Beach’s Bits: More NW Premier Summer Showcase

BELLEVUE - The 2015 Northwest Premier Summer Showcase is in the books, and it's clear that the region is once again bursting with quality college talent. There were plenty of rising seniors getting their names out there, but here are some of the underclassmen standouts from this weekend's tournament.

2017:
Corey Kispert - 6’6” Wing Friends of Hoop Lavine. Kispert easily remains the most under-rated recruit in the region, and possibly the entire West Coast. That should change quickly later in July. The muscular wing is arguably the region’s best long range marksman, particularly effective off the catch and shoot, but that doesn't begin to fully describe his game. His position is tough to define; a combo guard in a non traditional sense with keen court awareness and passing ability. But in the paint, he uses his powerful frame and high level athleticism to assert himself and is a true battler down low. Defensively, he delivers maximum effort able to keep smaller guards in front of him or bodying up bigger players in the post. Friday night he demonstrated his ability to impact the game when his shot is off (a rarity), dominating the post at times. Kispert is a unique player, and a top target of Washington, Gonzaga and Virginia. Stanford recently reached out to him, but bigger suitors may yet be in the cards.

Jaylen Nowell - 6’4” SG Seattle Rotary. Watching Rotary beat up patsies at their tournament did little to indicate any significant improvements in Nowell’s game. Hot off his experience the with the gold medal winning USA U16 team, Nowell was mostly on cruise control against inferior competition, showcasing his gorgeous mid-range jumper. His three-point shot wasn't falling in the game I watched. He's tough, athletic and physical, and he plays the game with laser focus. Though he's a shooting guard, his passing and court vision are high level to accompany his deft handle. Defensively his length and quickness are major assets and he puts them to good use. Powell currently holds offers from Washington, UCLA, Gonzaga, Oregon, Stanford and Seattle University.

Daejon Davis - 6’3” G Seattle Rotary. Davis doesn’t get as much attention as best friend and teammate Nowell, but he definitely deserves to be mentioned in the same breath. The bouncy point guard is a wiz with the ball in his hands and sees the floor incredibly well. He’s a unselfish, precise passer. He's also a brilliant scorer, consistently connecting from outside with a pretty three-point stroke, or getting to the rim with ease where he's likely to finish with an emphatic flourish. He's blazing quick, and that trait - coupled with a high octane motor - gives him the potential to be a lock-down defender at the college level. Davis currently holds offers from Washington, Washington State, Seattle and Nevada.

Elijah Gonzalez - 5’6” PG Maeko. It's tough for a little guy to get noticed these days, but Elijah Gonzalez is a rare exception. Playing for former Oregon Beaver and Pac-12 analyst Lamar Hurd, Gonzalez packs a lot of punch into his tiny frame. Possessing elite quickness and the heart of a lion, the diminutive Clackamas point guard has fantastic feel for the position, and is an elite ball handler/passer. He's a dynamic scorer as well, and a nightmare to stay in front of. His motor runs non-stop, and he finishes at the cup busting through contact. He also connected on two well-polished runners in traffic and canned a couple of three-pointers, boasting a smooth, quick release. Gonzalez’s recruitment is just ramping up, but he's a special prospect - regardless of his size.

Scott Blakney - 6’9” C Emerald City Pioneers. Blakney is a wide-bodied post who plays with a high skill level. Though just an average athlete, he gets good position on the block and connected on a couple of pretty spin moves over his right shoulder. He also had a number of nice passes out of the high post and showed good effort as a defender while blocking a number of shots.

Keegan Crosby - 6’5” Wing APlus Black. Crosby is a long-limbed wing who plays with energy. He's a solid athlete who uses his length effectively to grab rebounds and disrupt passing lanes. He's a solid ball handler and streaky three-point shooter - though his shot is flat - and was effective putting the ball on the floor with a quick first step. He was effective in transition and got up and down the floor quickly.

Khalid Thomas - 6’7” F I-5 Elite. Thomas is an aggressive, slender forward from Portland who plays with tremendous energy. He's a high-riser, and did most of his damage in the paint where he used his bouncy legs and long arms to grab rebounds for easy put backs and dunks. He was also effective with his back to the basket, scoring over his right shoulder on multiple occasions while showing quality footwork. He's very active on the defensive end as well, showing good instincts and deflecting multiple shots and passes.

Nolan Bertain - 6’4” G Maeko. There's a lot to like about the wiry, under-the-radar Oregon wing. He's a jack-of-all-trades guard who plays at a high tempo while maintaining control as he slashes through the paint for athletic finishes. He's quick and a solid leaper, handles the ball competently, and shows high level passing ability, particularly in transition. Good length and a quality motor help him grab a lot of rebounds while also making him highly effective on the defense end. He also knocked down a couple of three-pointers, but showed a tendency to drift while firing from behind the arc. He's definitely a player worth keeping an eye on the next couple of years.

2018:
Nic Lynch - 6’9” PF Friends of Hoop Harris. Lynch is a beast of a post prospect. He is blessed with a muscular, powerful frame which he uses very effectively. His footwork is excellent, sealing defenders with his broad body, showing a host of post moves. His touch in the paint was quite impressive for such a young big man. He hustles - and not surprisingly - is a very physical defender who plays with intensity. He also showed good form on a couple of 15-foot baseline jumpers. Lynch is one of the top prospects in the region for 2018, with developing interest at the high major level.

Devin Culp - 6’4” SF I-5 Elite. The Spokane wing was the talk of the town last summer and showed off some pretty impressive traits over this past weekend. He's built like a tank - or more specifically - like a linebacker, with a muscular frame that he uses to overwhelm opponents. He's on the raw side offensively, but handles the ball pretty well and is very active, earning most of his points attacking the basket where he's surprisingly bouncy despite his bulky body. His jump shot needs work, however. He's a player with mid—to-high major potential, depending on how his body matures over the next couple of years.

2019:
P.J. Fuller - G 6’3” APlus Grey. It's never too early to start getting excited about the "next big thing" in Seattle. His name is P.J. Fuller, and he's going to be special. The skinny youngster is a freakish athlete, with a pogo-stick vertical and first step that looks like he was shot out of a cannon. His three-point stroke is already buttery smooth with just a flick of the wrist, and he attacks the hoop with the ferocity of a highlight finisher. He's also a slick ball handler and sees the floor well, earning high marks for creativity. In the paint, he uses his bounce and long reach to get to a lot of rebounds for garbage buckets. In terms of areas for improvement, Fuller doesn't yet deliver consistent effort on the floor, which isn't terribly unusual for a player so young and when the game comes so easily to him. Fuller is an elite talent who is already in Washington's crosshairs and will inevitably attract elite attention once his recruiting ramps up.

NOTE: The Seattle Rotary players mentioned above played in their own tournament, The Seattle Summer Showcase.


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