The CIF Southern Section finals were held Friday night at Loyola Marymount and Saturday at the Pond in Anaheim. Ten games in two days with some of the top players in Southern California competing. Here's our take on some of the notable prospects we saw.
Curtis Allen, 6-4 SO SF Palos Verdes (Calif.) Rolling Hills Prep. Allen played in the Division V-AA game against Ribet, which was the first game of the afternoon on Friday. I don't think we saw a better prospect in the other nine games. Allen was somewhat passive in the first half, settling for mostly jumpers against the Ribet zone. But when he got more aggressive in the second half, you saw the full scope of his talent. Fallaway jumpers, post up game, tip-dunks, gliding to the hoop in transition...this kid's the real deal. After Robert Swift, Allen might be as good a prospect as any soph in the west.
Richard Chaney, 6-4 SR SF Los Angeles Verbum Dei. Chaney was dominating in the first half of his game against Serra in the Division IV-A final. His outside stroke has really improved and we feel he's probably the best prospect of the three L.A. kids that Utah signed this year. He still needs work on his handle, but he's a terrific athlete, he plays hard and he's got a chance to get much better.
Bryce Taylor, 6-3 SO SG North Hollywood (Calif.) Harvard-Westlake. Taylor is a gifted offensive player who can seemingly score at will. At least, that's the way it looked in the game against El Segundo Friday night for the Division IV-AA title. He's a good, but not great, athlete and figures to be a high major recruit a couple years from now. It's too early to say whether he makes it to the elite, high-major level, but he's got a chance. Very smooth stroke with deep range and he can shoot the mid-range as well. Needs to work on other parts of his game that don't involve putting the ball in the hoop.
Darius Sanders, 6-5 SR PF Compton (Calif.) Centennial. Sanders is also a football player and it showed in his game against Bishop Montgomery in the Division III-A final. He pounded the Knights players inside and did a great job of posting up and scoring inside. He's not a big-time prospect for basketball, but he's a very good high school player and he played an excellent game in a losing cause against Bishop Montgomery.
Marvin Lea, 6-3 SR PG/SG Riverside (Calif.) M.L. King. Lea is a very athletic, rangy guard who might be able to turn into a point guard at the next level. Gets to the basket extremely well and can knock down the open jumper. Intriguing prospect, especially if he can handle the point.
Wesley Washington, 6-2 JR SG Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. Washington played a very good game against Pasadena in the II-AA finals, going off for twenty points and eleven rebounds. His outside shot still isn't quite there, but he plays hard and gets things done. Very good finishing around the basket, with big hops and very good body control.
Omar Wilkes, 6-2 JR SG Los Angeles Loyola. Wilkes made all the big plays at the end in Loyola's win over Thousand Oaks for the I-A title. In the last couple minutes, he hit a three, a short baseline jumper and two free throws with five second left to seal the win. A smooth, heady player who only needs to add strength to play at the elite, high-major level.