Starting in early June, Clutch Clips Hoops and I started holding small group workouts for players based in the Central Section of California. Over the past month the workouts have attracted players from various cities in Central and Southern California. The players that have attended the workouts have come from the areas of Bakersfield, Fresno, Lancaster, Palmdale, the Central Coast and Orange County. The purpose of these workouts is to provide exposure for players during a time that has seen players miss out on an entire AAU season, as well as individual player events. The following write-up is an evaluation of the players that have attended the Prospect Workouts. This will be a multiple part series of evaluations, but below are 15 players that have attended the workouts over the past month.
Hunter has emerged as the top prospect in the Central Section of California, which has earned him a Top 60 national ranking for the class of 2022. Hunter is the most complete 2-way player in the Section and has excellent lead guard skills. Hunter is a great on ball defender, rebounds very well, can push the tempo in the open court, shot making ability from all 3 levels of scoring, sees the court well and has received more than 15 D1 offers in the last year.
Ficher has earned back to back East Yosemite League MVP, as well as been named to the All-State Team for the class of 2021 the last 2 years. Ficher, the ideal lead guard, has elite ball handling skills, keeps the ball on a string, shifty off the perimeter, a very productive scorer with a smooth mid-range, on court leadership and his work ethic is relentless on both ends of the court. 4.2+ GPA. D2/Higher Academic Prospect.
The rising Junior prospect was a key part of the Panthers Central Section Open Division Championship this past season, with his primary role being on the defensive end and the hustle plays. Newsome has added muscle and his physical presence on the court is felt on both ends. Newsome is a solid rebounder, can lock up on defense, much improved from the perimeter, consistent from deep and going at the rim with authority. D2 prospect.
Tyler was a core part of the Falcons Valley Championship run to win the Division 2 Central Section Title. Although part of the core roster, Tyler was more of a role player that showed a lot of promise. Tyler has put in as much work as any player in the South Valley over the past 2 months and it is becoming clear he has the potential to be one of the top prospects in high school in the Section. Tyler has a pretty shot from beyond the arc, improved feel for the game, solid on the boards, rangy wingspan to alter shots, handles getting better and looking to become a true combo guard. D2 prospect with potential to be a D1 prospect.
AJ George has been one of the best kept secrets in the Central Section since his sophomore season. George is an extremely versatile player on both ends of the court. Big combo guard, that rebounds well and can push the ball in transition with playmaker abilities. George has good ball handling skills and has the moves to create off the perimeter and get to his spot to create offense. George also has good post moves and operates comfortably with his back to the basket, either going to work or making reads from the paint. D2+ prospect.
The back to back Southwest Yosemite League MVP is looking to make the transition from playing the forward position in high school to being an explosive player off the wing. Whatley is an elite rebounder and plays much bigger than his 6 foot 4 inch frame. Whatley is a lock up defender and can defend the 1-4 spots effectively, as well as protect the rim with his massive wingspan. Whatley has improved his shooting range and evolved into a player that can hit from deep and has a nice mid-range shot. As Whatley continues to develop his ball handling skills the sky is really the limit for his game. D2+ prospect.
Prescott recently moved from Virginia to Fresno and did not waste any time making his game known in the Central Section. Prescott has a strong, physical frame and superior athleticism to go along with a well rounded skill set that makes him a tough match-up for any defender. In the open court, Prescott is a nightmare for defenders with his ability to accelerate quickly and goes straight at the rim. Prescott has really nice ball handling skills, solid shooter from deep, off the perimeter he can absorb and finish through contact easily, quick leaper to secure rebounds and has a bully ball style that affects both ends of the court in a positive way. Undecided on high school but word is leaning towards San Joaquin Memorial, which would keep the Panthers in the driver's seat to be the tops in the Section next season. D2+ prospect.
Uphold has been a force in Central Cali since he was in middle school. The 2 sport athlete (football and basketball) has continued to evolve as a basketball player from being a force in the post to being able to stretch the floor and solid playmaker out of the post. Uphold is dominant on the glass, has great footwork in the paint and able to finish effectively at or above the rim, shooting form continues to improve with the ability to knockdown from deep and hit the pull-up jumper, and improved handles to rebound and push the tempo in transition. D2/Higher Academic Prospect.
Moten was a core piece of the Falcons run to capture the Central Section Division 2 Championship and was one of the primary ball handlers as a sophomore. Moten has been putting in the work during the past few months and his overall skill set and confidence is on the rise. Moten has solid on court leadership, nice ball handling skills, shifty when necessary but physicality to finish through contact, and the lefty has a deadly stop on a dime pull-up mid-range game. Moten will likely be the primary lead guard for the Falcons this upcoming season and will look to have a breakout Junior campaign. NAIA Prospect with potential to be a D2 Prospect.
Hernandez had an impressive finish to his Junior season as his game ramped up through league play. Hernandez has always been a pesky defender that has gained size and strength over the past year that has allowed him to be a solid on ball defender. Offensively, Hernandez has great court vision, crafty with the ball in his hands, ability to attack the paint and make plays, and has become more confident in his shooting abilities making him more of a threat off the perimeter. Excels in ball screen situations. NAIA Prospect.
Mason had a solid Sophomore campaign for the Grizzlies but looks to be more of an impact player on both ends heading into his Junior season. The athletic and rangy Mason is very active around the basket, solidifying rebounds, protecting the rim and an effective finisher around and above the basket. Mason also has shown growth in his offense game in various areas. Mason’s ball handling has really improved, his ability to stretch the floor from deep is more consistent and his ability to attack off the wing is more of a threat with increased shooting abilities. Mason has one of the highest upsides in the Section. D2+ Prospect.
Johnson entered high school as one of the better known prospects in the Central Section. Everytime I see Johnson he seems to have grown at least an inch and is now about 6 foot 2 inches. Johnson looks to be more of an integral part for the Panthers this upcoming season, as his game and skill set continue to improve. Johnson has great lead guard instincts and his game excels in the open court. Johnson has a smooth stroke from beyond the arc, very shifty with the ball on the attack and can finish in a variety of ways around the basket. Johnson’s playmaking abilities have really improved as he draws the defense in off the attack and finds the open players. The upside for Johnson is big time and he could be one of the top D1 Prospects in the Central Section by his Junior season. Currently I would have Johnson as a D2+ prospect.
Herod is coming off a fantastic end to his sophomore season for the Knights. Herod put up 30 points in the Central Section Semifinals in a win over the Bakersfield Drillers, knocking down 6 3’s in the process. Herod has supreme confidence in his skills and abilities on the court and can play either guard position effectively. Herod handles the ball well and has electric moves in isolation situations. Herod is a knockdown deep ball threat, uses the crossover to create space and get his shot off, and because he is a threat from behind the arc he uses that to blow by his defender to get to the mid-range or to the basket for the finish. Very fluid player that could be a solid 2-way player if he locks in on the defense end as well. D2 prospect.
Eggleston had a late push in league this past season but the raw skill and talent have been part of his game since middle school. Eggleston is a prime example of how much you can contribute to a team’s success when you just go out and play basketball and not try to overthink every situation on the court. The rangy wing player has a high motor, great wingspan and leaping ability that allows him to control the glass, has good handles to push the pace in transition and is an improving shooter. Eggleston is a pesky defender that can alter shots and disrupt passing lanes turning defense to offense. The more Eggleston puts into his skills and strength and conditioning the higher his value will be as a prospect given he natural feel for the game and how he impacts both ends of the court. NAIA Prospect with potential to be a D2 Prospect.
I have not seen much of Slaughter’s game since middle school but he had a productive season with the Lions and was one of the top scorers on the team this past season. I have been able to see him a few times the last few weeks and the one thing that stands out is Slaughter’s ability to knockdown the three ball from all spots behind the arc. At his height, the more intriguing aspect of his game that will allow for an opportunity to play basketball beyond high school is his ball handling skills and his ability to play the true lead guard spot. Slaughter has crafty but tight handles, sees the court well and weaves through the defense nicely, improved playmaker off the drive and kick, and with his consistency behind the arc defenders have to overplay and that opens up his mid-range game. NAIA Prospect.