West Coasters at Nike

Here's a rundown of every west coast player who participated in the Nike Camp in Indianapolis this week, including standouts Devon Evertsen, Marcus Johnson and Maurice Shaw...

Wesley Washington, 6-1 SR SG, Santa Ana Mater Dei. Washington was pretty much Washington here at Nike. He is very quick, has a good first step and handles the ball well. He had stretches where that was enough here to shine – for a while. His outside jumper is still really suspect, and it was here. He also looked pretty small for a shooting guard against this level of national talent.

Vince Scott, 6-9 SR C, Phoenix (Ariz.) Scott was more impressive than you might have thought. He didn't do anything that made you say "wow," but he was a consistent, blue-collar worker under the basket and had good energy. When he faced the athletic national competition, he couldn't keep up. But he also showed a nice touch from the outside, actually stepping out to the arc and knocking down the shot.

Rodrick Stewart, 6-3 SR SG, Seattle (Wash.) Rainier Beach. Stewart's perimeter game wasn't on much here, his shot not going down. He was, though, as always, frighteningly athletic, throwing down dunks and put-back slams while defying gravity. If he gets a clue as to how to play – that is, play within an offense without only looking for his shot, he could be as good as everyone says he is.

Maurice Shaw, 6-9 SR C, Gilbert (Ariz.) High. Shaw was the best west coast big man at Nike, and was consistently surprising. He was physical, tough, athletic around the basket, and showed a nice variety of scoring moves, including jump hooks and baseline jumpers. He improved his stock drastically.

Devon Evertsen, 6-6 SR SF, Phoenix (Ariz.) Moon Valley. Evertsen had a couple of good games on Monday to start of the first full-day, and kept it going Tuesday. His coach obviously got the clue that Evertsen is the kid who you want with the ball, with the ability to create for himself or others well and unselfishly. Evertsen didn't seemingly have any weaknesses – handling the ball very well, making both the solid and flashy pass, hitting mid-range jumpers and nailing the three, even pretty long-range threes when he had the look. He took it to the basket with nice, quick drives, but if there is perhaps a knock it would be he doesn't quite have enough explosion in his legs to finish quite as well as you'd like. But he was pretty clearly the best west coast prospect at Nike.

Nick Fazekas, 6-9 SR PF, Arvada (Col.) Ralston Valley. Fazekas looks like he's just beginning to learn how to play basketball, a little slow on the uptake on positioning in the post on both offense and defense, and still pretty awkward. He moved very gingerly, especially running up and down the court, to the point where it looked like he had something wrong with his knees, but when asked, he denied it. He has one of the best touches for anyone his size on the west coast, able to knock down just about any open jumper from within 17. He also has one good jump in him when he's underneath the basket, which enables him to be a decent rebounder and okay shotblocker. If he can get bigger and stronger, and improves his ability to run and move, he has a chance.

Gabe Pruitt, 6-2 JR CG, Compton Centennial. Pruitt proved again he's one of the best outside shooters on the west coast for his class, with one of the prettiest strokes around. He also is a great all-around guard, with a nice, solid handle, good quickness which enables him to break down defenders or say with people defensively, and a very good passing ability and vision. He, though, is pretty slight, Nike weighing him at 157 pounds. It's still our opinion that Pruitt, to really capitalize on his potential, will have to develop into a point guard, or get quite a bit bigger and more athletic to play the two. He played some point at Nike, and it will be interesting to see if he asserts himself at the position in the future, rather than just bringing the ball up the floor.

Marcus Johnson, 6-5 SO SF/SG, Los Angeles Westchester. The best prospect from the west coast of any class that attended the Nike Camp, Johnson has the potential to be one of the elite players in his class in the west and nationally. He has a great body, wide shoulders and long arms, and looks skinny, while he weighs close to 180 (and still only a sophomore-to-be), and could easily put on quite a bit more weight. He can handle the ball very well and is an excellent passer, which allows him to project at either wing position. His shot isn't all there yet, but it's a good stroke and he knows how to actually take the shot off the dribble, which is pretty advanced even for senior. He's also a great, lithe athlete, with one of those floppy, Kobe-esque bodies that can explode off the floor or move really quickly laterally. He had probably the best dunk of the camp that I saw: In the 3-on-3, with an open lane to the basket, he threw down a monster over an athletic, 6-9 Longar Longar. Afterward I had a steady stream of coaches and scouts asking me about him. You could call this Johnson's coming-out party nationally. Watch for him to now be listed very high on national lists.

Thomas Huff, 6-3 SR SF, Phoenix (Ariz.) Camelback. Coming into the camp Huff was pretty unknown and he didn't do too much to catapult his name on to many recruiting lists. He has a pretty nice body, weighing about 190 pounds with long arms. His stroke looks good, but doesn't go down too much at this point. It also might have been nerves, a fairly unheralded kid coming to play at the Nike Camp. It was a good sign that, after the first couple of days of giving up the ball quickly, Huff, in the last two days started to assert himself, taking shots here and there and driving to the basket. He wasn't too successful, but his body and relatively good stroke could get him some looks this summer.

D.J. Strawberry, 6-3 SR SG, Santa Ana Mater Dei. Strawberry had a mixed result for the week. There were times when he looked very good, showing off his quickness and ability to drive, but then he had his usually nice jumpshot generally under wraps for the camp. He also pressed a bit and forced some mistakes, especially in trying to finish. He's still very thin – only 173 pounds – and if he can bigger and stronger, with his quickness, he has a real shot of being a very good player. It would seem his stock probably held steady here – with some coaches still skeptical while others being impressed, mostly because it was the first time they had really seen him play.

Marcus Williams, 6-2 SR PG, Los Angeles Crenshaw. Williams sat out most of the tournament with an ankle sprain. He sprained it Monday, and then tried to play on it Tuesday night, but was very ineffective, so sat out Wednesday. He sprained in in the first real game of the camp, so it left many coaches wondering where he was, or forgetting about him, which is a shame. Before he sprained it, he was making a concerted effort to play the point and distribute the ball, and his usually very consistent outside shot wasn't going down. It will be interesting to see how not playing here will affect his recruitment.

Adam Morrison, 6-5 SR SF, Spokane (Wash.) Mead. The Gonzaga commit, Morrison looked a little a deer in the headlights here, overwhelmed by the competition and the environment. He has good size, but is a limited athlete who runs just okay. His nice outside jumper wasn't going down for most of the week, and without the real athleticism to take it to the basket among this level of competition, it left Morrison roaming the perimeter pasing the ball around. Hopefully the experience will give him confidence and he'll get his shot for the remainder of the summer.

Derek Raivio, 5-11 SR PG, Vancouver (Wash.) Mountain View. Raivio also looked a little out of his league here, and pretty small. He weighed 149 pounds and looked very slight. He has good quickness and a good handle. His shot, which is consistent, he gets off low, which made it hard for him to get it off here. He was also, because of his size, a bit overwhelmed at times physically. If he gets bigger and strong, Raivio, who has also committed to Gonzaga, has the quickness and handle to be a promising prospect for the ‘Zags.

Mikal Watson, 6-0 SR PG, Oceanside (Calif.) El Camino. Watson showed some of the good parts of his game and some of the limitations here among this level of competition. His limitations: He's very slight, weighing in at 150 pounds. He also only has decent ball handling skills, and struggled to be able to create in the half court. He didn't get much of a chance to launch that outside set shot of his, but did get in the lane sometimes and score with a little floater or quick pull-up. He didn't take it into the paint much, though, looking intitmated by the size of the guys in there most of the time. On the definite positive side, at times here, since it's a camp and breaks down to an up-and-down game, he looked very good in transition, able to push the ball so quickly up the court with his speed and then to be able to make the right, smart pass on the break. Watson's performance here probably didn't get any real national programs to jump on him, but wouldn't probably have hurt him with the schools that are recruiting him.

Ryan Appleby, 6-2 SR PG, Stanwood (Wash.) High. Another in the trio of west coast senior point guards that looked a little out of their league, Appleby wasn't effective playing with this level of athlete at times. Most of the time he was out of the flow, actually playing off-the-ball since T.J. Bannister, the somewhat ballhog of a point guard from Florida, was on Appleby's team. But you can't really blame it on Appleby not getting the ball; when he had it, he tried too hard to force action, making ill-advised drives and too tough of passes. His stroke showed a hitch in it, but was still was pretty good when he had a mid-ranger to knock down. It will be interesting to see how his recruitment at the high-major level goes after this performance. Hopefully Appleby will get back into his comfort zone on the west coast and be able to turn it on the rest of July.

Derrick Low, 6-0 JR PG, Honolulu (Haw.) Iolani. Low was a junior member of the club of west coast point guards out of their element here. He has a solid body and shoots the ball well when he has an open outside look. But physically and athletically he was out of his league, lacking the quickness to be effective against this level of competition. But he has two more years of high school ball to develop and experience like this can only help that development.

David Pendergraft, 6-5 JR SF, Brewster (Wash.) High. Overall an impressive performance from the junior who has already verbally committed to Gonzaga. He has a good set of skills, with a nice, quick outside shot that can get hot, and good handle and good vision. He passes around the basket well, finding his teammates with nice, catchable passes. While he's not necessarily quick laterally, he has some quickness off the floor, blocking the shots of some bigger, more athletic guys at times. He also showed no fear, playing hard and taking it right at bigger, athletic national prospects. A very nice early get for Gonzaga.

Robert Rothbart, 7-0 JR PF, Cupertino (Calif.) Monta Vista. Rothbart continued here to show great promise. He's incredibly long and thin, still, weighing only 188 pounds. He has nice skills, though, with a pretty jumper and he moves really well for being so long and lanky. Coaches were intrigued after watching him, but everyone agrees he has to put on weight and be able to play on the baseline with his back to the basket to be really successful on the college level.

Chester Giles, 6-9 JR C, Seattle (Wash.) Rainier Beach. Loads of potential here, just merely from the fact that you have a kid who is 6-9 and runs and jumps well. He also looks like he's still a baby and could keep growing. His said his father, Chester Sr., played in the NBA, was 7-feet tall and that "little" Chester is supposed to grow to that size himself. If he does, it's over. A nice feel around the basket, a decent stroke that didn't go in much but looked good and a good nose for rebounds, even though he's obviously just learning how to play.

Fred Washington, 6-3 SR SF, Torrance (Calif.) Bishop Montgomery. Washington was one of the best west coast players at Nike, but still had an uneven camp. He looked very athletic, throwing down dunks with a flourish off alley-oops and driving hard to the basket. But that shot is keeping college coaches on hold with him generally. It takes him a while to get it off and it's still a crapshoot. He played his butt off, though, like always.

Antonio Porch, 6-6 SR SF, Denver (Col.) Denver East. He had a mediocre first couple of days where he didn't take a jumpshot, and then unveiled the shot, and it looked good, hitting a couple of threes and mid-rangers. That seemed to loosen him up and he played better, getting rebounds and putting the ball on the floor. He disappeared for long stretches, though, and didn't impact the game as much as you'd like. But he solidified himself as definitely a prospect with great potential, if he continues to make the transition from power forward to small forward.

Kevin Bell, 5-9 SR PG, Los Angeles Fairfax. Very intriguing that a gimme-the-ball kind of place like the Nike Camp makes a heretofore somewhat selfish player like Bell see the light and learn the true meaning of being a point guard. He not only gave up the ball, he gave it up well, setting up his teammates well to score, and threading the needle with passes on the break and in the half-court. Defenders started to sag off him, he then hit a couple of threes and that ended that. Then, in a head-to-head matchup against probably the most purely talented point guard at Nike, Taurean Brown, Bell stepped up to the challenged, picked Brown and then picked his teammates a couple of times, mostly due to his hustle. Pray that Bell continues with this mindset and continues to play this way.

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