2016 West Coast Prospects

A few players have already emerged as easily identifiable UCLA-level prospects from the class of 2016. But there are a number of other players that have a chance and will need to be monitored in the coming year...

The West Coast class of 2016 projects as a decent, not great, group at this time. There’s a shortage of big men and, as of now, only a handful of guys that clearly project as UCLA-level prospects. However, with two years of development still to come, there are a number of guys that potentially could get to that level. Here’s a rundown on some guys to keep an eye on in the coming season.

Lonzo Ball
Lonzo Ball, 6-5 PG Chino (Calif.) Chino Hills. Committed to UCLA, Ball has a terrific combination of size, athleticism and skill. He’s a point guard, but he could also play the two if needed. He can finish inside against size and he’s beginning to show the ability to post up smaller guards He’s got very good vision and passing ability. He’s a streaky shooter with deep range, but does need to get his release point up. He’s got a decent handle, but he needs to work on getting lower and improving his left hand. His decision-making can be erratic at times and it’s difficult to tell if that’s his own issue or a product of the crazy style he plays in for his AAU and high school teams. In any event, he will have to learn to value the ball more at the next level, as well as give a better effort on defense. He’s a very good prospect, but he’s far from college-ready at this time.

M.J. Cage, 6-9 C Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. While he’s not an elite prospect, Cage has made progress in the last year and he’s among the better prospects in a weak class of posts in the West Coast class of 2016. He doesn’t have the body or athleticism of his father Michael Cage, but he’s developed a decent low post game and his ball skills overall have improved. He’s still growing into his body, so it will be interesting to see how he looks by the high school season. UCLA has offered, as has Arizona, Kentucky and others.

Brandon Cyrus, 6-4 SG, San Diego (Calif.) Torrey Pines. Cyrus has a great frame, with very long arms and the ability to score from multiple spots on the floor. He plays hard, he’s an above average athlete and he plays within a team concept. He’s a likely high major prospect, but UCLA isn’t involved at this time.

De'Ron Davis, 6-10 C Aurora (Col.) Overland. Davis moves well for a big kid and looked to be fairly explosive. He’s got a decent stroke, he passes well and he plays unselfishly. UCLA offered recently, with Arizona, Indiana and Louisville, among others, also involved.

Jordan Ford, 6-1 PG Folsom (Calif.) High. Ford is long and slender, with good quickness and range to the three-point line. It’s questionable whether he gets to UCLA’s level, but the Bruins have shown early interest and he said that he’s a big UCLA fan.

Oscar Frayer, 6-5 SF Hayward (Calif.) Moreau Catholic. Frayer has a classic wing body, with explosive athleticism. Jump shot needs to improve but he’s got a high upside. Cal has offered with Arizona and Oregon also expressing interest.

Oscar Frayer
Vance Jackson, 6-8 PF Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco. Jackson has gotten thicker in the last year and it’s very difficult to imagine him playing small forward at the next level. That’s not a good thing, as he’s very much a finesse player. He’s got a good stroke to the stripe, but he’s not a good athlete and he doesn’t have much versatility to his game. If he’s not making three-pointers, he’s not doing much to help his team win. UCLA has shown some interest, but I’d be surprised if they offer.

Jayce Johnson, 6-10 C San Juan Capistrano (Calif.) J Serra. Johnson has a great frame, with long arms and big feet. He’s just a fair athlete, though, and he’s still growing into his body. He’s a big mechanical, but he has shown progress as a low-post scorer. He’s not a UCLA-level prospect at this time, but sometimes you have to be patient with big kids and he’s someone to keep an eye on this season.

T.J. Leaf, 6-9 PF El Cajon (Calif.) Foothills Christian. Leaf is just a fair athlete, but he’s highly skilled and has the ability to play both inside and on the perimeter. He’s got a good stroke, handles well for a kid his size and he’s effective around the basket. There is a question as to what happens with to his game as his body matures and he naturally adds weight. UCLA offered him last year, but Arizona, Indiana and Duke, among others, are involved as well.

Jonah Mathews, 6-1 SG Santa Monica (Calif.) High. A better prospect than his brother Jordan at the same stage, Jonah is a pure scorer. He’s got range to the three-point line, but he’s not just a shooter. He can score in a variety of ways. He’s a fairly good athlete, but does have need to work on the other areas in his game besides scoring. He has offers from ASU, Cal and Utah, with the Bruins not involved at this time.

Justin Moore, 6-3 PG San Diego (Calif.) Mission Bay. Moore has good size and length, with terrific vision and passing ability. He’s a good athlete, but just a fair shooter. UCLA is not involved, with San Diego St. and Utah having offered.

Devearl Ramsey, 5-10 PG Chatsworth (Calif.) Sierra Canyon. Ramsey has a mature body and there’s a question as to how much upside he possesses. However, he’s a very good athlete, good scorer and an excellent competitor. He’s said he has no interest in UCLA with Ball being committed to the Bruins, but he’s a very good prospect should anything happen with Ball and the Bruins over the next two years.

T.J. Leaf
Raysean Scott, 6-6 PF/SF Compton (Calif.) High. Scott is a great-looking kid, long and bouncy with big feet. His ball skills are still somewhat raw, but he’s effective slashing to the basket. He may not end up skilled enough to play the three and might be better at the four. He’s got a big upside with his physical attributes, but it’s debatable whether he makes it to UCLA’s level.

Trevor Stanback, 6-9 C Pasadena (Calif.) Maranatha. Stanback is a decent low-post scorer with a developing jump hook, but doesn’t have a great body and his development has been somewhat slow to date. He’s not a UCLA-level guy at this time but, given the lack of quality bigs in 2016, the Bruins need to monitor him.

Derryck Thornton, 6-2 PG Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep. Baby-faced true point, long and slender, with above average skills. A good, not great, athlete with a solid feel. UCLA isn’t involved and it’s very unlikely that will change.

Coming Up: West coast prospects to watch in the 2017 and 2018 classes...

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