, Elijah Johnson (San Marcos, Santa Barbara) 6-1 2014, Michael Ennis (Savannah, Anaheim) 6-0 2015, Brad Johnson (Yorba Linda) 6-7 2014, Brady Twombly (La Costa Canyon, Carlsbad) 6-6 2015 and Robbie Robinson (Kearny, San Diego) 6-6 2017.
For more national basketball updates, please visit StudentSportsBasketball.com.