With the 2016 class in San Diego all but wrapped up, coaches and scouts will now turn their attention to the classes of 2017-2019 as the first NCAA evaluation period begins this weekend.
Full-Time Hoops, your source for all things San Diego, will track a number of teams in the Los Angeles area for two of the larger "live period" events on the West Coast: the Double Pump Spring Hoopfest and the Southern California Hoop Review, hosted by Gerry Freitas and West Coast Elite Basketball.
A number of other programs and players will be out of town at events in Dallas, New York City and Las Vegas.
Here is what you need to know about the San Diego contingent headed into the first live-period weekend.
McCoy, Hands make All-American push
A year after San Diego produced its first McDonald's All American in a decade, the junior class has the potential to produce two more, the first time the region would have ever produced multiple Mickey D's players on the boy's side.
Brandon McCoy, a 7-0 center from Cathedral Catholic, completed a year where he led the Dons to CIF Open Division finals and the state regional playoffs, including an upset win over Sierra Canyon. Just named the Cal-Hi Sports Junior of the Year, McCoy is considered a Top 15 prospect by every major recruiting service, which is typically "lock" territory for the prestigious "Burger Boy" designation. McCoy will have to perform well on the Nike EYBL Circuit, where he will play his grassroots ball with Southern California powerhouse Cal Supreme (NY April 15-16), and be paired with former AAU teammate DeAndre Ayton, the No. 1 prospect in the 2017 class and a presumptive All-American, to form the most formidable 1-2 frontcourt punch in all of grassroots hoops. He must also improve upon showings at national camps, such as the Pangos All-American Camp in June.
The second San Diego prospect with a chance to don a McDonald's jersey is 6-3 PG Jaylen
Hands. The 163-pound lead guard had a rocky year in which he transferred from Mater Dei Catholic to Foothills Christian only to be ruled ineligible by CIF, which led to his transfer to Balboa City Schools. At Balboa, Hands led the team to a 29-8 record and played well in several national events. 24/7 sports has his composite recruiting ranking average at 28, which is in the neighborhood for a McDonald's bid, but he has work to do this summer, both on the Adidas Circuit with his Compton Magic AAU (Dallas April 15-17) team as well as the national camps in June and Adidas Nations in August.
San Diego All-Stars joins Gamepoint on the Adidas Silver Circuit
Gamepoint made waves two years ago when it was awarded a bid on the Adidas Uprising Gauntlet Series. Two years later, San Diego All-Stars has joined the Vista-based program on the Adidas Circuit, meaning that the region's two strongest grassroots programs are on the same circuit.
Gamepoint's 17u and 16u teams and SDA's 17u team will compete on the Gauntlet's Silver Division, which includes a number of top teams across the country. The three teams will be in Dallas for the first live period.
SDA's 17u team is headlined by 6-8 2017 F Richard Polanco, a talented point-forward type who is being recruited by Nevada, Montana, USD and several other mid-major programs. Another 2017 talent on the team is 6-4 combo guard Jamison "JJ" Overton, who had an impressive showing last weekend at the Hoop Review Spring Tip-Off. Unsigned 6-9 senior post Armstrong Ojunkwu mans the paint for the SDA team, which also boasts two sophomore wings, 6-6 Trey Anderson and 6-6 TJ Lowery, who each have a number of programs monitoring them on the Division 1 level. Junior guard Otto Taylor is rounding into form after an injury sidelined him for the end of his season at St. Augustine, and he and his fellow Saintsmen Jack Peterson are two of the best shooters in the class locally, with Taylor also boasting explosive athleticism. Defensive minded PG Ed Fenzi and 6-6 junior wing DeVante Shepherd round out the SDA 17u roster.
For more information on SDA, visit www.sdabasketball.com
Gamepoint's 17u team has an emphasis on the future with three 2018 prospects playing major
roles. 6-10 F Warren Washington is coming off a breakout season for Escondido, and is starting to make big strides with his play on the perimeter. Fellow sophomore 6-2 G Jalen Flanagan is a lockdown perimeter defender and an exciting player in transition. And finally, 6-0 point guard Taurus Samuels, who was named to the All CIF Section Team after guiding Vista to a CIF Division 1 quarterfinal appearance, will be one of the team's primary ball handlers. All of the sophomores have a number of mid-major Division 1 programs in pursuit, and could propel their recruitment even higher with strong AAU campaigns. The sophomore trio is joined by a solid junior crop including 6-2 combo guards Charles Neal Jr. and Nathan Matthews, 6-5 Torrey Pines SG Cade Shackleford, 6-5 sharpshtooer Ben Okhotin and massive 6-9 post Jake Gilliam, who made the All Palomar League 1st team as a junior. Two unsigned seniors round out the roster: 6-11 Jacob Tryon, an intriguing face-up four, and 6-6 Conner Nelson, a talented shooter and athlete on the wing.
Gamepoint 16u team is spearheaded by 2018 Morse G Robert Young, 2018 Poway W Zach Reiter and 2019 La Jolla Country Day G Ryan Langborg, one of the West Coast's top freshmen.
For more information on Gamepoint, visit www.gamepointbball.com
Coastal Elite taps AYBO connection once more
For three consecutive summers, Coastal Elite has boasted at least one African-borne recruit on their team, the product of co-director Kwaku Amoaku's African Youth Basketball Organization (AYBO), which fosters talent throughout the continent. This year, Coastal Elite returns unsigned senior Samuel Adjei, a 6-7 wing whose talent caught the eyes of a number of programs during last year's live periods in July. Adjei is joined by fellow Redemption Christian Academy F Delali Cofie, a 6-8 skilled forward, on the 17u Elite Team, which starts its play in Las Vegas at the Pangos Spring Spectacular. The duo is joined by talented 2017 point guard Michael Diaz, who had an impressive junior campaign with Orange Glen, and unsigned Rancho Christian guard Trace Redfield, who was an All CIF performer in his final high school year. Derek Sit, a talented junior PG from Poway, and Blake Seits, who broke Ramona's record for most three-point field goals in a game this season, will also star on the roster.
For more information on Coastal Elite, visit www.coastalelite.org
Standout players branch out
A number of the region's elite players are playing with teams not based in San Diego. Here is a list of where you can see many of those players compete:
Earl Watson Elite
2017 6-4 G Reed Farley, 2018 6-9 F Miles Norris, 2019 players Matt Bender and Graham Cook
Hands, 2017 6-8 F Robby Robinson, former Foothills Christian W Jordan Starr
McCoy, 2017 6-2 G Je'Von Figaro, 6-4 2018 W Felton Richardson
2018 6-9 W Taeshon Cherry
2016 6-5 W Omajae Smith, 2017 6-6 F Kale Baldado
Where they will play:
A list of the top prospects in each class and who they will be running with during the spring live period:
Martin Tombe- College Bound
Conner Nelson- Gamepoint
Armstrong Ojunkwu- San Diego All-Stars
Takoda Browne- San Diego Prospects
Jacob Tryon- Gamepoint
Perry Davis- San Diego Prospects
Dylan Banks- Next Generation
Omajae Smith- Cali Rebels
Brandon McCoy- Cal Supreme EYBL
Jaylen Hands- Compton Magic
Robby Robinson- Compton Magic
Michael Diaz- Coastal Elite
JJ Overton- San Diego All Stars
Jake Gilliam- Gamepoint
Reed Farley- Earl Watson Elite
Jose Serrano- Supreme Court
Ben Okhotin- Gamepoint
Cade Shackleford- Gamepoint
Ryan Kelly- Gamepoint
DJ Wilson- Gamepoint
Malik Parsons- San Diego Cougars
Ed Fenzi- San Diego All Stars
Otto Taylor- San Diego All Stars
Josue Lara- College Bound (Saints)
Owen Aschieris- California Bearcats
Miles Norris- Earl Watson Elite
Taeshon Cherry- Oakland Soldiers
Warren Washington- Gamepoint
Taurus Samuels- Gamepoint
Jordan Starr- Compton Magic
Jalen Flanagan- Gamepoint
Trey Anderson- San Diego All Stars
Alex Cho- San Diego All Stars
Robert Young- Gamepoint
Phillip Willis- San Diego All Stars
Zach Reiter- Gamepoint
Knox Winkler- Coastal Elite
Rayquan Everett- San Diego Cougars
TJ Lowery- San Diego All Stars
JC Canahuate- San Diego All Stars
Charlie Gal- California Bearcats
Ryan Langborg- Gamepoint
Rejean Ellis- San Diego All Stars
Jordan Hilstock- Gamepoint
Graham Cook- Earl Watson Elite
Matt Bender- Earl Watson Elite
Max Guinn- Gamepoint
Jayson Taylor- Gamepoint
Raymond Lu- San Diego All Stars
Derrick Carter-Hollinger- San Diego All-Stars
Christian Rose- Gamepoint
Bryce Pope- Gamepoint
Ronnie Latting- San Diego All-Stars
Jacob Jovien-San Diego All Stars
Dorian Blue- San Diego Cougars
Cade Twyman- Coastal Elite
Other team outlooks
San Diego has a number of other solid AAU programs who will be competing at various regional tournaments, including the Supreme Court, California Bearcats, San Diego Cougars and Next Generation Athletes. Here is a synopsis of those teams and their top recruits.
Top prospects: Unsigned Red: 7-1 2016 C Kaba Can, 6-6 1/2 2017 W Jose Serrano; 16u: 6-0 2019 PG Malcolm Little, 6-3 2019 G Mojus Mojus, 6-4 2018 F Christian Wilson
Live event tournaments: Double Pump Hoopfest
Outlook: A year removed from DeAndre Ayton's departure from Balboa City Schools, the new-look Supreme Court team is built around junior Jose Serrano, an athletic and skilled wing from Venezuela. Towering unsigned senior Kaba Can is slowly improving, and youngsters Malcolm Little and Mojus Mojus are among the top freshman prospects in San Diego.
Top prospect: 17u: 6-0 2017 PG Owen Aschieris, 5-11 2017 G Josiah Esselstrom, 5-10 2017 G Hayden Helfrich, 6-5 2017 C Charles Dudley; 16u: 6-5 2018 F Charlie Gal, 6-3 2018 W TJ Askew, 6-1 2018 G Derek Moore, 6-2 2018 G Ethan Kremenek
Live event tournaments: SoCal Hoop Review; Pangos Sweet 16
Outlook: As usual, the Bearcats are brimming with prospects that will make the day of many a Division 3 coach in the gym. Aschieris is coming off a star turn in his junior year at Santa Fe Christian, and Esselstrom was a valuable perimeter scorer for the Division 2 champs La Jolla Country Day. Dudley, son of NBA player Chris Dudley, is as skilled a post player as you will find, albeit undersized. Perhaps the most promising prospects in the program are in the 2018 class, where Kremenek and Askew have impressive upside, and Gal is as strong of a young post as you will see.
San Diego Cougars
Live event tournaments: SoCal Hoop Review; Pangos Sweet 16
Top prospects: 17U: 6-0 2016 PG Jorge Ramirez, 6-8 2016 C Ronnie Readus, 6-3 2017 G Terrell Smith, 6-1 2017 PG Malik Parsons, 6-2 2017 G Darian Norwood; 5-11 2017 G Michael Singletary; 16u: 6-4 2018 G Rayquan Everett, 6-4 2018 W Torrance Farr; 6-1 2019 G Dorian Blue
Outlook: Jeff Harper-Harris' crew has a solid number of talented players, none more so than freshman guard Dorian Blue, sophomore guard Rayquan Everett and junior point guard Malik Parsons, who is rapidly becoming a sleeper prospect after a strong finish to his season for Lincoln. This program has historically had a fair amount of sleepers as well, including athletic wing type Darian Norwood.
Next Generation Athletes
Top prospects: 17u: 5-11 2016 G Dylan Banks,, 5-11 2017 G Quincy Ferebee; 15u: 6-0 2019 G Christopher Glenon, 6-2 2018 G Rae Wright, 5-9 2019 G Eric Jang
Live event tournaments: Pangos Spring Spectactular; Pangos Sweet 16
Outlook: Next Generation took time to retool its rosters, and when the dust settled, the teams remain competitive. Banks is an athletic and explosive unsigned guard and Ferebee is a sleeper point guard in the 2017 class. Watch out for Glennon and Wright, who form a nice pair on the 15u team.
San Diego Prospects
Top prospects: 17u: 5-11 2016 G Takoda Browne, 6-3 2016 G Milan Porter, 6-2 2016 G Perry Davis, 6-4 2017 SG Joseph Davis
Live event tournaments: Double Pump Hoopfest
Outlook: A collection of players from Kearny with a few other sprinkled in, the Prospects have several solid unsigned prospects in Browne (explosive athlete) and Davis (strong built combo guard) and junior Joseph Davis, one of the better shooting guard prospects in the class.