The player evaluations below are from this past weekend in Anaheim, CA at the West Coast Elite Summer Classic (NCAA Certified Event), July 8th - 11th. The evaluations are of 17 players from the WCE Central Program's 17u Teams that competed in the event. The evaluations are based on my own observations of players at the event, along with input from the coaching staff and the program director, Amaurys Fermin. There is no particular ranking order of players in the article and each player contributed productively in a positive weekend of exposure for the players on these 2 rosters. I will follow this write-up with a look at the 16u players from the Central Program.
Monk is an athletic combo guard that likes to push the pace of play and is tenacious on both ends of the court. Monk is an above average rebounder for his position, has a good handle of the ball to get the transition offense going, sees the court well to advance the ball for easy buckets, and has the ability to hit another gear and go coast to coast. He shoots the ball well enough from beyond the arc to pull his defender out, which opens up driving lanes for the mid-range jumper or attacking the basket. He has great leaping ability and is looking to get up and thrown down with authority as often as he can. Solid leadership and communication skills that will translate nicely to the next level.
Tucker is a lengthy combo guard that contributes on both ends of the court. Tucker has solid handles and good court vision to run the offense and make plays for others. He has nice perimeter moves to create separation from his defender, whether it be for the mid-range jump shot or getting to the basket. Tucker is effective from beyond the arc, which makes him a scoring threat from all 3 levels. Tucker is at his best offensively when he is aggressively looking to score the ball, using the change of speed to get his defender on their heels, and either scoring the ball or finding open teammates off the drive and pass. Defensively, Tucker uses his wingspan to alter shots and disrupt passing lanes, turning defense to transition offense frequently. 4.0+ GPA and high academic prospect.
Howard is an athletic and high energy wing/slasher that plays with an infectious positive attitude every time he hits the court. Howard has active hands on defense, altering shots and poking the ball from the opponent, which leads to open court scoring opportunities. Howard runs the floor nicely and gets a lot of points in the open court off of his hustle and high energy finishes above the rim. He shoots the ball with some accuracy from the 3 point line, opening up the court for himself or teammates cutting through the lane. Howard is tough to defend when he is moving off the ball and slashing through the paint, where he gets a lot of points at or above the rim. His relentless motor and willingness to be all over the court make him an intriguing prospect that has room to grow offensively.
DiModica is a strong and physical forward/wing that has a versatile skill set on both offense and defense. Defensively, DiModica has the strength and toughness to defend and rebound amongst taller players, as well as the footwork and lateral quickness to defend perimeter players on switches. He is active on the glass, fundamentally sound technique to box out bigs, strong hands to create tie-ups and steals, and quick leaping ability to alter shots. Offensively, DiModica has good hands around the basket, can absorb and finish through contact, is efficient from the mid-range, and shoots the ball well enough from deep to open up the court. Leadership skills are off the charts, and a great communicator to anchor the defense. 4.5+ GPA and a high academic prospect.
Heidelbach had an impressive debut with the WCE Central Program and displayed his overall versatility and energy on both ends of the court. Defensively, Heidelbach has good length and size to be able to alter shots in the paint and on the perimeter, stay active on the glass, and disrupt passing lanes with his long reach. Offensively, he moves well off the ball and showed efficiency off the catch and shoot from beyond the arc. Heidelbach has enough handle to push the ball off the rebound and create off the wing to get to his shot spots. Aside from his game and skill set, the energy and effort that Heidelbach plays with was fun to watch. Impressive prospect that is set to have a productive July.
Swillis, also making his WCE Central debut, is a rangy and active forward that leaves his mark on the game in a variety of ways. Swillis, recently named Defensive Player of the Year for the North Yosemite League, was an instant impact player for the 17u Regional team. Swillis is able to control the boards on both ends, routinely extending play with offensive rebounds, and providing a much needed rim protector for the guard-heavy roster. Swillis alters shots in the paint, as well as being able to switch on perimeter players and alter shots. Offensively, Swillis is effective from the 3 point line and with improved efficiency from deep would be a true 3 and D prospect. He has good hands around the basket and with his activity on the offensive glass, he is able to generate easy offense on putbacks.
Tercero is a forward/wing that provides versatility on the offensive side of the ball. Tercero is a solid rebounder, understands floor spacing in the open court, moves nicely off the ball and cuts through the lane to receive passes for finishes at the rim, and is effective with the 15-20 foot shot. Tercero does have the ability to knock down the 3 ball enough to keep the defense honest.
Pryor is a tough shot creator that can light up the scoreboard when he heats up offensively. Pryor has solid handles and is shifty with the ball when he is on the attack. He can score effectively at all 3 levels, and when his shot starts falling, Pryor is capable of hitting difficult shots from any spot on the court. Pryor uses the hesitation move nicely to get his defender off balance and create seperation for open looks. Volume scorer that also is disruptive on defense when he gets into his man.
Olmstead is a sharp shooting guard that is sneaky athletic and is looking to throw down on his defender. Olmstead moves well off the ball, using screens to create separation, and is efficient from beyond the arc off the catch and shoot 3 ball. Olmstead is active on the glass, using his quick leaping ability to rebound amongst bigger players. He has a decent handle and can push the ball in the open court. Defensively, he brings a lot of energy and active hands to frustrate his opponent.
Williams is a strong, physical, and athletic wing/guard that plays with great energy and a diverse skill set that allows him to fit nicely with any line-up on the court. Williams gets off the floor quickly, allowing him to rebound very well for his size, and has enough handle to push the ball and get the transition going. Williams can stretch the floor with consistency, does a nice job of attacking the basket with minimal dribbles, and has the physicality to finish through contact at the rim. Williams has a good mid-range jumpshot and is a player that will do what it takes for the team to have success. Glue guy that wins the 50/50 plays.
Pineda is a shifty lead guard that made his debut with WCE Central this past weekend, and his skill and toughness made the transition seamless. Pineda has a good handle on the ball, does not waste dribbles, is constantly moving without the ball, has good court vision, and is a 3-level scoring threat. Defensively, Pineda is a dog on the court and gets into his man and makes it uncomfortable for the opponent. He has great foot speed and agility to stay in front of his man, and gets into his opponents dribbling space, creating steals and easy offense. Great motor on both ends and as he gets more time with his teammates, his leadership qualities will come forth.
Hernandez is a true point guard that puts pressure on the defense and looks to find open teammates off the drive and kick. He sees the court well, has a pass-first mentality, gets into his defender and has the strength to finish through contact at the basket. Defensively is where Hernandez makes his mark, as he is capable of guarding bigger players, will get the 50/50 ball, and rebounds very well for his height. Hernandez is effective from beyond the arc, which opens up driving lanes.
Malagon is more of a traditional point guard, that is looking to run the offense and facilitate the ball. He shoots the 3 ball with consistency, and has the handle and shiftiness to create off of the dribble and attack the defense. Defensively, Malagon has active hands and the quickness to stay with his man and force the ball out of his hands.
Hiebert is a skilled shooter that excels when he is moving off the ball and creating space. Hiebert has a pretty shot, and when he starts hitting shots he can go on runs of 5, 6 or 7 threes in a game. He moves nicely off the ball, running off-ball screens, getting to his comfort zones and generating space for open looks. Hiebert is also an undervalued defender that can get up in his man and he moves his feet well enough to be a nuisance for his opponent.
Silva is a crafty lead guard that can create his own offense, as well as make plays to get his teammates involved. Silva has good handles, makes nice use of the hesitation to get his defender off balance, gets to the crossover and attacks when he sees a lane, and is a 3-level scoring threat. Silva sees the court well and makes nice reads off the dribble penetration. Good fundamentals and tough minded defender. Plays with an edge but keeps his cool on the court.
Gillespie is a true glue guy and a player that will have a positive impact on any roster. Gillespie can stretch the floor with the 3 ball, he is a great rebounder for his height, fights for the loose ball, and leaves it all on the court. He has a nice feel for the game, understands floor spacing, displays sound fundamentals on both ends of the court, and is a high character player. When he gets going from beyond the 3 point line, he does have enough handle to get by his man and get into the paint.
Walton is an extremely crafty ball handler, who keeps the rock on a string and weaves through the defense methodically. Walton handles are next level, and his shifty movement with a steady handle combined with a quick first step makes him one tough player to defend. He has solid court vision and when on the attack he is a high level playmaker, finding open teammates in tough angles. Walton can shoot the deep ball with accuracy and has a nice mid-range jumper.