Les Schwab Invitational Notebook

PORTLAND - After 17 years of showcasing some of the top hoops talent in the Pacific Northwest, the Les Schwab Invitational has become one of the premier holiday basketball tournaments in the country. Despite a lack of obvious elite talent, Oregon is bristling with quality mid-high major college prospects. Here are some of the players that stood out.

2013 F Aaron Gordon - Archbishop Mitty (San Jose). After a 4-13 free throw performance cost Archbishop Mitty a win Thursday night, the immensely talent Gordon dominated Century with a 36-point, 24-rebound performance. He was at his freakish best especially in the paint where he overwhelmed Century with his relentless motor and ridiculous leaping ability. His handle continues to improve and he spent much of his time running the point, but his true gifts still shine in the paint. Gordon is clearly doing his best to transition to a more perimeter oriented role but his jumper remains mediocre at best and he tends to run into trouble dribbling in traffic. Gordon has repeatedly signaled his desire to be recruited as a wing, but make no mistake - he's a forward. He is quite possibly the most uniquely gifted player at that position in the country.

2013 G Victor Sanders - Jefferson. Despite lacking premium athleticism, the high octane, 6-foot-5 scoring wing can put up points in a hurry. Sanders is a pure scorer who carries with him a deadly three point stroke out to 25 feet. Because it's a consistent weapon, Sanders has no qualms about shooting it. Sanders possesses an above average handle and utilizes a crossover to set up dribble penetration. He is also a crafty passer. Sanders is one of the more underrated recruits in the Pacific Northwest for 2013. He is getting interest from Portland State, Utah and Oregon State, among others

2013 G A.J. Lapray - Sprague. The 2013 Oregon signee is a versatile 6-foot-5 tweener with an aggressive, physical approach to the game. Playing an off-guard role, he's a fierce rebounder, very active in the paint and showed a quality three point stroke. Lapray has drawn comparisons to current Oregon Duck E.J. Singler.

2013 F Hayden Hall - Jefferson. The 6-foot-7 senior forward drilled several three pointers in the Democrats' win over Sprague Friday afternoon. Long and lanky, Hall is lightly built but is an active, physical defender/shot blocker with a solid handle. Hall has a future on the wing at the low-to-mid major level.

2013 G Madison McCaffrey - Century. In a game where Mitty's Aaron Gordon dominated in just about every way, McCaffrey was similarly spectacular for Century. He drilled just about everything he touched, torching Mitty for 23 points in the first half and ending the evening with a hard earned 40. Listed at 5-foot-10, the crafty senior is absolutely deadly from outside, needing just a sliver of space to get his shot off. He's confident and poised with ball in his hand and a high level passer. He compares similarly to Stanford's Aaron Bright, who prepped at Bellevue.

2013 F Isaiah Smith - Columbia River (Vancouver). The well built 6-foot-8 forward demonstrated a nice touch around the basket in CR's morning session win over Southridge. Smith also owns a fluid mid-range jump shot. His ball-handling skills need work. He finishes well through contact and has a nice free throw stroke. He is being recruited by University of Portland, Western Oregon, Seattle Pacific and Alaska-Anchorage.

2014 G Silas Melson - Jefferson. Melson is a relative newcomer to the national recruiting scene but has put together an impressive list of suitors in the last couple of months. The rising 2014 combo guard showcased a stellar mid-range pull up to accompany a deadly three point stroke. He's a deceptively explosive athlete with good quicks, excellent handle and few flaws. Melson is one of the top guard recruits in the Northwest for 2014 and is being recruited by Washington and Gonzaga, among others

2014 F Tyler Gutierrez - Sunset. The solidly built 6-foot-8 post was very effective in Sunset's morning session win over Tigard. He's a versatile post scorer, confidently utilizing both hands to attack the hoop. He demonstrated a solid handle and a soft touch able to finish through contact, but needs to play with more energy on the defensive end. A quality mid-major post prospect.

2014 G Taylor Harris - Sunset. Harris is a speedy, active 6-foot-4 shooting guard with excellent body control, ball-handling skills, and a pretty three point stroke. His combination of length, quick feet and tenacious attitude also make him an advanced perimeter defender.

2015 F Joel Johnson - Tigard. The lanky sophomore from Tigard is an active shot blocker with surprising athleticism. He got pushed around by Sunset's bigger, more physically mature front court and needs to play more aggressively, but the 2015 prospect possesses excellent physical tools which project well long term.


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