And I'm not talking about the traveling team/invitation-only-camp stuff, either.
I'm talking about real high school teams.
The two best teams, very arguably,
After the final Taylor King (Santa Ana Mater Dei) 3-pointer and post-up turn-around jumper, and the last of the Brandon Jennings (Compton Dominguez) open-court wizardry, it was Class of 2007 point guard Kamyron Brown who provided the two deciding plays in Mater Dei's 90-89 overtime victory over Dominguez for the championship.
The 6-foot-3 Brown, the cousin of former Mater Dei and University of Arizona standout (and future Wildcats' assistant coach) Miles Simon, bailed out his team after it had fallen behind by four points on two free throws by the dazzling Jennings (who finished with 27 points, five assists and five steals) with 24 seconds remaining.
Brown nailed a 3-pointer with 18 seconds to go and, after a Dominguez reserve missed a couple of free throws with 15 seconds to play, sprinted about 70 feet with the ball for the go-ahead layin with nine seconds remaining.
After a timeout,
The 6-7 King, truly one of the most versatile scorers in high school hoops, regardless of class level, scored 46 points before fouling out with remaining in overtime. He hit 17 of 25 from the field (including four 3's) and all eight of his free throws to go with 10 rebounds.
His long-range jump shot may be his calling card but his post-up game is darn near impeccable.
Until King and
James Keefe went for 22
points, 14 rebounds, eight blocked shots and five assists in his Santa Margarita
team's 67-65 semifinal loss to Dominguez, which got 22 points from
Anyone who doesn't think the UCLA-bound Keefe is a prime McDonald's All-America candidate and one of the best handful of four-man prospects in the Class of 2006 needs his (or hers, to demonstrate I don't have a gender bias) "expert/guru" credentials revoked.
A look at some of the other top prospects in the 20-team event:
Class of 2006
Patrick Christopher (6-4, Compton
Dominguez): Christopher, who committed to
Landry Fields (6-3, Los Alamitos):
Long-armed (he's grown almost two inches this year) with a quick release and
deep range on his jumper, he is one of
Dezon Otis (6-3, Compton Dominguez):
The son of the Dominguez coach (Russell
Otis, who was in
Brandon Davis (6-1, Ontario The Colony): He is excellent in the open-court but is more of an undersized scoring guard than a point right now.
Dejon Jackson (6-1, Fresno Clovis
West): In a state class with a shortage of point guards, he should be rated as
one of the very best. His brother (Tyrone Jackson) plays at
Kevin Buggs (6-1, Long Beach Poly): He
Bussey Ellis (6-4, San Juan Capistrano
JSerra): He's the best
Jonathan Gunderson (6-4, Santa Margarita): He's wiry (175-poundish) with exceptional shooting range and underrated ball-handling ability. He's also a sound man to man defender.
Mike Thompson (6-6, Santa Margarita): The son of the former NBA player and current Lakers' radio commentary (Mychal Thompson) has made immense progress over the spring after being a reserve as a junior. He played like a possible mid-major prospect over the weekend.
Chad DeCasas (6-5, Mission Viejo Capistrano Valley): Tough, strong and competitive, DeCasas has plenty of range on his jump shot and is skilled enough with the ball to get into the lane and score in traffic if he's pressured on the perimeter.
Danny Campbell (6-3, Santa Ana Mater
Dei): He'll team with Taylor King to
give Mater Dei the best set of long-range marksmen in
Mark Keeten (6-1, Riverside Ramona):
Here's another entry for the SoCal Sleeper File. He hit five 3's in the first
half of an eventual blowout loss to Mater Dei in the first round Friday.
Looks/shoots like Deron Williams,
the soon-to-be millionaire out of the
Class of 2007
Alex Jacobson (6-11, Santa Ana Mater Dei): He tossed in a couple of sky hooks late in the second half against Dominguez. He's not the springiest fellow on the planet but doesn't bite on pump fakes and blocks a lot of shots.
Quinton Watkins (6-4, Compton Dominguez): He's more "play-finisher" than "play-maker" right now. The lefty is a very streaky shooter but few players in this class get to the rim quicker.
Maurice McGee (6-7, Riverside Ramona): He played well in the first half against Mater Dei before the Monarchs' overwhelming firepower put the end to any potential suspense as to the ultimate outcome. He is very active and finishes strongly. If his perimeter skills come along, he'll be one of the West's best a year from now.
Class of 2008
Jaime Serna (6-6 ½,
Blake Arnet (6-0, Santa Ana Mater Dei): He could develop into Mater Dei's third guard at some point next season. He has solid quickness and plenty of range on his jump shot.
An April inductee into the USBWA
Hall of Fame, Frank Burlison is Scout.com's National Basketball Expert
and is also a columnist for the