Here is a look at some of the players who impressed us at the first session of the West Coast All Star Camp.
Lorenzo Wade, 6-5 SR SG Las Vegas (Nev.) Cheyenne. The player with the most upside in this camp, Wade showed why he's ranked number one among West Coast two guards. Long and versatile, Wade can do everything you want on the court. Shoot the three, block a shot, get a rebound and take it the length of the court to finish or dish....Jalen Rose with a jump shot is a good comparison. And when he puts his mind to it, Wade can be a big-time defender. His focus waned at times in this camp, but that's understandable given the level of play. We're anxious to see him later this month against quality competition.
Jordan Farmar, 6-1 JR PG Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft. This camp was attended primarily by low to mid major coaches and many were drooling over Farmar, with some saying he could start for their teams next year. Sorry fellas, unless you get a job at a high major, Farmar likely won't be playing for you. For a young rising junior (he won't turn 16 until late November), Farmar's feel for the game is astonishing. He's blessed with great instincts and he's a step ahead of everyone on the court. He also moves extremely well without the ball. But what separates Farmar from other PGs is the fact that he combines that feel for the game with a great outside shot. In the last couple weeks, we've probably seen him play in ten games and he's shooting well over 50% from three-point range. High major coaches get their first look at Farmar this week at the second session of the West Coast All Star Camp.
Mitch Platt, 6-10 SR C Las Vegas (Nev.) Green Valley. He doesn't look like a player, but watch Platt long enough and you'll understand why he's a high major prospect. He's very skilled with ball (easily the best passing big man in the west), with a good shot out to the stripe. He likely won't be a low-post offensive force in college, but for programs that like to use the high post he's ideal. Defensively, he can bang inside and defend in the low post. And Platt is a deceptive athlete -- every couple games or so, he'll throw down a dunk that has you thinking, "where'd that come from?" Platt played hard all week at this camp and showed that he's clearly among the top centers in the west.
Aaron Afflalo, 6-4 JR SG Compton (Calif.) Centennial. Afflalo's body has firmed up in the last year and it's made a tremendous difference in his game. He can now put the ball on the floor, get to the basket and finish strong. His outside shot is deadly from beyond the three-point line and he's also very effective posting up smaller guards. Afflalo's running mate at Centennial, Gabe Pruitt, was back at Nike camp this past week and it's a joke that Afflalo wasn't with him. Aaron is one of the top two guards in the west and he'll be a high major recruit in two years.
Alan Wiggins, 6-7 SR PF San Diego (Calif.) Horizon Christian. Wiggins continues to show a very versatile game. He can face-up and shoot out to eighteen feet or so, he'll block a shot inside, rebounds well and also handles it very nicely for a big guy. We like him as a solid mid-major, who might possibly end up playing some three. At the four, he creates a match-up problem with his ability to play on the perimeter.
Jacob Manning, 6-6 SR PF Tacoma (Wash.) Bellarmine Prep. Manning doesn't figure to be a big-time scorer in college, but there's a place for him as a rebounder/defender. Great body, long arms and he plays with good intensity. He's also apparently had some coaching -- knows how to play the game. Will likely end up at the mid-major level.
Maurice Newton, 6-6 SR PF Upland (Calif.) High. Newton didn't make it into the Best of the Best game (he played in the senior game), but we felt he was one of the better prospects in the camp. He's kind of a freaky four man, with a big body and butt, but surprising ball skills and quick feet. He crossed over a couple times from the perimeter and consistently took people to the hole from the wing. Great soft hands and a good shot out to twenty feet. Should get looks at the mid-major level.
Brayden Billbe, 6-9 SR C Mercer Island (Wash.) High. A developing big man who plays his ass off and has a clue about the game. Only an average athlete, but he's got nice hands (made several tough catches in traffic) and a decent low-post game. Will battle for rebounds and bang inside. Definitely worth a look for low to mid majors.
Kevin Rogers, 6-1 SR PG Corona (Calif.) Centennial. Intriguing point prospect with terrific athleticism. Rogers has a studly body, great quicks and hops, and he's very explosive. Outside shot is just ok, and decisions could use work, but there is an upside here.
Derek Rasp, 6-5 SR SG Camarillo (Calif.) High. One of the best shooters in the camp. Not just a catch and shoot guy though -- he can put it on the floor a bit and does a great job of finding spots to get his shot off. Average athlete, but has some toughness and a good feel for the game. Also an outstanding student.
A.J. McCormick, 6-5 SO PF Madera (Calif.) High. A long and skilled young big man who will either be one of the best post prospects in the west (if he grows) or he will turn into an outstanding wing. He's got the skills and agility to go either way. He's got great instincts, soft hands and he moves very well. A great-looking young prospect.
Joseph Johnson, 5-9 FR PG Carson (Calif.). We don't know what high school Johnson will be attending next year, but you'll be hearing from him in the future. Very quick and very skilled. Shot needs work, but he was breaking down defenders at will and he's a terrific passer. If he grows, he'll be among the best in his class.
Lawrence Hill, 6-6 SO SF Glendale (Ariz.) Deer Valley. Hill has a great set shot with excellent range and he's very skilled overall with the ball. Athleticism is good, but not great, and his future will depend largely on how his body goes. It's possible he'll get bigger and be an extremely skilled four man. If he doesn't grow, then he'll need to get a little quicker to play on the wing at a high level.
Andre Borrows, 6-1 FR PG Moreno Valley (Calif.) Canyon Springs. His high school has a ridiculous amount of talent, so Borrows may not play much next year, but he's one to watch down the road. Very quick, good outside shot and a good handle.
Brook Lopez, 6-5 FR PF Fresno (Calif.) San Joaquin Memorial. Young post who looks like he's still growing. Still somewhat awkward in his body, but has potential. Good frame and long. Has an understanding of the game, showed some decent low-post play. Ok face-up shot out to fifteen feet.
Derrick Williams, 6-3 SR SG Los Angeles (Calif.) Price. Williams struggled with his shot this week, but he's a terrific athlete and he gets to the rim routinely. Plays very hard, good defender. Well worth a look for the low to mid majors.
Jonathan Toliver, 6-4 SO SG Los Angeles (Calif.) Westchester. Didn't play for a loaded Westchester team last year, but he should make some noise this year. Long, good athlete and a good shooter with excellent range. Shot selection needs work, but a nice upside.
Terrence Williams, 6-5 SO PG Seattle (Wash.) Garfield. We're not convinced he'll end up at the point but, wherever he ends up, Williams is a prospect. Great body, very good athlete, good stroke and he can pass the ball. Little too much noise in his game right now, but a potential big-time player.