This last Sunday, January 10th, I attended the Hoops 2.0 League that featured some of the top high school prospects in Southern California. I was able to watch most teams play and the article below features player evaluations for eight prospects that had standout performances. The players listed at the bottom I was unable to watch play but were at the event and played well. This is the 2nd Part of this article, for a total of 16 players covered in both parts of this article.
As mentioned in Part 1 of this write-up, there was a lot of talent at the Hoops 2.0 Winter League on January 10th. Arguably the prospect with the highest ceiling was the NorCal native Jaylen Thompson. Defensively, Thompson has the height, strength and length to effectively guard forwards and wings in the paint; as well as agility, foot speed and athleticism to pick up smaller wings and guards on the perimeter. In a zone defense, Thompson has the versatility to anchor the middle, play at the extended low block, or push up to the top of the defense and use his size and length to frustrate opponents. Offensively, Thompson is even more versatile and is able to impact the game at the 1-4 positions, with his strengths being at the 2-3 spots. Thompson has nice handles and smooth perimeter moves, combined with an explosive first step, allowing him to get by his defender with the length to separate from his man and open up scoring opportunities. Thompson has continued to gain more efficiency from beyond the arc, ability to get to various midrange spots on the floor and connects with high efficiency, has a soft touch on his floater, and has the creativity to finish at or above the rim. Although Thompson did not have huge offensive numbers this past weekend, he was able to show his multifaceted scoring ability. Thompson is also a high level rebounder, has the handles to push the tempo in transition, alters shots at the rim and has over a year of high school hoops left to keep developing with Coach Julius. Currently holds offers from USC, Stanford, Washington State, LMU, Alabama, LSU, Nebraska and Arizona. Impressive HM D1 Prospect.
The game of the day this past weekend at the Hoops 2.0 Winter League was between SCA Prep and Team Elev8. Talent level aside, the size and length of SCA’s roster gave them a strategic advantage over Team Elev8. However, the physical play of 6’7 forward Ezekiel Spann played a huge part in keeping the game close throughout. Spann was impressive on both ends. Spann asserted himself on the boards early and often, as his activity on the defensive glass was critical in limiting shot attempts by SCA and provided 2nd chance opportunities for his team on the offensive glass. Spann’s strength was using his physicality inside the key, with good footwork and touch to finish around the basket effectively. Spann had a few timely power dunks that kept the energy levels high for Team Elev8. I was most impressed with Spann’s relative consistency from beyond the arc. Although the deep ball is not the strength of Spann’s game, he knocked down a few 3’s, which forced defenders to step out and contest creating openings and driving lanes. Spann displayed great leaping ability, allowing him to alter or block shots at the rim, as well as control the glass and play above the rim. Impressive prospect that could attract more attention by working on and smoothing out his ball handling and moves off the wing.
Last year, at the Modesto Christian Holiday Classic Tournament, was one of the 1st times I saw Sellers play in person and despite the depth and senior talent, the then sophomore made his presence felt connecting from deep throughout the event. After seeing Sellers this past weekend, as well as back in October at the Pangos Best of the West Shootout, his game has really expanded on the offensive side of the ball. Sellers continues to be a lights out shooter from behind the arc, as he connected on a few 3’s in SCA’s 1st game and added a few more in their 2nd game. Sellers has a fundamentally sound shooting form, a smooth but quick release on his shot, understands floor spacing for catch and shoot opportunities, ability to get to his spot for the pull-up midrange jumper with a high level of efficiency, and has a nice touch on his floater when attacking the basket. Sellers displayed his growth in all of these areas and his overall offense scoring arsenal makes him one of the top true shooting guards on the West Coast. Sellers currently holds offers from Washington State, TCU, Rice, CSU Northridge and UC Santa Barbara.
I watched Marsh play at the OC Night Private Runs a few weeks back and he was unconscious from deep, hitting 5 in a row and going 11 for 15 overall. This past weekend at the Hoops 2.0 Winter League, Marsh showed that his consistency from beyond the 3 point line is the strength of his game and when he starts connecting it can be a tough day for his defender. In the 1st game, Marsh made a couple of 3s but really caught fire in game 2 against Cent City. In a close game going into the 2nd half, Marsh knocked down 3 consecutive threes that allowed Team 562 to pull away for a double digit win. Marsh has seemingly limitless range from deep, and has the size and length to get his shot off over perimeter defenders. Marsh has good handles, and with his shooting ability this really opened up lanes for him to attack the teeth of the defense. Marsh is a really good rebounder and does a nice job of collecting off the defense glass and getting into transition offense quickly and puts pressure on the opponent. Despite the realities for high school prospects from the fallout of Covid, with Marsh’s shooting ability he will be able to draw more attention than most unsigned seniors.
This was the 1st time I watched Swift play live at the Hoops 2.0 Winter League and his overall game is very impressive. Swift, the Southern Utah commit, is a high impact wing that can stretch the floor and has the versatility to play multiple positions. In the game versus Team Elev8, SCA held on to a small lead and seemed to need a spark. Swift entered the game and generated that spark on both ends. Swift has great size and length, which he used to his advantage controlling the boards, altering shots and getting out on the wing in the open court for easy transition scoring opportunities. Swift displayed sound defensive skills and has the body type to guard bigger players, as well as the lateral quickness and long reach to disrupt perimeter players. Swift showed consistency from the 3 point line, as he connected on a few big 3s in the game against Team Elev8. Furthermore, when Swift saw openings in the defense he did not hesitate to drive through those openings and attacked the rim with force. Swift is another great additional for Coach Julius and the Rams as they prepare for the upcoming Grind Session Bubble.
I have seen Edmonds a few times since he entered high school, at the 2019 Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp and more recently at the 2020 Pangos Best of SoCal Showcase. Edmonds has shown continued growth in his game and is considered by most scouts to be a Top 10 prospect in California for the Class of 2023. This past weekend at the Hoops 2.0 Winter League, Edmonds had a solid showing against Cent City, finishing with 12 points and at least 10 rebounds. Edmonds scored a majority of his points in the 2nd half of the game versus Cent City, as he realized they had no one to stop him in the paint and around the basket. Edmonds has a solid post game, soft hands for finishes at the basket, absorbs contact in the post with the ability to finish through or over defenders, dominant on the glass, good shot blocker and runs the floor really well for his size. With over 2 years of high school hoops left, it will be intriguing to see how Edmonds' game develops, as he will get plenty of exposure playing with Compton Magic during the AAU season.
One of the top freshmen at the Hoops 2.0 Winter Showcase, and top Freshmen in the Western Regions, was combo guard Mister Burnside. I have been fortunate to see Burnside at various events throughout his middle school years (Pangos Junior All-American Camp, CP3 Middle School Combine, and West Coast Elite’s Elite 32 King of Kings Camp to name a few events), but this was the first time I have seen him live since he started high school and his game continues to impress. Burnside showed the ability to use his size and strength at the lead guard position to bully his way to the rim and finish through contact. Burnside’s handles looked tight, using the crossover to create separation from his defender, and a quick burst of speed to get to the basket or for the pull-up jumper. Burnside continues to be a solid rebounder for his position and with his handle and court vision, he did a nice job of pushing the tempo going coast to coast or making plays to set up teammates. Burnside’s stepback 3 ball has improved as well as he has added muscle during the pandemic. He had a few deep stepback 3’s that were tough shots. Burnside is set to run with West Coast Elite’s 15u UAA squad this upcoming season and will be a name to know for the next 4 years.
The other elite freshman at the Hoops 2.0 Winter League, and one of the top PGs nationally for the Class of 2024, was Darrell Morris. Morris is another player I have been fortunate to see in various venues since middle school hoops. Morris continues to improve his lead guard skills and is a dynamic 2-way player that impacts the defensive end as much as he does the offensive end. Morris had his high level 2-way skills on display this past weekend. Defensively, Morris was clamping down on his opponent, using his quick hands and long reach to rip his man, which created numerous transition points. Despite his man knowing the intensity was coming from Morris on defense, he reads his opponent well and anticipates the move being made and routinely picks his guys pocket. Offensively, Morris has elusive and shifty ball handling skills, keeps his defender on his heels, is already capable of scoring from 3 levels, great change of speed and generates a burst to blow by his opponent, torques his body but stays under control to make difficult shots, reads defenses well with solid court vision to drop some fancy dimes, and has 4 years of high schools to continue progressing. Truly fun to watch play the game, especially the way he locks up on defense. Morris will also be playing with West Coast Elite’s 15u UAA team, making him and Burnside one of the toughest backcourts in the nation at the 15u age group.
Seton Hall commit 2021 6’5 Tyler Powell (Ribet Academy)
2022 6’ Barrington Hargress (Ribet Academy)