Jerime Anderson, 6-1 JR PG Anaheim (Calif.) Canyon. I hate to say I told you so but…no, actually, I'm happy to say I told you so. Anderson's body type, and feel for the position, are factors that many analysts missed on last summer. The UCLA commit filled out, his athleticism is much better than people realize and he's a very good defender. Anderson had a great weekend in Houston, leading Pump N Run to the championship game. He's clearly one of the top few point guards in the country.
Elston Turner, Jr., 6-4 JR SG Roseville (Calif.) High. Turner played a back-up role on the Pump team and he really didn't get a chance to show what he can do. In limited minutes, he had a difficult time getting into any sort of rhythm. I was extremely impressed with Turner, who is committed to Washington, last summer and I refuse to believe that I saw the real Turner in Houston. He was tentative and struggled with his shot at this tournament, but that will happen when you're only playing 5-10 minutes a game. Turner's got a very good bball body and his ball skills are solid. He'll be playing with a different club team going forward and I'm anxious to see him in a different situation.
Jeff Withey, 6-11 JR C San Diego (Calif.) Horizon. After a somewhat disappointing summer last year, I was eager to see Withey, who is committed to Louisville, at this tournament. I was happy to see that Withey has made significant strides in his game. He's filling out nicely and he moved very well in the game I saw. He made several excellent catches – hands looked good. He played with very good energy and he was active at both ends. He showed a nice touch around the basket, converting on a few opportunities inside. If he keeps playing like this, he'll have a shot at being the top-ranked center in the west.
Andy Poling, 6-10 JR C Portland (Ore.) Westview. Poling has filled out a bit since last summer, but he's still pretty slender. He doesn't yet have the strength to play against stronger players inside. He's got a nice touch to 15 feet or so. He's still growing into his body, though, and he's not moving as well now as he will in a few years. It's tough to predict how good Poling might be someday without knowing how his body will turn out. Once he's completely filled out, and he's been in the Gonzaga weight program, he will probably look like a much different player.
Michael Bostic, 6-7 JR PF Ontario (Calif.) Colony. Bostic is a very intriguing prospect with a high upside. He plays on a high school team with some selfish guards, so he didn't get a lot of touches when I saw him this season. But he's extremely bouncy and he runs very well. He looks like a baby, so it wouldn't be surprising if he's still got some physical maturing coming. Bostic is the kind of player that if goes to a prep school, or maybe redshirts a year, you'll look up a few years from now and say "where did that kid come from?" He's still got a long way to go in terms of his development, but he's got a chance to be very good someday.
Brad Tinsley, 6-4 JR SG Oregon City (Calif.) High. Tinsley has played some point guard with his club team, Team Jones, but I see him playing off the ball at the next level. His best attribute his a terrific stroke with range beyond the stripe. He looks to be one of the best shooters in the west for 2008. He's pretty good with the ball, but lacks the quickness to defend, or get separation from, high major point guards. He's getting recruited by numerous mid to high majors.
Brian Conklin, 6-8 JR PF/C Eugene (Ore.) North Eugene. Conklin has pretty good size and he's willing to bang inside. He didn't get the opportunity to show much of an offensive game, but that's not unusual in AAU ball. He seems to move pretty good and has fairly good hands. I want to watch him some more, but he looks like a likely mid major prospect with a chance to go higher.
Taylor Darby, 6-7 JR PF Mission Hills (Calif.) High. This was my first viewing of Darby and he was pretty impressive. He's got a solid frame, looks very young and moves well. His offensive game is still coming, but there's some upside here if he wants to be a player. Reportedly a very good student, he'd seem like a natural for the Ivy League schools.
Reeves Nelson, 6-7 SO SF Modesto (Calif.) Modesto Christian. I've had Nelson at the top of my small forward list for 2009 since last summer, but his coming out party for the rest of the country was this past weekend in Houston. Nelson has an unusual game for a small forward. He's a beast of a rebounder, with very strong and big hands, great hops and a relentless approach. He's very effective converting opportunities around the basket with either hand. His outside shot is solid at this time and he figures to be a good perimeter shooter by the time he gets to college. Nelson doesn't have your classic wing body – he's pretty big and thick already – so there is some concern about his ability to move laterally against elite wings 23 feet from the basket. But there are so many positives to his game that this is not a huge concern.
Elijah Johnson, 6-2 SO PG Las Vegas (Nev.) Cheyenne. Johnson is a very explosive, athletic point guard in the mold of a Baron Davis. He's got a great body and his physical tools are among the best in his class. He can shoot it from three-point range, but also get to the rim at will. He sometimes plays off the ball with the Houston Hoops. That's a big mistake on the part of the Hoops' coach, as Johnson is a player you want handling the ball. He showed excellent passing ability last summer, with terrific vision, and a very good overall feel. He can sometimes get a little careless if he tries to do too much, but that's a pretty minor criticism. His upside is off the charts. With development, he's got a chance to be the best point guard in the country.
Michael Snaer, 6-4 SO SG Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde. Snaer has a terrific combination of size, athleticism, skill level and feel for the game. It's his feel – patient, poised and unselfish – that separates him from a lot of young wings. With continued development, he has a chance to be one of the best two guards in the country for 2009.
Brendan Lane, 6-7 SO PF Rocklin (Calif.) High. Lane has a good frame, with fairly long arms, and he moves very well. He made a couple nice passes in the game I saw. I didn't get a chance to see much from him in terms of offense, but he's got the physical tools to be a player.
Jordan Hamilton, 6-6 SO SF Los Angeles (Calif.) Dorsey. Hamilton's forte is shooting jumpers, preferably when he's coming free off a pick. He's got a good-looking body, but he's something of a straight-line athlete and a little bit stiff. He doesn't have the flexibility that you associate with elite, high level small forwards. Instead of a Kobe Bryant or Tracy McGrady type, think more of a Glen Rice type. Hamilton is definitely a threat as a shooter – now he needs to show that he can defend and rebound at a high level.
Greg Smith, 6-8 SO C Fresno (Calif.) Edison. Smith is a very young-looking prospect with huge feet and a very good frame. He's still growing into his body and it's tough to tell just how athletic he might end up. His offensive skills are still in the rudimentary stage, but he's a good-looking prospect. Definitely one to watch in the future.