Vegas event attracts national talent

LAS VEGAS -- The Fullcourt Press Easter Classic, directed by Dinos Trigonis, wasn't chock full of high-major talent, but there was an abundance of prospects that will be playing Division 1 basketball on some level in the future. Although the quality of basketball was shaky at best—typical for this time of year—there were a number of prospects that showcased their skill, including a number of dynamite sophomores in 6-5 Trevonte Drye (Baton Rouge, La./ Glen Oaks) and 6-6 Branden Dawson (Gary, Ind./ Lew Wallace).

On this weekend where most of the talent was in Virginia playing at the Boo Williams tournament, Las Vegas had three tournaments going on with Trigonis' event by far the most talented and organized. There were a number of prospects -- 6-7 junior Daniel Alexander (Dripping Springs, Texas), 6-2 junior Royce Woolridge (Phoenix, Ariz./ Sunnyslope) and 6-5 junior Keala King (Compton, Calif./ Dominguez) come immediately to mind -- who stood out amongst the rest over the weekend.


Gold Division: California Supreme Black 83 San Francisco Rebels 72

Silver Division: California Supreme Red 88 Salt Lake Select 62

16 and under division: California Supreme 62 Alberta Warriors 55

Standout Players

Royce Woolridge (6-2, 180)
Junior, Phoenix, Ariz./ Sunnyslope

Woolridge is an undersized 2-guard for the next level, but he was arguably the best scorer this weekend. His frame hasn't changed in a couple of years and he isn't very explosive, but his skills are high-level and he has a prolific shooting touch out to the stripe. He is very potent in a catch-and-shoot situation and he has gotten better off the dribble -- although quicker defenders, such as 5-7 junior Ervin Ware (Cerritos, Calif./ Gahr), can give him trouble. He can score in a variety of ways and has a very good left hand while finishing to boot. However, due to his limited upside, I feel he'll have a solid, rather than great career at Kansas.

Daniel Alexander (6-7, 190)
Junior, Dripping Springs, Texas

Alexander has a nice looking frame with long arms and broad shoulders, and he's blessed with some considerable bounce. The game comes very easily to him and he has a variety of skills. He has a soft shooting touch out to the stripe, is an excellent passer, and he can finish with authority in transition. Despite his terrific all-around game, he does have a tendency to get careless with his passing and he doesn't like contact as well. His talent at the 2 or the 3 is significant, but in order for him to reach his potential he'll need to get tougher and tighten up his decision-making.

Keala King (6-5, 180)

Junior, Compton, Calif./ Dominguez

King -- think USC standout Daniel Hackett -- is one of the most talented perimeter prospects in the west. He can play all three perimeter positions due to his skills, savvy, and athleticism. He has terrific length and bounce and has the ability to break down defenders as well as anybody on the West Coast. However, there are times when he over penetrates and becomes turnover prone. In addition, he has a tendency to go one on five at times. On the other hand, what separates him from most wings is his passing prowess and ability to create off the dribble. Whether in the post or out on the perimeter his passing is high-level. In addition, he is one of the better rebounders for his size. King is a unique talent, but it would be wise on his part to hone his point guard skills (managing the game) because that could separate him from most prospects in the country.

Darius Nelson (6-5, 230)

Sophomore, Sacramento, Calif./ Sheldon

Nelson -- think current UC Irvine standout Eric Wise -- can score in a variety of ways. His body type will always bring up questions about his upside, but he knows how to play this game. He is deceptively quick off the dribble and he knows how to use his thick frame to ward off shot blockers. He can hit the 3-point shot, but it's streaky. His release is fine, but his shot is quite flat. Depending how his body develops, Nelson should find himself in the Big West and/or WCC because he loves to compete.

Brian Williams (6-5, 190)
Junior, Baton Rouge, La./ Glen Oaks

Williams was one of the major surprises of the tournament and should be a candidate for the ESPNU Top 100. He has a long frame and overall outstanding athleticism. He fits that wing-type position to a tee due to his improved perimeter skills and bounce. He can nail the 3-point shot with regularity or take it hard to the rim. He elevates well around the basket and he's a relentless rebounder at both ends. In addition, he is a pretty solid ball handler and is capable of getting his own shot or delivering an assist. Williams has a very high ceiling and should be a fine player at the high-major level.

Branden Dawson (6-6, 210)

Sophomore, Gary, Ind./ Lew Wallace

In the 16 and under division, there wasn't a more dominant player than Dawson. He has a lengthy, yet chiseled frame and terrific hands. He has great bounce and terrific timing around the basket. He handles the ball well in transition and can really attack the rim. He can step out and hit the mid-range jump shot, but his stroke will have to improve if he wants to play the three at the highest level. At this stage, due to his skill, bounce, and competitive nature he looks like a future hybrid 4-man.

De'End Parker (6-5, 190)

Senior, San Francisco, Calif./ Lincoln

Parker is headed to junior college, but he is definitely a Division 1 talent. He is a relentless competitor at both ends and has a terrific frame. He loves to attack the basket off the bounce and he can score in a variety of ways. His jump shot is decent, but it will need to get more consistent at the next level. He has a solid feel for the game as demonstrated by his passing. How much he improves at the junior college level is yet to be determined, but he does have the intangibles to be a high-major glue-type.

Surprise Players

Ben Vozzola (6-5, 165)

Junior, Las Vegas/ Centennial

There isn't a prospect out West whose stock is rising as fast as Vozzola. A few weeks ago this wiry wing-type was showing off his feathery touch from beyond the stripe. However, in Las Vegas he was displaying his much-improved ball skills and nifty passing ability. His jump shot wasn't as consistent as it's been in the past, but his overall talent is definitely approaching the high-level mark. He needs to get considerably stronger, but his upside is definitely impressive.

Trevante Drye (6-5, 180)

Sophomore, Baton Rouge, La./ Glen Oaks

Drye is a gifted hybrid 4-man who may turn out to be a high-level wing before it's all said and done. He has a sinewy frame with long arms and blossoming perimeter skills. Despite his slight frame, he loves to face-up his opponents and either hit the mid-range pull-up and/or take his defender off the bounce. He excels in transition and can get to the rim with ease. Overall, Drye is just beginning to tap into his exceptional upside.

Jordan Sims (6-4, 180)
Junior, Surprise, Ariz./ Liberty

Sims is one of the top sleepers on the West Coast who should garner Division 1 interest this summer. He has a prototypical wing-type frame with nice length and is still very young looking. He has a feathery shooting touch beyond the stripe and is very potent in a catch-and-shoot situation. He finishes well in transition and is just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential. Lastly, he has a great demeanor about him and plays with an even keel at all times.

Tyler Lamb (6-5, 190)
Junior, Santa Ana, Calif./ Mater Dei

Lamb's game doesn't translate well to the club basketball scene. He is a system player that does all the little things that make you win basketball games. He is not a one-on-one talent that can get his own shot and he isn't particularly explosive off the bounce either. However, he's always around the ball and has excellent instincts for this game, particularly on the defensive end. He rebounds well for his size and is one of the better shot blockers in transition. One area that will need to improve for him to be successful offensively at UCLA will be his jump shot. His shot is inconsistent out to the stripe, but his mid-range pull-up is quite good. At this stage I don't ever seeing Lamb being an All Pac-10 performer, but he is the kind of player that could be a glue-type for the Bruins.

Michael Cobbins (6-7, 175)
Junior, Amarillo, Texas/ Palo Duro

Cobbins has a long and wiry frame and he's extremely quick. This lefty is a bit of a 'tweener for the next level because he's too frail to bang inside and doesn't possess a consistent enough jump shot to play the wing. However, he is quite quick off the bounce and he usually converts utilizing his length and bounce. Despite his light frame, he is very active inside and gets numerous tap-ins and short put-backs. In addition, he is an allusive scorer underneath and has very good hands. He'll need to get considerably stronger for the next level, but he's an intriguing talent with a high basketball IQ.

Thomas Feeney (6-2, 185)
Junior, Anchorage, Alaska/ West Anchorage

Feeney compares favorably to Gonzaga standout Jeremy Pargo, but not as explosive. He is a physical point guard who can swing between both guard positions due to his ability to score. He is very strong with the ball and has an excellent feel for the game. His passing is high level both in transition and the half-court set, but he can get too tricky at times leading to unnecessary turnovers. His jump shot has improved and he gets great lift on it. Overall, Feeney is one of the top sleepers in the West Coast class of 2010.

Fullcourt Press Notes

• He doesn't have great quickness, but 6-1 sophomore Tre Demps (San Antonio, Texas/ Ronald Reagan) changes speeds very well and can knock down the 3-point shot.

Kyle Fuller, a 5-11 combo-guard out of Moreno Valley, Calif./ Rancho Verde, can really stroke it from deep, but he needs to add a jump stop to his game while penetrating because he has a tendency to leave his feet while passing.

• One of the better looking sophomores in Arizona is 6-2 Martyre Demarco (Phoenix, Ariz./ Shadow Mountain). He is a true point guard who has a slick handle and improving jump shot.

• One of the more crafty point guards was 6-2 junior Cody Doolin (Austin, Tex./ Westlake). He is deceptively quick, has a tight handle, and can nail the 3-pointer.

Tyrell Corbin, a 5-10 sophomore out of Salt Lake City, Utah/ West, is the son of former NBA player Tyrone Corbin. He is a tad undersized, but he is quick and is a very good passer. He changes speeds very well and he knows how to manage a game.

• California Supreme 16s received two outstanding performances from 6-5 8th grader Roschon Prince (Long Beach, Calif./ Hughes Middle School) and 6-1 freshman Marqueze Coleman (Los Angeles/ Dorsey). If Prince can become a consistent shooter, he has a chance to be special while Coleman demonstrated his passing ability from the high post as well as a much improved jump shot.

Anthony Holiday, a 6-2 junior out of Norwalk, Calif., struggled handling the ball in traffic. He can knock down the 3-point shot and could be very effective in a motion style offense.

• He is a terrific scorer and extremely quick, but 5-10 sophomore Cezar Guerrero (City of Industry, Calif./ Workman) needs to learn how to change speeds and manage a half-court offense.

• Michael Caffey, a 5-10 sophomore out of Corona, Calif./ Centennial, is developing into a Division 1 prospect. He has solid length, athleticism, and he advances the ball well in transition.

• R.J. McGhee, a 6-3 junior our of Baton Rouge, LA./ Istrouma, is a lanky 2-guard prospect that can score in bunches. He needs to tone down his shot selection, but he is a talent.

• Zech Smith, a 6-9 junior out of San Diego, Calif., has trimmed down and is much more fluid on the court. He posts up strong, but rarely saw the ball and he understands the pick and roll. He doesn't have much bounce but he does slide his feet well and keeps his hands high.

Austin McBroom, a 5-10 sophomore out of North Hollywood, Calif./ Campbell Hall, displayed some improvement from the regular season where he took a number of ill-advised shots. In the three games I watched he did a nice job as a facilitator and picked his spots to score. The level of his recruitment will depend on his development as a point guard.

• The isn't a prospect in the state that has the upside of 6-9 sophomore Norvel Pelle (Compton, Calif./ Dominguez). He tends to drift in games but his shot blocking and bounce are high level.

• Branch West Basketball had a couple of solid prospects out of Wingfield high school in Jackson, Mississippi. Trency Jackson, a 6-2 junior is a solid looking 2-guard prospect while 6-6 junior Sammy Ford is a solid face-up 4-man.

Miles Cartwright, a 6-3 junior out of Los Angeles/ Loyola, has a slender frame and isn't overly quick, but he can score in bunches.

• One of the up-and-coming prospects in the class of 2010 is 6-5 junior Cliff Sims Jr.(Compton, Calif.). He plays at a relentless pace at both ends and attacks the rim. If his jump shot continues to improve he should garner interest from the Big West and WCC during the summer

Ronnie Stevens, a 6-8 sophomore out of Gardena, Calif./ Serra, doesn't have great feet or bounce, but his post skills have improved considerably in the past year. He can also step out and nail jump shot at the elbow.

• He is quite streaky with his jump shot, but 6-3 junior Jordan Weathers (Los Angeles/ Fairfax) is long and quick.

Kevin Johnson, a 6-9 sophomore out of Gardena, Calif./ Serra, has a great looking frame and is one of the few prospects that understands his role. Despite his limited bounce, he is a very effective scorer in the block due to his soft hands and improved footwork.

• He is always good for a few spectacular dunks, but 6-7 junior Dwayne Polee Jr.(Los Angeles/Westchester) needs to continue to polish his shooting stroke and play on balance more often.

• DeAndre Daniels, a 6-8 wiry junior out of Woodland Hills, Calif./ Taft, is a solid spot-up shooter with range and he can finish at the rim in transition. He is a solid looking face-up 4-man, but he needs to get considerably stronger.

• One of the bigger disappointments of the event was the play of 6-5 junior Moses Morgan (Las Vegas/ Palo Verde). He can knock down shots from anywhere, but his ball skills need polishing and he needs to play with more urgency at both ends.

• Grant Verhoeven, a 6-7 freshman out of Visalia, Calif./ Central Valley Christian, is the son of former Fresno State standout Keith Verhoeven. He has a nice looking frame and plays with purpose at both ends.