Summer School: A FTH June Primer
In less than two weeks, San Diego players will trade in their travel basketball jerseys for the practice gear of their high school teams, preparing for a month of valuable tune-ups and high-stakes evaluation period events.
Summer high school season is nigh.
As we enter June, I have many of the same questions as my readers: who are the early picks for top teams in San Diego, who are players we expect to emerge and have bigger roles and
Who's on top?
That question just got very interesting with breaking news out of Carlsbad, where the Lancers announced that 6-7 2024 forward Jael "JJ" Martin checked into school. Martin, who is the cousin of Lancers' All-CIF guard Tony Duckett, is a bouncy swingman who averaged 17 points and 7 rebounds per game for Santa Monica Pacifica Christian, which made the CIF State Division 5 Regional Final last season. Martin pairs with Duckett and All-CIF first team sophomore Jake Hall to create a pretty formidable trio.
But even with the addition of Martin, I still feel that Montgomery comes into the season as the top squad until proven otherwise. The Aztecs beat Carlsbad in the Open Division semifinals on the road and return six of their top seven scorers, including All-CIF brothers JJ and Alek Sanchez. The Aztecs also have a head start on the Lancers as four of their projected starters have been playing together on the travel circuit as members of the South Bay Show 16u team.
It's early, but the road to the Open Division title probably runs through either the Aztecs or the Lancers.
Which 2024 prospects could benefit from strong June showings?
The June high school evaluation periods have become critical for high school prospects in recent years. Events such as the Section 7 Team Camp in Arizona give college coaches a chance to see prep hoopers in a more organized setting with their high-school teams, which more closely mirrors the structure of college basketball.
In recent years, San Diego prospects have taken advantage of the high school evaluation period, netting scholarship offers they might not have otherwise received with their AAU teams.
Currently, only one 2024 prospect has a Division 1 scholarship offer: Santa Fe Christian G Brycen Mackenzie, who has offers from Idaho State and UC San Diego.
2024 prospects such as Kyelin King and Derrion Manson of Lincoln, Tony Duckett of Carlsbad, Kai Brown of Scripps Ranch, Ryan Enos of Cathedral Catholic, Lolo Rudolph and Ian De La Rosa of St. Augustine, Euan Davis and Isaiah Pomare of El Camino all could benefit from strong performances at the Cali Live Showcase June 16-18.
But perhaps even more than them, 6-5 Ramona W Chase Newman, a relative unknown outside of San Diego due to not playing travel basketball, needs to have a big showing to put himself firmly on the radar.
What are the big events?
This week, June kicked with the firstoff session of the San Diego State Team Camp and the first week of the long-running Hoover Summer League, which runs through mid-July. SDSU's second team camp session is June 9-11.
After four years, California has entered the high school evaluation period mix with an event June 16-18 hosted by the Southern California Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association. The Boys California Live 2023 will be held at various high school sites in Orange County. Eighteen San Diego teams are in the event field.
The next weekend, several San Diego teams will head to Glendale, AZ, for the most high-profile high school evaluation period event, the Section 7 Team Camp. Held in State Farm Stadium, the event typically attracts more than 400 college coaches at various levels.
Point Loma Nazarene hosts its team camp June 9-10 and an elite camp for individual prospects July 1.
The Swish Pro-Am and Gamepoint Basketball host their second annual event, "The Warm Up," June 9-11. Games will be held at Temecula Valley High School.
UCSD will host its two team camps June 23-25 and June 30 - July 2 at RIMAC Arena. They will also host a prospect camp June 28-29.
USD hosts a prospect camp on June 22.
There are a number of new faces on the sidelines after the spring:
Cathedral Catholic hired Graham Bousley as its new coach, replacing Will Cunningham, who was named head coach at Christian High.
Longtime Santa Fe Christian head coach Chad Bickley stepped down and was replaced TCU assistant coach Matt Carlino.
La Jolla Country Day announced that Pat Casey would become the permanent head coach, replacing interim head coach Mike Ricchiuti, who led the Torreys to the Division 1 title after former head coach DJ Gay departed to Windward last summer.
Longtime Foothills Christian head coach Brad Leaf returned to the Knights two years after stepping down as coach.
Mater Dei head coach Jason Bryant returns to the Crusaders after a year sabbatical.
Morse hired Eastlake assistant and former Mt Miguel interim head coach AJ Stanford to replace Carl Fisher, who stepped down after eight years.
High Tech High San Diego coach Lance Beesley stepped down. Still waiting on an update on his replacement.
Mt Carmel recently announced that head coach and athletic director Greg Lanthier had stepped down.
A way too early Top 20
1A. Montgomery - Returns almost every major contributor from the Open Division finalists
1B. Carlsbad - Jael Martin transfer makes them most talented team in the county on paper.
3. St. Augustine - The Open Division champions are rebuilding around All-CIF duo Lolo Rudolph and Ian De La Rosa
4. San Ysidro - Ty Ingram is a surefire Player of the Year candidate
5. Mission Bay - Much depends on the status of the team's seniors, but could be deepest team in the county
6. Torrey Pines - Unheralded group of Falcons have depth, skill to make noise
7. Lincoln - Hornets return star trio of Kyelin King, Derrion Manson and Sebastian Flores from D2 champs
8. El Camino - Euan Davis and Isaiah Pomare are the most underrated duo in the county.
9. La Jolla Country Day - D1 champs return three starters and 6 of top 9 contributors.
10. Santa Fe Christian - All CIFer Brycen Mackenzie and solid supporting cast returns under new coach Matt Carlino.
11. San Diego - Cavers junior class is underrated, starting with 6-5 wing Jayden Wade.
12. La Costa Canyon Role players on last year's squad must grow up for new-look Mavericks
13. Mater Dei Catholic - Expect Josiah Jefferson to become an All-CIF calber player.
14. Mission Hills - Jack Jillson and Jake Bishop are flanked by a talented group of rising sophomores.
15. Cathedral Catholic - Ryan Enos must have a big year in order for the Dons to regain previous luster.
16. Victory Christian - Jayden Gray and Derek Edmond headline squad that returns three all leaguers.
17. Eastlake - Titans have the pieces to be a big sleeper countywide, including emerging star Jordyn Webster
18. San Marcos - Knights have a deep group, Jalen Williams poised for a big leap.
19. Hoover - Cardinals return athleticism, need Amanuel Tesfahunegn and Exavier Williams to take next step
20. Rancho Buena Vista - CJ Aldrich leads a group that returns 4 starters