The Wild, Wild West
Giving credit where credit’s due to some often overlooked PUNKS.
Surprise, surprise, well take a look at what we have here…
Thought it was particularly interesting that the West Coast received little, or no love when the recent announcement was made for the McDonald’s All-American Game. More than a few of of the country’s premier players from out in this neck of the woods were left off the roster for the gathering scheduled to take place March 30 at the United Center in Chicago, Ill.
In fact, only Henderson (NV) Findlay Prep’s Myck Kabongo and Portland (OR) Jesuit’s Kyle Wiltjer were selected to participate in the prestigious showcase.
That said, it’s time to use a quick couple of minutes to highlight several individuals who were, without a doubt, considered for the honor. Ultimately, however, the youngsters in the following list were passed over for the McDonald’s All-American Game for someone else with supposed better credentials. Here we go, in no particular order, let’s get down to business.
Nick Johnson | 6-3 | SG | Findlay Prep | 2011
He’s a guard with a power forward’s mentality. Johnson loves contact, particularly on the offensive end of the floor, where he’s made a living by taking the ball to the hole, getting fouled and completing the three-point plays the conventional way. That’s not to say he can’t step out and knock down shots from the perimeter. Accordingly, Johnson was recruited by several powerhouse programs before deciding that playing in Tuscon at Arizona was the best fit for him.
Josiah Turner | 6-3 | PG | Quality Education Academy | 2011
This cat is an interesting case. He started the year playing out in California’s capital, Sacramento High. Somewhere along the way, there was a falling out between player and coach and Turner ended up in Winston-Salem (NC). Nevertheless, when you talk about floor generals, his name must be mentioned among the best in the business. The Arizona-bound playmaker ranks right up there with the likes of Marquis Teague and Quinn Cook. Turner can do it all.
Norvel Pelle | 6-9 | F | Price | 2011
When he puts his mind to it, this Los Angeles native 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 Pelle does many things well, better than most. Length and sheer athleticism are his biggest assets, making him a tough match-up regardless of the opponent. Threes and fours struggle against him. Suppose that’s one of the reasons why he’ll be heading to St. John’s next year.
Jabari Brown | 6-3 | SG | Oakland | 2011
There’s just something about this kid. Can’t quite 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, well above the goal. Or maybe it is his competitive nature. He’s as intense as they come. Never seen him back down from a challenge. Bottom line is: Brown has the intangibles the other guys don’t have. Seemingly most every Pac-10 Conference program recruited him, but in the end, he chose Oregon.
He can do it all, board, block shots, shoot, drive, distribute and defend. Make no mistake, there’s plenty to like about the game Wroten possesses. The list goes on and on. And on, for that matter. Perhaps the one attribute that made him the most attractive to potential suitors at the next level, NCAA Division I, of course, was his big frame. Once he arrives at Washington to play college ball, he figures to look over the top of opposing defense from out on the point.
Jahii Carson | 5-11 | PG | Mesa | 2011
Someone gave this guy an extra inch, or two, when they measured his height. His size, or lack thereof, hasn’t prevented him from playing above the rim though. Carson displays tremendous bounce off the floor and is a highlight waiting to happen. Most times, opponents steer clear of him when he attacks the paint. No one, big or small, wants to be posterized by the little guy. Aside from that, his game is well-rounded. Arizona State will be happy once he arrives on campus.
Norman Powell | 6-2 | SG | Lincoln | 2011
From relative unknown to prominent national player, that best describes the rapid development the kid from California has made over the last two-plus years. 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 finds the the wide-open man on the perimeter. UCLA noticed something special in Powell early on and were lucky to lock in a commitment from him.
Angelo Chol | 6-9 | C | Hoover | 2011
He hails from sunny San Diego and is comfortable in the spotlight. It’s something that simply comes with the territory when you’re considered one of the top post players from the Golden State. Chol is seemingly without peer underneath the basket, at times, dominating things on both ends of the floor For those still skeptical about what he has to offer, stay tuned, he’ll be taking his talents to Arizona in the near future and figures to make an immediate impact.
Never met a jumper he didn’t like, or take. He hits them with regularity too. There’s no hesitation, aim and fire, that’s Guerrero’s motto. It’s plain and simple. Rest assured, the unsigned gunner is far from a one-dimensional player. He’s fully capable of putting the ball on the floor and creating easier looks for himself, and others. When defenses collapse, he dishes the ball with the best of them. We’re trying to say, Guerrero’s game is tailor-made for the next level.
Ryan Anderson | 6-8 | F | Long Beach Poly | 2011
He is as active as they come, both offensively and defensively, and that unwavering desire to get after things makes the ultra-athletic Anderson one of the more entertaining players to watch when it comes to the high school game. He has good range from the outside, a facet of his overall skill set that continues to improve, mind you. Hitting the boards with reckless abandon appears to come quite naturally. Anderson also challenges every shot he can get his hands on, it’s crazy. One problem, he won’t be around California for much longer. He’s heading to Boston College next year.
Sean Ceglinsky is a contributor for SLAMonline.com. Follow him on Twitter.