Commentary

Sidney, Tyler stand out at Les Schwab Invitational

Renardo Sidney and Jeremy Tyler are in a class to themselves on the West Coast, writes Joel Francisco.

Originally Published: January 2, 2009
By Joel Francisco | Scouts Inc.

While 6-9 senior Renardo Sidney (Los Angeles/ Fairfax) and 6-8 junior Jeremy Tyler (San Diego, Calif.) exhibited their individual prowess on the court at the Les Schwab Invitational, the Dominguez Dons shocked the West Coast basketball pundits by disposing the highly acclaimed Fairfax Lions and their potent 1-2 punch of Sidney and 6-6 USC signee Solomon Hill in the championship game.

After starting the season in an uncharacteristic fashion, the Dons reeled off four victories in a row to stake claim that they will again be a force to be reckoned with when the playoffs begin.

Although the season is relatively young, Sidney has been spectacular. Despite his enormous size he is quite versatile. He is equally adept at nailing the 3-pointer as he is at dominating the interior, including an earth-shattering dunk over 6-9 sophomore Norvel Pelle (Compton, Calif./ Dominguez).

Tyler is not quite as skilled as Sidney, but he has been equally as effective. He too can frustrate the opposition with his shooting touch, but it's been his productivity in the paint at both ends that has been the most refreshing aspect of his game.

Standout Players

Jeremy Tyler (6-8, 220)
Junior, San Diego, Calif.

After an inconsistent spring and summer, Tyler was downright dominant in San Diego. When you average over 40 points and close to 20 rebounds per game that is impressive. He is playing with great energy at both ends and he has quite an arsenal at his disposal. He is getting most of his points on thunderous dunks and turn-around jump shots. Tyler has shown great touch in the paint and has even tossed in a few 3-pointers. His shooting stroke is smooth out to the stripe with range out to 22 feet. His footwork has improved as well, but his fundamentals need polishing because he has a tendency to bring the ball down to gather himself before finishing. His length allows him to snag rebounds at an effortless pace and he threw some amazing outlet passes. Overall, Tyler is an enormous talent who should project to the NBA level, but that all depends on him consistently developing his effort and skills.

Renardo Sidney (6-9, 260)
Senior, Los Angeles/ Fairfax

Sidney has been one of the most dominant players out West this year. His talent level is off the charts and if he stays focused and keeps his weight in check, he could be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft in 2010. His game is a combination of finesse and power. He has a feathery step-back jump shot and he can hit the 3-point shot with regularity. He is an underrated passer and has ton of savvy. In addition, it was nice to see him assert his will on the inside. He had a few sequences during the tournament that were reminiscent of former LSU standout and Los Angeles Crenshaw legend John Williams. Overall, Sidney needs to play harder, while taking possessions off, at both ends but there's no denying his talent.

Mike Moser (6-8, 180)
Senior, Portland, Ore./ Grant

Moser is one of the most underrated prospects in the country. He can impact a game at both ends. Defensively, he has the athleticism, length, and moxy to defend all three perimeter positions at the next level. He's a tough rebounder, despite his wiry frame and he's able to lead the break and deliver a solid pass. His jump shot needs work, but he makes his fair share of 3-pointers. Overall, Moser plays every possession with a purpose in mind. Despite his lack of strength, his defensive prowess and savvy should garner early playing time at UCLA next season.

Sherrod Wright (6-3, 195)
Senior, Mt. Vernon, NY

Wright is one of the better unsigned wing-types in the country. He has an ideal frame for a shooting guard and he possesses a well-built frame with long arms. He plays the game with relentless passion at both ends. He is at his best when attacking the rim and elevating over the opposition. Wright has some definite pop in his legs and he's able to power his way to the rim, despite being undersized. His jump shot has range out to the stripe, but he is very streaky and he has quite a hitch in his release. He is a high-major prospect, but the level of his success at the next level will depend on the improvement of his jump shot.

Abdul Gaddy (6-3, 170)
Senior, Tacoma, Calif./ Bellarmine Prep

Gaddy is the best point guard in the West and may have the best feel of any point guard in the country. His frame is still developing because he is still only 16 years old. He doesn't have great speed and quickness, but he does have great size for a point guard as well as a very clever handle. His crossover is quite good and his passing is off the charts. He is equally adept at finding the open man in transition or in the half-court set. Gaddy has a terrific runner in the lane and his jump shot has improved. He was very consistent from 3-point range at this event, and his pull-up was equally as good. He has tremendous savvy and reminds me somewhat of former Arizona standout and current NBA player Mike Bibby at the same stage.

Solomon Hill (6-6, 210)
Senior, Los Angeles/ Fairfax

Hill is one of the most unique prospects in the country. Although he is an inadequate shooter from the stripe, he can still dominate a game due to his savvy and skill. He has a very strong handle and despite his big frame, he is able to break down defenders off the dribble. He is extremely unselfish and he plays the game like a point guard. His passing is high-level both in transition and in the half-court set. In addition, he is one of the better rebounders for his size in the country. Hill should make an immediate impact for USC, but to reach his potential he'll need to tighten up his jump shot.

Brendan Lane (6-9, 215)
Senior, Rocklin, Calif.

Lane is one of the better finesse power forwards in the country. It appears he has added a few pounds of muscle to his outstanding frame, the summer and he has some bounce to him as well. He has great length for the four spot and the skills to match. He has a feathery touch out to the stripe and he also has the ability to face up his defender and make a quick move to the basket. He has a great feel for the game and should be a nice addition to the UCLA front court. He still needs to get considerably stronger and tougher, but his overall skill and talent are evident.

Andrew Bock (6-1, 165)
Senior, Rialto, Calif./ Eisenhower

Bock demonstrated why he was one of the most highly coveted point guards on the west coast. He needs to get considerably stronger to play at Creighton, but his savvy and improved jump shot were evident this past week. He has a great demeanor about him and carried an out-manned team to the championship at the Max Preps Holiday Classic. He ran his team to perfection and picked his spots to assert his offensive game. He isn't overly explosive, but he changes speeds very well and has a clever handle. His jump shot, more like a set shot, was consistent throughout the tournament as well.

Keala King (6-4, 185)
Junior, Compton/ Dominguez

The Dominguez Dons won the championship with a balanced attack, but King was their catalyst throughout the tourney. He has a very versatile game and is one of the more unique talents on the West Coast. He is an ambidextrous prospect who can play all three perimeter positions at the next level. His handle is solid and he has a deceptive crossover. He can nail the 3-point shot, but is streaky. In addition, he can post up smaller guards and score or deliver a nifty assist. King is one of the most gifted passers in the country and overall has a great feel for the game, but to reach his potential he'll need to continue to smooth out his jump shot.

Surprise Players

Dominic Cheek (6-6, 180)
Senior, Jersey City, New Jersey/ St. Anthony

Cheek came into this event with a lofty reputation, but his performance was quite disappointing, albeit it was only one game. He isn't nearly as fluid or athletic as you would expect from a consensus top-15 talent. He has a good-looking frame, but he is quite rigid and not real explosive. He had trouble finishing off the dribble and his shot is a tad mechanical and stiff. Cheek did nail a few mid-range jump shots and he has a natural fade-away, but overall his shot needs polishing. Despite some drawbacks to his game there were some other areas of his game that stood out. He definitely has been well taught on the fundamentals and his overall savvy for the game are high-level. He delivered some nifty bounce passes in a pick-and-roll situation as well as some nice skip passes in the half-court set. Cheek is a solid high-major recruit, but you would not consider him an elite level prospect for the next level.

Niyi Harrison (6-7, 220), Ranking: 90
Senior, San Jose, Calif./ Bellarmine Prep

Harrison may have been the biggest surprise of the event. It was a given that he was a solid get for Santa Clara, but after this event he could have been a Pac 10 recruit. He has a terrific frame and a very live body. He runs effortlessly and is very bouncy. He once was a rugged power forward, who crashed the glass and filled the lane in transition. However, now he's displaying some face-up skills and a solid perimeter jump shot. He has the explosiveness to take defenders off the dribble with the hang time and strength to finish inside. Harrison's jump shot is a tad flat, but he did knock down a few 3-pointers. As he continues his development in the skill department, he should have an immediate impact for Santa Clara the moment he arrives on campus.

Niyi Harrison (6-7, 220), Ranking: 90
Senior, San Jose, Calif./ Bellarmine Prep

Harrison may have been the biggest surprise of the event. It was a given that he was a solid get for Santa Clara, but after this event he could have been a Pac 10 recruit. He has a terrific frame and a very live body. He runs effortlessly and is very bouncy. He once was a rugged power forward, who crashed the glass and filled the lane in transition. However, now he's displaying some face-up skills and a solid perimeter jump shot. He has the explosiveness to take defenders off the dribble with the hang time and strength to finish inside. Harrison's jump shot is a tad flat, but he did knock down a few 3-pointers. As he continues his development in the skill department, he should have an immediate impact for Santa Clara the moment he arrives on campus.

Ben Clifford (6-8, 190), Ranking: 84, Position: Power Forward
Junior, South Jordan, Utah/ Bingham

Clifford is a prototypical Utah player because he knows how to play and can shoot the lights out. He has a long frame, but very narrow shoulders. He runs very well and has quick feet. He projects to be a solid face-up power forward for the mid-high major level. He would be terrific in a pick-and-pop situation where he can launch his sweet shooting stroke or deliver a nice pass. In addition to his shooting touch, he can score in a variety of ways around the basket and is very effective in a high-low set where he was adept at finding the open man. He definitely needs to gain strength, but the upside is there for an effective career at the Division I level.

Jon Ekey (6-7, 180), Ranking: 82, Position: Wing Forward
Senior, Independence, Mo./ William Chrisman

Ekey, who is headed to Illinois State during the '09-'10 season, has the skills and talent to make an immediate impact. He has a sinewy frame with long arms and some considerable bounce. His strength is his effortless stroke from the 3-point line and beyond. He is quite smooth in a catch-and-shoot situation and he gets his shot off quickly. Ideally he would be great in a motion offense where he can come off screens and launch. His handle is solid in the open court and he has a nice feel for the game. He definitely needs to get stronger and become a better rebounder, but the upside is there.

Austin Kuemper (6-8, 210), Ranking: 88, Position: Power Forward
Sophomore, Beaverton, Ore./ Westview

Kuemper looks like a young Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina). Although he has a narrow shoulder set, he does have solid length and long arms. He is a fairly quick jumper and plays the game with a fearless mentality. His post skills and fundamentals are in their infantile stage, but he does have the ability to drop step and finish with a dunk. He gets most of his points on put backs and mid-range jump shots. Kuemper is a very good rebounder and can fill the lane in transition. Overall, with continued skill development (post and face-up skills) and added strength, he should be a high-major recruit down the road.

Top Sleepers

Marcus Moody (6-4, 180), Ranking: 76, Position: Wing Forward
Senior, Compton, Calif./ Dominguez

Moody is one of the fastest rising seniors in the West. His high school team is very deep, which has somewhat-hidden his blossoming talent. He is solid in many aspects of the game and he has a terrific lengthy frame with long arms. He is a quick athlete who can handle the ball in transition and he has a very good feel for the game as demonstrated by his passing. His jump shot is solid out to the stripe and he has a smooth release. This jack-of-all-trades wing-type should begin getting interest from the Big West or higher before spring's signing period arrives.

Jordan Railey (6-9, 210), Ranking: 80, Position: Power Forward
Junior, Beaverton, Ore.

Moody is one of the fastest rising seniors in the West. His high school team is very deep, which has somewhat-hidden his blossoming talent. He is solid in many aspects of the game and he has a terrific lengthy frame with long arms. He is a quick athlete who can handle the ball in transition and he has a very good feel for the game as demonstrated by his passing. His jump shot is solid out to the stripe and he has a smooth release. This jack-of-all-trades wing-type should begin getting interest from the Big West or higher before spring's signing period arrives.

Billy Reader (6-8, 215), Ranking: 76, Position: Center
Junior, Lake Oswego, Ore.

Reader is quite gangly at this stage and doesn't have great feet, but he is very effective. His long arms, good hands and toughness are attributes that stand out. He is a blue-collar prospect who is a very good rebounder and post defender. His offensive game is still raw, but he does have a solid drop step and he hits the offensive glass hard. In addition, he has a solid looking stroke out to the elbow area. Reader may never be an offensive force, but he is a tough center who knows how to win.

Stephen Holt 6-3, 180), Ranking: 84, Position: Point Guard
Junior, Portland, Ore./ Jesuit

Holt has great size and length for a point guard with the savvy and skills to match. He pushes the ball well in transition and is a very skillful passer, especially with his left hand. His length allows him to see over the defense in the half court set and he usually makes good decisions. He has a nice burst in transition, but his shooting needs polishing. His jump shot is not completely broken, but it lacks a soft touch. He gets nice lift on his shot, but his mechanics need improvement for the next level. With his size, Holt should receive some mid-major interest and if his jump shot comes around he may go higher.

Notes
•  The quintessential basketball player on the West Coast is 6-5 Oregon signee E.J. Singler (Medford, Ore./ South Medford). He has the best mid-range game in the West.

•  He needs to get tougher in the interior, but 6-7 sophomore Kyle Wiltjer (Portland, Ore./ Jesuit) has a skilled perimeter game. He has a feathery touch out to the stripe and is one of the most adept passers in the half-court set.

•  He needs to improve his shot selection and overall decision-making, but 6-4 Illinois St. signee Justin Clark (Independence, Mo./ William Chrisman is a talented combo-guard. He has a lengthy frame, great quickness and solid perimeter skills.

•  Oakland, Calif. (Bishop O'Dowd) has a pair of freshman that will garner Division I interest in the coming years in 6-7 Brandon Ashley and 6-5 Richard Longruss Jr. Ashley has a long frame, soft hands and can score in a variety of ways around the hoop. Longruss Jr. is another lengthy athlete who reminds some scouts of Washington standout Quincy Pondexter.

•  Kenneth Acker, a 6-1 junior out of Portland, Ore./ Grant, has all the athleticism and skill to be a Division I point guard. However, he must develop a consistent jump shot and continue to develop savvy for the position.

•  Terrance Jones, a 6-8 junior out of Portland, Ore./ Jefferson, is a versatile power forward with a solid all-around game. He can knock down the 3-point shot, but he is best off the dribble where he either takes it to the hole or delivers a nifty assist.

•  Landon Lucas, a 6-7 freshman out of Portland, Ore./ Sunset, has all the intangibles scouts look for in a young big. He has a great looking frame with long arms and big feet. His skills are raw, but he competes.

•  He is a four stuck in a wing-type frame, but junior 6-6 Garrett Jackson (Beaverton, Ore./ Westview) is an interesting prospect. He possesses that willowy frame that college coaches covet and he has solid bounce, but the level of his recruitment will depend on his perimeter skill development.

•  Cody Hickey (Canby, Ore.) is a 6-5 senior who understands how to play this game. If he becomes more consistent with his jump shot, he could find his way to the Big Sky and/or Big West.

•  Portland State picked up a good one in 6-7 senior Max Jacobsen (Lake Oswego, Ore.). This lefty has limited lift, but he is one of the better passers at this level.

•  Chris Manresa, a 6-8 San Diego signee out of Las Flores, Calif./ Tesoro, is a man among boys at this level. He is a deceptive athlete with a polished post game and terrific fundamentals.

•  His jump shot tends to fall apart out to the stripe, but 6-3 senior Prince Obasi (Reseda, Calif./ Cleveland) is a solid low Division I combo-guard. He has a wiry frame, solid burst in the open court and a pull-up game that should garner interest from the Big Sky or higher.

•  He doesn't pass the looks test, but 6-7 junior Max Foder (San Jose, Calif./ Bellarmine Prep) knows how to play this game. He is a tad mechanical, but he has a decent frame, soft hands and good instincts around the basket.

•  Ryan Anderson, a 6-7 sophomore out of Long Beach, Calif./ Poly, is far from a finished product, but he may have as much upside as any face-up power forward on the West Coast. •  The quintessential basketball player on the West Coast is 6-5 Oregon signee E.J. Singler (Medford, Ore./ South Medford). He has the best mid-range game in the West.

Joel Francisco has been a high school basketball scout for 15 years. He has written for Hoop Scoop Magazine and Basketball Times and organized "So-Cal's Finest," his own scouting service.