Reeves Nelson, 6-6 SO SF Modesto (Calif.) Modesto Christian. Easily the top prospect at the event, Nelson demonstrated why he's one of the elite prospects in the country for 2009. You don't see many 10th graders with Nelson's combination of size, athleticism, skill level and feel for the game. While he's not exceptionally quick, Nelson is very bouncy and strong. He can finish inside against size and he's a terrific rebounder. He has the ball skills of a shooting guard and the vision/feel of a point guard. Assuming his body stays good – he is pretty filled out already for a sophomore – Nelson will be recruited by the top programs in the country. He attended UCLA's camp in June and it's known that UCLA is among his small list of early favorites.
Jared Cunningham, 6-2 SO PG San Leandro (Calif.) High. Cunningham was content to play off the ball in these games, but we believe his future is at the point. He has a long and live body, with deceptive explosiveness. He had a couple of very impressive blocks and rebounds where he showed his athleticism. He's a good shooter to the stripe, but does need to get his release point up a bit. With development, Cunningham is a potential elite prospect down the road. He also attended UCLA's June camp.
Drew Gordon, 6-9 JR C San Jose (Calif.) Mitty. Gordon has added muscle and maybe grown an inch since we last saw him. This is a good thing, as we've thought for some time now that he'd end up a five in college. He's one of the best run/jump athletes in the class, but his ball skills – shooting, handling, passing – are those of a five man. Gordon loves to make the spectacular play – and he'll get a few big dunks or blocks in the pickup game environment – but he really needs to focus on his fundamentals. Playing in the post with his back to the basket, working on his footwork, developing a go-to move, then a counter move…these are the things he'll need to develop in order to play at the next level. He has as much physical upside as anyone in the class. Now he needs to develop the skill package to put those marvelous tools to work in real games.
Orlando Johnson, 6-5 SR SF Salinas (Calif.) Palma. We didn't see Johnson much on the AAU circuit, but we can see why Loyola Marymount made him a priority. A physical, tough wing (he used to play football), Johnson just overpowered players at this event. He got to the basket whenever he wanted and finished very well. Nice feel for the game and competes very well.
Dominique Lee, 6-5 FR SF Berkeley (Calif.) St. Mary's. Good-looking young wing with length and athleticism. Had a couple nice plays getting to the basket and showed a decent shot to 15-17 feet. This was our first look at Lee and he's someone we'll be watching in the future.
Johnny McArthur, 6-7 FR C/PF Concord (Calif.) De La Salle. Strong, young post prospect with some nice skills for freshman. Not a great athlete, but showed a good feel and made some nice plays in the post.
Ifeanyi Ezeofer, 6-5 FR PF/SF Newark (Calif.) Newark Memorial. Very good body and moves well for a young kid. He didn't get many opportunities to do much with the ball, but he looks like he has some upside.
Brandon Smith, 5-10 SO PG Concord (Calif.) De La Salle. Smith doesn't have great size or quickness, but he knows how to play the game. Good decisions, fairly good skill level and a tough competitor.
Other players who had some good moments on Saturday included Eric Obeysekere, Matt Simpkins, Tyree McCrary, Deend Parker, Gabriel Kindred, Chris Jones, Aalim Moor, Desmond Simmons, Evan Wiley, Kelly Kaigler, Shaheed Young and Matt Wellen.