We spent most of Sunday at the Fullcourt Press Spring Showcase at Los Alamitos High. Event organizer Dinos Trigonis does a good job of turning over young players and he had some very intriguing prospects in the freshmen and sophomore games. Unfortunately, the top 24 junior game quickly deteriorated into one long transition game with no defense, so we left that game early (we figured if we were going to watch bad basketball, we might as well watch the NBA finals).
Here's our take on some of the top freshmen at the event.
Brett Horner, 6-9 FR C Fullerton (Calif.) High. Remember the name -- he's got a chance to be recruited by everybody in a few years. Very slender now, but when he fills out and gets stronger, he should be very good. Good hands, keeps the ball high -- he's got good instincts and he's had some coaching. Showed a couple very impressive low-post moves, including one jump hook that would make Jamal Sampson a lottery pick if it were in his offensive arsenal. Horner's still growing into his body, so it's difficult to tell just how athletic he's going to be. But he moves pretty well and he understands that he's a post player.
Amir Johnson, 6-8 PF Los Angeles (Calif.) Verbum Dei. Another player to watch as a potential national-level recruit. Long and agile, with great feet. Raw skills at this point, but shows flashes of offensive ability. Body and athleticism give him a huge upside. Johnson was at Narbonne last year, but told us that he'll be playing for Verbum Dei next year.
Brian McTear, 5-9 PG Los Angeles (Calif.) Crenshaw. The West Coast freshman class features a great group of point guards and McTear is among the top five. The only concern is his size -- if he grows, he will be a high major player. Better understanding of the game than many guys already playing in college. Terrific handle and vision. Penetrates well and has a solid mid-range game. Outside shot is just decent at this point, but he should develop that aspect of his game in the next couple years.
Marcus Carter, 6-4 SG Claremont (Calif.) High. Very skilled with the ball -- could end up at point guard -- and a good-looking shot out to twenty feet. Long and slender, Carter has a bball body. Very good vision and feel.
Rashad Austin, 6-6 PF Claremont (Calif.) High. A strong, rangy post player who can play inside and out. Good shot from 15-18 feet. Good, not great, athlete. Projects to a high major player if he grows.
Jamal Boykin, 6-5 PF Los Angeles (Calif.) Fairfax. A very active and energetic player, Boykin will need to grow a couple inches in order to be effective at the next level. Big, strong body but doesn't have the explosiveness off the floor to play inside at his current height. Very good hands and skilled around the basket. He looks physically mature already, but he's got huge feet, so he may not be done growing. We love the way he competes -- with a few more inches he could be a very interesting player.
Anthony Locke, 6-0 PG Bakersfield (Calif.) Ridgeview. Quick, with a nice frame, and very good with the ball in his hands. Can get to the hole and score. More scorer than passer at his point, and has a bit too much junk in his game, but he's got potential.
Maurion Henderson, 6-0 PG Los Angeles (Calif.) Fairfax. Another quick, skilled PG. Good range on his shot. Needs to work on decisions -- doesn't yet have a feel for the position.
Ed White, 6-2 SG North Hollywood (Calif.) Harvard-Westlake. Terrific shooter who can score from anywhere on the floor. Average athlete, but competes well and you have to respect his shot at all times.
Ray Reese, 6-4 SF Carson (Calif.) High. Has talent, but level will depend in large part on how his body goes. Needs to get bigger or leaner -- doesn't really have the quicks to play on perimeter or size to go inside. Could end up a power forward if he grows.