SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The 7th Annual Patrick Dennehy Memorial Rumble in the Bay didn't have an abundance of talent, but it's always a worthwhile stop on the recruiting circuit. This year's event, like many before it, served as a coming-out party for unknown commodities -- 6-foot-9 junior Eric Hutchinson (Kalama, Wash./ Mark Morris) comes immediately to mind -- and young standouts, like 6-foot freshman Josiah Turner (Rancho Cordova, Calif./ Cordova) who made a lasting impression among scouts and fans alike.
In addition, Gerry Freitas and Nelson Washington, the event's co-directors, always do an outstanding job of providing accurate rosters and a well-organized schedules. Also, most of the games are held at one of the top facilities on the West Coast at the Leavey Center on the campus of Santa Clara University.
By the time the final buzzer sounded a Renardo Sidney-led L.A. Dream team would go back-to-back, defeating a well-schooled and feisty Yakima Elite squad 71-63. Sidney wasn't the only standout for the Dream; six-foot-6 junior Kawhi Leonard (Riverside, Calif./ Martin Luther King), 6-1 junior Eric Lawton (Hemet, Calif./ West Valley), and 5-8 junior Dominique O'Connor (Los Angeles/ Westchester) would turn in solid performances as well.
Tyler Honeycutt (6-7, 180)
Junior, Sylmar, Calif.
If Honeycutt continues to progress at this rate, he may turn out to be the No. 1 wing in the Class of 2009 on the West Coast. He appears to be taller each time out and is quickly approaching 6-8. He has that Austin Daye feel to him at this stage, and he is nowhere near reaching his potential. His jump shot has become much more consistent this spring and his passing continues to amaze me each time out. Whom he guards at the next level is still in question, but offensively he has high-major tools.
Kevin Johnson (6-8, 220)
Freshman, Gardena, Calif./ Serra
Johnson has a high-major frame and appears to be more bouncy than when I first saw him in December. His footwork has improved dramatically in recent months and he now finishes more consistently around the basket. He isn't a high-flyer, but he's quick off his feet and is blessed with some of the softest hands I've seen on a player his size. He's a very good rebounder and his outlet passes are coming along as well. He plays with great energy and his demeanor is outstanding. Defensively, Johnson's a solid shot-blocker and he slides his feet remarkably well for a 5. Johnson still needs to continue to hone the fundamentals and develop more skills in the post, but for a freshman he is well ahead of the curve.
Renardo Sidney (6-9, 250)
Junior, Los Angeles/ Fairfax
Every year there are always couple of superstar talents who fail to dominate when they should -- including past greats like Chris Washburn, Shawn Kemp and Vince Carter, and the more recent B.J. Mullens.
Whether it's boredom or a lack of competitive drive there always appears to be something missing. Sidney has unique ability and his overall talent speaks volumes, but if he ever got nasty from a physical standpoint, it would be over. He has a plethora of offensive skills, but unfortunately most of his skills are showcased on the perimeter. Sidney dominated this event because there was no one close to his talent and size to challenge him. If he takes his conditioning seriously and develops a back-to-the basket game, he should be a high lottery pick.
Josiah Turner (6-0, 155)
Freshman, Rancho Cordova, Calif./ Cardova
Turner was a relative unknown prior to this event, but after watching him at the Rumble in the Bay, he is clearly the No. 1 pure point guard prospect for the Class of 2011 on the West Coast. Fellow 2011 prospect Cezar Guerrero (St. John Bosco) is special in his own right and possesses a better jump shot than Turner at this point, but Turner's overall feel for the position and passing ability are a notch above Guerrero's. Turner has the innate ability to advance the ball in transition without too much dribbling, and although he's right-handed, his left-handed passing ability is something special. Physically, he has elite quickness and speed and his handle is crisp. He has 3-point range on his shot, but there is definitely room for improvement. If Turner can continue to develop his game and stay level-headed throughout the process, he truly has the upside to be a special player down the road.
Kevin Panzer (6-8, 190)
Sophomore, San Juan Capistrano, Calif./ Capistrano Valley
I originally listed Panzer under the surprise category, but after a couple of games, I quickly came to the conclusion he was one of the top overall prospects in the event. Panzer is a young thoroughbred who is just beginning to realize his vast potential. He is already one of the most prolific shooters on the West Coast and his passing ability is impressive. He gets his shot off quickly and his release is tight. He still needs to develop his back-to-the-basket game, but with added strength and coaching that should come shortly. Overall, he's a high-major prospect at the 4.
Reeves Nelson (6-6, 220)
Junior, Modesto, Calif./ Modesto Christian
Nelson may be the biggest enigma of the West Coast Class of 2009. Last summer, Nelson played with much greater urgency and attacked the basket with reckless abandon each time out. However, during his spring campaign, he appears to have thickened up (body-wise) and has lost a considerable amount of bounce. In addition, his skills have not developed as I had hoped. His jump shot needs refining in both technique and selection, and he has constantly forced the issue off the bounce. Nelson at times has dominated because of his physical strength. However, I'm very skeptical to how effective he'll be at the Pac-10 level. On the positive side, his handle is solid and he's a very capable passer, but the way his body is developing and with his lack of a consistent jump shot, Nelson is projected to being an undersized 4-man with a shaky face-up game.
Eric Hutchinson (6-9, 215)
Junior, Kalama, Wash./ Mark Morris
Hutchinson -- think Cal big man Taylor Harrison -- was one of the pleasant surprises at the event. He has all the intangibles to be a solid 4 or 5 at the mid-major level and may go higher depending on his development. He has a nice looking lanky frame that possesses the room to put on weight without losing any of his versatility. He has great hands, quick feet and can finish in transition. Although he has a slight frame, he battles hard at both ends and is one of the better passing big men in the West Coast's Class of 2009. He rebounds well, does an exceptional job of filling the lane and can finish with an acrobatic layup. His strength in the half-court set is coming off of screens and attacking the basket or catching in from the post, facing-up and utilizing his quickness to get by his opponent. Hutchinson can add to his game by utilizing the jump-stop and developing a midrange jump shot, but overall he is one of the top 10 post prospects on the West Coast.
Kory Theileke (6-4, 165)
Sophomore, Bakersfield, Calif./ West
Theileke is one of the better looking prospects in the Class of 2010. He has a spindly frame with extremely long arms and overall great length for the 2. He has outstanding quickness and speed, and he slides his feet very well on the defensive end. His offensive game needs to develop, particularly his jump shot, although he is a capable shooter out to 15 feet. He has a nice feel to the game; he advanced the ball in transition a number of times without over-handling it, which is rare to see in someone so young. If his skills continue to develop over the next couple of seasons, he should be one of the top perimeter players on the West Coast by the time he's a senior.
Brandon Smith (5-8, 155)
Junior, Concord, Calif./ De La Salle
Smith is undersized, but he has the toughness, savvy and skill to compete at the low Division I level. Smith is a product of one of the most outstanding programs in the country. He understands the lead guard position and does an outstanding job of distributing the ball in both transition and the half-court set. He has a quick, tight handle and is equally good at going in either direction off the bounce. What separates him from most point guards is his mental toughness at both ends. He has excellent lateral quickness and very quick hands. Despite all his positive attributes, there are other areas of his game that he needs to develop. He has a tendency to overpenetrate into the paint area, and he needs to continue to develop his jump shot and extend his range out to the stripe.
Thomas Frye (6-4, 180)
Sophomore, Richmond, Calif./ John F. Kennedy
Frye put together a solid weekend at the Rumble in the Bay and projects to being one of the top wing-types in the Class of 2010. He has a physical, yet lengthy frame to go along with very good speed and quickness. He has a very quick first step to the basket and can handle the ball equally well with either hand. He has the ability to attack the rim and utilize his hang time and/or pull-up for the jump shot. His shot is solid with range out to the stripe, but it needs to get more consistent. He has a nice feel for the game and demonstrated that by his passing. He is still quite young as a player and needs to continue to hone his skills and savvy, but the natural ability is there to be a solid Division 1 recruit.
What we learned
• Niyi Harrison, a 6-7 junior out of San Jose, Calif./ Bellarmine Prep, continued to demonstrate why he is one of the better looking post prospects on the West Coast. He has a chiseled frame, good hands and is a tremendous rebounder.
• Deend Parker, a 6-5 junior out of San Francisco/ Lincoln, is somewhat of a 'tweener at this stage. He has a solid looking wing-type frame and can post-up smaller opponents due to his tenacity and length. However, the development of his jump shot between now and the summer will determine what level he'll play at.
• In a year in which quality point guards are hard to come by, 5-11 junior Bobby McCall (Newark, Calif./ Memorial) displayed the necessary savvy and athleticism to be considered for the Division I level.
• Kyle Caudill, a 6-10 freshman out of Brea, Calif./ Brea Olinda, is absolutely huge. He doesn't have much bounce, but he has terrific hands and uses either hand equally well while converting inside.
• He has had an enormous reputation since the seventh grade, however, 6-7 sophomore Dwayne Polee (Los Angeles/ Westchester) has not developed as expected -- other than a few highlight-reel dunks there isn't much else to his game. His game (perimeter skills and savvy) in the half-court set needs to improve considerably in the next couple of seasons to reach his potential.
• Will Cherry, a 6-0 junior out of Oakland, Calif./ McClymonds, is an explosive combo-guard who plays hard at both ends. Due to his size, however, he needs to do a better job of getting his teammates involved instead of hunting for his own shot.
• Matt Borton, a 6-4 versatile perimeter prospect out of Yakima, Wash./ West Valley, has a high basketball IQ and very good skills. If he fully recovers from his knee injury, he should turn out to be a solid Division I player.
• If his post skills develop in the coming season, 6-5 junior D.J. Shelton (Bakersfield, Calif./ East Bakersfield) has all the physical tools to be a possible Big West Conference performer in the future. He has a big-time frame but is extremely raw.
• One of the better looking frames on the West coast in the Class of 2010 belongs to 6-5 Connor Gillett (La Mirada, Calif.). He's an undersized 4/3 this early on, but with his athleticism and approach to the game he may turn out to be a solid mid-major prospect down the road.
• Allen Crabbe, a 6-4 sophomore out of Los Angeles/ Price, has all the intangibles (length, skill, and athleticism) to be an elite wing-type. However, he needs to become much more aggressive, especially at the defensive end, to reach his potential.
• Smooth shooting 6-2 sophomore Jordin Mayes (Los Angeles/ Westchester) has the type of savvy that he may end up playing point guard in college.
• One of the major surprises this weekend was the emergence of 6-7 freshman Kyle Wiltjer (Portland/ Jesuit). He is a very young looking 4-man with an advanced skill-set. He has a soft touch out to the stripe and has the makings of a possible Ryan Anderson (Cal) down the road.
• Dominic Lee, a 6-5 sophomore out of Berkeley, Calif./ St. Mary's, needs to show he can consistently hit the open jump shot. In the two games I saw him, he did a great job attacking the rim and rebounding, but he didn't show that he can hit the midrange jump shot.
• Robert Smith, a 6-0 junior out of Perris, Calif., had a solid outing the two times I watched his games. He has great speed and quickness and a tight handle. He has a tendency to force the action, but overall, he's one of the better looking point guard prospects on the West Coast.
• Lucas Devenny, a 6-7 junior out of Santa Rosa/ Piner, is one of the tougher 5-men on the West Coast, and he could end up in the WCC. He is deceptively bouncy and his blue-collar approach to the game is quite effective.
• Josh Crumel, a 6-2 junior out of Oakland, Calif./Oakland Tech, is originally from Birmingham, Ala. We're not sure if he has another year of eligibility, but he has the necessary skills and athleticism to play in the Big West or higher.
• One of the more promising sleepers on the West Coast is 6-8 junior Joe Kammerer (Eugene, Ore./North Eugene). He has a Division I frame already and quite the unique skill-set. He needs to continue to improve his post skills and fundamentals, but he has a soft touch out to 17 feet.
• Darius Nelson, a 6-5 freshman out of Sacramento/ Sheldon, has not developed as much as I had hoped since seeing him back in December. His skills haven't progressed, particularly his shooting, and he has become rather selfish with his decision-making.
• Will Davis, a 6-6 freshman out of Sacramento, Calif., was one of many intriguing underclassmen who emerged this weekend. He possesses a terrific frame with long arms and overall great length. He is far from a finished product, but there is a lot to work with here.
Joel Francisco has been a high school basketball scout for 15 years. He has written for Hoopscoop Magazine and Basketball Times and organized "So-Cal's Finest," his own scouting service.