February 3, 2013

Extravaganza packs a punch


SANTA ANA, Calif. -- Each year, the Nike Extravaganza brings much of Southern California's top talent to the campus of powerhouse Mater Dei in Santa Ana. As expected, the 2013 edition of the Extravaganza featured plenty of talent as players such as Mater Dei's five-star junior Stanley Johnson. Roschon Prince, Elliott Pitts and Tyler Dorsey also had good days.

Prince leads way

One of the day's most highly anticipated games was between Long Beach (Calif.) Poly and Los Angeles (Calif.) St. John Bosco. The two squads had a total of six players ranked as four-stars or better. Poly has seniors Jordan Bell and Roschon Prince to go with junior Kameron Chatman, while Bosco has Isaac Hamilton, Daniel Hamilton and Tyler Dorsey.

Unfortunately, Chatman is still waiting out his transfer for Poly and UTEP-bound senior Isaac Hamilton wasn't available to Bosco. Still, there was plenty to see.

Poly's program has always been about playing tough defense and they certainly did that on Saturday. Led by the USC-bound Prince and the Oregon-bound Bell, the JackRabbits made Bosco uncomfortable. In particular, they helped to frustrate junior Daniel Hamilton, who made only 4-of-19 shots from the field.

Prince is a solid wing who doesn't necessarily have the prettiest game. He does, though, have an effective game and he does whatever his team needs. He played tough defense, scored early and then finished things off late. As usual, he found his way to the free throw line, played tough around the rim and helped out on the glass. The four-star finished with 19 points and nine rebounds.

After the game, Prince also discussed his status with USC. He says that he has been in contact with the school, feels good about things and is planning to stick with his commitment for now.

Like Prince, Bell was solid when he needed to be. The high-flying, 6-foot-7 senior had to sit out a bit of the first half with fouls, but he was strong in the second half. Bell blocked shots, played as an enforcer in the lane and slammed home a few very impressive alley-oops. He finished with 15 points and nine rebounds and is a high-energy guy who will contribute in many ways at Oregon.

While one Hamilton struggled and another sat out for Bosco, 6-foot-4 sophomore Tyler Dorsey was strong. The five-star combo guard showed that he is getting more comfortable running the show and he has plenty of tricks as a scorer. He can create his shot off the dribble, shoots some from deep and also showed off two nifty left-handed floaters.

Dorsey needs to get a bit stronger, but he doesn't mind competing on the glass. He pulled down 12 rebounds to go along with his 24 points and two assists. Louisville, UCLA and San Diego State were among the teams he mentioned recruiting him.

Grinding it out

By the time host school Mater Dei had dispatched of a feisty Los Angeles (Calif.) Westchester squad to end the day, it was nearly midnight. So, it wasn't surprising that the two squads were a little sluggish during the nightcap.

Both teams competed at a high level, but at the end of the night it was too much five-star Stanley Johnson and recent Butler commit Elijah Brown.

When Westchester jumped out to an early lead, it was Johnson who carried the load early. The 6-foot-6 junior battered and bruised his way to hoops near the rim and kept Mater Dei in it early. During the middle stages, Brown took over. The 6-foot-3 senior has no fear about letting it fly from deep and he has a strong body that allows him to finish with some contact and on the break. Brown is a bit left-hand dominant in his play, but he plays hard and finished with 19 points.

A fiery competitor, Johnson is a good athlete with a patented spin move and surprising quickness. The game was grinding and Johnson had no problem taking the fight into the paint and going to work where he knew Westchester couldn't stop him. At times, he does a lot of things that a guy like Ron Artest used to do when he was coming up. His list currently stands at 10 with Arizona, UCLA, USC, UNLV, Kentucky, San Diego State, Oregon, N.C. State, Syracuse and Louisville.

For Westchester, senior guard Mathew Grant was very impressive. A 6-foot-2 combo guard, Grant is explosive off the dribble, a good athlete and he can really shoot it from deep. He had a game-high 23 points and if he can continue to play at a high level like he did on Saturday night, he will be a Division I player.

News and Notes

Arizona is getting a good one in Rivals150 three-star Elliott Pitts. The 6-foot-4 guard from Concord (Calif.) De La Salle is a solid player. Pitts has a good frame, good size and he's a versatile and talented player. He handles the ball well in his team's offense, makes great backcuts and is an outstanding passer as well. Pitts was good for 27 on a night where he didn't force much and was still able to put up big numbers without great shooting from deep (2-8 on 3-pointers).

San Juan Capistrano (Calif.) JSerra sophomore wing Rex Pflueger is one to watch in what is looking to be a pretty deep 2015 talent pool in SoCal. A 6-foot-4 shooting guard, Pflueger has a great two-guard frame, is a good athlete and most importantly, he can really shoot from deep. He looks like he has some game off the dribble, but he can be a little passive at times.

Another sophomore having a nice day was Huntington Beach (Calif.) Ocean View shooting guard Tyler Burch. The 6-foot-5 wing was on fire from deep early and showed a good skill level during a 24-point game. He's not overly athletic and needs to fill out, but Burch is a skilled guy with pretty good size who can go and get buckets. He said that his early recruitment runs from Sacramento State and Northern Arizona up to Washington, Oregon State and some others.

Sophomore teammate Kendall Small is another one to watch at Ocean View. He's a sub-six footer, but is very quick, has some offense and makes things happen. He struggled a little on Saturday but still finished with a nice game. He mentioned Gonzaga, Arizona, Oregon State, Oregon, Washington, Portland, Portland State, Columbia and Connecticut.

Everett Turner from Colony High in Ontario, Calif., can certainly help somebody out on the Division I level. The 6-foot-2 shooting guard is a very good athlete, can create off the dribble and makes enough deep jumpers to keep defenders honest. Turner says he has an offer from UC-Riverside, while Santa Clara, UC Santa Barbara, Loyola Marymount and Gonzaga have showed varying amounts of interest.

West Coast mid-majors should be taking notice of 6-foot-5 small forward Chandler Hutchinson of Mission Viejo (Calif.) High. The junior is a crafty handler who can really pass the ball and he's slick attacking the rim off the dribble. It looks like he will make mid-range jumpers and he's got a long and rangy frame that should fill out with physical maturity. He said UC Irvine and Northern Arizona have been in contact, but more schools will be finding out about him soon.

Senior wing Rashad Muhammad continued his strong senior season.

The 6-foot-5 shooting guard scored a team-high 24 in an overtime win. He is a little too reliant upon his left hand, but Muhammad continues to shoot lights out from deep and is mixing in just enough drives to keep defenders on their toes.

While five-star sophomore Stephen Zimmerman had a rough day, four-star sophomore Chase Jeter had a big day. The 6-foot-9 power forward is still a bit timid at times and has a long way to go, but he can move pretty well, has good instincts and is becoming increasingly more aggressive. Odds are still looking pretty good that the 2015 post player grows into a high-major player.

Finally, Jordan McLaughlin and Tim Myles both had their moments for Etiwanda in a win over Loyola. One of the top point guards in the junior class, the four-star McGlaughlin plays a bit more under control with his high school team than he does in the summer. He can knock down a deep jumper and gets tremendous lift off the floor when contested. He didn't have many opportunities to freestyle off the dribble, but got into the lane when he had his chances. At about 6-foot-6, the New Mexico-bound Myles is a tough, but slightly undersized power forward. He gets from end to end in a hurry, flies to the rim for dunks and really plays with physicality. The effort, athleticism and physicality are all there, but he will need to adjust to playing against bigger players.



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