Top West underclassmen on display over weekend

CYPRESS, Calif. – If you think that spending a Saturday and Sunday in a gymnasium while watching freshmen and sophomore high school basketball players in action is a preferable alternative to planting yourself in front of a television watching hour upon mundane hour of football, we’re on the same wave length, brothers and sisters.
The Pangos/Fullcourt Press All-Frosh/Soph Camp – run by Dinos Trigonis of the Long Beach, Calif.,-based Belmont Shore Basketball Club – was a nice vehicle for some promising ninth- and 10th-graders from out West to display their talents Oct. 9-10 at the Southern California Basketball Academy gymnasium.
There were enough players in both groups to merit making it a two-part report on the event. So, Part I will offer a look at the 15 sophomores that impressed us the most over the two days. We’re giving them to you in alphabetical order, but there was little doubt about who the top prospect – in either class – was over the weekend.
Gabe Adler (6-4, San Diego Poway): He needs to become a more consistent long-range jump shooter but he seems to have everything else required to score a whole lot of points over his final three seasons as a prep.
Omondi Omoke (6-5 ½, Oxnard, Calif., High): He didn’t play in the all-star game (suffering a sprained ankle mid-Sunday afternoon) but he’d already long proven that he was clearly the No. 1 prospect in the camp. It’s difficult to envision there being a dozen betters sophomores out West than this fellow.
Jonathan Atkins (6-2, Las Vegas Trinity): He’s got a fluid left-handed stroke with 3-point range and looks like he could end up approaching 6-5 before he graduates.
Kurt Bennett (6-7, Placerville, Calif., Union Pine): Not an exceptional runner or jumper but he has a pretty good idea of what a low-post center’s responsibilities should be.
Tre’von Jamal Harmon (5-10, Pasadena, Calif., High): He gets our nod as the best point guard over both days of the event. He makes sound decisions, beats his defender off the dribble whenever he needs to and doesn’t miss a lot of open jumpers.
Jimmy Hirschman (6-4, Los Angeles Loyola): He’s a very springy and aggressive forward who will have to expand his perimeter skills if he doesn’t grow much more.
Justin Holiday (6-5, North Hollywood Campbell): At times he was as spectacular as any player in the camp. He has a killer first step and altered a lot of opponents’ shots, too.
Bryan Horton (6-1, Anaheim Hills, Calif., Canyon): Pound for pound (about 170) he was among the strongest players and best athletes in camp. He didn’t take a lot of jump shots.
Darshawn McClellan (6-6, Fresno, Calif., Edison): He could stand firming up his body some but you can’t fault his athletic ability, and his handling and passing skills exceeded expectations during the all-star game.
Gerald McLemore (6-2, San Diego Scripps Ranch): There wasn’t much that defenders could do to slow him down once he decided to slash his way to the rim. He could be an exceptional defender some day.
Melvyn Oliver (6-9, Las Vegas Cheyenne): He’s ponderous (we’re guessing he tips the scales at about 270 big ones) but he has deceptively quick feet to go along with quality hands. His first priority, though, should be getting himself into much better condition and dropping some of those pounds should help do the trick.
Eliot Rushton (6-1, Victoria, British Columbia, Oak Bay): The Canadian import was one of the real surprises of the weekend. He had one of the quickest releases, with dependable accuracy to 3-point range, in the camp.
Tim Shelton (6-5, Fresno, Calif., San Joaquin Memorial): How good is this high school team going to be, anyway, with juniors Brook and Robin Lopez and Quincy Pondexter among the others in the mix? Wow . . .
Alex Tucker (5-10, Redondo Beach, Calif., Redondo Union): Here’s our nominee for title of “quickest player in the camp” – he moved faster while dribbling than all but a handful of players on hand could do while sprinting.
Kent Walker (6-7, San Diego Scripps Ranch): A recent move-in from Indianapolis, this lefty lacks much polish right now but looks as if he’s bound for the 6-9 or 6-10 range.