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Central Cali Prospects - Workout 5

By Paul Hernandez, 09/10/20, 3:30PM PDT

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The player evaluations are based on player performance at the Central Cali Prospect Workouts located in the Central Section of California. These Workouts started in June and have continued through the month of August. The player evaluations in this write-up are from the Workouts held throughout the month of August. The purpose of these evaluations is to shed light on the high school basketball talent from the Central Section of California, which has a lot of unknown or undervalued next level prospects. The players evaluated are from Fresno, Bakersfield and San Luis Obispo Counties.

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2022 6’8 Tyus Parrish-Tillman (Clovis West):

Parrish-Tillman is coming off of a highly productive sophomore campaign, which was capped off with a Central Section D5 Championship, as well as earning Most Outstanding Player honors. Given the impact COVID-19 has had on all aspects of life, I had not seen Tyus play since that Valley Championship game. Fortunately, Parrish-Tillman was able to attend the Prospect Workouts and he looks poised to be an impact player with the Eagles alongside UC Santa Barbara commit Cole Anderson. Parrish-Tillman was a force scoring around the rim, showing the ability to finish with either hand or finish above the rim with some power dunks. Tyus uses his impressive wingspan and good hands to alter shots and control the glass with an improving ability to push the ball off the rebound. One of the more impressive aspects of his game that was on display was his potential to be a consistent threat from behind the arc and stretching the defense, creating driving lanes. Parrish-Tillman also has decent handles and can take bigger defenders off the dribble and get to the basket or pull up for the mid-range shot. Very intriguing prospect with upside, which is saying a lot as Tyus has D1 offers already in hand. D1 MM to HM Prospect.

2022 5’11 Jaylan Walton (Bullard/Fresno):

The Central Section has a lot of talent and skill in the Class of 2022, which is headlined by 4 star recruit Joseph Hunter of San Joaquin Memorial. However, if you have seen Walton play then you know his game and skill level are definitely Top 5 in the Section for the 2022 class. Walton has true lead guard capabilities and his versatility on offense makes him one of the toughest players to guard in the Section regardless of grade level. Walton has proven he can be an elite scorer, as he finished last season scoring 37 points in a tough loss to St. Joseph (Santa Maria). At the Prospect Workouts, Walton had his offensive arsenal on full display. Walton showed off his elite ball handling skills and smooth perimeter moves as he was able to get by his defender effortlessly and is a very creative finisher around the rim. Walton is able to absorb and finish through contact around the rim and makes difficult shots using angles to create space amongst bigger players in the paint. Walton is an efficient 3 level scorer and does a nice job of getting to open spots and has a quick release on his shot. Walton also showcased his court vision and playmaking abilities in transition and in the half court setting, finding open teammates with nifty passes that left the defense confused. Walton is super shifty with the ball and keeps the ball on a string while surveying the floor. One of those players that is fun to watch and brings the toughness every time he steps on the court. LM D1/HM D2 Prospect.

2023 6’ Khristian Holmes (Fresno HS):

I first saw Holmes at the West Coast Elite Fresno All-Star Camp last October and instantly was impressed with his style of play and level of skill for a freshman. In his freshman campaign he had some big time scoring outputs, which was capped with a 30 point season high in the last game of the season. Holmes has been grinding all summer in SoCal, working out with some of the top trainers on the West Coast and it showed at the Prospect Workouts. Holmes wasted no time getting going with a couple of deep 3s to start off the open run. Holmes was shifty with the ball in his hands and deadly off the pick and roll putting his defender on skates and showing his ability to score from all three levels at a high clip. Holmes has limitless range from deep, great burst of speed when attacking the paint, great body control off the take to finish through contact, and is deadly in the open court. Holmes really uses the change of pace well and never looks out of control despite his fast style of play. Holmes plays with a supreme confidence in his skills and knowledge of the game and has a relentless motor. Although Holmes is a true scorer at heart, he is also really developing as a playmaker and has time to keep developing as a facilitator. MM/LM D1 Prospect

2023 6’6 Michael Davis Jr. (San Joaquin Memorial):

I was really excited to see Big Mike at the Prospect Workouts recently, as I had not seen him play since mid-season for the Panthers in a win over Garces Memorial. Although Davis was on the Central Section Open Division Champs San Joaquin Memorial, he was not able to play in the playoffs after a hand injury sidelined him for the remainder of his Freshman campaign. After his showing at the Prospect Workouts it is safe to say that his hand and his game are back and ready to dominate. Davis was a force in the paint; as he controlled the boards, altered shots, and was throwing down some big time power dunks. Davis has great hands around the basket and reads the defense well when setting on ball screens; either rolling or popping. Davis is an improving shooter which makes him even more of a threat on the pick and pop. The area of his game that I was most impressed with is his ball handling. Davis has good handles for a big but with training and 3 years of high school left if he puts the work in he could emerge as a top wing prospect on the West Coast. With the Panthers, Davis will anchor the middle and add some inside presence that was missing in last year’s run through the playoffs. However, given the athleticism of Davis, he will also be able to get out and run with the predominantly perimeter based roster and show off his all around skill set. Really like Davis’s upside and excited to see his progress the next few years. LM/MM D1 Prospect with the potential to be a HM prospect. 

2023 6’0 ZJ Cotton (Hoover/Fresno):

A true floor general and team leader, Cotton has been impressive at his 2 showings at the Prospect Workouts. Cotton had an instant impact at the Varsity level as a freshman, as he was a key piece for the Patriots in their run to the Central Section D3 Valley Championship Game (lost to Bakersfield Christian). Cotton is a solid 2-way player that has a big impact on both ends of the court. As a primary ball handler, Cotton is very poised under pressure, has really solid court vision, attacks the defense and finds open teammates, orchestrates the offense getting players into the right spots, and is a dynamic playmaker. As a scorer, Cotton has great handles and creative moves to attack the paint, using his strength to get into the teeth of the defense and create his own offense. Cotton gets to the open spot and is most deadly when he is attacking then using his pretty mid-range shot. What separates Cotton from some of the other top lead guards in the Section is his approach to defense. Cotton has great footwork and good fundamentals, which allows him to lock-up and stay in front of his opponent. Leadership qualities are second to none in the area. LM D1/HM D2 Prospect. 

2021 5’10 Mark Rodriguez (Mission Prep/Central Coast):

During the playoffs this past season, I went to watch Mission Prep play against Bakersfield HS with the intent to scout 2 players from Mission Prep. To my pleasant surprise, the player that performed the best for Mission Prep was point guard Mark Rodriguez. Rodriguez recently attended the Prospect Workouts and his game has excelled to new heights, as he was one of the top 3 performers in a Workout that was loaded with guard talent. Rodriguez showed all the characteristics and qualities you want from your lead guard and did it at a high level. Rodriguez is crafty with his handles, has superior court vision as a playmaker, scored effectively from various spots on the floor, uses his physical build to create seperation from the defender, has a nice stepback shot, consistent from beyond the arc, plays with a chip on his shoulder, and is a true team leader. Rodriguez communicates very well with teammates and sets other players up for success. Very impressive player that does well in the classroom. Higher Academic Prospect.  

2023 5’9 Prince Ellis (South HS/Bakersfield):

Ellis is coming off a highly productive freshman campaign, with some huge scoring performances for the Rebels that led to a total of 602 points. Ellis has had his offensive arsenal on full display at the Prospect Workouts. Ellis has a very physical but shifty style of play that is enhanced with his elite ball handling skills. Ellis does a good job of applying pressure on the defense by attacking the basket relentlessly and is able to finish around the basket in various crafty ways. Ellis has solid footwork and uses this technique nicely to create separation or spin away from his opponent and get his shot off. Ellis is a knockdown shooter from deep and his stepback 3 ball is hard to contest. On the defensive end, Ellis gets after his man and can pick up full court and apply pressure creating turnovers and easy transition buckets. Ellis is one of the top Lead Guards in the South Valley and gaining more recognition throughout the section as a top point guard in the 2023 class. D2 Prospect with potential to move up to a LM D1 Recruit. 

2023 5’10 Amari Carraway (Fresno HS):

Carraway was a player that I had yet to see in person before he attended the Prospect Workouts. Carraway was listed as Honorable Mention by Dinos Trigonis in the SoCal 2023 rankings in Nothing But Net Magazine and I had heard from plenty of people in the Fresno area that Amari’s game was great, so I was excited to see him at the Workouts. Carraway’s game and style of play did not disappoint and was fun to watch. Carraway’s on-court speed with the ball in his hand is electrifying. Carraway has dynamic handles and elite moves that he uses in the open court to blow by multiple defenders and get to the cup; with the ability to finish in a variety of ways over bigger players. Carraway has a nice shooting form and when he is on from deep he is nearly unstoppable as a scorer. His ability to hit from deep forces his defender to pressure the ball beyond the 3 point line and that is all Carraway needs to shake his man and get into the teeth of the defense. Along with being lethal in the open court, the other aspect of Carraway’s game I really liked is his dog work mentality. Carraway will give you the business and then let you know about it, but it is all in the spirit of competition. LM D1/ HM D2 Prospect.

2021 5’11 Seth Marantos (Bakersfield Christian):

Marantos was the player that steered the Eagles offense in their run to the state championship game this past season. Marantos fits the traditional definition of a true point guard and runs a team with poise and efficiency. Marantos had a solid showing at a recent Prospect Workout and looked ready for his senior campaign. Marantos moved the ball brilliantly, always surveying the court finding open teammates, showed his ability to knockdown the deep ball with accuracy, and used his nice mid-range game getting to the elbows and pulling up from 15 feet for the bucket. Marantos has really good handles and does a nice job of keeping his dribble alive while keeping his eyes on the court. Marantos is a true facilitator and will make any program better by making the surrounding cast better. Not many pass first lead guards in today’s game but Marantos does a nice job of setting others up and then looking to get his when necessary to help the team. D2 Prospect. 

2021 6’2 Jalen “JD” Douglas (San Joaquin Memorial):

Douglas is coming off a solid junior campaign and has had a ton of team success as a high school player, as the Panthers have won 3 straight Valley Championships in the Central Section. Although Douglas has played a key role for the Panthers, given all the talent that San Joaquin has had, Douglas has been more of a defensive specialist and plays off the ball a majority of the time. Douglas was at the Prospect Workouts recently and it was good to see him with the ball in his hand more frequently and display more of his all around game. Douglas did a nice job of running the offense and using the high pick and roll to create mismatches and attack from the perimeter. Douglas has good court vision, great communicator on the court, has a really good feel for the game, can knockdown the 3 ball with consistency, and is a lockdown defender. The Panthers will have a loaded roster again this season, but will lean on Douglas for his experience and composure on and off the court. Impact player that is a winner. D2/D3 Prospect.

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