The fourth edition of the Tarkanian Classic wrapped up this weekend at Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas, NV. Tournament Co-Directors, Dinos Trigonis and Grant Rice, put together a solid field headed by some of the nation’s top young talent. The field was divided into five divisions headed by the quality that made up the Platinum Division, and the stellar talent that showcased itself in the Prep School divisions.
We spent most of the last three days enjoying the top not individual talent, but were somewhat perplexed at the inconsistent play that some of the nation’s top talent showed, especially in the Prep Division where it seemed a number of talented players had already left (mentally) for the Holidays. All-in-all, the Tarkanian Classic featured some of the nation’s top underclassmen headed by DeAndre Ayton, Brandon McCoy, Billy Preston, Jarred Vanderbilt, Charles O’Bannon, Trevon Duval, and Markus Howard, who along with seniors Deron Davis, Zach Collins, and Terrance Ferguson made this one of the top holiday events in the country. Team-wise Findlay Prep looks to have another powerhouse in the Prep School ranks, while defending state champions Bishop Gorman (NV) and Overland (CO) battled it out for the Tarkanian crown. With that in mind here’s a look at the top players we observed at the 2015 Tarkanian Classic!
Platinum Championship: Overland (CO) 58 – Las Vegas Bishop Gorman 56
The Tarkanian Platinum division championship went down to the final seconds before it was decided, but it was an ebb and flow game, that saw Bishop Gorman jump out to an early 25-14 lead behind the stellar early play of Zach Collins, Charles O’Bannon and Christian Popoola. But, Overland seemed to right the ship after a well placed time out, going on a 12-5 run to close the gap at half-time to 30-26 with Bishop Gorman leading, but definitely shaken by the Overland defense that was tenacious over the last five minutes of the opening half.
Bishop Gorman looked like they had weathered the storm in the early going of the second half, and held a 46-41 advantage with 10:06 to play in the game. But, Tournament MVP, 6-1 point guard Jervae Robinson went off for six straight points coming out of a timeout to put Overland in the lead 47-46 over Gorman. The squad from Colorado expanded that lead to 56-50 with 4:01 on the clock. Gorman was done yet and came roaring back behind baskets by Popoola and O’Bannon to tie the game at 56-all with 19-seconds to play. That set up the final play for Overland as they worked it into Deron Davis (my MVP) who scored on a floater with just under four seconds to play. Gorman got one more chance, but Charles O’Bannon’s three point shot came after the buzzer as Overland held on ffor the hard fought win.
Overland was led by Deron Davis with 20 points and 9 boards, while Jervae Robinson finished with 16 points (12 in the 2nd half) for the Colorado Champs. Charles O’Bannon finished with 23 points to lead all scorers, while 6-11 Gonzaga signee Zach Collins finished with 15 points for Gorman.
Premier Championship: Cheyenne (NV) 71 – Manchester Clay Co. (KY) 67
MVP: Kavon Williams (NV)
Select Championship: Cathedral Catholic (CA) 55 – Rock Canyon (CO) 43
MVP Brandon McCoy (CA)
Gold Championship: Redemption Christian (NY) 61 – Lynwood (CA) 49
MVP: Christopher Duarte (NY)
Tarkanian Top Prospects: (Listed by Height)
DeAndre Ayton 6-11 230 C/PF 2017 Phoenix, AZ Hillcrest Prep – Showed why many scouts think he can be the best player nationally in the Class of 2017, as he scored 28 points, pulled down 15 rebounds and blocked 3 shots in his team’s 67-48 win over Reno (Prep) NV! He was a man among boys contesting shots, dominating the glass and attacking the basket off the dribble or post and power. He gave the kind of effort it takes to become a Karl Towns type dominant big man!
Brandon McCoy 6-11 230 C/PF Los Angeles, CA Cathedral Catholic – Although not as polished as Ayton, this long and explosive junior oozes top five potential and the beginnings of game that leads to the NBA down the road. He attacks the glass and looks to contest every shot in the paint. He has excellent ball skills off the glass and can go end to end, but team didn’t use those tools in their offensive structure…future coaches will!
Zach Collins 6-11 225 C/PF 2016 Las Vegas, NV Bishop Gorman – Gonzaga signee is one tough customer, he competes on the glass, blocks shots with bounce and great timing, and can score on blocks or facing out to 18-feet with touch. He backs down from no one around the hoop and impresses with his ability to think the game!
Jalen Hill 6-10 200 C 2017 Corona, CA Centennial – Young big man can flat out block shots from weak side or straight up. He can rebound out of his zone and uses his length to score around the hoop. He needs to work on low post game and get stronger, but his potential is immense!
Ike Anigbogu 6-9 230 C/PF 2016 Corona, CA Centennial – UCLA signee is raw on the offensive end, but flat out can dominate in spurts on the glass an with his ability to alter shots in the paint. He’s quick and ca play around the rim on both ends. He will add immediate help on the defensive end of the court for the Bruins next fall.
Deron Davis 6-9 220 PF 2016 Overland, CO High – Solid face up power forward who can knock down jumper with regularity from 17-feet or off the move in the lane or on the baseline. He is an excellent weakside shot blocker who did an excellent job
Billy Preston 6-9 220 W/PF 2017 Dallas, TX API – Skilled combo forward has all the tools to dominate, but he doesn’t always come ready to play. He had moments when we watched, but seemed to float in and out of the game. He has to stay focused and use his talent on both ends of the court to be at his best. We’ve seen that effort in the summertime, but it was missing in action at The Tarkanian, for this top fifteen talent.
Yoeli Childs 6-8 230 PF 2016 Bingham, UT High – BYU signee is a working man’s favorite, he flat out comes to compete every time out! He has good touch out to the arc and is a strong finisher with good feet around the hoop. He has a high basketball I.Q. and will make the transition to college in a hurry for the Cougars!
P.J. Washington 6-8 225 PF 2017 Henderson, NV Findlay Prep – This athletic power man was a highlight waiting to happen for the Pilots in the game we watched at the Orleans, grabbin21g passes in mid air then finishing with the power slam. He hit 15-footer and was a yeoman on the boards for Andy Johnson’s squad as they remain undefeated this season.
Tyler Polley 6-8 190 WF 2017 Weston, FL Sagemont Prep – Skilled and athletic wng man can take it off the glass, go end to end, hit open teammate or knock down jumper off the dribble. He has good bounce and can finish over bigs in the lane. He has to get stronger to finish versus contact, but skill set points to three spot at the next level.
Jarred Vanderbilt 6-8 190 WF 2017 Houston, TX Victory Prep – Immensely talented ball handling wing just seemed to be out of synch in the game we watched at the Tarkanian. He looked for his teammates off dribble and double team, but they struggled to keep their eyes on the ball and missed his passes. He tried to overcompensate and started to force shot or drive…He has the tools, but needs to find way to introduce teammates to him and his game.
Justin Miller 6-7 220 PF 2016 Columbia, SC 22-Feet Academy – Blue collar front court talent seems to have a real nose for the ball. He scored around the hoop out to 17-feet and was a man sized rebounder who looked to outlet then run court and help with finish on the break.
Terrance Ferguson 6-7 190 WF 2016 Dallas, TX API – Alabama commit can knock down jumper from all over the court. He tends to try and do too much off the dribble at times. He has a solid skill set and showed he can run break off the glass and can get ball to open man if defense takes away the drive. He will make an immediate impact at Alabama he heads to Tuskegee as expected!
Chares O’Bannon 6-6 180 WF 2017 Las Vegas, NV Bishop Gorman – This explosive young athlete is getting his first chance to be the Gaels go to guy on the wing, and if the Tark is any indicator he is going to be a stud in the future. He hit three in rhythm, knocked down pull-up J and finished with a couple monster slams that had the crowd buzzing. The O’Bannon gene pool is starting to shine in his game.
Mark Vital 6-5 200 WF 2016 Dallas, TX API – Baylor signee was one of API’s most consistent performers, he gets on boards and finishes everything around the hoop or off the dribble. He gets after you on “D” too! As his jump shot extends look for him to develop into solid Big 12 wing for the Bears.
Christopher Duarte 6-5 170 P/SG 2017 Troy, NY Redemption Christian – This surprise performer just arrived in the USA about two months ago according to the coaches at Redemption, but make no mistake about it, he can play. He has point guard skills and a solid jumper from three or off the dribble. He plays with a high Basketball I.Q> and with added strength will be good one in time!
Carlos Johnson 6-4 200 SG 2016 Henderson, NV Findlay Prep – UNLV signee is a warrior on the glass and finishes over and through contact off the dribble. He showed that he can knock down jumper from three and create drive going left or right. He did excellent job locking down opposing wing and will give Rebels a swing man with a warrior mentality. Should be good one in Mountain West!
Skylar Mays 6-4 185 PG 2016 Henderson, NV Findlay Prep – LSU signee is a pass first point who knows how to set up teammates and get the ball to the open man. He doesn’t rattle easily and will give Johnny Jones a solid replacement for Ben Simmons’ ballhandling and passing skills next fall. Look for him to contribute right away for the Tigers.
Trevon Duval 6-4 180 PG 2017 Dallas, TX API – Talented lead guard can flat out score from three or off the dribble at the rim. He showed he can hit open man off the dribble, but seemed frustrated at times with team’s inability to finish shot. He is one of the top guards in the junior class and didn’t damage that image when we watched.
Leland Green 6-3 170 SG 2016 Redondo, Beach, CA Redondo Union – Athletic and quick scoring guard who can slash and finish with highlights or stop and pop 15-18 footer on the move. He will “D” up opponents and will be a highly sought after guard this coming spring as he decided to wait and sign in April.
Christian Popoola 6-3 175 P/SG 2017 Las Vegas, NV Bishop Gorman – This talented lefty combo guard transferred back to Gorman after a year in Utah, he was a much need shot in the arm for the Gaels. He hits three off the dribble, can deliver rock on penetration or finish at the rim with bounce. He hit sweet floater over bigs! Look for him to be a Pac 12 priority next year!
Jaylen Hands 6-2 170 2017 PG San Diego, CA Balboa City – Another talented and quick lead guard who can score in bunches from arc to the rim. He is a good ball handler and passer who has shown the ability to make his teammates better. Will be a solid addition to the talent coffers at UCLA after he completes next season.
Markus Howard 5-11 180 P/SG 2017 Henderson, NV Findlay Prep – Tough and physical combo guard can flat out stroke open jumper from three and can finish at the rim versus contact. He has a knack for finding open man if double teamed that makes him a tough match-up for just about any opponent. He has solid basketall I.Q> and knows how to disrupt opponents on defensive end.
Platinum All-Tournament Team (in alphabetical order)
* Jervae Robinson 6’2” 2016 Overland (Aurora CO) (MVP) MVP
* Ako Adams 6’3” 2016 Bishop O’Connell (Arlington VA)/Rice signee
* Ike Anigbogu 6’10” 2016 Centennial (Corona CA)/UCLA signee
* Gavin Baxter 6’7” 2016 Timpview (Provo UT)/BYU signee
* Yoeli Childs 6’8” 2016 Bingham (UT)/BYU signee
* Zach Collins 7’0” 2016 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas NV)/Gonzaga signee
* De’Ron Davis 6’9” 2016 Overland (Aurora CO)/Indiana signee
* Keith Fisher 6’8” 2016 Westchester (Los Angeles CA)/San Jose State signee
* Raiquan Gray 6’8” 2017 Dillard (Ft. Lauderdale FL)
* Jordan Griffin 6’3” 2016 Centennial (Corona CA)/Long Beach State signee
* Alijah Halliburton 6’3” 2016 Overland (Aurora CO)
* Schnider Herard 6’11” 2016 Prestonwood Christian (Plano TX)/Mississippi State signee
* Matt Manning 6’6” 2016 Sheldon (Sacramento CA)
* Morgan Means 6’2” 2016 Redondo Union (Redondo Beach CA)|
* Charles O’Bannon Jr. 6’5” 2017 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas NV)
* Christian Popoola Jr. 6’3” 2017 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas NV)
* Tyler Polley 6’8” 2017 Sagemont (Weston FL)
* Lucas Siewert 6’10” 2016 Cathedral (Los Angeles CA)
* Trevor Stanback 6’10” 2016 Maranatha (Pasadena CA)/Stanford signee
* Capri Uzan 5’11” 2017 Desert Pines (Las Vegas NV)
* Tomas Verbinskis 6’6” 2017 Sagemont (Weston FL)
* Zafir Williams 6’5” 2017 Poly (Long Beach CA)
* Dason Youngblood 6’2” 2017 Bingham (UT)
We’d like to thank the staff at the Tarkanian for their hospitality this week and look forward to next year’s edition which rumor has it will be their best ever. To all of our readers and viewers, please hva Happy Holidays…The Basketball Channel!