Tag: basketball

Big Foot Hoops

Dapper Dandy’s

Part 1 of our look at Dapper Dandy’s that stood out this summer on the AAU circuit.


Summer has come and gone.  It was a time to showcase your skills, beginning your journey towards stardom.  Many feel the AAU circuit may be watered down with Adidas, Under Armour, and Nike all having their own summer circuit extravaganza of some sort. With many teams not able to compete against each other because of this, it’s hard to determine who truly is the cream of the crop – although Nike Peach Jam – won by the Oakland Soldiers –  gives us about as close of an indication as we are going to get.


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PopScout hung out at The Las Vegas Classic, hosted by BigFootHoops, which held a mini tournament featuring 8 of the top AAU clubs in the country called ‘The 8’.  Once the tourney was complete, teams then moved to the championship rounds of the Las Vegas Classic. We spotlight some of the Dapper Dandy’s that stood out during ‘The 8’.  California Supreme won the 17u Platinum Championship Division behind strong play of G Joshua Christopher and F Shareef O’Neal.


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Josh Christopher  – Guard
California Supreme
Class of 2020
Dapper Dandy in the making.  Scores from all levels of the court.  Intermediate ball handling skills but has the craftiness and demeanor to get to the bucket. Solid defender who looks to make plays on both ends of the court. Pogo stick who jumps out the gym and shows decent 3pt range. Needs to limit mistakes at times by not forcing the issue. Class of 2020 stud will be on everyone’s radar when its all said and done.  If the kid continues to excel and stay in the lab, sky’s the limit for this young soldier.


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Shareef O’Neal – Forward
California Supreme
Class of 2018
Arizona Verbal

Development of this young man’s game is flourishing under the tutelage of his dad and Cal Supreme.  Word on the street is that Kobe Bryant has been the lab instructor – giving Shareef knowledge beyond his years, that’s truly paying dividends on the hardwood.  Shareef has a nice tool-box set of skills.  Although he doesn’t do one thing spectacularly good, he’s well rounded and should be a monster when he hits the campus of Tucson, Arizona – after one more year of high school ball.  At 6’8 205lbs, he needs to add some muscle to his frame and fill out but that shouldn’t be an issue considering his dad is ‘The Big Diesel’.  PopScout loves, and we mean loves the upside of this kid and feels as though he’s a lock to garner NBA recognition after a year or two of collegiate ball.


Javonte


 Javonte Smart  – 6’4  Guard
Houston Hoops
Class of 2018
This young man has benefited greatly from the Wear and Tear of the AAU circuit over the past several years,  being that we first saw him balling for Elfred Payton Elite as a sophomore.  This year, he took his game to the Houston Hoops during The Las Vegas Classic and showcased advanced skills at the point.  At 6’4 (typo in the image above) he has the size, craftiness, and handles to get to the rim. While making sound decisions with the rock, he is an ultimate floor general showing the willingness to get his teammates involved.  Very good passer, lights out from 3pt range, and seems to play at a high level against tougher competition.  Concerned about players taking their skills for granted, as we noticed a few times Javonte on cruise control. Javonte will catapult himself to the league after one or two years fine tuning his skills at LSU.


William-Richardson


William Richardson  – 6’4  Guard
Each 1 Teach 1
Class of 2018
Point Guard U.  If you’re looking for a floor general, then look no further than William Richardson.  Garnering offers from 16 Div.1 schools, this young man seems to be born to run a squad.  Built in the mold of PG Jalen Brunson of Villanova, William possesses all the skills required to be an extension of the coach.  As we look for him to develop that killer instinct a bit more and become a cold assassin in addition to his leadership skills. He truly was one of the Dapper Dandy’s that stood out among the rest.


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Kihei Clark  – 5’10  Guard
Oakland Soldiers
Class of 2018
It’s tough being undersized against some of the better competition in the country.  At 5’10, UC Davis commit Kihei Clark has to juggle this balancing act.  He does a very good job handling the ball despite his stature – as many defenders try to push your buttons, seeing if they can ‘break the little guy’.  Playing valuable minutes for the Oakland Soldiers, (Oakland Soldiers won the 2017 Nike Peach jam Championship) his experience as a floor general  – from that experience alone –  should allow him to outperform the competition when he suits up for Taft and Coach Derrick Taylor in the Fall.   We like what we see from Kihei and look forward to his development as a senior and when he suits up for the Aggie’s of UC Davis.


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Boys High School Hoops

The Classic at Damian: Birmingham Patriots are the Real Deal

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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.


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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.



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Girls basketball

Harvard Westlake wins Palisades Tourney

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Harvard Westlake Jr Forward Jayla Ruffus-Milner grabs a rebound and looks to push against a Serra defender during the 2016 Palisades Beach Invitational Tourney. Image by PopScout.


Harvard Westlake has been crowned Champions of the 2016 Palisades Beach Invitational Tourney, knocking off a very sound Fairmont Prep team by a score of 48-45.  The squad relies on its twin dynamic duo of Jayla (tourney MVP with 21 pts in the Championship game) and Jada Ruffus-Milner (All Tourney Selection – 11pts) to carry the team on its back.


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Twins Jayla and Jayda work very well together on the court, complementing each others’ game.  Image taken at the 2016 Palisades Beach Invitational Tourney.


The Lady Wolverines are poised and ready to capture a Mission league title this year.  The early season Palisades tourney was a very good barometer for teams to see what needs to be tweeked/adjusted and just who will be able to show up and show out on game day.  By no means is basketball a one player sport, but it comes in handy when you have one or several go to players on your team, that you can depend on, when the going gets tough.  Crunch time you feel me.



Take a look at some highlights of Harvard Westlake as they take on a scrappy Serra squad during the Palisades Tourney hosted by the Dolphins and Coach Torino Johnson.  We spotlight Jr. Forward Jayla Ruffin-Milner who appears to be the most talented among the two twins.  Should be some great games in the Mission league this year with Alemany, Chaminade, and Harvard Westlake all showing good team play during the Palisades tourney.


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Boys High School HoopsLone Peak High Basketball

Passion of the game: Lone Peak Basketball


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Great to see teams maximize their potential and play the game of basketball at a high level.  Sometimes you don’t have to be a great leaper or show superior athleticism to excel at the game.  Image by PopScout

We always say that the game of basketball is magical.  The more you put into your craft, the better the game will reward you at the end of the day.  But what if you couldn’t rely on your jumping ability or superior athleticism to get you over the hump?  What if you had to do the little things to become great at the game such as player/ball movement, exposing weaknesses in the defense, or utilizing the triple threat with the rock on all occasions, and just getting down and dirty without all the bells and whistles.



It was good to see Lone Peak High basketball team from the State of Utah come out during a recent Fall League game at St. John Bosco and show us another side of the game.  Players using team chemistry, ball movement, and exposing team weaknesses to gain an advantage over their competition.  The kids from Lone Peak shoot the lights out and expose team weaknesses by constantly moving the ball and playing as a unit.  Take a look at some highlights  as they take on Bishop Montgomery.  Although they didn’t come away with a W, it was a good learning curve and just goes to show that having passion for the game runs deep. ..no matter how high you can jump or how athletic you are.  Coaches from LP are able to incorporate  techniques and schemes into the mix so that players develop a better feel for the game and in turn, may come away with that magical season at the end of the day.


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Long Beach Poly

Punch My Ticket: Zafir Williams


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Championships are sometimes won based on how much a team can ‘gel’ together throughout the course of a season.  Look for Long Beach Poly to use this to their advantage. It shows that team chemistry is a focal point of what they do.  Image by PopScout.


We like what we see early on from the Long Beach Poly Jackrabbits: their ability to play as a team.  Egos can sometimes get in the way of a basketball championship – players looking to get theirs and not having the teams’ best interest at hand.  When watching the Jackrabbits do their ‘thang’, it seems as though everyone plays as a unit… which is a beautiful sight to see.  During a recent fall league game, the Jackrabbits were able to show very good ball movement and a tough defensive prowess, as everyone appeared to be happy campers (Poly was missing their top PG who was nursing an injury).  The offense looks smooth as a baby’s booty, as Poly looks to regain its composure and make a serious push for Championship runs in 2016-17.


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Every team has a go to guy – or two.  Poly is no different.  Zafir Williams – who has punched his ticket to Loyola Marymount University, is a senior forward for the Jackrabbits who has stepped his game up  -it appears –  by staying in the lab and staying confident in his game – not to mention the Poly coaching staff, who’ve adjusted their strategy to let players excel at what they do.  BTW… Reggie Morris Jr. is doing a heck of a job getting kids to commit under his new umbrella as assistant coach and recruiter at LMU. Zafir will be asked to carry the load many nights for the Jackrabbits and appears ready, willing, and able to handle those duties – looking very good on both ends of the court indeed.


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2017 6’5 Forward Zafir Williams  has punched his ticket to LMU and looks to get down and dirty this year for the jackrabbits who will be a tough shell to crack in 2016-17.  ESPN has Zafir slated as a 3 Star – 72 Grade Forward, the #27 player in the State of CA.


Leadership is asked upon by those who are now seniors, but once were freshmen.  Can you step up to the plate and truly lead your team?  It’s not  just about performing on the court, it’s also about leading by example and doing the little things needed to catapult you and your team to greatness.  Throughout the course of a season, many teams come across several adversity issues – losing streaks, ineligible players, team issues, etc.  How Seniors respond to such adversity will rub off on the underclassmen – giving them the knowledge and wherewithal to rise to the occasion when their number is called.  Sometimes leaving a legacy on the court has to do with your performance, but it also has to do with your ability to show high character and team/brotherly love.  It’s not just about Senior Day bro’.



Take a look at Poly at they take on Bishop Montgomery October 22, 2016 at the St. John Bosco Fall league.  We spotlight the Jackrabbits and Zafir Williams.  We love what we see out of the coaching at Poly – who have definitely been in the lab tweaking their schemes and developing a true balance for the upcoming campaign.


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