- Devin Ugland
Polanco, Norris, Cherry, many others shine at Creme of the County
CARLSBAD, Calif. — The Duffield Sports Complex on the campus of the beautiful and historic Army-Navy Academy, located a hop, skip and jump away from the beach, served as the venue for the inaugural 3P Creme of the County basketball event put on by Aaron Burgin, known to the basketball world on Twitter as @FullTimeHoops1. What’s also known about Burgin is his undying dedication to providing coverage of prep hoops in the San Diego-area. A.B. is one of the nicest, most hard-working guys in the business and his event Saturday proved as much. Burgin brought in many of San Diego’s top prospects from the classes of 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016 for the one-day showcase. I was able to see the six of the eight games on the slate, missing the 2016 “Select” and “Creme” games because of prior commitments up the road in Oceanside, but from everything I saw, 2017 wing Richard Polanco, 2018 forward Miles Norris and 2018 wing Taeshon Cherry were the three most impressive prospects on the day.
Taeshon Cherry, pictured above, was one of many standouts at Saturday’s Creme of the County showcase in Carlsbad. File Photo: Devin Ugland Polanco, 6-foot-6 native of the Dominican Republic who attends the Army-Navy Academy, made it a point to impress on his home court from start-to-finish. The highly-recruited wing began the 2017 Creme game by dropping three pretty dimes to teammates for easy baskets. He finished off his early onslaught with a deep 3-pointer from the right wing. Another standout from the 2017 Creme game was J.J. Overton, a 6-foot-4 product of Rancho Bernardo High and the San Diego All-Stars club program. Overton is a wily left-hander with great length and an innate ability to finish acrobatically at the basket. La Jolla High and Top Gun prospect Reed Farley had a number of impressive moments in the Creme game. At 6-3, Farley is a superb athlete and a high IQ guy who shot the ball well from deep. More 2017 Creme standouts: 6-7 F Ajani Kennedy (Rancho Verde/Team Eleate), 6-8 F Robby Robinson (Kearny/Compton Magic), 6-3 G Ben Ohkotin (Westview/Gamepoint) and 6-1 G Otto Taylor (St. Augustine/Supreme Court). The Norris-Cherry head-to-head matchup in the 2018 “Creme” game was one of the more intriguing aspects of the event, and though it didn’t come to fruition until the final five minutes of the contest, it was well worth the wait. Norris, a lanky, athletic, 6-foot-8 forward from Mater Dei Catholic in Chula Vista, took the ball on an inbounds in the backcourt, dribbled slowly up the court and waved off his teammates as Cherry picked him up defensively. Norris yo-yo’ed the basketball at the top of the key, put it between his legs a few times, burst to his right where he was cut-off by Cherry, but then stepped back to his left and sank a jumper that ignited the crowd. Norris is as skilled a 2018 forward as you’ll find - he can shoot it from the perimeter, has good ball-skills which allows him to create his own shot and is a slick finisher around the rim with both hands. I’d still like to see him get into the paint and mix it up on the boards a little more, though. Cherry, a 6-foot-7 wing, attempted to answer a few times and put some nice moves on Norris, but was unable to finish them. One thing that was nice about Cherry’s performance on the game was the consistency on his 3-point shot and his improved athleticism. Etiwanda high school guard Krystian Wilson was another notable player in 2018 Creme game. Wilson is a tough-minded player who showed his knack for distributing the basketball.
2018 guard Alex Cho, who I failed to mention in the original publishing of this recap, was more than deserving of a spot among the Creme of the County's top performers.
Cho had a strong first half in the 2018 Creme game, knocking down a handful of 3-pointers and stayed poised and controlled at the lead-guard position. The sophomore, who attends La Jolla Country Day and plays club ball for the San Diego All-Stars, averaged 12.9 points per season as a freshman last year. More 2018 Creme standouts: 5-10 PG Taurus Samuels (Vista/Gamepoint), 6-5 G Jordan Starr (Foothills Christian/Top Gun), 6-2 G Jalen Flanagan (El Camino/Coastal Elite) and 6-1 Zach Reiter (Poway/Gamepoint). In addition to seeing the current crop of San Diego talent, the Creme of the County also provided media in attendance a glimpse at the up-and-comers. The 2019 game was headlined by Rejean “Boogie” Ellis, a 5-foot-9, high-scoring offensive mastermind. Ellis has great feel as an off-guard with a multitude of moves at his disposal. He plays his AAU ball with the San Diego All-Stars and is at Mission Bay high school. More 2019 standouts: 6-1 G Yassine Gharram (TBD/I-10 Celtics), 6-3 wing Christian Rose (The Bishop’s School/Next Generation), 6-2 wing Jordan Hilstock (Vista/Gamepoint), 6-1 G Ryan Langborg (La Jolla Country Day/Gamepoint), 5-10 G Raymond Lu (La Jolla Country Day/San Diego All-Stars), and 6-1 wing Anton Mozga (West Valley/VTD). The 2020 game brought together SD’s top 8th graders led by 6-5-ish forward Obinna Anyanwu. Anthony Bland, son of USC associate head coach Tony Bland, was another intriguing prospect. Guard's Austin Cook, Dakari Allen and Dominick Harris rounded out the 2020 standouts.