The Best of Summer tournament moved to Loyola Marymount this year and, before we get into the player evaluations, we'd like put in our vote for making this the permanent home for the tournament (and hopefully other Pump events). Great facilities, easy access, convenient parking and a terrific job of running the whole show by the folks at Loyola Marymount. And speaking of the Lions, Steve Aggers and his staff have a lot to offer with those facilities and a beautiful campus. We expect them to return the Loyola program to prominence.
With most of the Northern California programs participating in the Elite Eight up north, we thought the Best of Summer might be down a bit this year. But there were a number of high profile west coast teams participating, as well as a handful of top national teams, and there were plenty of players to watch.
Here's a quick rundown on some of the top seniors we saw.
Matt Haryasz, 6-10 C Page (Ariz.) High. Long, skilled and agile, Haryasz improved his stock as much as any player in the west this summer. He still needs to add some weight and strength, but he's shown that he can play at the highest level. He's got a terrific touch out to fifteen feet or so, quick feet and good hands.
Christopher Ayer, 6-10 C Tucson (Ariz.) Flowing Wells. A different kind of post player than Haryasz, Ayer is more of a big, wide-body type who stays in the low post. Naturally strong, Ayer figures to be a lot better after he's done some weight lifting. He won't wow you with athleticism or skill level, but he's aggressive (with a mean streak that coaches love) and plays hard. A high major prospect who is drawing looks from some Pac-10 schools.
Matt McKinney, 6-8 PF Santa Ynez (Calif.) High. Didn't get a lot of playing time on a loaded Pump N Run team, but we continue to believe Matt has a huge upside in basketball. The question, though, is whether that upside will ever be realized, as Matt is a big-time volleyball player and may not ever focus exclusively on basketball. If he does decide to devote all his time to basketball, he has a combination of skills and athleticism that would make him a high major prospect.
Thomas Shewmake, 6-9 C Cathedral City (Calif.) High. Another player who has improved his stock tremendously with a great summer. Thomas has lost weight in the last 3-4 months and his game has benefited dramatically. He's a very good spot-up shooter from 15-18 feet and a good rebounder as well. He too could be a completely different player a year from now with more conditioning (and weight lifting) work.
Maurier Angui, 6-10 C Phoenix (Ariz.) Washington. Maurier opened up a lot of eyes this week, as he demonstrated a much better feel for the game than he'd shown previously. He's got a decent little jump hook and he was a force defensively, blocking a number of shots in the games we saw. Frankly, many of the coaches we spoke with were surprised by the progress he showed and we expect his recruitment to pick up as a result. A solid mid-major prospect at this point.
Justin Holt, 6-6 SF Tacoma (Wash.) Lincoln. Holt is a very intriguing player, who can probably play either forward position in college. He plays bigger than his size and, with weight work, we think he'll be able to guard bigger players in college. He committed this week to Oregon St. and we think this is a terrific get for the Beavers. Holt is a versatile scorer, very good athlete and tremendous competitor.
Serge Angounou, 6-6 SF Albuquerque (New Mexico) Rio Grande. Angounou is another versatile forward who can cause match-up problems for opponents. More of a scorer than pure shooter, Angounou is effective posting up inside and using his strength to overpower smaller players. He's also a good interior defender, showing off an ability to block shots as well.
More to follow...