Scout on the Road

Jessie Byrd, Robin Lopez and Claude Williams are among the players we've seen in the last week of scouting West Coast prospects...

Here are our latest thoughts on the players we've scouted over the last week at various Southern California tournaments.

Jessie Byrd, 6-7 SR PF Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd. We saw Byrd one year ago at the Torrey Pines tournament and we were extremely disappointed. We saw him again in the spring and he showed progress. In July, he continued to get better. Watching him yesterday at the first day of the Torrey Pines tournament, we were struck by just how much he's improved in the last year. He's got a very good frame – great length – and huge feet. He's very active around the glass and he's a solid defender. He showed a little left-hand hook that we hadn't seen before and his feel for the game continues to get better. He's got good court vision and he plays unselfishly. We would expect Byrd to get high major looks by the spring.

Claude Williams, 5-11 SR SG/PG San Bernardino (Calif.) Arroyo Valley. One of the quickest guards we've seen in awhile, Williams is a pure scorer. He's got a low release on his jumper, but it comes off his hand fine and he makes a decent percentage. He got to the basket at will yesterday in the game we saw against San Joaquin Memorial. He would appear to have pretty good vision and might be able to make the transition to the point. But there's no question he has a scorer's mentality and putting the ball in the basket is what he does best. He has very good anticipation jumping the passing lanes and he would probably thrive in an up-tempo, pressure-defense type system. He's worthy of looks at the mid major level and, if he can play the one, possibly higher.

Quincy Pondexter, 6-5 JR SF Fresno (Calif.) San Joaquin Memorial. Pondexter has the prototype wing body – long and lean – and he's a very good athlete. His jump shot is still coming along and, at this point, he wants to get to the basket whenever possible. His handle could be tightened up a bit. He needs to work on his defensive fundamentals, but he has the potential to be an outstanding defensive player. A high major prospect.

Robin Lopez, 6-11 JR C Fresno (Calif.) San Joaquin Memorial. Lopez was somewhat overshadowed by his brother Brook in the summer, but he showed yesterday that his game has improved since July. He was much more forceful and active than we'd seen him before. His ability to rebound, and finish inside, is impressive. Like his brother, Robin has a terrific frame, with very good feet, and all the upside in the world. He's still learning how to play and keep his body under control, but he's going to be one of the elite post prospects in the west for 2006.

Jason Grisby, 6-6 JR PF Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd. Grisby didn't show us a lot in the summer, but it looks like he's starting to get serious about his game. He was very good yesterday in a first-round game at Torrey Pines. He's got good size, with a strong body and he has a chance to be a very good rebounder. Good feet and nice instincts. Offensive game is still coming along, but we liked how he didn't force the action and he shows a nice feel for the game. A potential low to mid major prospect.

Josh Guillory, 6-5 JR SG Lynwood (Calif.) High. Guillory has all the potential in the world, but we question whether he's going to realize just how good he could be. Great length, and an elite athlete, but feel for the game is still not there. His outside does continue to improve – range beyond the stripe – but shot selection continues to be an issue. He has high major upside, but he'll need to make some adjustments to his approach if he's to reach that level.

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