Around The West

The July evaluation period is halfway done. Here's a look at some the players who made news, or helped themselves, in the first part of July. Several Stanford recruits are included, as well as others high on the Pac-10 radar...

With the evaluation period halfway done, we thought we'd recap some of the top stories from the first nine days of the period. Here's a look at some of the more notable developments from around the west.


After last summer, most people penciled in Martell Webster, 6-7 SR SF Seattle (Wash.) Seattle Prep, as the top prospect in the west for 2005. Some had him as the top prospect in the country. Arizona, Washington, North Carolina and UCLA are all involved to some degree.  But a series of injuries has limited Webster's effectiveness so far this summer.


If he's healthy, Webster still figures to end up the top prospect in the West Coast class of 2005. But until he regains his pre-injury form, Jon Brockman, 6-7 SR PF Snohomish (Wash.) High, is the #1 prospect in the west. Brockman was terrific at the Nike Camp and followed that up with a very good performance at the Peach Jam. Brockman's toughness, intensity and underrated athleticism allowed him to outplay some highly regarded prospects at each event. Brockman is hearing from schools such as Washington, Gonzaga, UCLA, Duke, North Carolina and Arizona.


One prospect who took himself off the board is Harvey Perry, Jr., 6-5 SR SG/PG Las Vegas (Nev.) Cheyenne. Perry, who was originally part of the class of 2004, will attend prep school for one year and then play for Washington. Perry committed to Lorenzo Romar and the Huskies after a solid showing at the Fullcourt Press All-West Camp. A shooting guard who will try to make the conversion to point guard, Perry has a great body and his skills show marked improvement. With continued development, he has a chance to be an impact player in the Pac-10.


Big men are always a little slower to develop than the guards and wings, and this year is no different. However, a couple big men who seem to be coming into their own are Coby Leavitt, 6-9 SR C/PF Washington (Utah) Snow Canyon and Chris Oakes, 6-8 SR C Oakland (Calif.) Castlemont. Oakes opened some eyes at Nike with his length and athleticism, while Leavitt impressed at the Three Stripes tournament. Both players are hearing from multiple mid to high majors throughout the west.


Three Pac-10 schools Washington, Stanford and Cal are waiting anxiously for a decision from Jordan Wilkes, 6-11 SR C Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola. Wilkes had hoped to have a decision prior to the evaluation period, but he's still apparently mulling things over. Wilkes played at the Adidas Superstar camp, but did not play in the West Coast camps or tournaments after returning from Georgia. Wilkes's brother, Omar, transferred recently from Kansas to Cal and some observers believe that could give the edge to the Bears in the battle for Jordan.


We've been big fans of Joey Shaw, 6-6 SR SG Chandler (Ariz.) High, since last summer and we didn't see anything in the past couple weeks to change our minds. He's among the top couple shooters in the west and he's an underrated athlete. Oregon State has been on Shaw for some time now, along with schools such as Arizona State, USC and San Diego State, among others.


Diamon Simpson, 6-7 SR PF Hayward (Calif.) High, is creating quite a buzz among mid to high major programs after a series of terrific performances at the Fullcourt Press camp and Pangos tournament. Simpson is the rare West Coast player who plays hard every time out and coaches have noticed. His skill level still needs to improve, but he's a very good rebounder and defender. Don't be surprised if Simpson's stock continues to rise in the next couple weeks.


Another power forward who helped himself recently is Shaun Green, 6-7 SR Salt Lake City (Utah) Olympus. Green played very well at the Pangos tournament, showing off a versatile game in a match-up with Lawrence Hill and the Arizona Magic. Green is one of the better outside shooters among post players in the west, but he's also an underrated rebounder and defender. New Mexico, Utah and San Diego State have all offered Green, but we wouldn't be surprised if more schools get involved before the end of summer.


After giving out most of their scholarships in the last two years, the Oregon Ducks are now looking primarily at younger players. Kevin Love, 6-7 SO C Lake Oswego (Ore.) and Kyle Singler, 6-7 SO SF Medford (Ore.) South Medford, are two players that Ernie Kent was watching at the Nike camp. Both players figure to be among the elite prospects in the class of 2007.


Michael Roll, 6-5 SR SF/SG Aliso Viejo (Calif.) Aliso Niguel, had a great showing at the Stanford camp and followed that up with an impressive performance at the Adidas camp. Roll is on Stanford's list of players to watch, as well as being a serious target for a number of WCC and Mountain West programs.


We saw coaches from Washington State at a number of games during the first couple weeks of July, as the Cougar coaches were out evaluating players such as Michael Roll, Steffan Johnson, Jerry-Davon Jefferson and Ike Okoye, among others.


Mitch Johnson, 6-1 SR PG Seattle (Wash.) O'Dea, is coveted by both Washington and Stanford, although the Huskies situation may have changed with the addition of Harvey Perry. Both programs reportedly have offers on the table, though, and Johnson could be important for a reason other than what he brings to the table as a prospect. Johnson is close with Friends of Hoop teammates Jon Brockman and Martell Webster. Some close to the situation say that Johnson's choice, if it were Washington, could possibly influence Brockman and Webster. We're not a big believer in package deals since they rarely come to fruition but this wouldn't necessarily be a package. It would be more along the lines of Johnson's presence at Washington being one more factor in the decisions of Brockman and Webster.


USC apparently got some good news recently, with the reported qualifying test scores for Gabriel Pruitt, 6-3 PG/SG Los Angeles (Calif.) Westchester and Nick Young, 6-6 SF Reseda (Calif.) Cleveland. Both players are elite talents, with the potential to impact right away in the Pac-10.

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