IRVINE, Ca. — You know the club basketball season is in full swing when I’m driving around a city like a madman, searching for free parking to avoid the $10 charge at the event headquarters.
No length will keep me from using my two legs instead of my four wheels to keep my pocket padded, no matter how small the fee.
Unfortunately for me, the City of Irvine caught on to my games and blackballed MOST of the public parking areas I’ve used to access Momentous Sports Center in the past, forcing me to bite the bullet and shell out some flow for a parking spot on Friday and Saturday.
Sunday provided a return to the norm, however, as a twitter tip allowed me to take parking shelter in the lot of a park about a mile away from the facility (shhh…. don’t tell anyone). Luckily, I came back seven hours later to find my trusty Hyundai hadn’t been hauled away by a tow truck and didn’t have a ticket stuck under the windshield wiper by a miserable parking enforcement agent.
A win for free parking enthusiasts across the nation.
Anyways, the Adidas Gauntlet regional event in the OC over the weekend was a win for basketball fans who managed to make their way to Irvine. Here are some things that stood out both locally and within the western U.S.:
There were a lot of highly-anticipated head-to-head matchups that drew the lenses of mixtape men along the baselines and sidelines, but disappointed from a basketball enthusiast perspective.
When all the hype died down and the gas cleared, 6-foot-11 Compton Magic forward Evan Mobley, a sophomore, stood tall as one of the top local performers.
Compton Magic F Evan Mobley proved to be one of the top overall prospects on the weekend. Photo courtesy of Matt Moreno of GOAZCATS.com
Mobley’s skill set is uncanny for a human his size. He can put the ball on the deck and maneuver his way to the rack, he can stretch the floor from 3-point range, and if all else fails, he’s become a much more powerful finisher around the basket.
Not to be outdone by his younger brother, 6-foot-9 junior forward Isaiah Mobley was one of two players at the 17U level to average a double-double on the weekend. Isaiah, who is known as an inside-out type of player, was making things happen in the painted area with his active play.
Santa Margarita and Dream Vision wing Jake Kyman had his 3-point burner revved up from the get-go. The 6-foot-7 junior averaged 15.8 points on the weekend, hitting 45 percent of his triples in front of plenty of interested collegiate parties sitting court-side.
Kyman’s high school teammate, but club foe, Max Agbonkpolo, built upon his rising reputation in the recruiting scene. The 6-foot-8 Pump-N-Run wing scored in the 15-point range and rebounded at a 7.3 clip, showing his smooth and fluid athleticism in the transition setting.
Kyman and Agbonkpolo’s Trinity League adversary, St. John Bosco’s Jonathan Salazar, was an unsung hero for Dream Vision’s successful 4-0 weekend. Salazar’s beastly second half effort against EBO quieted the back-and-forth between two highly-ranked 2020 prospects as the 6-foot-5 junior forward led DV to a six-point victory. Salazar averaged 10.3 points and an event-leading 10.5 rebounds on the weekend.
The 17U Gold Division featured a litter of out-of-towners who are good at basketball.
Exum Elite’s Rylan Jones, a University of Utah-commit, is just a pure basketball player. He sees the game one-step ahead of everyone else, sets the table for his teammates and scores as needed and when those opportunities are presented. Skilled 6-foot-10 forward Isaac Johnson had a number of impressive moments for Exum, as well.
Bradley NW Panthers wing Marjon Beauchamp had his smooth shooting stroke on display. Photo courtesy of Matt Moreno of GOAZCATS.com
Sophomore wing Marjon Beauchamp of Bradley NW Panthers and Elijah Pepper of Team Lavine represented the Pacific Northwest well. Beauchamp is a smooth, athletic attacker and shooter, while Pepper is a gritty, physical guard who plays the game the right way.
Las Vegas Knicks forward Orlando Robinson (12 points and 10 blocks) and guard Nick Blake (34 points and a game-winning 3-pointer) each played well in an upset-type victory over Compton Magic.
At the 17U Silver level, Gamepoint’s well-coached crew, captained by Fallbrook High coach Ryan Smith, took home the division championship.
La Jolla Country Day junior Ryan Langborg had good moments over the weekend, while Vista High junior Jordan Hilstock heated up when needed most during bracket play. A more under-the-radar player to emerge for Gamepoint was Bakersfield High point guard Roland Banks II, a true pass-first floor general with good feel for the game.
Team Eleate, which fell to Gamepoint in a tight semifinal match-up, was led by 2019 Cajon guard Jarred Hyder, who was scoring from all three levels over the weekend, upping his recruiting stock in front of college coaches.
Compton Magic wing Dalen Terry, a Native of Arizona, was one of the top players at the 16U level. The 6-foot-6 Corona del Sol sophomore does a little bit of everything on the floor. He can handle it, makes high IQ decisions and passes like a point guard, but play without the ball and score off the wing.
Compton Magic 16s wing Dalen Terry is one of the more intriguing long-term prospects out west.
Mater Dei freshman Wilhem Breidenbach, Foothills Christian sophomore Yassine Gharram, Cajon sophomore Darryl Jackson and St. Bernard sophomore Nick Bowden, Jr. all put forth solid efforts for the Magic’s talented 16U squad.
Dream Vision’s 16s team was led by skilled 6-foot-8 forward Coleman Hawkins of Antelope High. The 2020 prospect stretched the floor to 3-point range and showed his deft passing ability. Crean Lutheran sophomore Isaiah Johnson impressed with his hard-hat approach the game, while guard Nimari Burnett showcased his smooth all-around game. Six-foot-6 Pacifica Christian OC wing Judah Brown displayed some nice touch out of the short-corners in catch-and-shoot situations.
Exum Elite’s sophomore guard trio of Dallin Hall, Mason Falsev and Jace Whiting had a nice balance of shooting (Whiting), distributing (Hall) and physical driving and finishing (Falsev). Keep an eye out for 6-foot-6 forward Dyson Koehler over the next couple years.
Rounding out the 16U level Gold Division standouts was Team Lillard guard Isael Silva. The 6-foot-2 freshman out of Jesuit High, who also happens to be the nephew of a friend of mine from middle and high school, plays with a poise and basketball IQ well-beyond his years.
Gamepoint found itself as champions again at the 16U Silver level. Frances Parker point guard Kimo Ferrari and Rancho Christian guard Bryson Stephens were the catalysts for the second of the program’s three silver championships on the weekend.