Kids from the Golden State have some game.
It was playoff time in California over the weekend, and that meant one thing: The Golden State’s premier prep players, the best of the best from the West, were in action leading their respective teams in Southern Section championship games.
The usual PUNKS were in attendance, of course.
Tyler Lamb, Keala King and Gary Franklin represented powerhouse Mater Dei to the fullest. Allen Crabbe and Richard Solomon put in work for Price. DeAndre Daniels and Bryce Jones held it down for Taft. Can’t forget to mention the efforts turned in by Ocean View’s Anthony Brown and Avery Johnson.
Everyone in the aforementioned group has received his share of love from SLAMonline recently. And the recognition was well-deserved considering that each of these cats will be playing college ball in the not so distant future.
Make no mistake, there’s plenty of other talent out this way. That said, let’s take a look at some of the individuals that have managed to fly underneath the radar up to this point. It’s about time these guys got a shout-out from us.
Dwayne Polee | 6-7 | F | Westchester | 2010
Many believe that he’s one of country’s top dunkers in his class. The hype is warranted too. Straight up, Polee can get up. He’s always around the rim, often times above the rack. He’s extremely long and possesses great bounce off the floor, that certainly helps matters. In order to be considered more than just a tremendous finisher, he needs to work on his touch from the outside. Consistency is key. Aside from that, Polee is a legit Division I prospect. Moreover, it appears as if the one-time USC commit is out there on the market.
Jordin Mayes | 6-2 | G | Westchester | 2010
Excels at both backcourt spots. Can run the show from the one with relative ease, or differ to someone else and still make an impact on the offensive end as a two. Picking one position, or the other, and moving on will only make him a better and more useful option once he arrives in Tucson, at Arizona, around this time next year. Our guess is that he’ll end up at shooting guard. Mayes, after all, is lights out from long range. Hard to imagine Wildcats’ coach Sean Miller not taking advantage of his ability on the perimeter.
Steven Adams | 6-9 | F | Pasadena | 2010
Big body with an even bigger will. Bigger than most, in fact. About a year ago, he underwent life-threatening surgery to remove a non-cancerous mass behind his right eye. Low and behold, Adams has made a triumphant return to the floor. And he’s doing what he does best, making his presence felt in the painted area. After watching him get up and down the court on a couple different occasions, one might not have ever known there was a time when things didn’t look so good for him. Adams is back. In a big way.
Deonte Burton | 6-1 | G | Centennial | 2010
He can do it all. Score with the best of them. Distribute the ball in traffic. Bang underneath the basket and grab the occasional board. And when the situation calls for it, Burton is fully capable of locking down the opponent’s top player on the defensive end of the floor. Indeed, he’s about as well-rounded as they come. That said, we find it a tad bit surprising he’s not being more heavily recruited. Perhaps his size, or lack thereof, is scaring schools away. In the end, some college coach is going to be lucky to land Burton and have him onboard.
Yannick Atanga | 6-8 | F | Besant Hill | 2010
Ventura County isn’t known as a hoops haven. Never has been and never will be. Atanga, however, deserves to be mentioned for doing his best to put the small private school in Ojai on the basketball map. Not an easy task, not by any stretch of the imagination. Believe it or not, the native of Cameroon has managed to make a name for himself and is considered as one of the top fours in the state, right behind James Johnson from San Diego. Atanga will be playing ball at Santa Clara in the near future.
Byron Wesley | 6-5 | F | Etiwanda | 2011
Does a little bit of everything, most of it well. Can put the ball on the floor and get buckets or step out and make the mid-range jumper. Leave him alone beyond the three-point arc, and more often than not, Wesley will make you pay from way downtown. Rebounding comes naturally and he’s unselfish enough to make the extra pass. Thing is, he’s continues to improve on a daily basis, mind you. USC scored when it landed a verbal commitment from him five months ago. The Trojans are going to love this guy.
Amir Garrett | 6-6 | F | Leuzinger | 2011
Heard plenty about Garrett beforehand, but never had the opportunity to see him in action. That is, until recently, of course. This talented wing has a knack for getting to the goal. Once there, he finishes. Slashing isn’t the only aspect of his game though. Garret knocks down open jumpers, has a decent handle and battling down in the low block for rebounds doesn‘t bother him. A year from now, we envision him ending up as one of the nation’s more sought-after seniors around. Mark our words.
Spencer Dinwiddie | 6-3 | G | Taft | 2011
Got to give Derrick Taylor some credit, the Toreadors’ coach knows a thing, or two, about the game and has done a good job of developing Dinwiddie. Then again, the head honcho has plenty of experience when it comes to these types of things. In the not so distant past, Taylor did the same for the Lakers’ Jordan Farmar and the North Carolina Tar Heels’ Larry Drew II. It appears as if Dinwiddie could be the next line. UCLA and USC have expressed interest. Rumor is, Kansas has been in contact with him as well.
Norvel Pelle | 6-10 | C | Price | 2011
Was forced to sit out the season after transferring from Dominguez in Compton to nearby Price in Los Angeles. Pelle will be worth the wait though. He’s widely recognized as one of the country’s top players in his class, with a top 10 spot reserved for him at his position. The Pac-10 Conference is all over him. It should be noted that Uconn and Kansas have also inquired about his services. North Carolina and Texas are in the mix as well. Pelle has a ton of upside, and if he can fill out his somewhat slender frame, sky’s the limit.
Anthony January | 6-6 | F | Compton | 2012
We don’t want to label him as a super sophomore, not just yet. There’s no need to put any additional pressure on the kid. January, however, has shown flashes of brilliance since his days as a wide-eyed freshman. In time, he could emerge into a legitimate force, at least one of the more well-known from this side on this country. Again, no pressure. Bottom line: January is capable of big things, bigger that he might understand at this stage of the game. It will be interesting to see if, and when, he realizes his potential.
There you have it, and in-depth look at some of the best the West has to offer, names you‘ll be hearing about for years to come. Try as we might, it wasn’t humanly possible to mention every individual from the bumper crop of California prospects that we saw in action.
At some point, the plan is to shed some light on the best of the rest from around these parts. In the meantime, we hope this well-thought-out list will do.