Johnson, Hardy, Friar impress at WCE/NorCal camp

SAN PABLO, Ca. – Sunday’s second day of the West Coast Elite All-Star Camp/Northern California at Contra Costa Community College proved a nice showcase for an impressive group of players from the Class of 2018.

Two of those were left-handed point guards that, through the two games they played earlier in the day and then during the Top 20 All-Star game late in the afternoon.

Elijah Hardy was a reserve on the Oakland Bishop O’Dowd team that won the 2015 State Open Division championship and then a starter last season for the Dragons when they lost in the Northern California Division III title game.

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NorCal middle school standouts at WCE Camp

SAN PABLO, Ca. – Saturday’s Day I of the first West Coast Elite All-Star Camp/Northern California at Contra Costa Community College showed off some of the more promising soon-to-be high school basketball players in the region.

And, in a setting in which a whole lot of eighth graders showed off considerable combinations of skill, polish and “upside”, none of those players were quite as impressive, from start to finish, as was 6-foot-4 Hunter Clarke (Joaquin Intermediate in Moraga).

Clarke, who is scheduled to attend Campolindo High in Moraga, lives close to the campus of Saint Mary’s College.

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The Best of the Best from EYBL/Hampton

HAMPTON, Va. – The third session of Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League served to illustrate a point that has already been well-served throughout the spring:

The EYBL has a virtual monopoly on the best of the “bigs” in the national high school Class of 2017.

Six players who stand at least 6-foot-10 and or go right at 7-foot, DeAndre Ayton, Wendell Carter, Jaren Jackson, Brandon McCoy, Nicholas Richards and Mitchell Robinson, were consistently exceptional and often spectacular over the weekend in the Boo Williams Sports Complex.

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Howard Pulley uses OTs to go 10-0 in EYBL

HAMPTON, Va. – The Minnesota-based Howard Pulley team improved to 10-0 during the third weekend of Nike Elite Youth Basketball League play on Saturday in the Boo Williams Athletic Complex.

The squad could have just as easily come out of the day at 8-2, though.

Howard Pulley needed four-minute overtimes to knock off Georgia’s Southern Stampede, 85-82, Saturday morning, and then another extra period – and a fortuitous foul call with ninth-tenths of a second to go in OT – to overcome Southern California’s Cal Supreme, 92-91, some eight or so hours later.

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A whole lot of EYBL standouts on display Friday night

HAMPTON, Va. – Volume III of the 2016 Nike Elite Youth Basketball League tipped off Friday evening at the eight-court, Boo Williams Sports Complex.

Twenty-one games were contested and I watched all of two of them and healthy portions (aka, “large amount”) of three others.

And, for those of you keeping score – or tabs on me – I watched them in this sequence and on these courts . . .

*Court 6, Team Final (PA) 83, The Family (MI) 60: Team Final and MOKAN Elite are each 7-1 in the D Division.

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Recognizing top sophs in SoCal shouldn’t be tough

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Ca. – If the BurlisonOnBasketball SoCal all-Class of 2018 looks familiar, it should:

Ten of the players 12 first-team selections were on the squad a year ago – when the Class of 2018 was made up of freshmen.

And there is one more thing this squad has in common with the one selected after the 2014-15 season:

There is the same player of the Year.

And Riley Battin was even better as a sophomore than he was a year ago, when he averaged 21.9 points and 10.5 rebounds for an Oak Park team that was beaten in the second round of the CIF Southern Section IAA playoffs.

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Inland’s Finest displays exactly that on Saturday

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Ca. – The first “Inland’s Finest Spring Showcase” was touted as providing some of the best high school players in and around the Inland Empire of Southern California an opportunity to demonstrate their hoops skills against one another.

And about six or so of hours of action in the Chaffey Community College gymnasium Saturday proved that it was definitely a case of “truth in advertising”.

The event, put together in fine fashion by Keith Howard and Julius Patterson of the Inland Empire Basketball Program, brought together quality high school players with definite futures as college players, as well.

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Inland Empire’s best hoopers on display today

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Ca. – Many of the Inland Empire area’s best high school-aged basketball players will be on display today at Chaffey Community College during the first Inland’s Finest Spring Showcase.

The event, hosted by Keith Howard and Julius Patterson of the Inland Empire Basketball Program but open to players affiliated with any travel/club program in the region, begins at 1 o’clock with a game involving freshmen.

Four games follow: Contests involving sophomores at 2 and 3; one for juniors at 4 and a seniors contest at 5 o’clock to wrap up things.

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BurlisonOnBasketball SoCal All-Frosh team unveiled

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Ca. – The 2015-16 Southern California high school basketball season was an extremely impressive one for freshmen.

It was so much so, in fact, that it was difficult to limit the BurlisonOnBasketball SoCal all-Class of 2019 squad to just a dozen members.

Some players I believe to be NCAA Division I prospects didn’t make the cut.

How collectively good are the 12 players I selected?

The list is so good that it would surprise me in the least if four or five – or more – of the players prove to be McDonald’s All-America selections three years from now.

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My Top 12 performers at adidas Gauntlet weekend

SUWANEE, Ga. – Keeping from growing exasperated while trying to figure out which of seven courts in the Suwanee Sports Academy to stand near over two days was quite the chore.

And sprinting (figuratively, of course; I actually had a rental car) to the Berkmar High gymnasium in Lilburn for a Saturday 8 a.m. tip-off for the Colorado Hawks and New England Playaz in the 16s division, and then almost immediately navigating myself to Suwanee’s Peachtree Ridge High for another 16s game between the Compton Magic and Team Loaded (the Virginia variety) wasn’t quite peachy keen, either.

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Meet Frank
Frank Burlison

Frank Burlison is a well-regarded basketball writer who was inducted into the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame in 2005. His opinions on the potential of high school and college players are widely respected and sought by college coaches and NBA scouts, personnel directors and general managers from coast to coast. Oh, yes – he can offer plenty of thoughts on movies, television and pop music. Yes, he can rank those, too. Hint: He’s a big The Godfather, Larry Sanders, The Wire and The Beatles loyalist.

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Endorsements

“I’ve known Frank since he was a student at Long Beach State and no writer ever worked harder at studying and understanding basketball. When I was coaching I always put more stock into what he said about (high school) players than anyone I knew. As far as I’m concerned, he’s the best there is at evaluating the potential of basketball players.”
Lute Olson, Hall of Fame and NCAA Championship Winning Coach

"I have known Frank for 15 years and there is no one outside of those in the Trail Blazers' organization that I trust more than Frank when it comes to player evaluations."
Neil Olshey, Portland Trail Blazers' General Manager

“Frank Burlison has always been a proponent of my talent and, even more so, of my potential – far before it was evident to most. Even as a smaller and determined player who was being overlooked by most high-major colleges and national scouting services, Frank always served as a friendly voice who got me into the door to most events to help me prove my talents.”
Russell Westbrook, the No. 4 overall selection in the 2008 NBA Draft out of UCLA and an all-star guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder

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