- Joel Francisco
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HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. -- The 2009 Ocean View Tournament of Champions didn't feature as much high-level talent as in years past, but there were a number of talented prospects who kept our attention throughout. After a grinding few days of pool play, Serra High School (Gardena, Calif.) would cruise comfortably over tournament host Ocean View 72-65, after falling down by eight early in the first quarter.
Serra, blessed with at least five Division I prospects, was led by an outstanding trio of mid-major standouts in Keith Shamburger, Vaughn Autry and glue-type extraordinaire Craig Carter. Ocean View, on the other hand, received standout performances from its potent one-two punch of Stanford-bound Anthony Brown and Avery Johnson.
Anthony Brown, SF (6-foot-6, 170)
2010, Huntington Beach, Calif./Ocean View, signed with Stanford
Brown is one of the more promising prospects on the West Coast. He is a young wing with a high basketball IQ and loads of savvy. He has bulked up some since the summer. That added strength has helped him finish on a more regular basis around the basket. He handles well in transition and had a couple of impressive dunks in traffic that wowed the crowds during the week. His jump shot wasn't as consistent as it needs to be, but his release is smooth. With added strength, he'll be able to get on balance more consistently. As a result, his shot will become more prolific. In the past, he has been labeled as "soft" (by yours truly among others), but he has definitely improved in that area of his game. He is a much tougher rebounder and plays with more urgency to boot.
Kyle Fuller, PG (6-0, 180)
2010, Moreno Valley, Calif./Rancho Verde, signed with Vanderbilt
Fuller is one of the more prolific scorers out West. He has the ideal size for the 1, but he is much more a scorer than facilitator at this point. He has the strength to break down defenders off the dribble and finish in traffic. In addition, he can nail the 3-point shot with regularity as evidenced by the number of 30-plus-point games he has put up in this young season. Despite his scoring prowess, his handle is a tad sloppy and he has a tendency to force the issue. However, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt because he has very little talent on his team. Fuller is an interesting prospect because although he is talented, his scoring ability may not translate to the ultra-athletic SEC, in which the defense will adapt to his game at much quicker rate.
Keith Shamburger, PG (6-0, 160)
2010, Gardena, Calif./Serra
Shamburger, who reneged on his commitment to Portland, is a scoring point guard with solid size. His jump shot is smooth out to 22 feet, especially when he gets his feet set. He advances the ball well in transition and delivered a number of high-level assists. His shooting prowess allows him to get by defenders and he has excellent body control while finishing in the paint area. However, despite his scoring ability, he needs to continue to hone his point guard skills. He thinks score far too often for a lead guard, and he was guilty of taking a number of ill-advised jumps shots early in the shot clock. Overall, he is a competitor and should have a fine career at the next level.
Ryan Anderson, PF (6-7, 210)
2011, Long Beach, Calif./Poly
Anderson is slowly growing (almost 6-8) and his game is making strides as well. He projects as a 4 with a soft shooting touch that extends out to 19 feet. His pivot work in the post has progressed as well, and he's an outstanding passer. He isn't a big-time athlete, but he has enough bounce around the basket to make plays on a consistent basis. Anderson is at least a mid-major prospect, and with added toughness and strength he could become a high-major recruit in due time.
Avery Johnson, SG (6-3, 190)
2010, Huntington Beach, Calif./Ocean View
Johnson has always played with a high motor, and now his skills are catching up to that highly coveted energy level. He has improved in all facets of the game in the past few seasons, especially shooting. In the past he was always a tremendous slasher, rebounder and defender -- now he is showing signs of becoming a consistent shooter. He knocked down a number of midrange jump shots, and a few 3s as well. He is very potent at attacking the basket and he can really score in the midrange area. Look for Johnson to end up in a mid-major program somewhere along the West Coast during the spring signing period.
Amir Garrett, SF (6-6, 180)
2011, Lawndale, Calif./Leuzinger
Garrett, formerly of Las Vegas, has definitely established himself as one of the more talented wing types for his class out West. He is very bouncy and possesses tremendous length. The left-hander can impact the game on many levels. He can attack off the dribble and glide to the basket, and he has an assortment of shots he can convert in that area. Although he has a sinewy frame, he can be a strong rebounder in traffic when motivated. His jump shot is solid out to the stripe, but it's inconsistent. It's a fairly smooth stroke, but he doesn't always get his legs into it. His handle can get sloppy when he tries to force the issue, but he has quite a burst in his first step. Garrett has many physical tools, but the mental aspects of his game are going to be his assets in college basketball.
Vaughn Autry, PG (6-2, 175)
2010, Gardena, Calif./Serra, signed with Montana
Montana picked up a good one in the ultracompetitive Autry. He has a chiseled physique and can affect the game on many levels due to his strength and scoring ability. He is a strong defender who slides his feet well and has a good nose for the ball. Offensively, he can nail the jumper in transition (off the catch) or take it to the basket, utilizing his chiseled physique. He wards off would-be shot-blockers very well by adjusting his shot and using his strength. Autry has great demeanor and loves to compete, which should translate quite smoothly at the next level.
One to watch
Erik Swoope, PF (6-5, 220)
2010, North Hollywood, Calif./Harvard-Westlake
Swoope has an incredible physique and is as bouncy as any prospect in the West. What stands out the most about his game -- other than his athleticism -- is his competitive nature. He attacks the basket with reckless abandon and has the ability to finish plays in traffic due to his brute strength. He doesn't have much of an outside touch, but at the next level he can make an impact by grabbing rebounds and blocking shots.
• Craig Carter (Gardena, Calif./Serra), a 6-5 senior, continues to exhibit the kind of savvy (great passer), length and defensive prowess that should garner interest from the mid-major level.
• Compton High School has a couple of intriguing underclassmen in 5-8 junior Allan Guei and 6-6 sophomore Anthony January. Guei is a feisty point guard with a good feel for the game, while January has oodles of talent but lacks effort and focus throughout much of the game.
• Long Beach State signee Shelton Boykin (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) is known for his high-wire act, but his jump shot looked to be much improved this week.
• St. Mary's, located in Phoenix, Ariz., has a few intriguing Div. I prospects in 6-5 senior George Mathews, 6-8 senior Jordan Didier and 6-3 junior Chris Mason.
• There might not be a prospect rising faster in the rankings than 6-1 senior Deonte Burton (Compton, Calif./Centennial). He's an undersized 2-guard, but he has bounce and innate ability to score.
• Leuzinger (Lawndale, Calif.) received strong performances from 6-3 senior Chayson Williams and Delon Wright. Williams doesn't have a position for the next level, but he's a beast, while Wright is one of the slickest scorers around.
• Lakewood (Calif.) has a sleeper in 6-3 senior Jared Garber. This lefty has a very smooth stroke, solid ballhandling skills and is an excellent passer. If his slight frame can add some muscle, the other needed intangibles are present for a Division I offer.
Joel Francisco is the West Coast recruiting coordinator for ESPN's Scouts Inc.