San Diego Fall Showcase yields surprises, standouts
For a fifth consecutive year, travel basketball programs Gamepoint and Top Gun have joined forces to showcase some of San Diego’s top HS programs at the Fall HS Showcase at Miramar College.
The most recent installment proved to be no different, as the showcase directors said it arguably was the greatest assemblage of individual talent they had seen.
Who stood out over the two days? Who surprised? Which teams disappointed? Full-Time Hoops has your answer.
Jaylen Hands, 6-3 PG, Foothills Christian- Explosive point guard elevates all of the pieces around him for the Knights. He can score off the drive and has the hang time and court vision to create opportunities for teammates when his driving lanes are cut off. His shooting from the perimeter was streaky, but he did a solid job scoring off the drive from midrange. It’s clear that Hands is a unique prospect whose physical skills and high IQ allow him to take over a game at will.
Jamison Overton, 6-5 G, Rancho Bernardo- Athletic left-handed wing did a solid job scoring off the dribble and finishing with either hand. He’s not a true point guard, but handles it enough to initiate the offense, and sees the floor well enough to find open guys off the screen and roll and off the drive and kick. His motor and effort levels are quite high.
Michael Diaz, 6-2 G, Orange Glen- Diaz’s multi-dimensional defense was on display over the weekend, as he was called on to guard all five positions on the floor for the undersized Patriots. The results were stellar. Offensively, Diaz does his damage on strong straight line drives to the rim, finishing most with the right hand, and creating for others with his highlight-style passing and court vision.
Jake Gilliam, 6-9 C, Torrey Pines- Big man in the middle for the Falcons has improved his athleticism and agility a lot over the previous year, and looks more and more comfortable defending the screen and roll and guarding on the perimeter, though he still has room to improve. He is a high-IQ player with soft hands, solid footwork and is a great passer out of the post. He still needs to improve finishing plays around the rim, as he loses concentration at times after beating the initial defense.
Ethan Esposito, 6-6 W, Torrey Pines- Evolving wing type is just starting to scratch the surface of his upside as a small forward, but this weekend gave us a glimpse. Esposito is an assertive slasher who can score off the drive with an array of finishes, and he showed he can finish with either hand. He has a high motor and is an active defender both on and off the ball. He shoots it at a decent clip from mid-range, but needs to continue to be more consistent.
Hayden Helfrich, 5-10 G, Torrey Pines- Helfrich showed this weekend why I believed he would play a major role for the Falcons as a junior. Now in his senior year, though, it is clear that Helfrich will have a major impact for his team. Blessed with underrated athleticism and strength, an elite motor and the ability to score it from all three levels, Helfrich isn’t a true PG. But his impact on the game on both ends is undeniable. Simply put, he makes winning plays.
Reed Farley, 6-5 W, La Jolla – Sweet shooting wing had his quick release on display this weekend, but is asked to handle the ball a lot more for his HS team, and showed he is capable at initiating the offense. He struggles to handle it against longer defenders with like athleticism (especially going to his left), but his handle is serviceable. His passing vision continues to improve, and he made some great reads off the dribble for teammates.
Alex Dumas, 6-1 G, Lincoln- There was perhaps no bigger surprise on the weekend in the 2017 group than Dumas, the crafty scoring point guard for the Hornets. Dumas scored at will off the dribble against strong competition, and did it from all three levels. He gets after it on the defensive end as well. His competitive fire is what really impresses me. He doesn’t back down from tough challenges. Needs to improve his off hand, however, as most of his scoring plays were made going to his right.
Ed Fenzi, 6-0 PG, Mission Hills – Hard-nosed lead guard played suffocating defense on opposing guards and scored it well off the dribble. His jump shooting is erratic off the catch, though his mid-range pull-up game is solid.
Warren Washington, 6-10 F, Mission Hills- Washington was solid in his unofficial Grizzlies debut, scoring in the post and from the perimeter and off the dribble. He was most impressive against Balboa City, where he scored with regularity in the post against solid defenders in Andre Allen and Ismael Izzo. Most of his post scoring was over his left shoulder, but he had several finishes off the drive with his left. He is improving his prowess on the boards, but sometimes floats on the perimeter and needs to continue to be more aggressive on the offensive boards. Washington is a solid, though not elite, rim protector.
Taurus Samuels, 6-0 PG, Vista- It was an uneven weekend for Samuels, who has been dealing with an undisclosed injury, but he left his stamp on a pair of wins over Rancho Bernardo and Temecula Valley with his ability to slice up the defense off the dribble and score at the rim or create for others with the pass. His patented pull-up jumper was inconsistent on the weekend, but his ability to score it keeps the defense honest and opens up opportunities for him to create for others.
Rayquan Everett, 6-5 WF, Lincoln- Physically built wing type keeps getting better, especially with his ability to score it from midrange. On one play that stands out, he used a strong right-to-left crossover to set up a free-throw line pull-up jump shot against Foothills Christian’s TJ Lowery. Everett has the quickness to beat opposing wings off the dribble with his right hand, but must develop his off hand to become a more well-rounded offensive threat. His effort level on defense is getting better, but needs to be more consistent, especially on the boards.
Zach Reiter, 6-3 G, Poway- A top-end motor and a knack for scoring the ball make Reiter a menace on the offensive end. He has improved his handle enough that he can score off the dribble and finish over the rim. Defensively, he plays hard and causes deflections and steals with his ability to shoot through passing lanes. He has a playable shot (more of a set shot), but needs to become more consistent shooting off the catch.
Nashom Carter, 5-11 G, Christian- Compactly built scoring point guard was a bright spot for a young Patriots team that was overwhelmed against stronger competition. Carter attacked the basket at will and finished with either hand. He also continues to improve his shooting to the point where he is a viable threat from the perimeter. The Patriots might have tough time this season, but Carter should have a big year.
Thomas “TJ” Lowery, 6-6 PF, Foothills Christian – Lowery has improved his ball skills and shooting and now poses a mismatch against bigger defenders because of his ability to score off the dribble. He’s able to hit open shots off of Hands’ penetration, though his mechanics are inconsistent (feet aren’t set, follow through drifts). But Lowery is starting to come into his own and will have a big role for the Knights this year.
Knox Winkler, 6-3 SG, Rancho Bernardo- Chiseled shooting guard has one of the quickest releases in San Diego, enabling him to get his shot off very quickly off the catch and in tight spaces off the dribble. A physical defender, although his lack of top-end lateral quickness causes him to struggle against quicker PGs and wings. Very good rebounder for a guard.
Kody Clouet, 6-3 SG, San Marcos – Sharpshooter knocked down threes from all over the court and, while not the quickest guard, continued to improve his ability to score off the dribble, getting defenders on his hip and using good footwork to draw contact. One of the more improved players on display.
Boogie Ellis, 6-0 G, Mission Bay- Ellis put on scoring displays all weekend, knocking down deep threes, but also showing a much more assertive approach to attacking off the dribble. Ellis was also a willing passer, creating opportunities for his younger teammates with the pass.
Graham Cook, 6-3 G, La Costa Canyon- Cook looked unfazed against the physically talented Balboa Prep team, scoring from all three levels with confidence. Cook plays with nice pace on the offensive end, and doesn’t get rattled attacking the basket. His mid-range pull up is becoming a very consistent weapon for him, and his shooting from three has also improved. Cook’s length and ranginess at some point will translate to the defensive end, and he’s improved that aspect of his game, but must continue to improve with his footwork on the ball and help-side IQ.
Jordan Hilstock, 6-3 G, Vista- Defensively, there might not be a better on-ball defender in the class than Hilstock, who has a unique combination of length, quickness, anticipation, and physicality. In the high school game, he’s able to guard every position on the floor. Very good rebounder for a guard. Offensively, Hilstock is coming into his own as a spot-up shooter and finish plays in transition, but needs to improve his slashing and finishing in the halfcourt, as he sometimes gets too upright and is too rigid off the dribble.
Malcolm Little, 6-2 G, Balboa City- Improving scoring point guard is getting better running a team, playing with improved pace and mixing scoring and distributing with equal aplomb. He’s got the body type and athleticism that you want to see at the point guard position, and while he plays a backseat to the upperclassmen on the Balboa team, it’s clear his upside might be better than some of his counterparts. Continued growth finishing with his left hand and seeing the entire floor (hones in on the right side) will only help improve his rising stock.
Philix Kilbourne, 5-11 PG, San Ysidro- The lefty point guard was impressive throughout the weekend scoring and creating for others. He’s got nice craftiness and can handle the ball with either hand, though he scores predominantly with his left. He has solid court vision and is a willing passer in transition and the half court. As he develops his right hand and becomes more explosive off the dribble, Kilbourne has the upside to be one of the top prospects in his class, regardless of position.
Kobe Sanders, 5-9 G, Steele Canyon – Much like his brother (more on him later), Kobe has deep range on his shot and isn’t afraid to put up shots with little space. He’s on the thin side and isn’t the quickest player off the dribble, but he’s crafty off the dribble and can do enough to get his shot off under pressure.
Elijah Randall, 6-3 ½ G/F, San Marcos – You could tell what Randall brings to the table after about five minutes of his first game: a high IQ floor game. Randall has the vision to create plays for other, the size and strength to create scores for himself off the dribble, and the lateral quickness and enough length to guard the other team’s top perimeter player. Improved conditioning will unlock these gifts even further.
Savaughn Davis, 6-1 G, Mission Bay – Crafty combo guard is a big time shooter who can handle the ball at the point in a pinch. On a team with a ball dominant guard like Boogie Ellis, Davis plays more of a complimentary role on offense, but it is clear that he can fill score from all three levels when asked to. Davis’ motor runs hot and cold, so more consistency of effort will be the next step for him.
Ismael Izzo, 2017 6-9 PF/C, Balboa City- Recent arrival to Balboa City has an impressive frame, length and athleticism and his motor runs high. He’s shown some ability to shoot it from the perimeter and drive facing up, but his strengths are his ability to run from rim to rim, protect the paint and rebound in and out of his area. Intriguing prospect.
Jordan Cooke-Harper, 2018 6-8 F, Poway – One of the biggest revelations of the weekend is the physical growth and improvement of Cooke-Harper, who stands three inches taller than he did as a sophomore. His game has come a long way as well, improving as a scorer in the post and showing he can knock down shots out to 15 feet. He is also a very good passer and has a good feel for the game, which, given his athletic pedigree (son of NBA star Ron Harper) is no surprise. Above-average rebounder out of his area. Cooke-Harper must continue to improve finishing through contact, and as his athleticism comes in, finishing over the rim with authority.
Isaiah Morris, 2018 5-11 G, Vista – The lefty point guard has made a big jump in terms of his offensive productivity, scoring off the dribble and finishing through contact on either side of the rim, and improving his consistency from three. Defensively, he is as good as an on-ball defender as on hand at the showcase, doing an admirable job against Foothills Christian’s Jaylen Hands.
Damien Miller, 2018 5-9 PG, Orange Glen – Miller, along with Morris, may very well be the most improved point guard in the 2018 class. The diminutive slasher has solid burst off the dribble and the athleticism to finish nearly above the rim. Miller is a solid passer with good vision who advances the ball in transition with crisp outlet passes. Defensively, along with Morris, Hilstock and his teammate Diaz, Miller was one of the top on-ball defenders on hand, blessed with top-end lateral quickness and good anticipation.
Finn Sullivan, 2018 6-1 ½ G, Torrey Pines- Sullivan, who stood about 5-10 during his sophomore campaign on the Falcons JV, is turning into the late bloomer we are accustomed to seeing at Torrey Pines, a list that includes Timmy Saunders (Puget Sound) and Sullivan’s brother, Marek. Sullivan has nice length, solid ball skills and an improved three-point shot off the catch. Sullivan has a strong frame that allows him to get into the lane and finish through contact.
Derrick Carter-Hollinger, 2019 6-4 WF, Foothills Christian – The assertive wing/face-up four has growth both physically and athletically, and appears to be poised to contribute to the Knights when he becomes eligible after the 30-day sit out period. He’s able to attack off the dribble with either hand and has gotten much quicker off the dribble, and quickly transitions from using his quickness to employing powerful “bully” moves to get through defenders on the way to the rim. He’s also an aggressive rebounder who tracks boards down out of the area and is always on the look for the outlet pass. His body type and length are solid and he’s got more growing to do. He can continue to improve his stock by improving his first step and his explosion.