West Coasters at ABCD

There were more good performances by west coasters at ABCD than Nike. Here's a look at the west's best, including UCLA's recruits in the senior class and standout juniors Marvin Williams, Robert Swift, David Burgess, Tim Pierce and more...

* Designates a player UCLA is recruiting in the senior class.

** Designates an elite junior.

**Lyndale Burleson, 6-3 JR PG, Seattle O'Dea. Burleson has the potential to be really good, with great size to go along with good quickness, but he's still a ways off. He showed flashes here, but lacks the discipline and skill refinement, which leads to mistakes and sloppiness. He showed a good natural feel and vision, and a strong enough handle, but he has to start thinking more about what he's doing.

Justin Hawkins, 6-6 SR SF, Lakewood Mayfair. Somewhat overmatched athletically here, Hawkins wasn't quite quick enough or springy enough at times to stay with many ABCD campers. He's a great shooter, generally, but didn't shoot the ball here really well, looking out of rhythm most of the time, which isn't hard in the type of up-and-down pick-up type games of ABCD. He mixed it up a little more than usual inside, and had a few moments where he looked more athletic, which is a good sign.

Thomas Gardner, 6-4 SR SG, Portland Jefferson. Gardner never got in the flow at the camp, not getting enough touches,and when he did, squandering them. He shot pretty well, and made a good percentage of threes, but was a little wild in driving to the basket and his ballhandling. He looks bigger and stronger, and even more athletic. He definitely has the potential to be one of the best at his position in the west and a clear high major.

Brett Collins, 6-5 SR SF, Phoenix Mountain Pointe. Collins struggled quite a bit, not getting many touches in a fast-pasted game and not asserting himself enough when he did. Rushed on his shot most of the time, he looked awkward shooting, and slow-footed compared to the rest of the camp. Hopefully he'll have a better rest of July.

Matthew Fournier, 5-8 SR PG, Rolling Hills Chadwick. A small, little scraper who wasn't intimidated by being completely out of his league, you have to give him credit for being unphased. He's small, obviously, and not quick, but with a decent shot – not a D-1 prospect. So, give him some props for being here and playing with heart.

**Bryce Taylor, 6-3 JR SG, Studio City Harvard-Westlake. The guy who probably went from the most nowhere nationally to putting himself on the national map, Taylor had a fine camp. He's such a scorer, and can hit a jumpshot from anywhere on the court, that he adapted well to ABCD's frenetic pace and stayed disciplined in his shot. He averaged over 12 points a game, while shooting 50% from the floor, and 50% from behind the three-point line. He also took the ball to the basket well, and looked especially advanced in knocking down the mid-range pull-up like clockwork. He made the underclass all-star game and looked like one of the few playing under control.

Marcus Dove, 6-7 SR SF, Long Beach Millikan. It was really the first time that many coaches had seen Dove and they generally were impressed. He's still raw and learning basketball, but he's very long, athletic and can hit a jumpshot pretty consistently. He boarded well here, using his quickness to the ball and off the floor for rebounds. He's probably cemented himself on the lower end of the high majors as a result of his performance.

**DeMarcus Nelson, 6-2 JR PG, Vallejo (Calif.) High. The early Duke commit was a bit of a mixed bag here. If he wasn't a Duke commit you might have considered his performance better, but being committed to the #1 program in the country, your expectations elevate, to the point that he didn't quite meet them. He scored in bunches, but took too many shots and hogged the ball generally. In the underclass all-star game, he tried to keep up with Sebastian Telfair, who is talented and an even bigger ballhog, and was exposed a bit both offensively and defensively. But again, only because he's committed to Duke are we expecting so much. But you could see in the all-star game that Nelson's quickness is somewhat limited, both in trying to defend a quicker guard and trying to break down a defender, and he needs to improve his handle. But still, again, we're expecting too much probably; he has great potential as a prospect with good size and skills, which will hopefully continue to refine.

Bobby Nash, 6-6 SR SF, Honolulu Iolani. One of the most pleasant surprises here, Nash probably has the most improved jumpshot on the west coast – so improved to the point that you'd have to consider him one of the best jump shooters in the west in his class. It's a very clean stroke, with a soft touch. And while he's not an explosive athlete, he is a decent athlete, and he was especially active on both offense and defense. He averaged over 14 points a game, and earned a spot in the senior all-star game, where he might have been a bit over his head. But he's proved that he's probably a mid to high major here.

*Trevor Ariza, 6-7 SR SF, Los Angeles Westchester. Ariza was hindered a great deal since he was the tallest player on his team and had to play in the post, where he had to defend some of the biggest, burliest and most athletic guys in the country. Because of this, and because of the general sloppiness of the games here, Ariza was out of sync, especially since, on offense, he was posting up those same big guys he was defending on the other end of the court. When he got out on the wing, he had some good moments, especially in transition, where he really excels. Ariza, actually, showed again here that his best talent is to dribble penetrate and dish, finding the open man for a basket. He made the senior all-star game but only had a few moments in the game, which isn't saying anything at all since the game was a complete mess. But did he help his stock here? More than likely, he stayed about the same.

**Tim Pierce, 6-5 JR SG, Oakland Fremont. Pierce again showed that he has some of the tools to be an elite player in his class. He has great size, a frame that could bulk up his skinniness, and has legit guard skills, able to handle the ball, break down defenders, drive, and especially, hit that outside jumper. In fact, Pierce is so good with his little skip and hitch of a jumper that he looked for it a bit too often here, but just about every other camper did too. A high major all the way, he and Bryce Taylor were the two juniors on the west coast that were probably discovered the most by national programs.

Sean Marshall, 6-5 SR SF, Rialto (Calif.) Eisenhower. The buzz was going when I arrived at Adidas on Wedneday about Marshall and even though it might have been a little over-hyped, he certainly did play well. Having really come into his own as a shooter, Marshall put it up here quite a bit, and hit a fair share. He then also, like he always has, took it to the basket with aggressiveness. That combo got many college coaches noticing him. He's at least, now, on the lower end of the high majors and could be inching into the clear high major territory.

Ekene Ibekwe, 6-8 SR PF, Carson High. Ibekwe had a good camp, one that will probably earn him more recruiting attention. And it was an appropriate camp for him—meaning that his weaknesses were very evident but his positives are strong enough that he's worth the negatives. The negatives: He just won't go inside offensively, mostly because he's still so light he'll get kicked around. So he likes to float outside too much. Positives: He's explosively athletic, so he's effective in rebounding and scoring on putbacks (when he's under the basket), and he's a good shot blocker. This is Ibekwe in a microcosm: In one game on Wednesday he had a really bad first half, where he got killed by skilled four man Ivan Harris. Harris scored on Ibekwe four straight times down the floor. Then Ibekwe came out and had the best second half of a game he's had in months. He played with intensity, blocked a Harris shot, knocked down two jumpers, ripped down rebounds and threw down to nice putback slams. He made the all-star game, but got lost amongst all the athletes. He, though, because of his explosiveness, has so much upside he's definitely moved up in our rankings to the #2 PF in the west behind Leon Powe.

Omar Wilkes, 6-3 SR SG, Los Angeles Loyola. Wilkes had a solid showing, despite being hampered by a bruise calf that had him hobbling up and down the court and jumping like an old lady. But when he wasn't injured, Wilkes was Wilkes, generally skilled and under control, especially in this camp. He shot the ball well, making 60% of his shots and 40% from three. He also took it inside and mixed it up – and did better at finishing on the days he wasn't hurt. But, to his credit, even hobbled, he took it inside. His steadiness and headiness was one of the reasons his team won the team camp championship (which also had Ibekwe on it).

Scott Cutley, 6-5 JR PF, Los Angeles Westchester. You would think against some of the best, big athletes in the country Cutley would be limited – and he was, to an extent, but not really that much. He still did the Cutley thing, which is overcome his lack of height and athleticism by his quickness around the basket. When his opponents started getting tired, especially later in the week, Cutley then really took more advantage of them, using his wide body to get rebounds and his quick hands to lay it back in before his tired opponents could get up to block it. If anything, it showed that Cutley can probably be moderately effective with his game against strong competition, and probably is a sure mid-major prospect now.

Ray Reed, 6-0 SR PG, Inglewood High. At a camp where everyone's looking to score, you can't slight a kid too much for doing it himself, and Reed did. He forced his play, shooting the ball a lot and driving wildly. He averaged as many assists as turnovers a game (2). With his athleticism, he averaged 11 points a game, but shot poorly. In such a loose structure, it made a usually semi-wild Reed even more wild, which didn't show well. He did show a great natural talent, but a lack of a sense in how to use it.

Stefan Zimmerman, 6-10 SR C, Lindon (Utah) American Fork. Zimmerman, who has committed to Utah, had a relatively decent showing here. He looked pretty big, with a wide frame that could hold more weight, and move pretty well, especially in the context of the great athletes that he competed against. He generally didn't score with any moves consistently, but, in an up-and-down atmosphere, he was pretty involved, getting rebounds and scoring in garbage, averaging 8 points a game. Against this kind of competition he was limited physically, but his performance generally had to be encouraging for Utah.

Alex Bausley, 6-6 SR PF, Los Angeles (Calif.) Fairfax. Bausley was the odd man out on his team, with other frontcourt players that tended to hang onto the ball too much. He didn't get many touches, and he wasn't shooting well, not able to get in a rhythm at all. He looked a bit intimidated in the paint, and tended to float outside, where the game passed him by. The camp didn't help him much recruiting-wise you would have to suspect, but he's probably still in the low major category.

Nick Stiggers, 6-7 SR PF, Van Nuys (Calif.) Montclair Prep. Looking even heavier than he was a couple of months ago, Stiggers had a so-so camp. His extra weight has slowed him down and kept him grounded, which really impacted his effectiveness here against guys who aren't slow and aren't grounded. He still has all of those skills, but he got his shot swatted inside pretty often. He kept trying to score too much, and shot pretty poorly. It will be interesting to see if Stiggers' commitment to USC holds up.

Mohamed Abukar, 6-8 SR PF, Escondido (Calif.) Rancho Bernardo. You would think that a player like Abukar, who is a finesse/skill guy, wouldn't do well at the ABCD camp where the action is dominated by athleticism and ballhogism. And Abukar definitely didn't light the world on fire, but he sort of resigned himself to being a role player here, and it actually worked for him to a degree. He let others take it to the hoop, while he spotted up from about 15 and shot pretty it pretty well. That was, though, when he touched the ball, which wasn't often. This might be a sign for Abukar; He'll have to get bigger and stronger and be able to play inside or he'll be relegated to waiting for kick-outs Georgia.

*Aaron Brooks, 5-11 SR PG, Seattle (Wash.) Franklin. Brooks had an overall excellent camp, and was probably the second-best point guard here behind Mustafa Shakur. Brooks has always been quick and a good passer, but his jumper – both long-range and pull-up – were excellent here. In fact, in a camp where shooting percentages are ugly, he shot 67% from the field, and a fantastic 70% from three. He didn't take many threes, but took them when he needed to to keep defenses honest. His floater game has also really come along, getting deadly with those in-the-paint floaters. And he's the best point guard on the west coast, by far, for breaking down a defender and dishing to a teammate. He was pretty fearless, too, taking it inside to finish, but didn't do too badly against this level of frontcourt athletes. His size – not really his height but his skinniness – was really his only limitation here, keeping him from being able to really be physical. In the all-star game, he struggled a bit defending Shakur, just outmatched physically. But many national scouts were telling me that they were sorry they had been discounting Brooks for so long, so that probably means we;ll be seeing him in many national top 50 rankings soon. His recruitment will probably be the most hotly contested one in the west.

Richard Cobbs, 6-5 SR SF, Moreno Valley (Calif.) Canyon Springs. Cobbs has always been about potential – with a great body and some developing skills. The problem now is he hasn't developed since really his sophomore year. He is very reliant on his outside shot,which just plainly isn't very good (he shot 20% from three here). When he takes it inside he gets in trouble, without the handle to be able to get his pretty thick body through a crowd. Cobbs is a good kid and it's hard to talk down a kid like this, but this camp probably put a pretty strong stamp on Cobbs that he's not the high major that some have been labeling him as for two years – more like a low to mid.

**Curtis Allen, 6-4 JR SG, Palos Verdes (Calif.) Rolling Hills Prep. Allen, as he has in other situations where the competition is at a high level, looked a bit intimidated. He didn't use his athleticism really much at all, but settled for looking for his outside shot. When I was watching him, he didn't shoot it well. But others told me that, every time I wasn't looking, Allen hit a jump shot. He shot 45% overall and 22% from three, so I didn't miss too much. While other juniors are stepping up in big-time situations like this, Allen, if he's going to keep pace, is going to have to assert himself and get out of his passivity.

John Winston, 6-2 SR PG, Richmond (Calif.) Salesian. Winston generally was poised to have a big camp here, but didn't realize it. He's the kind of guy that you would think would look good here – a point guard (so he handles the ball a lot – a must), and big and physical. But Winston was played off the ball quite a bit, which hurt him. Occasionally he ran the show, and when he did generally looked pretty good – as you would suspect, too big for smaller point guards to handle defensively. But that really wasn't often enough. Once he had been branded a two guard here it didn't seem like his teammates recognized him as a playmaker. Winston, though, should rebound for the rest of July playing with his summer team.

John Shumate, 6-3 SR PG, Tempe (Ariz.) Brophy Prep. While Shumate didn't do too much that would lead you to believe he had a good showing here, if you watched close there were signs of promise. Shumate, for one thing, has gotten big – about a year ago he was probably 6-0. He still needs to get some muscles now on that frame, but the newfound size makes him intriguing as a point guard. He isn't flashy, and isn't really quick, but he's solid, with good ballhandling and a good court sense. You still get a sense that he could still be growing into his body and hasn't gotten control of it completely yet. He's definitely one to watch this summer and in his senior year.

Jermaine Johnson, 6-6 JR PF, Anaheim (Calif.). Johnson was listed in the ABCD program as now attending Trinity Pawling High School in New York, so he might not be a west coaster anymore. Johnson was more effective than you might have thought here, with no fear to mix it up with guys 5 inches taller and quite a bit more athletic. Just through garbage, he averaged 6 points a game. He didn't display any real developed post moves, but just was flying around, going after the ball and bumping guys for rebounds. It's hard to really get anything from his performance about what level he projects. We'll have to see him more.

**Marvin Williams, 6-8 JR PF, Bremerton (Wash.) High. Among the talented west coast juniors at the camp, Williams led the way with a sterling performance. Even though it's not really certain how Adidas figures its player ratings, Williams was rated the best player in the camp for a couple of days, before falling a bit in the last day. But Williams showed here that he's not only one of the best on the west coast but one of the best in the country. He's just about 6-8, with long arms and a great body that could put on more muscle. He moves extremely well, up and down the court, and laterally in the halfcourt. He has legit small forward skills, able to break down defenders with nice moves and a very impressive cross-over. He then also goes inside and flies over people with his excellent hops. His quickness, vertical and great instincts made him look like a blur around slower post players here. He ended up averaging 14 points and nearly nine rebounds a game, which got him into the top ten for the camp in both categories. While we knew previously that Williams was very good, now the rest of the country knows, so Williams definitely had his coming out nationally here, and you can now classify him as one of the big names in the west in the junior class and, more than likely, a top 20 national prospect.

**David Burgess, 6-10 JR C, Irvine (Calif.) Woodbridge. Another west coast junior big man who had a big camp, and he played on the same team as Williams, making for a great inside combination. While Williams was flying all over the court, Burgess was holding down the paint, where he averaged a fantastic 11.5 rebounds a game, the best of anyone at ABCD, and better than the #2 rebounder by more than 2 rebounds. Really a fantastic stat. As a result of those boards and some solid inside moves, he also average 8.5 points a game. He played hard, and if his athleticism continues to improve, he could be among the best centers in the country. A good, healthy rivalry with fellow elite west coast junior center Robert Swift seems to have developed, so the next two years will prove to be very interesting as these two talented and nice kids battle it out for supremacy. Burgess actually ended up with a higher player ranking that Swift here, for what it's worth.

Tron Smith, 6-1 SR PG, Moreno Valley (Calif.) Canyon Springs. Smith didn't have as good a camp as you might have expected, mostly again, like with John Winston, he was labeled a two-guard, which means he didn't get his hands on the ball enough. Hurried in his shot in this atmosphere, he didn't shoot the ball well either. He found a little niche in driving and pulling up but didn't get enough opportunities to exploit it. We're sure, though, that he'll dominate with his summer team for the rest of July.

Khalif Ford, 6-0 SR PG, Diamond Bar High. Ford, I was told, didn't look good for the first few days of the camp when we weren't there. In the last two, he actually looked pretty good, seemingly getting more under control and not trying to force the action. He seemed to learn that he should play the role of getting the ball into the hands of people who can score, and once he did that, he performed well. It also helped that he had his summer teammate on his squad, Robert Swift. You have to give Ford some slack, too, since he just came off knee surgery and it was one of his first times back since. If he continues to play smart and under control, he's a solid mid major.

**Robert Swift, 6-11 JR C, Bakersfield Garces. Still the best all-around prospect on the west coast regardless of class, Swift looked good here, even though he's one of the few that was completely out of place because he plays team basketball. Swift knows how to play so well within a team concept even ABCD couldn't get him selfish. He actually was trying to get into a set offense, silly boy, while everyone else was running up and down the court. He'd actually pass from the high post to the low post, and almost surprise the recipient of the pass. Didn't he know that he was supposed to take that 15-footer? He set screens and blocked out for rebounds. What was he thinking? And he even has the athleticism and skills to be able to keep up with all the guys who weren't doing these things. Over the next two years it's going to be extremely fun to see just how good Swift will become. Right now it's just a question of how badly he wants it -- if he'll get really aggressive.

Dwain Williams, 5-11 SO PG, Fresno San Joaquin Memorial. Williams, known for launching threes from 25 feet or greater, thrived at ABCD. In a place where you didn't have to take the ball much further pass the midcourt line to shoot, he was in his element. Williams, though, showed moments of having other talents also, with a good handle and a good passing ability, when he wanted to use it. The question will be that, at his size, and with his funky, from-the-hip shot, will he do what he has to do to become a real prospect – and that is, look for his teammates and pass the ball?

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