Novel Pelle, 6-8 PF Los Angeles (Calif.) Price. Pelle has long been one of the more intriguing big men in the west due to his outstanding athleticism and size. He's a big-time shot blocker and finisher at the rim. However, he tends to lose focus on the court at times and he can be taken out of the game when he gets too caught up in referee's calls or battles with opposing teammates. He's still got some maturing to do, and he needs to dedicate himself to the game in a way that has been absent to date, but he has an extremely high upside if he ever figures it out.
Ryan Anderson, 6-8 PF Long Beach (Calif.) Poly. Anderson has had a fine senior season, but struggled in his game against Bishop Gorman at the Extravaganza. A very good shooter with a nice stroke to the stripe, Anderson needs to become a more effective inside player. He had trouble with the size and athleticism of Gorman, which features a frontline of multiple 6-7 to 6-8 guys. Anderson has a good feel for the game, and he's a willing passer, but strength and physicality will be two question marks for him at the next level. However, he's made significant strides in the past couple years and has a chance to be a solid contributor for Boston College in the coming years.
Shabazz Muhammad, 6-5 SF Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman. Muhammad put on a show Saturday night in a win over Long Beach Poly. A strong, physical wing, Muhammad has the rare ability to beat you with strength and with finesse. He can take a hard two dribbles into a defender, use his strength to get separation, elevate for a mid-range jumper and still have a very soft release on his shot. Most guys with Muhammad's kind of strength don't have his soft touch. Muhammad is still developing his ability to create off the dribble and he's best as a one or two bounce guy. He also still needs to work on his right hand. However, that's kind of nitpicking when you're talking about a player with his ability, approach to the game, competitiveness, toughness…he's an extremely complete player for a junior in high school. He's got a solid shot to the stripe, he's an above average rebounder and defender, and he plays with terrific energy. It's always a nice thing for a coach when the best player on your team is also your hardest worker. One of Muhammad's best attributes is his physicality. He loves to get in the post and abuse smaller defenders. And if you put a bigger defender on him, he has the ability to take them to the perimeter where he again has an advantage. He figures to be a nightmare matchup in college.
Xavier Johnson, 6-6 SF/PF Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. An athletic lefty, Johnson is one of the more versatile guys in the class and he continues to show enough perimeter and interior skills to possibly play either the three or four in college. His outside shot has continued to improve and he's a terrific finisher around the rim. One of the best things about Johnson's game is that he has learned to play the game inside/out. A lot of big kids want to float to the perimeter right away and they never really learn to play in the paint. Johnson is used to defending in the paint and he has no problem taking on bigger players down low. He's a very good defender and his lateral quickness is such that he may be the rare guy that can guard small forwards or power forwards. He has good ball skills overall, but does need to improve his right hand. Johnson has a very good approach to the game and competes very well. He's among the elite few prospects in the west for 2012.
Katin Reinhardt, 6-3 SG Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. Reinhardt is a very gifted offensive player and he was draining jump shots from all over the court in a win over Price. He's got a very smooth shot, with a terrific release, and he elevates well on his jumper. However, he's not just shooter, as he can score in a variety of ways and get to the rim to finish against size. He's a good athlete, and he has the potential to be a solid defender, but he does need to focus a bit more at the defensive end of the court. Of course, that hardly makes him unique among high school players. Shot selection and decision-making are other areas where he could improve, but Reinhardt is definitely among the more talented offensive players in the west for 2012.
Zena Edosomwan, 6-8 PF/C North Hollywood (Calif.) Harvard-Westlake. Edosomwan has improved every year and he's now among the top echelon of post prospects in the west for 2012. He's got a strong body, surprising athleticism and he plays with very good energy. Right now, he's a good defender and rebounder, but his offensive game is still coming. However, he's dedicated to becoming a player and he will no doubt continue to improve as a scorer. He's going to end up receiving a number of high major offers.
Ben Carter, 6-7 PF Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman. Carter has improved dramatically in the last year and he played very well Saturday night. He's a very skilled, and deceptively athletic, four man with some toughness and grit to his game. He's got very good feet and he's a tough matchup for opposing big men when he takes them away from the basket. He's got a nice touch to 15-17 feet and he's an excellent ball-handler for a big kid. He figures to be recruited at the high major level.
Rosco Allen, 6-8 PF Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman. Allen has grown a few inches in the last year and that's not necessarily a good thing. He's still very slender and it's difficult to imagine him defending power forwards at the next level any time soon. However, he's also going to have a very tough time staying with quicker players on the perimeter. He's got the offensive game of a small forward, with a very nice stroke to three-point range, and above average ball skills overall. But he struggled in his game against Long Beach Poly, as quicker and more athletic players got into him on the perimeter. He's very intriguing because of his skill set, but right now there is some question about just which position he will defend in college and how he will impact the game when his jumper is taken away.
Chance Murray, 6-1 SG/PG Los Angeles (Calif.) Price. Murray didn't have one of his better games Saturday against Mater Dei, but he's among the top guard prospects in the west for 2013. He's just a fair athlete, but he's got a great stroke and an above average feel for the game. He's certainly got the instincts to play point guard, and a pretty good handle, but the best thing he does right now is shoot the ball. Whether he ends up at the one or the two, he figures to be a high major prospect.
Parker Jackson-Cartwright, 5-9 PG Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola. Jackson-Cartwright is a terrific young prospect with an outstanding feel for the game and a very high skill level. He's still a slender young pup, but his feel for the position of point guard is better than many guys in college right now. He's a good shooter, very good ball handler and outstanding passer. Assuming continued development, he has a chance to be among the elite point guards in the class of 2014.