Top 25 West Coast Prospects

Regardless of class, here are the Top 25 college basketball prospects on the west coast, and the list is led by a sophomore...

Of course, it's almost impossible to be able to compare a high school sophomore with a high school senior. Five sophomores on this list have upperclassmen behind them on the list that are, right now, more effective basketball players. But when evaluating high school talent, the critical aspect is being able to project years down the road; it's, of course, a very inexact science since most of these kids are not near finished growing or developing. But we culled this list from not only our own scouting, but from talking (very discreetly) with college coaches up and down the west coast about their opinions of the potential of these players.

And just to keep in mind: When judging a player as a college prospect, we include many factors -- not only how good of college players they are potentially, but their chances of qualifying academically, chances of staying in good standing academically in college, and their value to a college program over four years, i.e if a player projects as potentially someone who might leave college early, it might discount his value as a college prospect.


Regardless of Class

1. Robert Swift, 6-10 SO C Bakersfield (Calif.) Garces.

Here's evidence enough: The kid's going into his sophomore season and he's already had coaches from North Carolina, UCLA, Arizona, Stanford, Kansas, and Kentucky either come by his school to watch him work out or contact his coach this fall. Swift is just a baby, but he has a very advanced feel for the game for a 6-10 15-year-old, combined with an elite level of athleticism and skills. In two years, he should be among the best in the country. And the type of kid he his, he could very well stay in college for longer than expected

2. Leon Powe, 6-7 JR PF Oakland (Calif.) Tech.

Powe is a beast; the most physical player in the west and possibly in the junior class nationally. Cal is the early leader for him, and if Cal beats out the likes of North Carolina, UCLA, Duke, etc., for Powe, he'll be like the Pied Piper leading west coast talent to Cal.

3. David Padgett, 6-10 JR C Reno (Nev.) High.

A skilled, athletic big man, Padgett's development slowed last year, but then picked up again last summer. His father is an experienced coach who was an assistant at UC Santa Barbara last year, but now has quit that position to return to Reno to further help his son's development.

4. Chris Rodgers, 6-3 SR PG Portland (Ore.) Wilson.

One of the most talented guards in the country, Rodgers has the size and ability to dominate college games and is a future pro. And he continues to get better.

5. Evan Burns, 6-6 SR SF Los Angeles (Calif.) Fairfax.

One of the purely most talented players in the country, Burns is a freak of an athlete with good, developing basketball skills. He has an early eye on the NBA, which could limit his long-term worth on the college level

6. Lyndale Burleson, 6-3 SO PG Seattle (Wash.) O'Dea.

The second coming of Chris Rodgers, Burleson has point guard skills in a scoring guard's body. He's doing things as a sophomore that many college players can't.

7. Trevor Ariza, 6-7 JR SF Los Angeles (Calif.) Westchester.

Ariza has just about the biggest buzz of any player on the west coast. His development curve has been off the charts in the last year, going from a 6-6, skinny, deliberate post player, to a 6-7 fluid small forward with deep range. While all the west coast biggies are on him already, he's going to North Carolina for Midnight Madness and has a penchant for Florida.

8. Thomas Gardner, 6-2 JR SG Portland (Ore.) Jefferson.

One of the most advanced guards in the west with eye-popping athleticsm, Gardner burst on the scene last summer and had coaches circling his name on their roster sheets.

9. Lodrick Stewart, 6-2 JR SG Seattle (Wash.) Rainier Beach.

One of the most athletic players in the country, Lodrick and his twin brother Rodrick are a scary combo. If they continue to develop their basketball skills, they both could be higher on this list.

10. Marvin Williams, 6-6 SO SF Bremerton (Wash.) High

A terrific athlete with a great frame and very long arms. He's got a nice stroke out to
15-18 feet and finishes extremely well. Very quick off his feet inside, with good timing as a shot blocker.

11. Gabriel Pruitt, 6-2 SO PG Compton (Calif.) Centennial.

One of the best pure basketball players as a 5-11 freshman, Pruitt is now a smooth 6-2 sophomore (looking like someone stretched him in the last year) with great skill and one of the best feels for the game in the west.

12. Wendell White, 6-4 JR SG Redondo Beach (Calif.) Redondo Union.

A man among boys, White not only has an NBA body and athleticism now, he's also naturally doing things that many college wings can't do. He's a top 20 national player in his class potentially, and if he continues to improve academically, he'll go anywhere he wants in the country. The early word is that he likes UCLA.

13. Ekene Ibekwe, 6-9 JR PF Carson (Calif.) High.

A kid bursting with potential, Ibekwe has grown from 6-6 to 6-9 in about a year and a half, and his skills have grown with his height and athleticism. If he gets stronger and develops a go-to post game, he's a top 25 national player in his class.

14. Marcus Johnson, 6-5 FR SG Los Angeles (Calif.) Westchester

Very skilled wing who can shoot it or take it to the hole with authority. An explosive athlete with excellent body control, Marcus is extremely effective in transition.

15. Curtis Allen, 6-4 SO SG Rolling Hills (Calif.) Rolling Hills Prep.

As a sophomore, Allen has a big-time body and athleticism, but can handle and shoot the ball, too, and plays with unusual aggressiveness and fearlessness for someone his age.

16. Hassan Adams, 6-4 SR SG Los Angeles (Calif.) Westchester.

Adams blew up last summer and has Arizona, Kansas, UCLA all over him. He's not only one of the best finishers in the country, but is a warrior.

17. DeMarcus Nelson, 6-1 SO PG Vallejo (Calif.) High.

Nelson is a big, lanky point guard with great quickness and a very advanced sense of the game. His skills continue to develop, and if they continue at the rate they have, he'll be one of the best in the nation in the 2004 class.

18. Brandon Roy, 6-5 SR SF Seattle (Wash.) Garfield.

Best first step on the west coast, with the athletic ability that can take over a game. Roy would have all of the elite programs on him across the country if his academics weren't a question. He's one of Arizona's three top targets at the wing.

19. DeAngelo Collins, 6-9 SR C Inglewood (Calif.) High.

Collins has had the natural athleticism and talent since he was a freshman, but was limited by an inability to play hard all the time and some off-the-court troubles. He proved last summer he's one of the best frontcourt players in the nation. He intends to try to go straight to the NBA draft.

20. Marquis Kately, 6-5 SR SF San Francisco (Calif.) Riordan.

Watching Kately is the best example of watching a potential future pro play against high schoolers. He has an NBA body and athleticism right now, and his skills are continuing to improve. He's trying to improve his academic situation but the word is he might go to prep school for a year and then to Cal.

21. Ayinde Ubaka, 6-1 JR PG Oakland (Calif.) High.

Besides good big men, the next hardest commodity to find are big, quick point guards, and Ubaka is one of them. Probably the quickest guy for his height, and his skills have taken a quantum leap in the last couple of months. UCLA and Cal will battle it out for him most likely.

22. Marcel Jones, 6-5 SO SF Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei

Precocious wing with an advanced feel for the game. Very skilled offensively, but his
understanding of how to play might be his best attribute. Shoots it well and a very good passer.

23. Robert Rothbart, 6-11 SO C Mountain View (Calif.) St. Francis.

A very, long, skinny kid, but anyone 6-11 with good skills at the age of 15 is someone that every college coach has on their list, and Rothbart is that rare prospect.

24. Devon Evertsen, 6-6 JR SF Phoenix (Ariz.) Moon Valley.

An athletic and skilled wing who will be one of the best players to come out of Arizona since Richard Jefferson, and, in fact, is similar in game. If Evertsen gets bigger and stronger, he'll be the best among his class.

25. Matt Haryasz, 6-10 SR C Page (Ariz.) High.

Haryasz blew up last summer and became one of the hottest prospects on the west coast – merely because 6-10 athletic kids who have skills are so rare. Haryasz looks like he's just begun to develop. He'll choose between Stanford and ASU very soon.

Ten Others On the Waiting List:

Omar Wilkes, 6-2 JR SG Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola
Thomas Woods, 6-2 SO SG Los Angeles (Calif.) Fairfax
Harvey Perry, 6-2 SO PG/SG Henderson (Nev.) Green Valley
Brandon Heath, 6-2 SR SG Los Angeles (Calif.) Westchester
Josh Rhodes, 6-6 SR SF Santa Cruz (Calif.) High
Stefan Zimmerman, 6-10 JR C Orem (Utah) Mountain View
Sean Phaler, 6-9 JR PF Villa Park (Calif.) High
Sean Mallon, 6-8 SR PF Spokane (Wash.) Ferris
Mohammed Abukar, 6-9 JR C San Diego (Calif.) Rancho Bernardo
Harrison Schaen, 6-8 JR PF Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei

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