City of Angels hosts a PUNKS gathering.
Originally planned to take it easy over the weekend, but ultimately, decided against the idea of just chillin’ after remembering that the Fairfax State Preview Classic was taking place in Los Angeles on Saturday. Cruising down Melrose Ave. to check out this showcase was a no-brainer.
Several of Southern California’s finest high school teams were slated to go up against each other. And that meant one thing: Several of the Golden State’s finest high school players we’re slated to be in action. We’re talking about cats that will be playing some college ball in the very near future.
In my book, this was a must-see event. Then again, anything hoops related is a must-see event. Kind of sad, isn’t it? Beats working one of those jobs where you have to punch a clock.
Anyway, here’s an overview of my notes from the day-long festivities. Hopefully, the analysis will shed some light on the many prospects in attendance, and believe me, there were plenty of individuals that left a lasting impression.
Bryce Jones | 6-5 | F | Taft | 2010
There’s just something about this kid. Can’t put my finger on it. Maybe it’s his smooth jumper or willingness to get into the lane and finish at the rim, most times, above the goal. Perhaps it’s his competitive nature. He’s as intense as they come. Never seen him back down from a challenge. Bottom line is: Jones has the intangibles the other guys don’t have. Seemingly every Pac-10 Conference program recruited him, but in the end, he choose USC. The Trojans scored when they landed him.
DeAndre Daniels | 6-8 | F | Taft | 2011
We’ve talked about this guy before. The love was warranted back then, and after watching him play well from the opening tip until the final buzzer, he deserves another shout-out. Daniels has always been able to put the ball in the basket, so for a change, it was nice to see him do other things well. Hitting the glass, dishing the rock and getting up in the jersey of everyone in his path are clear indications that his game continues to evolve. Daniels is heading to Texas on a full ride.
Landon Drew | 5-10 | G | Taft | 2012
Comes from good bloodlines. Very good bloodlines, in fact. His father, Larry, enjoyed a 10-year stint in the NBA as a point guard. His brother, Larry Drew II, is a sophomore floor general at North Carolina. He’s starting for the Tar Heels. And it appears as if Landon is going to carry on the family tradition of distributing the ball. Only a 10th grader, his handle is advanced beyond his years. Keeping his teammates involved comes naturally. Learning how to pick and choose his spots is a work in progress. Let’s keep in mind that Drew has three more years to figure everything out.
Richard Solomon | 6-9 | F | Price | 2010
When he puts his mind to it, Solomon is great, borderline spectacular. Losing focus from time to time tends to be his downfall. But there’s no need for us to be negative because he does many things well, better than most. Length and sheer athleticism are his biggest assets, making him a touch match-up regardless of the opponent. Threes and fours struggle against him. Suppose that’s one of the reasons why most of the nation’s top recruiting services rank Solomon among the top 20 forwards in the country. The recognition is well-deserved.
Allen Crabbe | 6-5 | G | Price | 2010
Never met a jumper he didn’t like. Knocks them down too, with regularity. There’s no hesitation. Aim and fire. It’s that simple. Crabbe is far from a one-dimensional player though. He’s fully capable of putting the ball on the floor and getting into the paint for an easier look. What we’re trying to say, the message we’re trying to get across is that his game is tailor-made for the next level. Best believe Cal and its coach Mike Montgomery were happy once they secured a commitment from Crabbe. It’s reasonable to expect him to come in and make an immediate impact at Berkley. He’ll contribute, on some level, from the get-go.
Vaughn Autry | 6-2 | G | Serra | 2010
Point guard with a power forward’s mentality. Autry loves contact, particularly on the defensive end of the floor. Offensively, he’s not afraid of taking the ball to the hole and making something happen against the big boys. Out on the perimeter, when he’s catching and shooting, he’s deadly. Autry was overlooked by several more well-known programs, but the mid-major schools were all over him. Portland and Utah St. were in the running for his services, but in the end, Montana locked him up.
Ronnie Stevens | 6-8 | F | Serra | 2011
Still a bit raw, but he’s eager to learn. Best part about him is, Stevens is as active as they come and that desire makes up for some of his technical deficiencies. Improving footwork allows him to better his position underneath the basket and get to the rim with frequency. He gets after things on the defensive end of the floor too, hitting the boards with reckless abandon and challenging every shot he can get his hands on. If, and when, his mid-range game develops, scouts will flock to see Stevens in action.
Wesley Saunders | 6-5 | G | Windward | 2011
He’s gone about his business quietly thus far. But those days are about to be a thing of the past. Saunders can get to the hoop, at times, whenever he wants. He’s a slasher, no doubt about it. The only thing holding him back is his outside shot, or lack thereof. Once that facet of his game comes around, sky’s the limit. UCLA and USC know this better than most and both would like nothing more than to keep Saunders close to his Southern California home. One problem: Arizona and Oregon State are well aware of his upside and have recently expressed interest. Michigan is in the mix as well.
Nick Kerr | 6-3 | G | Torrey Pines | 2011
The last name look familiar? It should. The shooting guard is the offspring of Steve Kerr, a 15-year NBA veteran and current general manager for the Phoenix Suns. Just like his father, son possesses a great stroke from out on the perimeter, with unlimited range. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree, although the younger Kerr is a lefty. He moves well without the ball and a hand in his face does little to deter him from filling it up. We like the direction he’s heading, but he’ll need to bulk up if he hopes to attract interest from any of the Pac-10 programs.
Reynaul Baker | 6-1 | G | Crenshaw | 2010
Longtime Los Angeles legends such as Marques Johnson and John “Hot Rod” Williams are a couple of players that got their starts at The Shaw before moving onto college, and eventually, the NBA. More recently, Kevin Ollie pulled off the feat. And while we’d like to think Baker is the next in line to make the jump, realistically speaking, his chances of ending up in the League aren’t good. We do, however, like his odds of playing Division I ball, maybe at a Big West or West Coast Conference school.