Evaluations from CIF SS Finals

Quite a few recruits of UCLA interest participated in the CIF Finals at the Honda Center Saturday, including UCLA committed Jrue Holiday, junior point guard Robert Smith and sophomore guard Tyler Lamb...

The CIF Southern Section championships were held this past Saturday at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., and there were a number of talented prospects on hand. Here are my most recent thoughts on some of the players who stood out.

Jrue Holiday, 6-4 SR SG/PG North Hollywood (Calif.) Campbell Hall. You know a player is special when he can still manage to amaze you even after you've seen him play a hundred times. I've been watching Holiday since he was entering the 9th grade and he still comes up with plays that shock me. He led Campbell Hall to an easy 73-38 win over Price to capture the Division IIIAA championship. Holiday finished with 20 points, 12 rebounds, eight steals, three blocks and three assists, but the numbers don't really tell the story. He is one of the rare high school players who can dominate the game at both ends. As good as he offensively, he's just as effective at the defensive end of the court. It sometimes seems like he must have a twin on the court, because he covers so much ground and is constantly around the ball. While some may not see it yet, the UCLA-bound guard is the top prospect in the country and that fact will become crystal clear over the course of his career.

Tyreese Breshers, 6-6 SR PF Los Angeles (Calif.) Price. Breshers struggled in the blowout loss to Campbell Hall, as his team was simply overmatched and he had a tough time getting anything going. He finished with four points, but did grab 10 rebounds and had a couple blocks. Breshers has some outstanding physical attributes – big body, long arms and very explosive hops – but he needs to learn to play with a greater sense of urgency and purpose. He'll go through phases where he takes some plays off and then dominate a stretch of a game. He's a fairly effective scorer in the low-post, but his face-up game on the perimeter could use some work. Breshers is headed to Washington next fall and he's got a chance to be a very nice player down the road.

Allen Crabbe, 6-4 SO SG Los Angeles (Calif.) Price. Crabbe is another player who needs to learn to play hard all the time. He's got good size, with a nice frame, and a very good stroke to the stripe. He needs to be more physical and impact the game in ways other than scoring, but he's got some upside. He had a couple nice drives to the basket against Campbell Hall and showed an improved ability to put the ball on the floor. With continued development, he's got a chance to end up at the mid to high major level. Crabbe is on UCLA's radar, with Crabbe having attended the UCLA camp last July.

Robert Smith, 5-11 JR PG Perris (Calif.) High. Smith did everything he could to lead Perris to a win over West Valley, but four of his teammates fouled out and West Valley won the IIIA championship in overtime. Smith, a true point who can knock down shots, finished the game with 21 points, seven rebounds, five assists and eight steals. The top-rated 2009 PG in Southern California, Smith has very good vision, instincts and passing ability. Santa Clara, USC, Nebraska, Oregon, California, UCLA and Portland are among the schools expressing interest.

Joe Burton, 6-7 JR C Hemet (Calif.) West Valley. Burton had a big game in the win over Perris, finishing with 23 points and 17 rebounds. Burton is an excellent passer and he's got good overall skills for a young post. He's a very big kid, checking in at around 280, and there is a concern about his lack of physical upside at the next level. He doesn't have great lift and he's an average athlete overall. He does have a nice feel for the game, though, and he will likely receive interest at the mid to high major level. UCLA has scouted Burton.

Eric Lawton, 6-1 JR SG/PG Hemet (Calif.) West Valley. Lawton put on a show in the win over Perris. A cat-quick combo guard who is hard to guard, Lawton played well at both ends. He had several very impressive plays where he created his own shot and he did a solid job defending Robert Smith. He's got a slight frame and that will likely scare off some coaches, but he's a talent. A likely mid to high major prospect.

Michael Snaer, 6-4 JR SG Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde. After a rough start shooting the ball, Snaer finished up with a very nice game, leading his team to a 62-51 win over Knight for the IIA championship. Snaer had 22 points, six rebounds, three steals and three blocks in the victory. Snaer's got the size, athleticism, defensive ability and skill level to play at the high major level. One area he needs to work on though is playing through adversity. Whether it's a bad call, or a mistake of his own, Snaer can sometimes get taken out of the game and lose his focus. But there's no question he's got the ability to play for anyone in the country. He's not great at any one thing, but he's very good in multiple areas of the game. He's hearing from Cal, UNLV, UCLA and Missouri, among others.

Tyler Lamb, 6-4 SO SG Ontario (Calif.) Colony. Lamb finished 3-19 from the field in a 60-45 loss to Bishop Montgomery and he was one of the best prospects I saw all day. Great-looking kid, excellent frame, improved athleticism (body has gotten leaner in last year), very good feel and above average skill level. He made several impressive moves where he didn't finish, but the move itself was enough to tell you that he's going to be a big-time player. For you stat scouts out there – this is why we don't evaluate off of stats. Lamb is currently the top-rated guard prospect in the west for 2010. Lamb has said if UCLA offered it's where he'd go.

David Wear, 6-9 JR C Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. Wear had a tough time dealing with the quickness of Dominguez's athletes and he ended up with 11 points and 10 rebounds in a loss. He's making the transition from playing on the perimeter to going inside more and that's a good move on his part. He still doesn't have a polished low-post game, though, and that was a problem in this game, as he couldn't really take advantage of the size differential. He's spent a lot of time on the perimeter in the last couple years and he's just now starting to play inside on a consistent basis. He's headed to North Carolina in 2009.

Travis Wear, 6-9 JR C Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. Wear has thickened up a bit through the hips in the last year and, as a result, he doesn't move his feet quite the way he did when he was younger. He too made an effort to play inside against the smaller Dominguez players and he did finish with 15 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. However, like his brother, he lacks a go-to move in the post and that's something he needs to develop. At the next level, he's not going to be able to play on the perimeter against the elite athletes in the ACC. He will need to be a strong, physical low-post player if he's to be successful at that level. He'll be joining his brother at UNC in 2009.

Andy Brown, 6-8 JR PF Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. Brown was Mater Dei's most effective player in the loss. He ended up with 16 points, ten rebounds, two blocks and three steals. Brown is a versatile player who can shoot the three, score inside and also defend all over the court. He's improved his skill level in the last year and he's a definite high major prospect. San Diego, Notre Dame, Michigan and Santa Clara are among the programs that have expressed interest.

Kawhi Leonard, 6-6 JR SF Riverside (Calif.) King. Leonard struggled for most of the game, but came alive in the 4th quarter and overtime to help King to a win over Etiwanda for the I-A championship. Leonard is a bit stiff to play on the wing at the high major level, but he does have good skills and a pretty good stroke. He's a good, not great, athlete and he does have a very good frame. He will likely be recruited at the mid to possibly high major level. UCLA has scouted Leonard.

Eric Wise, 6-5 SR PF Riverside (Calif.) King. Wise is one of those wide-body, undersized four men that gets a lot done. He's got an excellent feel for the game and a very nice set of skills. Good hands and feet, knows how to use his body inside and a solid skill package. He scored 27 points and had nine rebounds, and he was truly the difference for King in their win. He's a no-brainer at the Big West level and he might be able to play a little higher.


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