Evaluations: Nike Extravaganza

Last Saturday there was a great deal of talent on display at the annual Nike Extravaganza, and plenty of UCLA prospects...

The Nike Extravaganza was held last Saturday at Mater Dei High and there were a number of potential Bruin recruits playing in the event.

Jordan McLaughlin, 6-0 JR PG Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) Etiwanda. A much anticipated match-up with elite junior point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright failed to materialize when Jackson-Cartwright missed the game due to injury. As a result, Etiwanda handled Loyola relatively easily and McLaughlin had just a so-so performance. But we've seen McLaughlin too good, on too many occasions, to take much from this game. He's got a very high skill level, with a very nice stroke, the ability to create his own shot and also get shots for his teammates. An explosive athlete, McLaughlin can finish at the rim and he's got the quickness to be a good defender in time. He apparently had an ankle injury, which probably made him settle for a few too many jumpers in this game, but he generally shows good shot selection. There aren't many guards with McLaughlin's combination of athleticism and skill level, which is why he's one of the elite point guards nationally in 2014.

Stanley Johnson, 6-5 JR SF/PF Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. Johnson is a big, strong kid with a very nice touch out to the stripe and the ability to punish opponents when he goes inside. He's got a small forward's game on offense and it's possible he'll be able to defend high-major wings on the perimeter. However, it's also possible that he grows into a four, in which case he could be a match up problem for opponents. He's very comfortable playing on the perimeter and he has solid ball skills overall. He doesn't have the prototype wing body that you usually associate with elite prospects and there is some concern about his ability to stay at the three because of it. But he's got a lot of nice attributes as a prospect, with the ability to get points in a variety of ways, and he figures to be a good player in college.

Thomas Welsh, 6-11 JR C Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola. Welsh struggled on Saturday, along with rest of his Loyola teammates, as the absence of Parker Jackson-Cartwright obviously affected the whole team. Welsh is an average athlete and quickness to the ball can be an issue for him when he goes against high-level athletes. He's got pretty good hands and decent footwork for a young post. He's comfortable playing with his back to the basket and he's got solid fundamentals. He does a really good job of keeping the ball high when he's around the basket. He's started to fill out some in the last year and he's not afraid to bang. He's still growing into his body, but he's probably never going to be a high-level athlete. However, he's shown consistent progress in the last couple years and he would appear on track to ultimately end up at the high-major level. One big advantage he possesses is that he has legit size. There are a lot of guys in the 6-7 to 6-9 range that might be average athletes and struggle when going up against athletes than can out-quick them. But Welsh is a true center and he may very well end up seven feet. He's still got a long way to go, and he might not be UCLA level, but there aren't many posts in the West Coast class of 2014 and he figures to have plenty of recruiting attention from the Pac-12 schools.

Stephen Zimmerman, 6-10 SO C Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman. Zimmerman struggled in his game against Orange Lutheran, as he had some foul trouble and never seemed to get in the flow of the game. It also didn't help that some of his teammates had difficulty getting him the ball when he was open. Obviously, this game didn't do anything to change our opinion that he's one of the elite big men in the country for 2015. He's got a terrific frame, with very long arms and big hands, and he moves easy for a young post. He didn't show it much in this game, but he can really run the court and he's actually got pretty good ball skills when he has the ball in the open court. He's still fairly slender and strength can be an issue at times when he's trying to post up older, stronger players. But he's got a nice low-post game, with above-average footwork and a good feel for the game. With his length and quickness, he should become an excellent shot-blocker down the road. He can face up to about 15-17 feet and he's got a nice touch. He's on track to be one of the best players in the country in 2015.

Tyler Dorsey, 6-4 SO SG Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco. Dorsey is a talented prospect with the ability to score from a variety of spots on the floor. He's got a solid jump shot out to the stripe and good ball skills overall. He's trying to become a point guard, but that's not his natural position. He's wired to score, and he's good at it, so he should probably focus on playing the two. He has good, not great, quickness and he's much more suited to defending the wing than he is smaller point guards. Shot selection, and focus, can be an issue at times. However, he's a good athlete, with above average offensive skills, and he's got a chance to be one of the top players in the west for 2015.

Chase Jeter, 6-8 SO C/PF Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman. While Zimmerman has rightfully received a lot of attention, Jeter is a great prospect in his own right. He's a big kid that looks like he could get even bigger. He's got a very good frame, he moves well, with very good hands and a developing low post game. He plays with good poise for a young kid and he's got a nice demeanor on the court. He played very well when Zimmerman had to miss some time with foul trouble. He's not yet a big-time scorer, but he's a very good rebounder and a solid defender for a young post. He's one of the top young posts in the west and, with continued development, could end up one of the guys nationally down the road.

Jayce Johnson, 6-9 FR C Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. Johnson is another young big with a good frame, broad shoulders and long arms. He's still growing into his body and he has the look of a kid that could get taller still. He's still somewhat gawky, naturally, as a freshman and it remains to be seen what kind of athlete he becomes as his body matures. But he's got decent skills in the post and he's comfortable playing with his back to the basket. Unlike a lot of young kids, he appears to realize he's a post and he's not looking to drift to the perimeter. He's got pretty good footwork and it looks like he's received some coaching already. He's got a long way to go, obviously, but he has a considerable amount of potential.


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