Chase Budinger, 6-7 JR SF, Encinitas (Calif.) La Costa Canyon. A top 50 national prospect in his class, it was Budinger's first game of the season when we saw him Tuesday, and there was some rust. He doesn't have much of a team around him, and they got blown out by 30 or so. Budinger had 23 points despite not hitting one outside shot, missing all four chances from three. He was very active around the basket, scoring on put-backs and short jumpers. He showed his athleticism on a nice dunk on an in-bound pass, and generally played hard on both ends of the floor. He might have gotten a little taller since last spring (the last time we saw him since Budinger sat out summer AAU ball to play volleyball, being a top 10 national volleyball prospect) and his outside stroke looks to have improved a bit.
Taylor King, 6-6 SO PF Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. While King is a terrific outside shooter, he's not a one-dimensional player. He's very comfortable playing inside at either end of the court and he'll battle for rebounds. He can shoot a jump hook with either hand, although the left is considerably stronger at this point. Physically, he's trimmed up considerably since the summer and looks to be in great shape. His shooting range continues to extend well beyond the stripe. He needs to exercise better shot selection, but he's on track to be one of the top players in his class.
Chace Stanback, 6-6 SO SG Los Angeles (Calif.) Fairfax. One of the elite prospects in the West Coast class of 2007, Stanback was terrific in the game we saw last week. While his stroke can sometimes be a bit long, he's got an excellent release and he's very good out to the stripe. He's a bit slender, but not overly thin. He should fill out well in time. Very big feet – could still be growing. Unlike a lot of his peers, he plays a very low-key game and doesn't play with a lot of wasted motion. He plays unselfishly, which is unusual for a young prospect who can score as easily as he can. With continued development, we expect Stanback to be recruited by high major programs across the country.
Omondi Amoke, 6-5 SO SF, Oxnard (Calif.) High. Amoke plays center on his team, which isn't such a bad thing since it's getting him well-versed in how to score around the basket. And he does it very well, being deadly along the baseline with his turnaround, getting so high his shot is uncontested. He also showed good handle when he did try to take opponents off the dribble. He has such a great body and such natural talent, but tends to cruise sometimes in his games. He scored 25 points in the game we saw, without hitting an outside jumper. He's easily one of the most talented wings in the 2007 class in the west and will be recruited at the elite major level.
Matt Shaw, 6-7 JR C Los Angeles (Calif.) Fairfax. A big-bodied post, Shaw needs to play with more intensity. He has good hands, and he'll show some ability to score around the basket, but there are long stretches where you don't notice him on the court. An average athlete, he'll need to show considerable improvement to play higher than the mid major level.
Kamyron Brown, 6-1 SO PG Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. A great-looking young point guard prospect, Brown has the tools to be a terrific player in a few years. He's got good size and very good quickness. He has a solid handle and good instincts for the position. He made several nice passes in the game we saw last night. He tends to forces things on occasion, but we expect he'll settle down as he matures. Outside shot is adequate at this time. Brown has the potential to be one of the top point guards in the west for 2007.
Auri Allen, 6-10 FR C Los Angeles (Calif.) Verbum Dei. Allen is a very big young post with nice hands and feet. He's obviously still learning the game and adjusting to the high school level, so it will be awhile before he makes a big impact in games. He showed some immaturity in the game we saw last night – getting frustrated and committing some silly fouls. But he's a very big kid and, assuming he tones up and develops his skills, he's got a very bright future in basketball.