Rose City Showcase Review

PORTLAND - Now in its 11th year, the annual Rose City Showcase has emerged as the most popular regional AAU event in the Pacific Northwest. 212 teams from across Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia converged on the Rose City this past weekend, hosted by the spectacular wooded campus of Lewis and Clark College.

The AAU landscape in the great Northwest has evolved continuously over the last decade, with two or three AAU programs from each state (or province in the case of British Columbia) consistently dominating the top of each age bracket. ICP Portland has emerged as the top program in Oregon, with a reinvigorated I-5 Elite nipping at their heels. Washington State was less represented than years past due to the absence of top programs Friends of Hoop, Northwest Panthers and Emerald City Basketball.

In the championship final Sunday afternoon, ICP Elite topped Oregon's I-5 Elite, 67-64.

One Washington team proved noteworthy. Seattle's newest AAU program, A+, is coached by former Stanford point guard and O'Dea high school star Mitch Johnson and backed by Seattle basketball Godfather Jim Marsh. They made quite a splash in their first RCS, playing in the U17 division despite a roster of talent for the 2015 and 2016 classes. Their team, which includes Lakeside's Isaiah Brown - the top overall 2016 prospect in the State of Washington - should become a factor at the national level in the coming years.

Here are some of the players that stood out this weekend.
Silas Melson 6-3 Jefferson ICP Portland. The skilled combo guard is quietly deadly when he finds his rhythm, as he did Friday night. What Melson lacks in flash he makes up for in skill and substance, rarely taking bad shots or forcing action while letting the game come to him. He's an effective dribble penetrator, able to finish through contact, and has explosive hops in transition though he rarely finds reason to utilize them. He's one of the top prospects in Oregon in 2014. Melson is being recruited by Gonzaga, UW, WSU, UO and OSU, among others.

Daniel Hamilton 6-7 Bosco. Friday night, the recently committed UCONN wing was a turnover machine, consistently over-dribbling and rising into the air with no clear plan as to where to go next. His play improved over the weekend and his raw athleticism and overall energy level physically overwhelm opposing defenders. Hamilton's handle and decision-making still need considerable work.

Kameron Chatman 6-8 Poly, ICP Portland. Chatman is a fantastic talent and extraordinarily versatile. As such, he defies easy description. He's got a point guard's game but he's a bit of a hybrid forward physically. He struggled from beyond the arc. Chatman is an impact rebounder and has a nice array of moves in the paint which may make him just as suited to play a stretch four position in college as the point guard spot. Finding the right program that can utilize his unique skill set will be vital for Chatman's development. He has standing offers from Michigan and most of the Pac-12.

Gabo Tayo 6-8 Valley Catholic Oregon Pump N Run. Tayo is an active forward with good mobility and a slender frame. Despite average athleticism, he's got a quick first step. His jumper needs some work and he settles too often for contested three pointers.

Juwan Anderson 5-11 Bishop O Dowd Oakland Rebels. Anderson is a sure-handed point guard with good quicks and body control. His court awareness is excellent, which is no surprise due to the fact that he's academically a year ahead for his age. He's jittery during penetration and finishes strong despite possessing average leaping ability.

Armond Davis 6-4 Lincoln Tacoma I-5 Elite. Playing for Portland's I-5 Elite, Davis is a speedy wing with good handle and excellent quickness. He's got a smooth stroke and utilizes a number of scoring weapons near the basket including an effective floater which drops with consistency. Davis needs to build strength as he tends to get pushed around near the hoop and he struggles to finish at times.
Grayson Smallwood 6-10 Jefferson ICP Portland. ICP's skinny center prospect is extremely long and bouncy and has improved his body control considerably since last year. Despite getting lost at times on defense, he's a constant presence near the cup and his touch has steadily improved over the last three years. Smallwood is an active shot blocker due to his immense wingspan, but needs to work on his overall court awareness. Due to his lack of strength, he gets pushed around by smaller, stronger players, but his sheer physical potential is too great to ignore.

Brantle Harris 6-2 Archbishop Murphy NEYB Seattle. The speedy point guard put his combination of above average size and quickness to good use penetrating the paint. He's a solid passer and has a soft touch inside, connecting on several impressive teardrops and runners Saturday.

Devin Schal, 6-5 Wenatchee Eastmont NEYB Seattle. Schal is a confident slashing guard with good size, a quick first step, and above average ball-handling skills. He was especially effective penetrating the paint against the bigger Oakland Rebels, and he hit a number of mid-range pull-up jumpers as well. He backed up his swagger-filled play with an energetic motor despite suffering from nausea, which held him out of the Saturday afternoon session.

Jermaine Haley 6-5 Burnaby South BC Drive BC. Haley, a slender point guard, is regarded as one of the top underclassmen in Canada. Haley demonstrated excellent floor vision at the point, and is surprising nimble in spite of his length. The British Columbia standout has great size for a point guard, is an above average athlete and possesses a quality mid-range pull-up jumper.

Dejounte Murray 6-4 Rainier Beach A+. Murray is a silky smooth combo guard who appears to have added a couple of inches since the end of the high school season. In traffic he's nimble and fluid, possessing quick feet and a killer crossover to accompany his quality handle. He has a nice stroke from three which he hit consistently and can drive and finish strong with either hand. One of the top college prospects in a loaded 2015 Washington state class.

Scooter Hastings 6-7 Lynden A+. Hastings is a physically imposing forward that projects as a wing at the high major level. Possessing broad shoulders, he puts his sculpted frame to good use, snapping up rebounds and out-muscling opponents for offensive put backs and loose balls. He's versatile offensively and a dangerous slasher, owning a polished mid-range jumper to accompany a decent three-point stroke and is a motivated defender. Hastings is one of the more intriguing prospects in Washington State for 2015.

Hank Hollingsworth 6-10 A+. Hollingsworth is a developing post prospect who possesses good mobility for a player his size. His offensive arsenal is mostly limited to layins and put backs, as he struggles to finish through contact at the cup. He's skinny and has plenty of work to do in the weight room but he's an instinctive shot blocker and rebounder who isn't anchored to the floor like most players his height. The tools are there to be an impact player, and Hollingsworth is definitely a player to keep an eye on given the limited number of post players available out west.
Isiah Brown 6-0 Lakeside A+. There's little doubt Brown is the best player in the state of Washington for the 2016 class. He is an unflappable floor general, possessing exceptional quickness and fantastic ballhandling skills. He's a deft, naturally gifted passer who rarely forces anything. He's also deadly from the three point arc and a blur in transition. One of the top point guard prospects on the west coast for 2016, Brown has an offer from Washington.

Sam Cunliffe 6-4 Blanchet A+. The slender point guard is an above average athlete with good quickness, a pure shooting stroke and good size for his position. With the ball in Cunliffe's hands he's nimble, with a low dribble and quick hands. He also gets a lot of lift under his quality three point stroke. Top Stories