Pangos Sweet 16: UCLA Prospects

The Pangos Sweet 16 tournament had a few late scratches, but there were still a handful of players of interest to UCLA...

The Pangos Sweet 16 held this past weekend at Cabrillo High in Long Beach originally looked like it might have a fair amount of potential UCLA prospects. But three key possible prospects missed the tournament. Idrissa Diallo was out injured, Tyler Dorsey was reportedly resting and Daniel Hamilton was in the Bay Area watching his brother Jordan play with the Denver Nuggets in their series against Golden State. Here's our take on some of the better prospects that did show up.

Tra Holder, 6-1 PG Los Angeles (Calif.) Brentwood. Holder isn't currently being recruited by the Bruins, but he is among a handful of point guards after the top few guys in the loaded West Coast class of 2014. He's got a strong body, with pretty good ball skills and an adequate shot to the three-point line. He likes to get in the lane and has the strength to finish against contact. He's not great at any one thing, but he's pretty solid overall. UCLA may not get to him, but he is receiving high major interest.

Isaiah Bailey, 6-4 SG Compton (Calif.) High. Bailey has been considered among the better wing prospects in the west for the past couple years, due mainly to his body and athleticism. However, his skills have been slow to develop, he doesn't have a great feel and it's very questionable now whether he ends up at the Pac-12 level. He struggled in this tournament with his decision-making and focus. You don't want to write him off completely, as he does have impressive physical tools, but he's got a long way to go before you would take him at UCLA's level. It will be interesting to see if he can turn things around by July.

Chimezie Metu, 6-8 C Lawndale (Calif.) High. Metu struggled to score this weekend, due in part to his raw offensive game and also because AAU ball is generally bad for big men. The guards take way too many bad shots and there is no real attempt to establish a low-post game. Metu has physical tools that are as good as any post in the west. Great frame, very long arms, good hands and great feet. The play of the tournament for him came on a shot when he air-balled from 15 feet. Actually, it was what happened before he shot the ball. He had the ball on the baseline and made a ridiculously quick spin move, went up on balance and then shot the air-ball. Regular BRO readers may have seen me writing about "not being a stat scout." This play was an example of what I'm referring to with that phrase. Metu didn't get any stat on the play and, in fact, shot an air-ball. But when you see a guy with his size, at that age, show that kind of quickness and feet…that's something unique. We're going to assume his shot can get better. You can't teach those physical attributes. Metu needs to learn to play with consistent focus and effort. But if he has any kind of desire to be a player, and he's receptive to coaching, he's got a chance to be very good one day. UCLA assistant David Grace watched him play this weekend.

Marquese Chriss, 6-7 PF Elk Grove (Calif.) Pleasant Grove. This was my first look at Chriss and I came away impressed. He's not being recruited yet at the high major level, but that figures to change as more coaches get a look at him. He's got a good frame, with long arms and he's very bouncy. He blocked numerous shots in a game Saturday night and then came back Sunday with another solid showing. He's got a decent stroke out to 15 feet or so and a nice touch around the basket. He may not end up at UCLA's level, but he's a very interesting prospect. One to watch in July.

Lonzo Ball, 6-3 PG/SG Chino Hills (Calif.) High. Ball is one of the elite guard prospects in the class of 2016 and he had a very good showing in this tournament. He's a very good scorer, with deep range well beyond the stripe and a really nice mid-range floater. He's not a great athlete, but he's quick enough, especially at his size. His team plays a style reminiscent of the LMU teams of Paul Westhead, so it can be tough sometimes to evaluate his decision-making. They pretty much shoot threes at the first opportunity and valuing the ball doesn't seem to be a big consideration. But Ball has very good vision and passing ability, and he did do a good job of making decisions when he got late in the game with a lead. He definitely has the ball skills to play the one; it's only a question of whether or not his scoring ability might make him better suited to the two. In any event, he's a terrific prospect and he figures to get plenty of attention from the Bruins in the coming years.

Vance Jackson, 6-6 PF/SF Pasadena (Calif.) La Salle. Jackson is a skilled young forward with a very nice stroke to the stripe, but he had a disappointing tournament. He settled for way too many jumpers and rarely ventured inside the key. There's a question as to whether he ends up at the four or the three and he's just a fair athlete. It's probably going to be difficult for him to defend athletic three men on the perimeter as he matures, which is why we're saying he may end up at the four. He's got a nice feel, with good ball skills overall, but he needs to learn to play with more toughness and assertiveness. However he's still very young, so that may come in time.

* Chimezie Metu listed offers from California, Long Beach State, Connecticut and San Diego State, with interest from Washington, USC, UCLA, St. John's and Arizona. He plans to visit Arizona in May.

Arizona State, San Diego State, Washington State, Florida State, Saint Mary's, Kansas State, Fresno State, Seattle, San Diego, Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State, Pepperdine, U.C. Irvine and Pacific had coaches in attendance on Friday night watching Tra Holder, Joe Furstinger and T.J. Leaf.

Fresno State head coach Rodney Terry and an assistant, New Mexico, Washington State and UTEP watched Isaiah Bailey on Friday.

USC head coach Andy Enfield and an assistant as well as coaches from Stanford and Pepperdine watched Keondre Dew and Clifton Powell.

Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar and assistants from UCLA and Stanford watched Lonzo Ball.

UNLV head coach Dave Rice, Andy Enfield and assistants from USC, Stanford and San Diego State watched Cameron Walker, Sedrick Barefield and Compton Magic 2015.

* A Note from the Double Pump Tournament in Las Vegas: As if Bishop Gorman needed even more help in the paint, but Stephen Zimmerman and Chase Jeter will have company next season. The 2016 prospect, 6-foot-7 forward Zachary Collins of Team Vegas Elite, was drilling threes off the catch against Arizona Power 16U. The young big has wide shoulders and played hard.


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