- Joel Francisco
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LONG BEACH, Calif. -- The Fullcourt Press Fall Showcase, held at Long Beach Poly High School, corralled some of the better prospects in Southern California beginning with the Class of 2014 Top 20 Game. Although there were quite a few standout performances throughout the day from each game, 6-3 junior Spencer Dinwiddie (Woodland Hills, Calif./ Taft) demonstrated why he'll be one of the most highly recruited point guards on the West Coast this coming season.
The late-blooming Dinwiddie plays the game the right way from the point guard position. He dished out a number of nifty passes, which is very rare in a setting in which so many kids are hunting there own shot. Along with Dinwiddie, there were many revelations -- 6-5 Sharif Watson (Rowland Heights, Calif./ Rowland) and 6-3 Darryl Mathews (Bellflower, Calif./ St. John Bosco) immediately come to mind -- that exhibited the kind of talent that will attract recruiters in the near future.
Spencer Dinwiddie (6-3, 160)
2011, Woodland Hills, Calif./ Taft
Dinwiddie demonstrated why he will be one of the most highly coveted point guards on the West Coast during the 2010-11 season. He has a wiry frame, with long arms, that has really sprouted over the past few months. He needs to get considerably stronger to withstand the pressure at the next level. Still, Dinwiddie has the tools and his feel for the game is very apparent. His passing is high level, and he's extremely unselfish. He can slash his way to the basket, but he needs to get stronger to finish with contact. His jump shot, which is more like a set shot, has improved as well. He should get more fluid as his body matures. If his game continues to progress at this rate, he'll certainly be one of the top 10 prospects out West for his class this time next season.
Deonta Burton (6-1, 180)
2010, Compton, Calif./ Centennial
Burton is an undersized scoring guard for the next level, but he can elevate with the best of them. Despite his size, he gets more tip-dunks than any other player I've seen his size. He loves to face-up his defender and either blow by him for the score or elevate for the jump shot. He gets great lift on his shot, but his release needs to get smoother. His handle has improved each and every year and he keeps the ball low. Although Burton has ideal size for the point guard position, he has too much of a scorer's mentality to lead and manage an offense at the next level.
Shelton Boykin (6-5, 180)
2010, Long Beach, Calif./ Poly, College: Long Beach State
The 49ers got a good one in the ultra-explosive Boykin. His game is rough around the edges, but his lift, quickness, and moxy cannot be denied. He excels in the open court and gets numerous buckets slashing his way to the rim. His handle has improved considerably since his junior campaign, but his shot still needs some polishing. He gets great lift on his shot, but his release needs to get smoother. Defensively, he anticipates as well as anybody in the country, and he slides his feet well enough to guard the 2 and 3 positions.
Player to watch
Frankie Eteuati (6-8, 180)
2010, Los Angeles/ Cathedral
Etuati will probably need a redshirt season to fill out (frail body-type) that sinewy frame, but he is definitely a prospect whom mid-majors should monitor over the course of the regular season. The lefty has a nice touch out to the elbow, and he is an intimidating shot-blocker with great length and excellent timing. In addition, he handles it well in transition and generally makes good decisions. As he continues to polish his face-up game and fill out physically, he could be a hot commodity come spring.
Sharif Watson (6-5, 175), SF
2011, Rowland Heights, Calif./ Rowland
Watson may have been the quickest leaper on display at this event. He has extraordinary long arms and tremendous timing at both ends. He gets off the floor before most get up once. Although he has a slight frame, he is a better-than-average rebounder blessed with a terrific set of hands. In addition, he has tremendous length, bounce, and quickness to affect the game at both ends. Offensively, his game has a ways to go. He gets most of his points off of tap-ins and follow dunks, but the improvement of his jump shot over the next nine months will determine what level of Division 1 basketball he plays at. On the other hand, he loves to get out in transition and finish with authority and plays with great energy.
Darryl Mathews (6-3, 190), SF
2012, Bellflower, Calif./ St. John Bosco
Mathews was another prospect who was unveiled at this event. He has a nice basketball physique with solid length and broad shoulders. Despite his youth, his savvy and fearlessness are impressive. He plays hard at both ends and with purpose in mind. He is a blue-collar perimeter prospect who has a nose for the ball and loves to attack the rim in transition. He can hit the midrange pull-up, but his shot tends to get erratic out to the stripe. Overall, his skill-set and feel for the game affect each possession on many different levels.
Fullcourt press notes
• Some of the standout 8th graders were as follows: 5-7 Parker Cartwright (Sierra Canyon Middle School/Calif.), 5-9 Antonio "Trey" Holder (Rolling Hills Prep, Calif.), 6-1 Stanley Johnson (Fullerton, Calif./Parks Middle School), 6-4 Derek Newton (Sierra Canyon Middle School/Calif.), and 6-5 Marsalis Johnson (Van Nuys, Calif.)
• One of the more impressive prospects, regardless of class, was 6-1 freshman Chance Murray (Los Angeles/ Price). He has a great looking frame and a feathery jump shot out to the stripe.
• His skills were a tad rusty (likely from playing football) compared to this summer, but 6-5 freshman Roschon Prince (Long Beach, Calif./ Poly) has the physical tools and savvy to be an outstanding wing-type down the road.
• Eric Cooper Jr., a 6-2 freshman out of La Verne, Calif./ Lutheran, is another prospect with an immense upside. By the time he's a junior, due to his skills and overall feel for the game, he should be considered one of the elite players on the West Coast.
• One of the many surprises at this event was the play of 5-9 sophomore Chass Bryan (Westlake Village, Calif./ Oaks Christian). He plays hard at both ends and has a nice pull-up game as well.
• Gabe York, a 6-2 sophomore out of Orange, Calif./ Lutheran, has a prolific stroke beyond the stripe. However, his decision-making needs an overhaul; he forced too many shots.
• One of the top sleepers in the Class of 2011 is 6-6 Eric Norman (San Diego, Calif./ Parker). This lengthy combo-forward has a feathery touch out to the 3-point line and his athleticism has gotten considerably better as well.
Joel Francisco covers basketball recruiting for Scouts Inc.