Jessie Byrd, 6-8 SR PF Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd. Byrd has come a long way in a year. Last year we saw Byrd at this event and we were under whelmed. Then we saw him in December at a tournament and he disappointed again. He began to show signs of improvement in the spring and he had a very good summer. The light appears to have turned on for Jessie. He's got the physical tools to be a player. Good frame, long, moves well and pretty good hands. He's developed a nice face-up shot to about fifteen feet. He's much more active now and he's a good rebounder. A nice prospect at the mid major level or lower end of the high majors.
Diamon Simpson, 6-6 SR PF Hayward (Calif.) High. Simpson is another player who continues to improve. He should be a solid rebounder/defender early in his career and he's starting to show a little better offensive game. He's not a shooter by any means, but he's working on his shot and it's getting better. We like his activity level and he seems very coachable. A very good prospect at the upper end of the mid major level and worth a look for high majors.
Larry Gurganious, 6-4 SR SF Berkeley (Calif.) St. Mary's. Gurganious showed off his exceptional athleticism on a few plays Saturday. While he still has some areas he needs to work on, all of his deficiencies are things that can be corrected with coaching. He tends to over dribble, his outside shot isn't consistent and his fundamentals need work. That being said, he's got as high an upside any wing in the west. We think there are a number of coaches that will be kicking themselves in 2-3 years when Gurganious is a star for Gonzaga.
Cliff Sammet, 6-8 SR PF Santa Cruz (Calif.) High. Sammet was impressive Saturday and looked better than we remembered him being in July. He's got a good shot to 17-19 feet and he'll do the little things. A willing defender/rebounder who doesn't mind throwing his body around. He should be a solid player for Santa Clara.
Trae Clark, 5-9 SR PG Newark (Calif.) Newark Memorial. Clark is a pure point guard who would be getting recruited at a much higher level if he was two inches bigger. He's quick, with good strength for his size and he's improved his outside shot. We've always thought he made good decisions and had a nice feel for the game. His size is an issue, but he's a nice point guard who knows how to run a team.
Justin Gooden, 6-4 JR SG/PG Hercules (Calif.) High. The nephew of Drew Gooden, Justin recently moved from Seattle to California. He didn't play the one at this event, but we've been told that he actually has a good chance to end up a point guard. Good size and athleticism, with a very nice-looking stroke. He didn't really get after it on Saturday defensively, but that may have been due to a leg injury he suffered early in the day. A possible high major prospect.
Justin Joyner, 6-0 JR PG Concord (Calif.) De La Salle. Joyner has added some muscle to his upper body and he looks a little bigger. He's got a terrific feel for the game, a solid shot (needs some space to get it off) and he's a good defender. One negative is he's only an average athlete, but we like his intangibles. A likely mid major prospect.
Eli Holman, 6-7 SO C Richmond (Calif.) High. A long and lean lefty, Holman is very raw. However, he's got some nice physical tools to work with and has a chance to develop into a nice player down the road.
Wendell McKines, 6-5 SO PF Richmond (Calif.) High. McKines is strong, with good feet and a great motor. He's a very good at posting-up and using his strength to overpower defenders. His offensive game is pretty much confined to the paint at this time. His ultimate level in college will depend on whether he gets any taller and/or refines his offensive skills.
Nnamdi Elendu, 6-4 FR SF Pleasanton (Calif.) Foothill. In a gym full of good-looking athletes, Elendu stood out. He's got a great bball body, with very good length and big hands. We didn't get to see him do much with the ball, but he certainly looks the part of a potential big-time prospect.
Nathen Garth, 5-10 FR PG Sacramento (Calif.) Capital Christian. Garth has very long arms, with somewhat narrow shoulders. He's got good quickness and vision – solid point guard feel for the game. He shoots it well to the stripe and showed the ability to take people off the dribble as well. A nice young point guard prospect.
Chris Jones, 6-2 FR SG Newark (Calif.) Newark Memorial. Jones is another kid with a good bball body. He's got some quickness/explosiveness and could be a good defender with his length. Outside shot looks like it needs some work.
Drew Gordon, 6-8 FR C San Jose (Calif.) Archbishop Mitty. A long, young-looking big man, Gordon is raw in terms of his skill level. But he moves well and has a nice frame – looks like there's an upside here.