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Day 1 Analysis

Game 1: Edison’s two main stars Steven McCllelan (Senior Forward) and Robert Upshaw (Sophomore Center) did not travel with the team to play in today’s game. From what I’ve heard, they’ll be here tomorrow to play in the bracket games. Jordan Batts looked very smooth and polished for a sophomore. He is very athletic and has good size. Alston Doulphus played well as freshman and used his distinct height advantage throughout the game. He likely doesn’t see much time behind McClellan and Upshaw but nonetheless showed promise today. Pioneer Valley was overmatched in this game, but wingman Jordan Jones still looked competitive against a good D1 squad.

Game 2: Cathedral’s Frankie Eteuati is uniquely skilled at 6’9”. He can play outside on the perimeter and has a decent handle. His right hand is nearly nonexistent but he shows smooth moves when he gets into the paint. He is a dexterous and bouncy high waisted athlete. Senior guard Andrew Clark also showed some court savvy today. Mission Prep’s guard Sam Cowitz once again showed his quickness with the ball in his hands. He has also developed a solid mid-range game. Do-it-all forward Kevin Laird continues to be a leader on the court with his toughness.

Game 3: Corey Handle showed a solid long range shot, nailing 5 tre balls in the losing effort for Birmingham. Washington Prep guard Michaelyn Scott truly put on a show, especially in the 2nd half as he and his team got rolling. He displayed a multitude of skills but his ballhandling and court awareness were particularly impressive.

Game 4: SLO High started off this game full of energy and hustle, but after the 1st quarter they went ice cold and never were able to jump back into it. However big man Sean Mullen showed plenty of athleticism throughout the game, specifically blocking shots on the defensive end and rebounding. Alex Moreno of Sylmar showed good poise in bringing his team back into the game when they were down early to the local squad.

Game 5: Star forward Steven Adams saw little time in the first half (0 points), and didn’t play at all in the 2nd. Not much to comment on here, hopefully we’ll know more of the situation as the tournament goes on. Guard Steven Shares looked strong in picking up the scoring slack. A solid jumpshooter and slasher type who also brings up the ball. Campolindo’s Kellen Ito once again has a great statistical night, rather quietly leading all scorers with 20 points. He a is smart yet physical post player who really gets after it on the glass.

Game 6: A slightly jet-lagged Ballou team lived up to the anticipation winning big with intense defensive pressure early and superior team athleticism. Starting guard Zalmico Harmon looked very strong early with 16 in the 1st half. After watching him last year in the Classic, albeit playing for Bishop O’Connell, Harmon looks considerably more confident this year and he has also improved his decision-making and his jumper. Donte Thomas, a very quiet player who rarely spoke throughout the game, has that killer instinct and although sometimes it looks awkward he gets his points and can score almost at will if his jumper is on. He had flashes of brilliance and showed good instincts on defense. We’ll see more from him as the competition stiffens up. Ballou’s big man Marquis Gentry is very lanky and very athletic for his size. Sophomore Bebe Vargas is very fluid with the ball and showed a feathery shooting touch for St. Joseph’s.

Game 7: In the past there have been some star teams and players that didn’t live up to the hype, this year’s Taft squad clearly isn’t one of those teams and Bryce Jones and DeAndre Daniels clearly aren’t those players. Everybody on Taft came out fired up and they took it to one of Nevada’s top teams. With a lot of pressure defense and transition buckets, Taft was able to show its team speed and athleticism early on. Bryce Jones was hitting from deep and DeAndre Daniels looked good on the boards and slashing through the lane. Jones has a beautiful looking jumpshot and is a very explosive yet polished all around player. Daniels is more of a freak athlete. He is 6’8” but can start the break and end the break in all of about 4 strides. Sophomore Landon Drew is much improved upon last season, with a better looking jumper and more court awareness. He showed great burst with the ball in his hands and an arsenal of ball fakes in transition. Taft overall is very very deep. Eldorado, likely a top contender in the Elite division, is a very young team. Juniors Ariel Bagget and Curtis Stewart are very talented and as they continue to mature we’ll see more, but today Taft’s smothering defense truly limited Eldorado in all aspects of offense.

Game 8: LA Tech-bound Deuce Johnson is a strong presence in the paint, and although against an undersized opponent, he showed power at rim tonight. Left-hand dominant but still improving. Junior guard Austin McBroom has always been unbelievably quick and precise with the ball in his hands, but now as his jumper is a legitimate threat he has taken his game to a new level. Sophomore KJ Smith showed good ball skills in his starting role tonight.

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