Month: December 2016

Girls basketball

Girls Basketball: Etiwanda wins 2016 West Coast Holiday Festival Tourney in impressive fashion.


The Etiwanda Girls basketball team showed why they are the #7 Ranked team in the State of CA, knocking off Camarillo in impressive fashion.  Image by PopScout.

Dressed in yellow uniforms, the Etiwanda Girls basketball team looked like killer bees Friday night during the Championship game of the West Coast Holiday Festival Tourney at Burroughs High in Burbank, CA.  Putting on the pressure from start to finish and swarming all over the court, the Eagles came away with a 73-40 victory over a solid Camarillo team that came in ranked #24 in the State with only one loss at 14-1.  Etiwanda showed too much athleticism (thoroughbreds indeed) – starting the game with a 13-1 run and never looking back.  The team has only one loss (11-1), against #9 ranked Alemany of Mission Hills, CA.  Not quite sure how that loss came, but these young ladies have rebounded and look solid as a rock.


Sr. Forward Mikaylah Wilson (#11) is a beast and should be considered as one of the top players in the State of California when its all said and done.  She currently holds several DI offers from mid-major universities.  Image by PopScout.

Anchoring the way for the Eagles Friday night was 6’0 Sr. Forward Mikaylah Wilson.  She does everything well for her team.  Plays solid defense, rebounds and pushes the rock, scores in the paint on the post while also showing a true mid range game, and can also extend the defense to 3pt land.  What a weapon for the Eagles on a night when they came out firing on all cylinders to defeat Camarillo and their very well coached team.  If you haven’t seen this young lady play the game, then be sure to get a peak at her this season before she vaults to the DI level next year.  PopScout doesn’t like to evaluate players until seeing them for 3 games, but this young lady is a soldier and no doubt will make some noise in years to come at the next level. Her motor is always going and she’s willing to do the dirty work for her squad by banging inside and contesting shots.  Has developed that killer instinct and looks to sting her opponents on every possession  – on both ends of the court you feel me.


Jr. Guard Daja Hamilton (24) gets some direction from head Coach Anders Anderson during a free throw break in action.  This young lady is a 5 star prospect, no doubt.  One of the top guards in the class of 2018.  Image by PopScout.

If you’re looking for the next big thing in Girls Basketball, then look no further than Jr. Guard Daja Hamilton.  This young lady is as smooth as silk, who’ll be a 5 Star prospect on every major recruiting board come her senior season in 2018.  She has that ability to change the game with her explosiveness and skillsets that are a step above all the rest.  Plays solid on the defensive end – willing to sit and pressure her man from baseline to baseline –  and has that ‘showtime’ about her game you just don’t see too often.  Rarely makes a mistake and willing to step up and carry her team on its back when needing a bucket.  This young lady has been in the lab perfecting her craft indeed.

Take a look at highlights from the Championship game played December 30, 2016 against Camarillo, as we spotlight Daja and Mikaylah. Etiwanda plays Serra (Gardena, CA) at home on January 3, 2017 at 3pm per MaxPreps.  Serra  is the #11 ranked team in the State and should have on their safety belts when going up against The Eagles.  It will be a great game matching two of the premier girls teams from the Sunny State of Cali’ and an indication of just how good Etiwanda can play against another tough opponent.  Or was it just a fluke?  We think not as this team shows too much skillsets at every position with a wonderful coaching staff that keeps them on their toes.

Become Great at what you do.

Boys High School Hoops

Starting from Ground Zero: Chavez Boys Basketball

The Los Angeles Unified School District has added 130 new schools over the past several years.  With that being said, these schools are now faced with building their athletic programs among the many schools who’ve already established themselves over the decades.  How does a program get up to par and put itself on the radar, let alone be competitive enough to compete with the top dogs?


Head Coach Jeff Davis talks to his squad during a timeout of the 2016 Village Christian Tournament.  The Eagles are 10-3 and look to make a name for itself on the CA BBall Hoops Circuit.  Image by PopScout.

Chavez High School is faced with such a task.  The school is located in the San Fernando Valley, looking to make a dent in the competitive basketball hoop world of Southern California.  Their head Coach Jeff Davis, has a daunting task of building his program from ground zero.  Is there a recipe for success?  Sure there is, as he and his coaching staff are on the right track.  During a recent tourney game at Village Christian, the team went up against Burbank High School.  Although the team didn’t come away with the W, many factors were in place that will ensure their success this year –  and years to come.

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As players head off the court, coaches need to let them know what mistakes they’re making , not only to make their game better individually, but help the team as well.  The Chavez coaching staff does a great job teaching kids about the game and holding them accountable for their actions.

Factor 1: Coaching.
The coaches are saying the right things on the sidelines during games, as well as in the huddle during timeouts.  Their coaching staff shows passion, good knowledge of the game, and a willingness to talk to kids instead of just screaming at them and putting them down.  This is key for a young program, whose kids may not buy into your philosophy of play, until you show that you care about them and are willing to nurture them for their mistakes. Just benching kids and not communicating with them is a recipe for disaster for smaller schools on the rise.


The coaching staff are on the same page at Chavez High – holding kids to high expectations and showing true passion and knowledge of the game.

Factor 2:  Playing as a unit.
The team shows a passion for the game and a willingness to play team ball.  Cohesion (ability to play as a unit) is a critical component to develop as young programs establish their ‘identity’ on the court – especially against the better competition.   While playing against Burbank High – which was a major jump in competition for Chavez – they showed early on that, if we play as a unit and run our stuff, we can hang with anyone.  Rarely did we see anyone trying to be a ‘soldier boy’ and take over the show – disregarding the rest of the team to get his. It’s all about believing in yourself and stepping up as a team at the end of the day.  As Chavez continues to grow, look for this squad to continue to improve on its mistakes – somewhat like being in the classroom – games are tests, measuring your level of knowledge before taking the final exam.  It’s all about becoming battle-tested at the end of the day you feel me.


For newer programs just starting out, coaches must stay in the ear of their players in order to get their point across.  Image by PopScout

Factor 3:  Organization and support factor.
Doing the little things can make or break young teams as they develop their sense of play.  Do you have support from your assistants who know the game and truly care about you as a person and player?  Are you filming games and watching film to get better as a unit?  Have you developed a pregame regime?  Do you have family and school support during games that allow your team to develop a since of pride –  knowing that people care about you and show up to games to support you? It’s difficult to gauge this during tournament play but we did see Chavez filming games, parents cheering and understanding their style of play, and a strong support system behind their bench – staying in players’ ears when they were down and letting them know that someone cares.  Good stuff for up and coming teams.

It’s definitely a tough job developing new programs with the limited budget many LAUSD coaches are faced with. Of course there are many other factors that come into play as well. But believing in what you do and truly caring about your players will get around and before long, you will be one of the talked about schools and land yourself on the map.  Word on the street you feel me.  As Chavez coaching staff continues to nurture kids and give 1000 percent,  look for the Eagles to become a force to be reckoned with in years to come.  Show up and support your team family, faculty, and administration. PopScout sends his blessings.


Take a look at highlights from the Burbank vs Chavez game played December 28, 2016.  We spotlight Jr. Guard David Parks.  Chavez bounced back the following day, defeating Kennedy by a score of 68-60 and will play today, December 30, 2016 at 5:30pm at Village Christian. Come out family and friends to support this young, up and coming squad. Stay in the lab young men and continue to play and develop as a unit.

Become Great at what you do.


Boys High School Hoops

The Classic at Damian: Birmingham Patriots are the Real Deal


Nick Halic has done a tremendous job implementing his style of play, having his kids buy into his philosophy of play.  Image taken at The Classic @ Damian Tourney 2016.

One of the hardest things a coach can do is get his players to buy into what you’re doing as a coaching staff and then turn this into performance on the court.  Nick Halic – Head Coach at Birmingham High School – has done just that.  His kids play a style of basketball similar to that of Chino Hills – showing the prowess and wherewithal on the court that  just may catapult them to their first City title in school history.  With that being said, other teams may want to put them on the radar and send out your scouting personnel. This group of young men play the game at a high level and will definitely cause some issues for teams who aren’t familiar with their style of play.


6’5 Sr. Guard Devante Doutrive is a monster on the court and reeks havoc for opposing teams.  He has flourished under his head coaches’ system.  Image taken at the 2016 Classic Tourney at Damian High.  Not quite sure why this young man hasn’t received major offers from D! schools…are you kidding me??

Birmingham showed up late to the Damian Classic (bus issues) and almost got stunned by Oak Park.  In the end, it was too much athleticism for Oak Park and talented Jr. Forward Riley Battin.  Oak Park held his own but couldn’t do much on the defensive end of the court as Birmingham pulled out the victory by a score of 81-78.    Below are highlights of the ‘Big three’ from Birmingham, who have transferred in and placed the Patriots on the Map Indeed – Deschon, Devonaire, and Devante.

Become great at what you do.


The Classic @ Damian: Riley Battin


6’7 Jr Forward Riley Battin warms up before opening round play of the 2016 The Classic @ Damian Tourney.  Image by PopScout.

What if you couldn’t jump out the gym or didn’t have ankle breaking handles??  You would have to focus on the fundamentals of the game.  That’s just what Riley Battin of Oak Park does.  He has the ability to play fundamentally sound while still getting the job done.  The Jr. Forward is rated an 83 grade, 4 Star player by ESPN and will continue to improve his game throughout the course of this year and next, to cement himself as one of the best forwards in the Class of 2018.

Take a look at highlights from The Classic @ Damian tourney where Oak Park gave Birmingham a scare before succumbing by the score of 83-78.  It will be nice to see this young mans’ development during the summer and Senior season as he looks to take his team to the next level.  It’s all about the fundamentals of the game at the end of the day.  Stay in the Lab young men.

Become great at what you do.

Boys High School Hoops

The Classic @ Damian: Matt Mitchell


CS Fullerton commit 6’6 SG Matt Mitchell is a special breed.  The kid has potential to land on the radar of NBA scouts when it’s all said and done.  Image by PopScout.

As smooth as a baby’s booty.  That’s what we think of when watching Matt Mitchell from Eastvale (CA) Roosevelt play the game of basketball.  If there was any NBA comparison than it would have to be of NBA legend Mark Aguirre.  We don’t just like this young man’s game, we love it and think he will become a major stud at Cal State Fullerton and land on the radar of NBA scouts.  The 6’6 215 lbs shooting guards’ game is so versatile – showing the ability to handle the rock, run the floor, hit from all levels of the court, finish in traffic and round the rim, and has that killer instinct and basketball IQ you just don’t see too often.  He lives under the shadow of cal commit Jemarl Baker but is quietly making a name for himself  and showing all college scouts that they missed out on a true thoroughbred.

Here’s some highlights of this young man as he leads his team in scoring on opening day of The Class @ Damian tournament hosted by Head Coach Mike Leduc and Damian High School.  It was a night when his performance was overshadowed by his teammate Jemarl Baker, who dropped 8 three’s for long range.  We don’t want to jinx this young man and put any pressure on him but we like what we see from Matt and feel as though he will land on the plate of an NBA team in a few years to come.

Become great at what you do.

Boys High School Hoops

Jermarl Baker enters the zone


Jemarl Baker was on fire – hitting threes from all over the court during the 2016 Damian Classic hosted by Coach Mike Leduc and Damian High School.  Image by PopScout.

Your next stop…the twilight zone (humming the twilight zone music as I type).  In this case, The 2016 Classic at Damian High School.  Jemarl Baker of Eastvale (CA) Roosevelt pulled the bow and arrow (that’s making buckets from long range for those not in the loop) on opening day to ignite his team to a 24 pt victory over Santa Monica by the score of 87-63.  The kid has signed with Cal and should be a nice addition to PAC12 play next season for the Bears.

Take a look as he drops 8 threes to catapult his team and advance in tourney play. Roosevelt will take on St. John Bosco (7pm at the Athletic Center) Tuesday December 27, 2016.  St. John Bosco  handled a Crespi team still missing their starting back-court and looking to find an identity under veteran Coach Russell White.

Become Great at what you do.

Girls basketball

Girls High School Hoops: Fairmont Prep


The Fairmont Prep Girls Basketball team understands the value of playing as a team. Image taken at the 2016 Palisades Beach Invitational Tourney.  Image by PopScout.

Looking for a squad that  distributes the rock and plays together as a unit?  Then look no further than the 2016-17 Fairmont Prep girls basketball team.  During the 2016 Palisades Invitational Beach Tourney, it was a joy to watch them do what they do.  Play together by passing the rock and executing on both ends of the floor. Running their sets like true solders. Their team is a true testament to great coaching and an unselfish style of play.  The team is currently ranked #9 in the State and #54 Nationally by Maxpreps, holding a record of 11-2 with losses coming from a talented Harvard Westlake squad (#3 State, #10 Nationally)  and a defeat at the Nike TOC by Bishop O’Dowd – who went on to win the Nike TOC in their perspective division. With a schedule that will prepare them to be battle tested by years’ end,  look for this team to be on top of its game come playoff time.


Fairmont Prep Soph PG Izzy Om runs the show for the Huskies.  A true extension of Head Coach David Esparza and his coaching staff.  Image by PopScout.

We get to see just how tough this team is and just how much they can execute under pressure, as they take on Windward (#14 State, #73 Nationally) January 11, 2017 on the road. Whose House?? It will be a good barometer for the Huskies as they look to capture a Championship in the Southern Section Division 1A Division this year.

Take a look at footage from the 2016 Palisades Beach Invitational Tourney where Fairmont Prep was able to execute and play their style of ball against Chaminade.  The Huskies look to capture a title and cement themselves as true ballers on the Cali’ High School Girls Bball circuit during the 2016-17 campaign.

Become Great at what you do.

Girls basketball

Girls Hoops: El Camino Real Conquistadors


The El Camino Real Girls basketball team before their match up against Harvard Westlake December 7, 2016.  Image by PopScout.

We like what we see out of City section power El Camino Real.  The girls basketball team went into Harvard Westlake and gave them a scare on their home court, eventually losing the game by a score of 54-42.  It was a close game, regardless of the score, coming down to the last minute or two – showing that El Camino can play with the best of them and will be one of the favorites to win the City Section title this year.


Jr PG Kianna Hamilton-Fisher should be a big time recruit and land at a major D1 university when its all said and done.  Image by PopScout.

The team is well balanced, showing the ability to pressure their opponents while playing an uptempo style of play.  Head Coach Renard Beavers, Jr. has his team sitting at 6-3 during this early 2016-17 campaign and pushes his squad on every play – expecting nothing but the best from his players for 32 minutes of play.  The team has losses against major powers such as Chaminade, Windward, and Harvard Westlake.  They’re doing the right thing, getting that playing experience against top opponents, to help better prepare for City Section play.  Becoming battle-tested indeed you feel me.

Take a look at some highlights from the Harvard Westlake game as we spotlight Jr. PG Kianna Hamilton-Fisher.  The young lady went the full 32 minutes of play and showed why she will be a top recruit come her senior season next year.  The Conquistadors host their own tourney this week,  providing us with some good  high school hoop games and a chance to see these talented group of young ladies in action.  A nice Christmas present.  Thanks Santa.

Become Great at what you do.

Boys High School HoopsUncategorized

Van Nuys Wolves: New kids on the block


The Van Nuys Wolves basketball team is set to make a serious run in Division III basketball this year.  Having played earlier this season in the Trevor Ariza Tip Off Classic hosted by Westchester High –  and holding their own against veteran teams such as Dorsey High and St Bernard –  look for the Wolves to be a serious contender come post season play.  The team currently sits at 6-2, taking care of business yesterday (Dec 12, 2016) against Reseda High by a score of 66-40.  Their next opponent is Thursday, December 15th at home against Robert F. Kennedy at 4pm.


Sr. Kevin Hurlic III is a nice looking prospect for Van Nuys High.  The lefty has a sweet stroke from long range and a high basketball IQ.  Image by PopScout.

We love the focus and execution from the team and their coaching staff – showing the ability to maximize players’ potential. It’s still early on in the season as teams are still developing their chemistry and getting serious about their game as a whole, but Head Coach Evan Porter is doing a wonderful job, not only with X’s and O’s, but also with holding kids accountable for their actions and teaching them life lessons that go far beyond the game of basketball.


Look for Jr Guard Tyree Winborn – who loves to pull the bow and arrow –  to make some noise for the Wolves.  Image by PopScout.

As we all know, there will be life after basketball.  Just how much you prepare yourself outside the court while tackling the challenges of the game of basketball, will go along way in how successful your are in life.  Sometimes players don’t understand life lessons at this point in time but as they grow older, they appreciate those who truly cared for them.  Keep doing what you do Coach.

Take a look at some highlights of the game against Reseda High, December 12, 2016. We spotlight Jr. Guard Tyree Winborn who has some good skill-sets at the PG position. The kid can shoot the rock from long range as well as finishes on the break and in traffic.  Van Nuys will be hosting tournament games (JFK No Frills Tourney) January 2-5 2017, in their own backyard.  Make it your New Years resolution to come out and enjoy some basketball.  It’s not always about the top notch clubs but also those who show a passion for the game at all levels of play.

Become great at what you do.

Boys High School HoopsFairfax High SchoolUncategorized

Basketball 101: Finishing


Fairfax was able to defeat John Muir high school and win the Maranatha Rose City Classic.  Tourney MVP Ethan Anderson, seen here in earlier round play, has developed that killer instinct needed to finish ballgames and catapult his game to the next level.  Image by PopScout.

Fairfax defeated John Muir High school by a score of  59-48 to capture the title of the Maranatha Rose City Classic Tourney.  Their first under new Head Coach Steve Baik.  It was a good way to start the 2016-17 campaign and gives you an idea of where your club stands.  Some might say that the competition this year  during pool play wasn’t up to par, but winning a championship in the 14 annual Rose City Classic always gives you that edge –  as you now take on much steeper competition and tournaments ahead.


Coach Baik  –  and his coaching staff – win their first tourney title with him calling the shots, now that he has moved on from Chino Hills, after going undefeated last season. He still hasn’t lost a regular season game in a while as Fairfax went 4-0 during tournament play.  Image by PopScout.

4th Quarter semifinal play as Fairfax takes on a pesky Pasadena team who were missing their top player Bryce Hamilton due to an ankle injury suffered from the previous game.  His counterpart, Darius Brown II showed up and showed out, almost single-handedly winning the game for his team.  Fairfax showed why they will be a contender for City Section supremacy – showing the ability to finish games when it counts. Let’s hope all is well and everyone is at full strength as the season progresses.

Become Great at what you do