The 5th annual Jerry Tarkanian Classic Finals were held on Tuesday December 20th with champions being crowned in five divisions.
In the Platinum Division Championship Game, it was Chino Hills (CA) breaking open a close game early and answering every Mater Dei run to beat the Monarchs 84-73. Tourney Co-MVP Gelo Ball (UCLA signee) scored 25 points (18 in the 1st half) while fellow Co-MVP Eli Scott (Loyola Marymount signee) had another highly productive game (10 points/14 rebounds) to anchor the Huskies.
Three other Chino Hills starters scored in double figures with Melo Ball (21 points/12 assists), Oneyka Okongwu (14 points/14 boards) and Phaquan Davis (12 points; 4/5 3FG) all making major contributions for the Chino Hills. Mater Dei’s Justice Sueing did all he could to keep the Monarchs in contention, scoring a game-high 27 points and grabbing 11 boards. Mike Wang added 17 points and Spencer Freedman dished out 10 assists.
Here’s a quick look at the other division champions:
Eastbay Division: Godby (Tallahassee FL) knocked off ThunderRidge (Highlands Ranch CO) 62-53 as Monte Edwards (14) and Corbin Merritt (13) combined for 27 points. ThunderRidge’s Corey Seng had a game-high 26 points.
Orleans Division: Sheldon (Sacramento CA) defeated Lone Peak (Highland UT) 59-49 as Isaiah Duplechan scored 22 points (including 6 threes) to lead the Huskies.
Gatorade Division: Grandview (Aurora CO) edged fellow in-state foe Fort Collins (Ft. Collins CO) 50-48.
Nike Division: Timpanogos (Orem UT) knocked off Maranatha (Pasadena CA) 57-46 as Justin Beus led the way for the Timberwolves with 17 points. Maranatha’s Chris Austin topped the Minutemen’s scoring with 17 points of his own.
Tarkanian Top Prospects: (Listed by Height)
Assane Douf 7’1” 2019 East (Denver CO) – Young but promising center has great size and plays hard on both ends of the floor. He is a true rim protector who can finish around the rim, but needs lots of work on his offensive game, stay tuned!
Brandon McCoy 6’11” 2017 Cathedral Catholic (San Diego CA) – Physical big man is potentially dominating force in the paint, McCoy had 15 points (7/12 FG) vs. Crossroads. Dale Davis-type rebounder and interior defender who is coming of age on the blocks offensively. He has been in most top twenty rankings on potential, look for him to live up to those accolades before he leaves college!
Marvin Bagley 6’11” 2018 Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth CA) – Ultra-talented and versatile player had a team-high 18 points in Sierra Canyon’s 61-52 win over Centennial/Las Vegas NV. Bagley may be the most talented junior big man California has seen since Crenshaw’s John Williams (Class of 1984). Amazing soft scoring touch as well as impressive agility baseline to baseline. Besides possessing tremendous all-around offensive skills, Marvin is also a great kid and excellent student. Very real potential to be a future NBA Draft #1 pick.
Bruno Fernando 6’10” Post. IMG (Bradenton FL) – This physical specimen is an active rebounder and rim-protector with a high ceiling. Maryland signee has the potential to be an interior force in Big 10 once his offensive tools catch up with his ability to dominate on defensive end.
Isaac Johnson 6’10” 2019 American Fork (American Fork UT) – Young post impressed us with his length and use of his offensive skills to score inside-out! He has good length, can rebound out of his zone, moves well end to end, and has a nice feel for the game. Utah, BYU, Utah State and Southern Utah have all offered.
Mike Wang 6’9” 2018 Mater Dei (Santa Ana CA)
He scored 17 points versus Chino Hills in the final including two impressive dunk in traffic. He was the best we’ve seen him scoring off catch and shoot from arc or attacking other bigs off the dribble. He has gotten stronger and that means he finishes things now that a year ago were just for looks.
Oneyka Okongwu 6’9” 2019 Chino Hills (Chino Hills CA) – This long and active young big man produced a double-double (14 points on 6/9 FG; 14 rebounds) for the 2016 tourney champs in the final. He is a game changer in the paint for Chino Hills and has the tools to become one of his class’ best! Chino Hills’ current 46 game winning streak would not have been possible if Oneyka wasn’t protecting the rim and patrolling the paint for the Huskies.
Shareef O’Neal 6’9” 2018 Crossroads (Santa Monica CA) – Very improved face-up four man has a nice “face-up” game for size. He has range to 17-feet, can face and go on opposing bigs and with added strength could be a true surprise in two years once he reaches college. Son of NBA great Shaquille O’Neil had 15 points in win over Cathedral Catholic/San Diego CA, and unlike his dad he is an accurate free throw maker, something that will bode him well in the future!
Raymond Hawkins 6’9” 2019 Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland CA) 0 Talented young forward with impressive “catch-and-flush” ability had 18 points in a win over Putnam City West/OK. He is extremely mobile, has good hands to catch and finish. He needs to work on developing second option beyond drop and dunk, but tools are there to intrigue.
David Nickelberry 6’8” 2017 Windermere Prep (Windermere FL) – Memphis signee is a versatile perimeter player with point forward skills. He can board and run the break or isolate on wing attack and kick it to open man or finish versus contact in the paint.
O’Shae Brissett 6’8” 2017 Athlete Institute (Orangeville, ONT, Canada) – Syracuse-bound athletic forward is a horse on the glass who uses his length to rebound in or out of his zone. He can pop and face, hit 15-footer or attack the rim and finish with the flush!. Former Findlay Prep ing is finally reaching his potential we saw at early age in Vegas!
Cody Riley 6’7” 2017 Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth CA) – UCLA-bound Power Forward is a physical, rugged rebounder, and interior scorer. He is steady, giving solid effort every night. He needs to work on his explosion and develop ability to score on pop out to round out offensive game. Make no mistake he can score versus contact on the blocks.
Jared Vanderbilt 6’7” 2017 Victory Prep (Houston TX) – Multi-position player has tremendous ball skills for size as well as impressive passing ability. He has tools to play the one through three spot on the perimeter, and showed he make open jumper with some regularity in Vegas, something that has to continue to improve! Kentucky and Kansas are currently among the many elite programs watching him.
Jacobi Gordon 6’7” 2018 Chris Walker Academy (Houston TX) – Under the radar national prospect is a swingman with plenty of scoring skills as well as deep range on his 3-point shot. He scored 28 points (including 4 threes) in win over Cooper Academy/CA. He can create shot off the dribble and get to the rim and finish with bounce at the rim. No doubt he will see his recruiting pick up!
Evan Battey 6’7” 2017 Elite Prep (Inglewood CA) – We have loved this burly Colorado signee since we saw him at Top 100 camp last spring! He is playing this season on the Elite Prep squad although he still attends Villa Park/CA where he is ineligible to play on that high school’s CIF team. Physical beast rebounds with best in class and can score over and through opponents on the block.
Will McDowell 6’6” 2017 Elite Prep (Inglewood CA) – Australian native is a talented point guard with tons of savvy that is attending prep school after not qualifying to attend Fresno State (where he signed last spring). Looks like he is back on the market, and has already heard from TCU and most of the Pac-12. he is an excellent passer who can score from three to the rim.
Julian Strawther 6’6” 2020 Liberty (Las Vegas NV) – He is on this list because of his potential! He is a long and thin wing man who can face and go from wing, stop and pop 15-footer who will see his stock rise as he gets stronger, matures and learns more about how to play this game!
Justice Sueing 6’6” 2017 Mater Dei (Santa Ana CA) – He was Mater Dei’s driving offensive force in the title game – going for a game-high 27 points (11/17 FG; 3/6 3FG) to go along with 11 boards. He averaged 26 points and 11.5 rebounds in the final and semis. He has range to three, can go left or right and finish versus contact in the lane. He has good bounce and nose for ball off the glass that had Utah and Cal taking a look in Vegas.
Eli Scott 6’6” 2017 Chino Hills (Chino Hills CA) – Scott followed up a monster semi-final effort (23 points and 9 boards) with another double-double (10 points on 5/6 FG and 14 rebounds) versus Mater Dei in the Platinum title game. He is the ultimate glue guy, he defends, he takes what you give him ofensively and is an effecient scorer. His overall effort earned him Co-MVP honors, ’nuff said!
Charles O’Bannon 6’6” 2017 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas NV) – This future USC Trojan had his perimeter stroke in high gear in the 3rd place game of the Platinum Division, resulting in a game-high 29 points. But it was his consistency going for 20+ in three games that impressed folks courtside, including his future coach Andy Endfield! He still needs to work harder on defensive end, but we think Coach Endfield can handle that development!
Matt Mitchell 6’6” 2017 Roosevelt (Eastvale CA) – Cal State Fullerton signee continued his impressive play in the Platinum 3rd Place Game – erupting for a team-high 27 points. He can knock down the three or create shot off the dribble, but impressed us with his effort on the glass and the defensive end of the court too.
Troy Brown 6’6” 2017 Centennial (Las Vegas NV) – Oregon-bound Brown is the type of multi-skilled perimeter player that Dana Altman can utilize very effectively in the Pac 12. He had a game-high 21 points that included a monster slam off the bounce over Marvin Bagley in their loss to Sierra Canyon. Make no mistake about it, this long and athletic wing man can flat out score from three or make highlights at the rim. He needs to make better shot decisions at times, but playing for the Ducks in the future, he will put up huge numbers!
BJ Shaw 6’5” 2017 Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland CA) – Son of Lakers assistant coach and former NBA player Brian Shaw is one of the most under-the-radar unsigned senior prospects in California. He showed that potential going for a game-high 26 points in quarters versus Chino Hills! He takes what the game gives him, never forces play, and is a deadly mid-to-long range jump shooter.
LiAngelo Ball 6’5” 2017 Chino Hills (Chino Hills CA) – Gelo was the offensive spark that propelled Chino Hills throughout the Tark, he has range to three, can post or back you down or drive and finish with contact. He sometimes takes a bad shot or two, but dominates in most high school match-ups. He will have to work on defensive quickness in college, but he definitely can score the rock, something that earned him Co-MVP honors in Vegas!
Maka Ellis 6’5” 2018 Sierra Vista (Las Vegas NV) – Maka had his smooth & deep 3-point stroke on point in his final game of the tourney versus Pasadena/CA – exploding for 35 points (9/16 3FG). That was his 2nd straight 30-point game (had 31 points versus Villa Park/CA the previous night). Ellis (one of the best shooters in the 2018 class) averaged 23.3 points per game during the event. Based on play here he will be rising in the junior class and is a definite must see talent this spring!
Cassius Stanley 6’5” 2019 Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood CA) – Ultra-athletic combo guard took over in game we watched versus Prestonwood Christian, finishing with 25 points in the win. He has improved his range, can drive and finish or it open man off the drive. He is becoming more of a floor leader than just a scorer, something that opens up options for him in the future.
Bryce Hamilton 6’4” 2018 Pasadena (Pasadena CA) – He is rapidly become one of the hottest names in California’s 2018 class and showed why, pouring in 35 points including 6 straight free-throws to seal Pasadena’s win over Sierra Vista. He averaged 28.8 points per game in the tourney, hitting jumper from all over the court, to set up drive that he finished with excellent body control in the paint.
Jemarl Baker 6’4” 2017 Roosevelt (Eastvale CA) – This Cal signee showed why he is one of the best shot makers on the west coast knocking down jumpers from deep with regularity! He has a solid feel for the game and uses his shot to set up drive and kick or finish with bounce at the rim. He got after it on “D” to and will make an instant impact for the Bears next fall!
Christian Popoola Jr. 6’4” 2017 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas NV) – He has added strength and confidence that he can get to rim and finish with best in the west. He had a team-high 24 points versus Mater Dei, and scored inside and out. He has handle to run break off the glass and is an excellent passer off the drive. He has potential to become a Denzell Valentine (MSU) in college, stay tuned!.
Trey Woodbury 6’3” 2018 Clark (Las Vegas NV) – Tough, hardnosed WG that can make shots both from the perimeter and finishing through contact at the rim. Was terrific in near-upset of nationally ranked Chino Hills scoring 25 points and not backing down from anyone they through at him. He is a solid defender who helps his team win games, its just that simple.
Isaiah “Ice” Banks 6’2” 2017 Centennial (Las Vegas NV) – Quick and athletic combo-guard has a lethal pull-up jump shot that he can create going left or right. He also knocked down open three on catch and shoot that makes him hard to guard. He is a solid defender with excellent lateral quickness too!
LaMelo Ball 6’2” 2019 Chino Hills (Chino Hills CA) – Melo has all the tools to become an impact talent a la his brother Lonzo! He has a different game, that is built around a scorer’s mentality!..He reminds me of Shaun Livingston at the same age, a better shooter, but not the IQ to run the show…but a similar body and style. He has great ball skills, and is an excellent passer, but his shot selection is questionable at times. He’s young could still grow a couple inches, and he may see the benefit of balancing his scoring vs the pass that will take him to another level…stay tuned!
Justin Webster 6’2” 2019 Prestonwood Christian (Plano TX) – This young scoring guard can flat out fill it up, he averaged 32 points and outing at the Tark, hitting the three, scoring with mid-range or finish off the drive in traffic..one to watch in the future for sure!
Spencer Freedman 6’1” 2018 Mater Dei (Santa Ana CA)- This smart lead guard had a great Tarkanian Classic leading Mater Dei to the Platinum title game. Spencer displayed his sharpshooting skills here, scoring 26 twice versus Desert Pines and Bishop Gorman and his passing skills were on full display in the title game (10 assists vs. Chino Hills). He plays under control and will be a solid floor leader at the next level in college.
Remy Martin 6’0” 2017 Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth CA)
Arizona State-bound playmaker is a blur in transition. He loves to attack opponents off the dribble and is a solid passer if drive is taken away. He can score in bunches from three to the rim. He uses his quicks to cause havoc on “D”. He will add another weapon for Bob Hurley’s club in the backcourt!
We will be on the road after Christmas as we head to the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, then on to the Hoop Hall Classic in January…so watch for more of that coverage, right here at thebasketballchannel.net!