The PUNKS radar heads West.
There’s no rest for the weary, not if you’re a West Coast recruit.
For most, the culmination of the all-important spring and summertime evaluation periods was thought to have finally signaled an end to some of the hard work out on the hardwood, at least for a little while. That, however, hasn’t been the case.
Over the course of the past three weeks, numerous prospects, some well-known and others a bit off the radar, SLAM has been busy commuting between California, Nevada and Utah for several high-profile Fullcourt Press Fall Showcase events.
Each individual, no doubt, hoped to play well in front of the many interested scouts in attendance, and in the process, gain some much-needed added exposure. And when it comes to added exposure, there’s no time to relax, let alone be tired.
Here’s a recap of those who left a lasting impression:
Tristan Thompson | 6-9 | PF | Findlay Prep | 2010
He was the toast of the town in Las Vegas, the marquee name. Then again, Thompson is used to the spotlight. It’s something that simply comes with the territory when you’re considered one of the nation’s premier players. The Texas-bound post was seemingly without peer, dominating things on both ends of the floor throughout play in the City of Sin. For those still skeptical about what Thompson has to offer, take the time to catch him in action. Believe the hype, it’s warranted.
Cory Joseph | 6-2 | PG | Findlay Prep | 2010
When you talk about floor generals, Joseph must be mentioned among the best in the business. He ranks right up there with the likes of Brandon Knight and Josh Selby, and is a notch above Kyrie Irving and Joe Jackson. Bottom line: Joseph can do-it-all. Keeping defenders honest with a consistent jumper helps, and if someone overplays him, he puts the ball on the floor, gets to the rim for a layup or makes a quick decision and finds the wide-open man out on the perimeter.
Tyler Lamb | 6-3 | SG | Mater Dei | 2010
There’s something different about this kid, decidedly different. Perhaps it’s his cool, calm and collected demeanor, regardless of the circumstance. Maybe it’s his silky smooth touch from the baseline. Can’t forget about the way his pin-point passes appear so effortless, and often times, lead to easy buckets. Whatever the case, the UCLA-bound Lamb possesses all the tools to be successful at the next level and showed as much time and time again in a pair of Southern California events.
Gary Franklin | 6-2 | PG | Mater Dei | 2010
Let’s get down to the heart of the matter, everyone wants to know whether he’s a one or a two. Ask Franklin and he’ll tell you he’s a point guard, and each time we saw him, he proved more than adept at running the show. Thing is, he’s a great shooter, that’s why questions are being raised about whether he should switch positions. One thing is certain, being multidimensional hasn’t hurt his standing in the eyes of college coaches. Franklin has offers from several Pac-10 Conference programs.
Keala King | 6-5 | PG | Mater Dei | 2010
About a month ago, we mentioned that King was in the midst of a well-publicized high school transfer and stated that when he finally landed, some team was going to be very lucky to have him on board. Turns out, he’ll be joining Lamb and Franklin with the Monarchs, a Southern California powerhouse. In the meantime, while things unfolded, King wasted no time in getting acclimated with his new partners in crime. After watching the trio in action, you’d think they’ve played together for years.
Deonta Burton | 6-1 | PG | Centennial | 2010
Someone gave this guy an extra inch, or two, when they measured his height. Burton’s size, or lack thereof, didn’t prevent him from playing above the rim in both Southern California contests though. He displayed tremendous bounce off the floor and was a highlight waiting to happen. More than a few opponents steered clear of him. No one, big or small, wanted to be posterized by the little guy. Aside from that, Burton’s game is well-rounded. Long Beach State, Marquette and Utah are talking with him.
Jabari Brown | 6-3 | SG | Findlay Prep | 2011
What can Brown do for you? For starters, he’s lights out from long range and finishes at the basket about as well as anyone in his class. Brown is unselfish, always looking to make the extra pass, and playing hard on the defensive end of the floor comes naturally. Here’s the kicker, he rebounds extremely well, a facet of his game that is overlooked far too much given the fact so few players are willing to get down and dirty underneath the basket with the big boys.
DeAndre Daniels | 6-8 | SF | Taft | 2011
He has quite a story to tell. In a nutshell, Daniels had to pick up and move once Hurricane Katrina hit and devastated his hometown in Louisiana. Since then, he’s traveled around from program to program before ending up at Taft, a major player in Los Angeles‘ City Section. Extenuating circumstances aside, Daniels has developed from an underrated prospect with very few scholarship offers to a well-respected recruit on the national level who has a bright future ahead of him at Texas.
Shabazz Muhammad | 6-4 | SG | Bishop Gorman | 2012
For those who haven’t heard about this youngster as of yet, be prepared to become very familiar with Muhammad because he’s one of the best in the West, and one of the top players in the country for his class. He performed well in one of the Southern California events before going down with an ankle injury. The setback has done little to deter the recruiting process though. Powerhouse programs such as Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina and UCLA continue to express interest in him.
Winston Sheppard | 6-6 | SF | Findlay Prep | 2012
If Muhammad is the nation’s top sophomore, Sheppard isn’t far behind. At this stage of the game, most project him as a wing, the ideal type of athlete you want in uniform at small forward. But after taking one look at him in Las Vegas, you can see he has the frame to put on added weight. And if he grows another couple of inches, Sheppard could end up playing some at the four. That type of versatility is intriguing. Suppose that’s why he’s been contacted by Arizona, Louisville and Wake Forest.