SLO Tourney Standouts

Last week at the Mission Prep Christmas Classic in San Luis Obispo, some seniors like Johnny Dukes, Cory McJimson and Joel Smith upped their stock, while some underclassmen stepped forward...

SENIORS

Joel Smith, 6-5 SR SF, Lompoc. Smith, long known as one of the best athletes on the west coast, is developing his skills, with a more consistent jumper and ball handling. If he qualifies by spring, he'll be close to the top of the list of every college coach in the west that needs an athletic wing.

Johnny Dukes, 6-7 SR SF/PF, Rialto (Calif.) Eisenhower. Dukes has evolved into one of the most intriguing prospects still left unsigned on the west coast. For years he was a skinny and raw – but athletic – four man. Now, he's stepped out on the perimeter and has made the transition fairly well, with a nice jump shot and the newfound ability to put the ball on the floor. He's also very quick for his size and able to guard much smaller players, which makes him very valuable. How he looks now, he's a mid-major, at least. Recruiting update coming soon.

Derron Putnum, 6-2 SR SG, Anaheim (Calif.) Canyon. Putnum put on a scoring display in SLO, burying his set shot from 23+ feet, and also slashing to the basket. With his strength advantage over high school competition, it's not fair, but he probably still lacks the athleticism for D-1s to recruit him with no reservations. But, the more he shoots like this and puts the ball in the basket, the more that low D-1s might think they could take a chance on him. Playing in OC, he'll probably be among the top scorers in the state this year.

Terrance Jones, 6-5 SR PF, Los Angeles Crenshaw. Terrance went off one night for 34 points, scoring in just about any way imaginable around the basket. He's not in great shape, but he is very quick for his size, and quick off his feet, and can shoot anywhere from within 12 feet. If he continues to play like this, mid-majors could take a serious look. Recruiting update coming soon.

Cory McJimson, 6-6 SR PF, Rialto Eisenhower. The exact antithesis of his teammate Dukes, McJimson for years has been a wing, and has now made the transition to the post. And he's done it well, bringing his quickness and skills to under the basket where he's pretty much dominating high school competition. He scored 20+ and had his way against Long Beach Poly. He's a legit low-major PF at this point, but it's possible that some mid-majors might come calling in spring. Recruiting update coming soon.

Bobby Jones, 6-6 SR SF, Long Beach Poly. Still athletic, and still very quick, Jones is probably the best prospect left unsigned in the west who is qualified academically. His offense is getting better, with his outside stroke improved. His recruitment should get interesting by the spring signing period. Recruiting update coming soon.

Reggie Butler, 6-5 SR SF, Long Beach Poly. Butler is still one of the most spectacular athletes in the west, and in the country. No one does an alley-oop like Butler. His skills are slow in developing, though, with his jump shot only slightly improved from last summer. Recruiting Update

Jovance Coleman, 6-1 SR PG, Fresno Washington Union. This is what a Pac-10 point guard looks like as a high school senior. Coleman is big, strong, and has solid ballhandling skills and quickness, and can take just about anyone on the high school level. He would have signed in fall, or he'd have Pac-10s and national programs after him if it weren't for academics. Recruiting update coming soon.

Moulaye Niang, 6-10 SR C, El Cajon Christian. He had two poor days and then one day that wasn't too bad in SLO. In fact, Niang, who is committed to Kansas, got in very quick foul trouble in his first game of the tournament. Kansas assistant Neil Dougherty berated the refs for hanging so many fouls on Niang, since, as he pointed out, he hadn't traveled vast distances to see Niang sit on the bench. Like Dougherty traveling to SLO, Kansas itself has taken a gamble with Niang: It will be interesting to see if he ever really develops into an impact player. He has quickness and athleticism, but is very skinny and narrow-framed, doesn't have a great natural feel for the game, and hasn't improved much since last summer.

Frank Robinson, 6-2 SR SG, Louis Darby, 6-3 SR SG, Sylmar. Two nice athletes who run and jump well that are still developing their skills. Darby might be a little further along skills-wise, but both have good bodies that could easily be projected to play at least low-major, maybe after a stop at a JC.

Souleymane Traore, 6-7 SR PF, San Luis Obispo Mission Prep. Traore has the long arms that college coaches like, and athleticism, but he still is very, very raw and awkward on the court. In a down year for frontcourt players, he's getting D-1 looks, but he'll have to step it up to get those looks translated into offers.

Pierre Djinki, 6-4 SR SF, SLO Mission Prep. A new African import and an intriguing prospect, Djinki has D-1 athlete's body and some decent athleticism. His skills are raw, but he has decent form on his jumper. Djinki has only been in the States for a few weeks and the SLO tourney was his premiere, so D-1s should start sniffing around soon.

Carlos Rivers, 5-10 SR PG, Long Beach Poly. Why aren't more schools recruiting Rivers? He does look fairly small on the court, and doesn't have blazing speed, which you'd like to see for his size, but Rivers simply defies the usual criteria because he gets the job done – even against bigger, and seemingly quicker competition. His skills are refining, and low majors should be all over him.

JUNIORS

Marcus Williams, 6-1 PG, Los Angeles Crenshaw. Very talented, when Williams keeps it under control, he could be the best guard in the west. The problem is – he doesn't keep it under control. He is a great passer, but he can make passes more difficult than they are. He can go for a four-minute stretch with some dazzling assists, hit a three, and break someone down with a great crossover – but then he'll go the next four minutes committing three turnovers, shooting an airball and throwing errant passes.

Sean Marshall, 6-4 SF, Rialto Eisenhower. A nice athlete with some advanced skills for being a junior, Marshall also plays hard. He'll be among the best small forwards in his class.

Jake Wohlfeil, 6-4 SF, El Cajon Christian. With good skills combined with good size and nice athleticism, Wohlfeil could be a good sleeper from the San Diego area to watch.

Jerome Ireland, 5-10 PG, Fresno Edison. With a strong body, Ireland has good quickness also, which enables him to blast by high school competition. Right now, he's more a small lead guard.

SOPHOMORES

Taylor Rochestie, 6-1 PG, Santa Barbara. Shifty and flashy, Rochestie has some great skills for a sophomore, he just needs to get more consistent.

Dwight O'Neil, 6-1 SG, Fresno Washington Union. A great athlete who can jump and flashes to the basket well, right now he's a kid without a real projected position. A bit too small to play shooting guard, he also doesn't quite have the skills yet to project as a point guard. It will be interesting to see how he develops.

FRESHMEN

Titus Shelton – 6-6 PF, Bakersfield (Calif.) High. Big and long, Shelton has good size now, with good athleticism for only a freshman. If he continues to get bigger, he has potential.

Dijon Edwards, 6-6 PF, Richmond (Calif.) Kennedy. Another youngster with good size who moves well and gets off the floor well.


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