Mid Major Hoops Report made it up to College of the Sequoias’ Porter Fieldhouse(Visalia, CA) on January 20, 2014 to see some of Central and Northern California’s top basketball talent. With six games on display, MMHR got an opportunity to see quality players in the class of 2014 all the way down to promising players in the class of 2017.
DEPTH of CENTENNIAL
The first game of the day had a matchup between Fresno Roosevelt, #3 ranked team in Central Section Division III, and Bakersfield Centennial, who is ranked #9 in Division I. Both teams came out from the gate intent on controlling the tempo. Up tempo was the name of the game, Roosevelt and Centennial run and gunned to a 35-30 halftime score with Centennial up. In the 3rd quarter, Centennial continued to press on D. Roosevelt had trouble and ended up adding to its turnover total (18 through 3 quarters). Centennial ended the quarter on a 14-2 run. In the end, Centennial won 71-57. Centennial was led by Derek Check(2014) with 25 points and Roosevelt by Kurtis McCoy(2014) with 16 points. Each team had a promising sophomore on their team. Centennial’s Malcolm Johnson(2016), 6’5″ wing, is an athletic player who excels in transition and on the defensive end. Roosevelt’s Bryson Williams(2016), 6’7″ P, is a mid major prospect present day. Young Bryson’s body has to catch up to his mind.
FATAI and LAMONT SHOW
The second game of the day was a battle between East Bakersfield, #4 ranked team in Division II, and Redwood, who is ranked #7 in the same division. This game was a two possession game for much of the contest. East led 17-14 after 1 quarter and 28-24 at the half. In the 3rd quarter, East pushed its lead to 8 points(44-36). Redwood fought back, but in the end East won 57-52. Redwood was led by Riley Gerberick(2015), 6’7″ Post, with 17 points and Josh Carr(2014) with 14 points. East was led by Fatai Eke(2014), 6’8″ Post, and Lamont Jones(2015), 6’6″ Wing. Fatai is an explosive athlete and shot blocker(9 Blocks). He has trouble finishing at the rim. Fatai added 17 points and 7 rebounds. Jones played the role of point forward. He had 15 points. Jones has major upside. From a year ago, he has improved his handle and jump shot.
NO HOPE WITHOUT POPE
The third game of the showcase was Bakersfield Liberty, one of the top two teams in the Bakersfield area and Division II Laguna Creek Elk Grove out of Sacramento. Elk Grove, without San Diego State commit and Top 50 player Malik Pope(2014), came out strong in the 1st quarter and took a 21-18 lead. Liberty went on a 9-0 run to begin the 2nd quarter by turning up its defense and limiting Elk Grove to 4 points in the 2nd quarter and leading 29-25 at half. The second half was the same as Liberty pulled away and won 49-37. Elk Grove was led by Jesse Woods III(2014) with 13 points and Richard Reed(2014) with 11 points. Kyle Ferreira(2014) led Liberty with 14 points.
JACK in the BOX
The fourth game of the showcase was Fresno Edison, a favorite for the Division I title, and Fresno High, the top team in Division III. The 1st quarter was a stalemate as both teams scored 11 points. In the 2nd quarter, Edison decided to face guard Fresno’s top player Daryl Edwards(2014), 6’4″ combo guard, and took a 29-23 lead at the half. In the 3rd quarter, Edison pushed the tempo and continued to double the ball and face guard Edwards. They increased their lead by 14 going into the 4th(46-32). The 4th quarter was a replay as Edison won 63-46. Edison was led by Sergio Rocha(2014) with 18 points. Rocha is a good spot up shooter, mid range game, and is a leader on the floor. Daylon Potts(2014) had 15 points using a strong post game. Fresno was led by J’Veon Jones(2014), 6’2″ PG, and Edwards. Jones had 18 points using his penetration skills, handles, and 3 ball shooting. He needs to be more aggressive. Edwards had 17 points while being constantly harassed by 2-3 defenders the whole night. He is a savvy player with a strong handle, mid range game, and a strong finisher at the rim. Edwards is a good offensive rebounder, uses an effective jab step to create space, and quick hands to create defensive steals.
WELCOME to MR. PERSON’S NEIGHBORHOOD
Game 5 between Mt. Whitney, Division III top-5 team, and Immanuel, the Division V favorite was the most exciting game of the day. The 1st quarter was a pedestrian 13-12 affair led by Mt. Whitney. Both teams cranked it up and scored 25 and 21 points in the 2nd quarter with the Pioneers leading 37-33 at half. The 3rd quarter was a duplicate of the 2nd as Mt. Whitney took a 58-51 lead into the 4th. This is where the game took a turn for the best as Immanuel fought back and outscored the Pioneers 17-11 to lose 69-68. Mt. Whitney was led by Ethan Moore(2014) with 22 points and Jack Eivins(2015) with 11 points. Moore is a guard with burst. He has a good handle, shoots the 3 ball, mid range game, and penetrates at will. Immanuel was led by Kyle Hurt(2014), Lance Henderson(2015), and Darrin Person(2017). Hurt had 13 points. He is a shooter, handles, and a good passer. Mr. Person led all scorers with 39 points. That is not a typo. The 6’6″ man-child has a nice post game. He gets excellent post position on the block, patient in the post, and finishes through contact at will. Person is a high volume rebounder and shot blocker. He needs to face up and rip through and go more to the basket. Person reminds me of a young Wayman Tisdale and Larry Johnson.
CAN YOU KEEP UP?
The last game of the showcase between Mission Oak, a top Division III team, and Clovis East, one of the top Division I teams was an up and down contest. In the 1st quarter, Clovis East got off to a fast start and led 19-10. Mission Oak cranked it up and had a 22 point quarter but Clovis East matched them and led 41-32 at the half. Mission Oak came out in the 3rd quarter and neutralized East’s run and jump, scramble defense. They cut the lead to 2 points(59-57) going to the 4th. Clovis East responded and outscored Mission Oak 27-12 and won 86-69. Mission Oak was led by Bobby Alvarado(2014) with19 points. Jonell Burton(2015) had 14 points. He is long, athletic, and a good passer. Burton needs to get stronger and work on his handles. Will Shannon(2016), younger brother of Blake (BIOLA signee), had 16 points. This lefty is a good shooter and ball handler. Clovis East was led by Dylan Eamigh(2014) with 23 points, Cole Morgan (2014) with 13 points, and Ian Holman with 10 points. Dylan is a tough, gritty point guard. He penetrates, shoots the 3 ball, and gets his teammates involved. In the 2nd half when his team needed it the most, Dylan took over. He scored 19 of his 23 points. In the 4th quarter, Dylan outscored Mission Oak 14-12 by himself.
Special thanks to event director Lerohn Dodson for putting on such a good event and allowing us at MMHR to cover the event.