Advanced Skills Camp Evaluations

An elite prospect from the 2013 class, and a potentially elite 2015 prospect, were both very impressive at the Advanced Skills Camp held this past weekend at UCLA...

The UCLA Advanced Skills Camp was held this past weekend at the Wooden Center and the emphasis for the Bruin staff this year was on looking at younger players. There were no 2012 prospects in attendance, only 2013, 2014 and 2015 kids. As the players' schedules get busier every year with the various shoe camps, tournaments and high school/AAU obligations, it's becoming increasingly difficult to get the top prospects to attend these types of camps. So there wasn't as much overall talent on hand this year as there has been in the past. However, there were a couple of very high level guys and some other intriguing young prospects. Here's our take on some of the more promising players (grade listed is for next season).

Zach Lavine, 6-1 JR PG/SG Bothell (Wash.) High. Lavine attended the Sunday session of the camp and he was dominating. Long and quick, with a terrific stroke and deep range, Lavine is truly one of those guys that might play either guard spot in college. He's got the vision, passing and handle to play the one (probably projects best defensively at that spot as of today), but his scoring ability is unique. And he's not just a shooter – he's a scorer. He is the ultimate "hard to guard" guy. He can get his own shot…he can split a double team… shoot a floater in the lane over size…take two hard dribbles, stop on a dime and get on a balance for a mid-range jumper…beat you with dribble penetration and find an open shooter when help comes…he is a very talented player. In terms of just shooting the ball, he's a better shooter right now than anyone on the Bruin roster this past season or next season. With his length and quickness, he has a chance to be a good defender as well. As is the case with a lot of high school kids with his scoring ability, defense isn't always his first priority. But there was one sequence on Sunday when Coach Howland was instructing him on defense and for the next several possessions Lavine got into his man and did a great job of denying him the ball. He has excellent lateral quickness and should become a good defender in time. He's skinny (as I wrote before, reminds me of a young Steph Curry), and he looks like he could be a freshman in high school next year, but he's one of the elite prospects in the country for 2013.

A source close to Lavine's family confirmed Sunday night that Lavine received a scholarship offer from Coach Howland following the camp. Lavine has several family members living in Southern California and the feeling is that the Bruins are now his leader. Of course, with two full seasons of high school still to go anything can happen in his recruitment. But there's no question that this was a big weekend for the Bruins and Lavine.

Brodricks Jones, 6-8 FR PF/C Playa Del Rey (Calif.) St. Bernard. A very long and skilled post player, Jones is an extremely impressive young prospect. He's got a nice touch out to 17-18 feet, very good ball skills for a young big kid, above average athleticism (moves very well for his size) and a surprisingly good feel. At one point during a demonstration drill, when Jones knocked down three straight jump shots, Coach Howland said to the campers, "he's going into the 9th grade." Jones is a young-looking kid and it's possible he's still growing. But regardless of whether or not he gets any bigger, he's got a chance to be a big-time player. Assuming he has any kind of desire and work ethic, look for him to be among the top players nationally in the class of 2015.

Chris Sandifer, 6-2 SO SG Los Angeles (Calif.) Price. A lefty with very long legs and a young face, Sandifer is a very good prospect. He's got a really smooth stroke with deep range, a good handle and above average athleticism. His release point is a bit low, but that will get better as he matures and gains strength. His shot selection also needs to improve, but it's understandable that he shoots it often when he's got that good of a stroke. He's one of the top prospects in the west for 2014.

Brandon Randolph, 6-1 JR PG Playa Del Rey (Calif.) St. Bernard. A strong, quick, scoring lead guard, Randolph only played for a portion of Saturday's session. If Lavine ends up playing the one, Randolph is in the running for second best point guard in the west for 2013.

Chance Comanche, 6-6 FR PF Playa Del Rey (Calif.) St. Bernard. Comanche looks physically like a cross between a young Austin Daye and Tayshaun Prince. He's very slender, but he's got huge feet and it will be very surprising if he doesn't grow some more. He moves well for his size, he's got decent ball skills and appears to have a clue about how to play the game. St. Bernard's opponents better get them this year, because they will be really tough to beat a couple years from now.

Namon Wright, 6-3 SO SF/SF West Hollywood (Calif.) Pacific Hills. Wright is a good-looking young wing with a solid frame, good shoulders and above average athleticism. He plays hard and shoots it fairly well to three-point range. He's moved around to a couple high schools already, but he's got a chance to be a high major player down the road.

Rashad Jackson, 6-1 SO SG Bakersfield (Calif.) Garces. Good-looking young guard with athleticism and above average skills. Jackson plays with very good energy and he loves to attack the rim in transition. He's got a playable shot to 15-17 feet and he had a very productive freshman season this past year at Garces. One to watch in 2014.

Taelin Webb, 5-10 SO PG (School TBD). Webb played this past season at Riverside North, but he will be transferring to a new school in the fall. He had a very good showing at the camp on Saturday, consistently beating his man off the dribble and getting to the rim or finding teammates for shots. He's very quick and he generally does a good job of staying on the floor and making solid decisions. He's not real big, but his quickness, ball skills and feel for the game make him a very intriguing 2014 prospect.

Chance Murray, 6-1 JR SG Los Angeles (Calif.) Price. Murray had a decent showing in the Saturday session of the camp, but he's considerably behind Lavine as a prospect. Murray's got a nice stroke, but he's strictly a two guard at this time and he's just a decent athlete. He has a tendency to float around the perimeter looking for jump shots and he's not as engaged in the rest of the game as he needs to be. He needs to improve his ability to create his own shot, play with more energy/focus, and find a way to contribute to his team when he's not scoring. He's intriguing due to his stroke and ability to get hot at times, but the rest of his game needs to get better if he's to play at a high level.

Bruin Report Online Top Stories