Pump Easter 2: More Juniors

There were a few new names, but many pretty known commodities among the 2004 class in Las Vegas last weekend, including Bryce Taylor, Lorenzo Mata, Dwight O'Neil and Chris Miles...

Bryce Taylor, 6-4 JR SG, Studio City (Calif.) Harvard-Westlake. Taylor is considered one of the best shooting guards in the west, and he had a fairly good showing last weekend. He shot the ball well, but seemed like he was content with just spotting up rather than putting the ball on the floor, at least in the two games we saw him play. It made his game fairly one dimensional. He'll have to continue to drive to the basket, and even look to set up teammates to keep expanding his game and keep pace with the best in the west.

Dwight O'Neil, 6-3 JR SG Fresno (Calif.) Washington Union. A big, strong kid who you'd like to see at the one, but he probably ends up at the two. Probably has to defend a shooting guard and lacks the feel to play the point. Good athlete and has a scorer's mentality. Outside shot is suspect, but his handle has improved since we last saw him and he gets to the rim frequently. Very nice upside. Mid to high major prospect.

Nick Levi, 6-1 JR PG Redmond (Wash.) Eastlake. The tournament program didn't list a high school for Levi, but we overheard someone say that he'll be at Eastlake. Not especially athletic, with just a decent body, but made a lot of plays in the games we saw. Good outside shot. Not a pure point – more scorer than distributor. Showed some toughness and competes well. Bad habit of leaving his feet too often. Low major prospect.

Brody Angley, 5-11 JR PG Redding (Calif.) Enterprise. Strong body, but somewhat short arms and not especially quick. Maxes out ability at high school level. Excellent competitor -- plays very hard. Good feel for the game. Fairly good outside shooter, but not exceptional. Struggles to finish against size. Low major prospect.

Matt Sargeant, 6-2 JR SG Huntington Beach (Calif.) Ocean View. Average athlete – decent hops, not much quickness – with a mature body (limited upside). Struggles to get separation against quickness. Good feel for the game, can knock down open shot. Competes well. Low major prospect.

Lorenzo Mata, 6-9 JR PF/C, South Gate (Calif.) High. In Vegas Mata again showed that he could be one of the best low-post players in the west. With a lack of athletic big men, Mata's athleticism makes him standout. In Vegas he showed good explosion off the floor, blocking shots and throwing down dunks. He also understands how to play the post both offensively and defensively, while still being raw. He doesn't play beyond five feet from the basket, but it's refreshing to watch a big man who actually knows he's a post player. He's a mid to high-major prospect.

Lorenzo Keeler, 6-2 JR SG, Escondido (Calif.) High. Keeler has intrigued us for a couple of years. He is one of those types, though, that, with his body type and height, you wish he had developed his point guard skills more. Because he does have them – he handles the ball well and has a good passing instinct. But he's still a shooting guard, with a scoring mentality. What will probably hold back Keeler is his body – still very thin and having not put on much bulk in the last couple of years. He has a chance, though, to be a good guard at the low and possibly mid-major level if he physically got bigger.

Marlon Howe, 6-8 JR PF, Fallbrook (Calif.) High. Howe is another, like Mata, who will be well-sought in the 2004 class since he has good size and athleticism. Like Mata, he doesn't have many developed basketball skills, but he has some springs, runs the floor well and has a body that looks like it could continue to develop physically. Howe, right now, uses his athleticism to rebound well and gets any points right around the basket.

Evan Harris, 6-7 JR PF, Studio City (Calif.) Harvard-Westlake. Harris has taken up pretty much where he left off in his high school season – being a long-armed presence in the paint. He is so long it makes him play bigger than he is, able to grab rebounds over players his size and block shots. His offensive at this point is still extremely limited, even though he's going through the motions of a offensive post game now.

Daniel Fleming, 6-7 JR PF, Murrieta (Calif.) Murrieta Valley. Some college coaches have talked about Fleming since he is a fairly big kid who has good skills. Without really the strength or mentality to bang in the post, though, and with those good shooting skills, Fleming tends to float outside and thus sometimes disappears for long stretches. He catches and shoots well, and can even do a one-bounce pull-up effectively, but doesn't really have the agility or quickness to be a small forward. In two games watching him, he got 4 rebounds and was allergic to the paint. But again, coaches will like his size and skill set. If he gets tougher inside he has a chance to be a mid-major.

Sean Ogirri, 6-1 JR PG, Denver (Col.) East. Ogirri is an intriguing and frustrating player at the same time. He has a great, natural vision and instinct to play point guard, but you can see him forcing it so hard that at times he makes bad mistakes, both in his shot selection and passing choices. For one thing, he simply shoots the ball too much. When he gets into a groove of being a point guard – and that means finding opportunities for his teammates, Ogirri is one of the most effective players on the floor. He has solid ball-handling skills and, again, a good passing instinct. He's an average athlete who, like in so many other things in his game, tries to do things athletically he shouldn't. But there's still plenty of time for Ogirri to get under control and learn to make better decisions. Possibly a mid-major but a solid low major.

Rodrick Craig, 6-3 JR SF/SG, San Jose (Calif.) Valley Christian. He looks like a football player on the floor, with his pretty thick, rocked-out frame. And many times in the past he has seemed not much more than a football player playing basketball. But this weekend Craig showed more skills than he has in the past, consistently hitting his outside jumper and showing some finesse rather than just straight-ahead muscle with the ball. He also played pretty decent defense, moving his feet well and showing good energy, which makes him a tough defensive matchup with that body. A good all-around athlete, with the further development of his skills, he has a chance.

Chris Miles, 6-10 JR PF Provo (Utah) Timpview. Very agile post with a nice frame. Shoots it pretty well out to about seventeen feet. Low-post game not yet there, but did show one decent jump hook. Active, willing to get physical. High major prospect.

Ronald Jenkins, 6-2 JR SG Denver (Col.) Montbello. Mature-looking wing with fairly strong body, decent athleticism – good hops, not especially quick. Good shooter. Low to possibly mid major prospect.

David Ellis, 6-9 JR PF Sacramento (Calif.) Capitol Christian. Very slender post, moves okay. Prefers to face-up outside – decent shot to three-point range. Not real athletic or aggressive. Finesse-oriented game. Needs to get stronger and more active to play any higher than mid major level.

Michael Nunnally, 6-7 JR PF Manteca (Calif.) East Union. Good athlete, fairly good body (although arms aren't especially long). Active, plays hard. Skill level not great, but showed decent little jump hook. Low to possibly mid major prospect.


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