- Joel Francisco
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After a full week of basketball in Las Vegas for the Fab 48 and adidas Super 64, here is a look at five things that stood out.
West Coast loaded on the perimeter
It has been well documented that the West Coast's 2011 class is void of bigs; however, it is clear the strength of the class is on the perimeter. There are five elite level prospects -- Jabari Brown (Oakland, Calif./Oakland), Nick Johnson (Gilbert, Ariz./Findlay Prep), Norman Powell (San Diego/Abraham Lincoln), Josiah Turner (Sacramento, Calif./Sacramento) and Jahii Carson (Phoenix/Mesa) -- and a bevy of others that will play at the high-major level -- Tony Wroten Jr. (Renton, Wash./Garfield), Gary Bell Jr. (Kent, Wash./Kentridge), Michael Caffey (Corona, Calif./Centennial) and Hikeem Stewart (Seattle/Rainier Beach).
The class has athletes in Powell, Stewart and Johnson; shooters in Brown and Bell Jr.; and playmakers in Turner, Wroten, Carson and Caffey. On top of that, not only is it strong at the top, there is a second tier that has been heavily recruited -- Jordan Daniels (Etiwanda, Calif./Etiwanda), Spencer Dinwiddie (Woodland Hills, Calif./William Howard Taft), Kiwi Gardner (Manteca, Calif./Manteca) and Cezar Guerrero (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco).
Barnstormers are for real
The Iowa Barnstormers, who are coached by Jamie Johnson, exhibited at the Fab 48 tournament how to share the basketball and play with purpose in mind. They were led by a trio of Division I players in 6-foot-8, Northern Iowa commit Seth Tuttle (Sheffield, Iowa/West Fork), 6-5 Josh Oglesby (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Washington) and 6-8 Wisconsin commit Jarrod Uthoff (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Jefferson).
Tuttle is a tough-minded all-around talent. He is a versatile 4-man that can shoot the jumper at the elbow or spin off his opponent in the post to convert easy baskets. Oglesby can flat-out shoot from distance and delivered some of the more spectacular assists during the Fab 48 tournament. Meanwhile, Uthoff is a college weight program away from making a significant impact for the Badgers. He has a smooth stroke out to the stripe and his face-up game is potent as well.
Tokoto bounces back
After a lackluster performance at the NBA Players Camp, 6-5 junior J.P. Tokoto (Menomonee Falls, Wisc./Menomonee Falls) displayed his all-around game at the Fab 48. He has a prototypical wing-type frame with long arms. He's bouncy and has an assortment of shots he exhibits at the rim. His jump shot was consistent, showing 3-point range throughout the week. If there is an area that he needs to clean up, it would be his turnovers. There were many times in each of his games that he would throw a careless pass or dribble into traffic. However, overall he established himself as one of the elite prospects in the country for the Class of 2012.
Zeller's stock still on the rise
Cody Zeller (Washington, Ind./Washington), a 6-10 senior, demonstrated at the adidas Super 64 that he is clearly one of the top-15 prospects in the Class of 2011. He lacks strength at this stage of his development, but his skill set, savvy and deceptive athleticism are remarkable. He can nail the 3-point shot, take it to the rim for the strong finish or deliver a nifty assist. Due to his fine all-around performance this week and tremendous upside, he should be a certain McDonald's All-American.
Three take it to the next level
Every year during the Las Vegas AAU circuit, there are always a few players that take their game to another level. 6-8 C Erik Copes (Philadelphia/Imhotep Charter), 6-7 SF Antwan Space (DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto) and 6-5 PG Kyle Dranginis (Nampa, Idaho/Skyview) took advantage of their opportunities.
Copes, who is committed to George Washington, is a relentless competitor who rebounds in traffic and block shots at a high rate. Due to his play and effort, he should be a member of the ESPNU Top 100 by the time the new rankings come out. Space is a hybrid 3-man who can score inside and out, including a smooth 3-point shot. Dranginis may be the best kept secret out West. The rangy combo-guard doesn't have great quickness, but he has tremendous savvy as well as a feathery touch out to 23 feet.
Joel Francisco is a recruiting coordinator for ESPN Recruiting.
Joel Francisco runs down five things that stood out to him during the Las Vegas tournaments.