Ending the summer in Downey
DOWNEY, Calif. — As Cosmo Kramer and Frank Costanza would say, the West Coast Elite End of Summer Showcase at Warren high school was “The Place To Be” on Saturday. Ryan Silver, much like he always does, put on a solid one-day event packed to the brim with a combination of well-known and under-the-radar talent. With nearly 200 players in attendance, ranging from the classes of 2016 to 2019, the high school portion of this event had the prospects split into 14 different college-themed teams each of which played three games prior to the Top 60, Top 40 and Top 20 games that closed out the day. Here’s a team-by-team breakdown of the players who stood out:
2016 point guard Eyassu Worku was one of many standouts at the WCE End of Summer Showcase. Photo credit: Devin Ugland
“Arizona State” 2016 PG Eyassu Worku, Los Alamitos: Worku saw his recruitment pick up during the summer live viewing periods as college coaches finally got to witness what some Southern California hoop heads have been preaching for years — he’s good. Really good. The shifty 6-foot-2 guard was getting to the basket at-will thanks to his quick crossovers, smooth hesitations and quick bursts off the bounce. Worku whipped a few no-look passes that hit unsuspecting and unnamed teammates square in the head, too. Worku has set official visits to Stanford, Rice, UC Davis and Boise State and mentioned he will likely take another unofficial visit to UC Irvine. The Anteaters have been heavily involved with the Los Al-product since his freshman year. 2017 G Carter Begel, Harvard Westlake: According to Harvard Westlake assistant coach Steve Moore, Begel took the summer and dedicated himself to getting in shape. Whatever he did, it paid off. Begel is a strong-framed two-guard at 6-feet who got after it on the defensive end and drilled a handful of 3-pointers. 2017 G Zachary Green, San Diego Cathedral Catholic: Green was one of the most explosive leapers on hand Saturday, throwing down a number of highlight reel dunks throughout the event. “Colorado” 2018 PG Spencer Freedman, Santa Ana Mater Dei: Most are aware of what Freedman does on the hardwood and Saturday was much the same. He was passing with precision and hitting from deep in the same vein. 2018 SF/PF Michael Wang, Santa Ana Mater Dei: The one move that surmised Wang’s day was a running left-handed sky hook that hit nothing-but-net. The 6-foot-8 forward is gifted offensively. 2018 SF Reagan Lundeen, Santa Ana Mater Dei: With the Monarchs not getting highly sought-after transfer Vance Jackson, they are going to need Lundeen to perform. Based on what he did at this camp, he looks to be ready to do just that. Lundeen is an athletic slasher at 6-feet-5 who was finishing above the rim. He still needs work on his ball skills. “Utah” 2016 wing Jacob Davison, Cantwell-Sacred Heart: In the shocker of the camp, Davison mentioned that he is still without a scholarship offer. It’s surprising news because of his exemplary all-around skill set. Davison defended, rebounded, passed and shots at a high level. 2018 PG Taurus Samuels, Vista: Samuels always seems to impress whenever he takes the floor and it’s most likely due to his high basketball IQ, unselfishness and leadership qualities. Samuels was hitting jumpers, as always, but his cool, calm and collected approach to the event was what stood out the most. “Oregon State” 2016 CG Garrett Carter, Etiwanda: Coach Dave Kleckner seems to always have a “next man up” mindset when it comes to his guards at Etiwanda. Is Garrett Carter next in the hoops hotbed that the Inland Empire has become? I think so. Carter is a competitor, as all Etiwanda players must be. He competes hard on both sides of the ball and has plenty of skill to boot. Carter was wreaking havoc defensively, recording double-digit steals in one game, while knocking down 3-pointers and getting to the basket for buckets. 2017 SF/PF Matt Mitchell, Corona Roosevelt: If the new basketball buzzword is “motor,” Mitchell has a Hemi V8. The 6-foot-5 forward seems to always find himself in the middle of the action, whether it be crashing the offensive and defensive glass or scoring in bunches. 2017 Juhwan Harris-Dyson, Heritage Christian: Harris-Dyson was one of the better pure athletes at the camp, using his leaping ability and body control to finish difficult transition buckets, but he’s much more than just an athlete. Harris-Dyson is a good on-ball defender and knows how to move without the basketball, cutting to weak spots in the defense to get easy baskets. “LMU” 2016 G Drew Buggs, Long Beach Poly: Buggs comes from a Poly program that teaches kids how to make what I call “winning plays.” The 6-foot-2 guard was making those same plays even during a showcase camp. Buggs is a fantastic competitor who plays with poise and focus. 2016 G Isaac Etter, Village Christian: The 6-foot guard was pouring points in from long-range. He’s a quick guard off-the-bounce with an even quicker release. “Oregon” 2017 PG Isom Butler, Corona Centennial: Butler is a sturdily-built 6-foot-1 lead-guard with great strength and downhill speed. He’s a guy you don’t want to guard - because of his ability to draw, absorb and finish through contact - and a guy who you don’t want guarding you because of the way he competes on the defensive end. Butler continues to work on staying under control when attacking the rim and extending the range on his jumper. 2018 PF/C Andre Fields, Warren: Fields is a burly, traditional post who feeds off of contact. He’s not afraid to mix-it-up in the paint to get position and is developing a nice set of post moves which help him finish at the rim. 2016 CG Cameron Williams, Redondo Union: The word that comes to mind to describe Cam Williams is solid, which is why he thrives under the coaching of Reggie Morris, Jr. at Redondo. He played both on and off the ball, hitting mid-range shots and threw down a couple of dunks. “Stanford” 2017 SG/SF Marvin Bragg, Jr., Gahr: Bragg has become known for his 3-point shooting, and while he was a bit streaky at Warren High, he showed plenty of flashes of that long-range jumper. Bragg’s combination of size (6-feet-7) and pure shooting ability isn’t something you see every day in this era of hoops. “Cal” 2016 wing Baka Gowolo, Hoover: Gowolo is an impressive athlete who did a nice job of jumping into passing lanes for steals which he finished at the other end with big-time dunks. 2018 CG Wes Slajchert, Oak Park: The steady 6-foot-3 guard is poised for a solid sophomore campaign after a standout freshman year. He was running his team with composure Saturday while knocking down shots from behind-the-arc. “Washington” 2018 PF Riley Battin, Oak Park: Battin is as skilled a post player as you'll find. He utilized a variety of different moves to score on the block. He also stepped out and his his shot to 3-point range.
The guy with the biggest ceiling, 2016 center Jayce Johnson, arrived a tad-bit late, but put together a standout performance. Johnson later announced how he will utilize his five official visits. The 6-foot-11 Santa Monica High prospect will take those to Notre Dame, Utah, Cal, Stanford and Colorado.