- Joel Francisco
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SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- It was a thrilling day of high school hoops at the ESPN iScore Holiday Classic as I cruised from gym to gym to take in the action on Day 2.
There were a number of fine performances, but none stood out more than the one by 6-8 ESPNU Super 60 prospect Brandon Ashley (Oakland, Calif./Bishop O'Dowd). Corona Centennial was ahead most of the game, led by 5-11 Long Beach State signee Michael Caffey and 6-4 New Mexico signee Dominique Dunning. However, Ashley imposed his will at both ends of the floor in the second half to lead his team to the semifinals of the National Division.
2012, PF, 6-8, 215
After subpar first half in terms of effort (struggled to finish with contact) and production, Ashley dominated the second half as he led his team to a semifinal battle against an outstanding Long Beach Poly squad. Ashley utilized his length and soft hands to convert numerous baskets in the paint area. Defensively, he had a number of high-level blocks where he was able to keep the ball in play to get spark his team's transition game. Overall, Ashley has an immense upside but his fundamentals (brings the ball down) and skill-set (limited post moves) need to improve immensely for him to maintain his lofty national ranking.
2013, SG, 6-4, 160
Hamilton has shown flashes of his vast potential during this tourney. His length is impressive and his basketball IQ is quite high. He keeps his handle low while attacking and he dropped a number of nifty passes as well. His shot is smooth, but it can get streaky. As his frame fills out his production should improve, but overall he needs to play with more physicality to reach his potential.
(San Diego, Calif./ Lincoln)
2013, SG, 6-3, 190
Tyrell's twin brother, Tyree, is an ESPNU Terrific 25 prospect and gets more attention, but in a critical quarterfinal game against Los Angeles Westchester it was Tyrell who hit a number of big shots (mid-range jumpers) to catapult his team to victory. Tyrell has a chiseled physique and gets tremendous lift while elevating over would-be defenders for the score. If he can continue to polish his decision making (plays too fast) his talent is impressive.
One to watch
(Chatsworth, Calif./Sierra Canyon)
2014, SG, 6-3, 170
Alberts is one of the better-looking freshman prospects out west. He has an advanced skill set for someone so young. His mid-range game is smooth with the ability to break down defenders, get into the seams of the defense and make plays with either the pass or shot. His shot is feathery and he plays with remarkable poise. It will be interesting to see how his frame fills out in the coming seasons.
• Seattle continues to pump out prospects and the next one in line is 6-3 junior Anrio Adams (Franklin). Adams needs to learn how to play (shot selection and overall decision making can be problematic), but he has a terrific body with great length and he's a natural scorer.
• One of the better-looking sleepers in Southern California is 6-2 senior Darnell Taylor (Los Angeles/Crenshaw). He plays with a relentless motor at both ends and is difficult to stop in transition. His jump shot has a long release, but overall he makes plays at both ends of the floor.
• Victor Robbins, a 6-5 junior out of Compton, Calif., can score in bunches. He attacks off the dribble very well and can really elevate over his defender for the score. If he can play with more energy, especially on the defensive end, his stock will continue to rise.
• Darian Nelson-Henry, a 6-10 junior out of Kirkland, Wash./Lake Washington, has continued to improve since the summer evaluation period. He is similar to Boston College signee Kyle Caudill (Brea, Calif./Brea-Olinda), but he has better feet and is a very astute passer as well.
• St. Edward's High school in Lakewood, Ohio, has a terrific trio of guards in 6-1 senior Delbert Love, 6-1 junior Myles Hamilton, and 6-2 sophomore Elijah Brown. Love can stroke the 3 with consistency, while both Hamilton and Brown love to break defenders down off the dribble to create scoring opportunities for themselves or a teammate.
Joel Francisco is a recruiting coordinator for ESPN Recruiting.