LAS VEGAS -- Double Pump Elite put to rest for now the notion that the basketball talent level on the West Coast is mediocre at best. Xavier Johnson (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei) tossed in an efficient 20 points (8-of-11 from the field, including two 3-pointers) as he led his team over Memphis Magic Elite 82-73 in Monday's title game at the Adidas Super 64 tournament.
The immensely talented Memphis squad could not find its offensive rhythm against a well-coached Pump squad, while Johnson received all kinds of help from his teammates, including tournament MVP Spencer Dinwiddie (Woodland Hills, Calif./Taft).
Adonis Thomas (Memphis, Tenn./Melrose)
2011 (6-foot-6, 210 pounds) | AAU Team: Memphis Magic Elite
Thomas, who seems to be a bigger version of NBA standout Jason Richardson, may be the most explosive athlete in the country. His overall game is rough around the edges, but in the open court he is a handful to shut down. He can rebound in traffic and lead the fast break, and his explosiveness to the rim is peerless. His handle is solid. and he has a fairly tight crossover to separate from defenders. His jump shot is playable. and he gets great elevation, but his shot selection needs refining. Far too often he takes bad shots and forces his way to the basket when the paint area is flooded with defenders. Once Thomas slows down and allows the game to come to him, his upside will be very promising.
Gabe York (Orange, Calif./Lutheran)
2012 (6-2, 165) | AAU Team: Compton Magic
York has a reputation out west for being a volume scorer who hunts shots. However, he was outstanding in his team's semifinal loss to the Memphis Magic Elite. He is one of the elite scorers, regardless of class, on the West Coast, and he has an innate ability to put points on the board in a variety of ways. At this stage he is still an undersized 2-guard, but he makes up for his lack of height with explosiveness. He excels in transition, where he can spot up and nail the 3 or slash to the rim for a floater or dunk. His jump shot can get streaky, but he gets great lift and his mechanics are quite good. If York allows the game to come to him rather than forcing ill-advised shots, his game will continue to evolve.
2011 (6-3, 160) | AAU Team: Double Pump Elite
Dinwiddie did not have a spectacular week in Las Vegas, but he was his usual efficient self. He has a terrific frame with long arms that should fill out nicely at the next level. In addition, he has great size for the 1 and a terrific feel for the game. On the other hand, he lacks the ideal second gear to blow by defenders, and defenders who get into him and pressure him up the court can cause turnover problems for him. Dinwiddie's jump shot, which is more like a set shot, has improved every season and will continue to improve as he gets stronger. Look for Dinwiddie to end up somewhere in the Pac-10, Mountain West or West Coast Conference when he ends his recruitment.
Marcus Smart (Flower Mound, Texas/Marcus)
2012 (6-4, 200) | AAU Team: Texas Assault
Smart is a flat-out beast at this level and should be at the next level as well. He is a 2/3 and high-major athlete with tremendous explosion. He has a chiseled frame with solid length and the skills to match. Smart can play multiple positions because of his savvy and scoring prowess. He can nail the 3-point shot, post up his defender or facilitate the offense. The multiskilled wing has an assortment of ways to defeat his opponent. He is a relentless competitor and is vocal while guiding his team at both ends of the floor. He needs to keep his emotions in check a tad better, but overall he is a winner and an elite prospect for his class.
One to watch
Hanner Perea (Bloomington, Ind./United Faith Christian)
2012 (6-8, 210) | AAU Team: United Faith Christian
Perea is raw, but his upside is tremendous. He has an awe-inspiring frame with some of the longest arms I've seen. His athleticism is off the charts, and he consistently grabbed rebounds and converted around the basket with his elbow above the rim. However, in the paint area he constantly brings the ball down, and his footwork and fundamentals need an overhaul. He often lost his balance in traffic, and as a result he either turned the ball over or took a difficult shot. Once Perea learns some pivot moves and keeps the ball high, he has the chance to be a special talent.
Adidas Super 64 notes
" Texas Assault, which won the 16-year-old boys' division against Indiana Elite/Team Indiana, has a couple of other 2012 standouts in 5-10 Phil Forte (Flower Mound, Texas/Marcus) and 6-8 Nick Banyard (Arlington, Texas/Grace Prep Academy).
Forte is a prolific shooter with deep range and is an evolving point guard prospect, while Banyard is a face-up 4-man that has some bounce and 3-point range on his jump shot.
" Despite getting thoroughly outplayed in the second half, Compton Magic did receive a valiant effort from 6-4 Dominique Dunning (Corona, Calif./Centennial). Dunning doesn't have one particular outstanding skill just yet, but he plays hard all the time. The New Mexico commit projects as a "glue" guy at the next level. He makes everyone around him better and impacts the game at both ends.
Joel Francisco is a recruiting coordinator for ESPN Recruiting.