Deon Thompson, 6-8 JR C/PF Torrance (Calif.) High. They say you need to be patient with big men and Thompson is a good example of why that's the case. Last summer Thompson was 30-40 pounds overweight and only showed flashes of ability. Six months later, he's lost some of the weight and developed into one of the top post prospects in the west for 2006. Thompson has very good hands, terrific feet and a nice back-to-the-basket game. He's going to be a good scorer at the college level, but does need to improve his rebounding. He figures to be recruited at the high major level.
Jin Soo Kim, 6-7 FR SF Van Nuys (Calif.) Montclair Prep. The best prospect we've seen from the class of 2008, Kim is going to be a big-time scorer. You won't find a 6-7 freshman wing with better ball skills than Kim. He grew up in South Korea and, naturally, has much better fundamentals than your typical 9th grade American player. He's got a great stroke with range beyond the stripe, as well a mid-range game. Long and lean, Kim will need to add weight and strength – as well as adjust to the American style of play -- but those are minor quibbles for a freshman with his ability. It's obviously very early, but it's difficult to envision a scenario where Kim doesn't end up an elite, high major prospect.
Larry Drew, Jr., 5-10 FR PG Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft. If Kim is the best prospect we've seen from 2008, Drew might be our favorite prospect at this time. The son of the former NBA guard, Drew is that rare commodity – a young point guard with talent and an understanding for the position. Drew has a better feel for the game than many of the point guards in college today. Unselfish to a fault, Drew makes the game look easy, with great decisions and pinpoint passes. He has an accurate outside shot and can get in the lane when he chooses to attack the defense. Although he's only about 5-10, he's got extremely long arms, good shoulders and a baby face. With continued development, and assuming just a little growth, we expect Drew to be an elite, high major prospect.
Oscar Bellfield, 6-1 FR SG Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft. Drew's running mate gives Taft two potential All-City guards down the road. A very good athlete, Bellfield has a solid frame and a nice shot with deep range. With very good lateral quickness, Bellfield has a chance to be a terrific defender. His ball-handling needs work, but Bellfield could be a high major prospect in a few years.
Tyre Thompson, 6-2 JR SG Compton (Calif.) Centennial. A deadly outside shooter, Thompson recently brought Centennial back from a 20-point fourth quarter deficit at Torrance. Seemingly stepping farther back each time, Thompson made five three-point shots in the last couple minutes to give Centennial a stunning comeback win. He does need to improve his ability to create his own shot – right now, he's much better off the catch. But the big issue with Thompson at this point is physical. He's carrying too much weight and needs to tone up if he's going to play at the high major level. As it is, we see him getting looks from the mid to high majors.
Conor Turley, 6-7 C/PF North Hollywood (Calif.) Campbell Hall. A skilled big man who plays hard, we were very impressed with Turley in a recent game. He's extended his range out beyond the stripe and he's willing to bang inside as well. Good ball skills, nice feet and a solid feel for the game. Low majors should be all over Turley and some mid majors might want to take a look.