After a month of watching the West Coast's players in various camps and tournaments, here's our take on some of the seniors who caught our attention.
Lorenzo Wade, 6-5 SR SG Las Vegas (Nev.) Cheyenne. The #1 shooting guard prospect in the west and, in our opinion, it's not close. Great basketball body, long and quick, with the potential to be a lockdown defender. Outside shot is just ok at this point, but we think it's close enough to say he'll be fine in another year. He put on a show in a couple games at the Big Time and new schools, including Syracuse and Arizona St., figure to join Tennessee, Marquette and UNLV in his recruitment.
Ayinde Ubaka, 6-2 SR PG Oakland (Calif.) High. Reaffirmed his status as the clear-cut choice for #1 PG in the west. Among West Coast PGs, he has the best combination of size, quickness, skills and feel for the game. Outside shot has now become serviceable -- and opponents must honor it -- thus opening up more opportunities to drive and create.
Marcus Slaughter, 6-8 SR PF Riverside (Calif.) North. No player did more to help his stock this summer. Virtually unknown at the beginning of July, Slaughter wowed coaches with his athleticism, size and upside. Very long and agile, with good instincts and a decent shot out to eighteen feet. If he doesn't sign in the fall, a good senior year could set off a feeding frenzy in the spring.
Brett Collins, 6-5 SR SF Phoenix (Ariz.) Mountain Point. One of our favorites from the summer. A strong, tough, hard-nosed competitor who has really improved his skills over the last year. Quicker than he looks, with a pretty good shot out to the stripe and the ability to put it on the floor and finish strong. Now getting high major interest.
John Winston, 6-3 SR PG Richmond (Calif.) Salesian. Had a few up and down moments but, overall, Winston was very impressive. He doesn't look like a PG, but his big, strong body allows him to overpower smaller guards. Sees the court extremely well and ranks among the best passers in the west. Very good in transition. Outside shot still needs work, but we like his upside.
Brian Elbogen, 6-7 SR PF Pleasanton (Calif.) California. Tough banger who showed more skill than we had seen in the past. Very effective around the basket and goes after every rebound. He really grew on us with his play at the Big Time and we'd expect him to get serious attention at the mid major level.
Lodrick and Rodrick Stewart, 6-3 SR SG Seattle (Wash.) Rainier Beach. Gifted athletes who compete extremely well. That being said, these two have a long way to go in their understanding of the game. The concept of "good shot, bad shot" has yet to occur to them. It's "Lodrick's shot, Rodrick's shot." If they can learn to play within a team concept, and continue to improve their skill level, they have a chance to play at the high major level. But it's going to take a major change in their approach to the game for them to be effective college players.
Mitch Platt, 6-10 SR C Las Vegas (Nev.) Green Valley. Platt really helped himself this summer with a series of impressive performances. Without question the best passing big man in the west, he also showed a decent outside shot and the willingness to bang inside. Will likely never be a real big low-post option in college, but he's ideal for teams that like to use a high-post.
Nick Fazekas, 6-10 SR C Arvada (Col.) Ralston Valley. Fazekas was another player who was relatively unknown at the beginning of July and he caught the attention of a number of high major schools. He's got great hands and he can score from anywhere on the court. There is some concern about his feet -- a high arch causes him to run awkwardly -- but his size and skills will likely garner him a high major offer.
Lenny Miles, 6-1 SR PG Commerce City (Col.) Adams City. Miles will likely be a combo guard for New Mexico (he committed this week) and we like his potential to play both spots for the Lobos. Very good shooter, strong body and a solid handle. He could be a player other high majors regret missing on by next year.
More in our next report...