Scout On The Road: December 7th Update

We give our latest evaluations on some of the best players in the west. In the past couple weeks, we've seen James Harden, Chace Stanback, Renardo Sidney, Travis Wear, Demar Derozan and Tyrese Breshers, among others prospects...

The high school tournament season is underway in Southern California and we've been out watching games for the past couple weeks. Here are some notes on a few of the players who have caught our attention.

James Harden, 6-5 SR SG Lakewood (Calif.) Artesia. Harden is the best wing prospect in the west and the top senior prospect in California. The game we saw was a blowout win for Artesia, but Harden had a couple impressive dunks and knocked down a few threes. He plays with the feel and demeanor of a 10-year NBA pro. He figures to be Arizona State's best player as a freshman.

Chace Stanback, 6-7 SR SF Los Angeles (Calif.) Fairfax. We only saw one of Stanback's games in the Pacific Shores tournament. He had a solid overall game, doing a little bit of everything. His shot is pretty accurate to 21 feet, but he needs to quicken up his release a bit. His handle and passing ability are above average and he's a good rebounder. The most impressive play he made, however, was diving for a loose ball when Fairfax was up 24 points. A lot of top high school players would not have made that play. He still needs to get stronger, but he's added weight in the last year and should fill out very well in the next couple years.

Travis Wear, 6-9 SO PF Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. Travis has a grown a bit, and added muscle, in the last year. He's starting to fill out, but it wouldn't be surprising if he gets a little taller. He's a little more advanced than his twin brother David at this point – moves a little more fluidly, skills a little more refined – but David isn't far behind. Both twins have exceptional feet and hands, with the ability to shoot the three or post up inside. They have great coordination and balance for young big men. As we've noted before, what really separates the twins from other young prospects is their approach to the game. They have an exceptional feel for the game and they play to win. They're on track to be among the elite prospects in their class.

Renardo Sidney, 6-9 SO PF Lakewood (Calif.) Artesia. Sidney has as high an upside as any young post in the west. He has a great body, excellent feet, good hands and very good athleticism. He looks a little leaner than he did in the summer (when he appeared to be carrying a little extra weight). His overall skill level is good, not great. He needs to work on his fundamentals, as well as playing with focus and intensity. He can drift at times and get away with it due to his physical advantages at this level. But Sidney has a very high ceiling and a chance to be an exceptional player down the road.

Victor Rudd, 6-6 SO SF Sylmar (Calif.) High. A long and very athletic young forward, Rudd has considerable potential. His overall skill level is good and he's made strides since we last saw him in the summer. His shot is inconsistent, but he's capable of knocking down the occasional three. He's effective in the open court and finishes well at the rim. Decision-making can be shaky at times, but he's still a youngster and that will likely improve. He's got a chance to be one of the top prospects in 2009.

Edgar Garibay, 6-10 JR C Compton (Calif.) High. Garibay struggled in the game we saw last week, after playing very well in an earlier viewing a couple months ago. He has a terrific frame and could end up very strong with some real weight work. His outside shot is his best weapon this time. His feel for the game, though, is shaky and he's late on a lot of plays. He's obviously had very little real coaching and his focus/intensity can fade at times. He has the tools to be a good player, but he's going to need a change in his approach if he is to reach his potential.

Demar Derozan, 6-6 JR SF Compton (Calif.) High. Like Garibay, Derozan has some very intriguing tools and the possibility of becoming a high major player. He's a terrific athlete, with explosive leaping ability, and a great body. His shot has improved in the last year and he's fairly accurate when he's on balance and takes good shots. His ball-handling, however, is poor – handle and passing need a lot of work. He tends to get frustrated when things aren't going his way and he needs to learn to play to win. Too often, he plays for highlight moments. He too has suffered from a lack of coaching – fundamentals and overall skill level need to get much better. However, he too has a very high ceiling if he gets some coaching.

Tyrese Breshers, 6-6 JR C/PF Los Angeles (Calif.) Price. Breshers has added weight since the summer and it has affected his ability to get up and down the court. However, he still has very long arms, great feet and hands, and surprising bounce for a big-bodied kid. The added weight might actually be a benefit when he's in the low-post, as he's extremely hard to get around. If he can tone up, while keeping some of that bulk, he's got a chance to be a very intriguing prospect.

Rodney Hudson, 6-2 JR SG Los Angeles (Calif.) Jordan. A good-looking prospect with some length and a nice feel. Fairly good shot to 18-19 feet. He made good decisions in the game we saw. One to watch in the class of 2008.

Allen Crabbe, Jr., 6-1 FR SG Los Angeles (Calif.) Price. Long and lean, with a baby face, and a very nice stroke. Good-looking young prospect with upside.

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