Top players, teams highlight 21st Nike Extravaganza

SANTA ANA, Ca. – Even those cursory-level high school basketball followers will find an abundance of story-lines to their liking over the two-day, 21st Nike Extravaganza that will be hosted by Mater Dei High on Friday and Saturday.

Tickets can be purchased on the school’s ticket window (located on East-facing front of the Meruelo Athletic Center) beginning at 10 o’clock Friday morning.

The 13 games (including the 7 p.m. clash between the Mater Dei girls squad and its counterpart from Las Vegas Centennial) are divided into Friday ($12 general admission), Saturday morning ($12 general admission) and Friday afternoon/evening ($12 general admission and $22 reserved seating) sessions.

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Updated BurlisonOnBasketball Top 25

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Ca. – Several teams from the BurlisonOnBasketball Southern California Top 25 will participate in the 21st Nike Mater Dei Extravaganza in Santa Ana on Friday and Saturday.

Those include top-ranked (nationally, as well) Chino Hills, which will play Las Vegas powerhouse Bishop Gorman (Saturday, 7:15); No. 4 Foothills Christian (which plays No. 5 Mater Dei Saturday, 8:45); No. 10 Corona Centennial (vs. Concord De La Salle Saturday, 5:45); No. 11 Los Alamitos (vs. No. 16 Saturday, 2:45); No. 12 L.A. Westchester (vs. No.

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Chino Hills prevails in first of possible 3-game “series”

NORWALK, Ca. – All things considered, a whole lot of things fell in favor of the Bishop Montgomery High team knocking off the nation’s top-ranked squad Saturday night during the eighth James Samson/Fairfax State Preview.

The Chino Hills team that came into the game 21-zip and averaging 100 points per game was limited to 30 points under its average against the Knights’ man-to-man defense.

The Huskies, who normally crank in 12 to 15 3-pointers a game, were limited to just four buckets behind the arc.

And the best guard in America missed 19 of the 21 shots he attempted against Bishop Montgomery, which also came into the game 21-0 and ranked No.

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Chino Hills, Bishop Montgomery in showdown

NORWALK, Ca. – The two best high school basketball teams in California – and, in reality great distances north, south and east – hook up at 7 o’clock Saturday night at Cerritos College during the most high-profile of the eight games being played in the 8th James Samson/Fairfax State Preview.

And, it reality, it could be the first of three times that Chino Hills and Torrance Bishop Montgomery – No.’s 1 and 2 in the BurlisonOnBasketball SoCal Top 25 ratings – meet over the next six weeks or so.

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Updated BurlisonOnBasketball SoCal Top 25

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Ca. – The top-two boys’ basketball teams in California – and across a whole lot of states beyond – will hook up Saturday night at Cerritos College in Norwalk as part of the eighth James Samson/Fairfax State Preview Classic.

But Chino Hills and Torrance Bishop Montgomery – each 19-0 and No.’s 1 and 2, respectively, in the latest BurlisonOnBasketball Southern California Top 25 – have potential potholes facing them this week on the road to their 7 o’clock “Game of the Season” (until this point of the season, of course) Saturday.

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Ball & Tatum turn in All-American performances

SPRINGFIELD, MA. – If it was high school “star power” that you were searching out for a Martin Luther King Day’s worth of basketball entertainment, then Monday’s final day’s action of the 15th Spalding HoopHall Classic fit the bill perfectly.

Even in defeat, St. Louis Chaminade High’s newly minted McDonald’s All-American Jayson Tatum showed why he’s a strong candidate to be the 2016 Player of the Year during his team’s game with Hyattsville (MD) DeMatha in Springfield College’s packed Blake Arena.

And, a few hours later, another McDonald’s AA selection and top POY candidate, Lonzo Ball, was every bit equal parts productive and entertaining while leading nationally top-ranked and (now) 17-0 Chino Hills of Southern California past High Point (NC) Christian, 100-75, to hit the century mark in scoring for the ninth time.

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Class of 2017 does its HoopHall thing Sunday

SPRINGFIELD, Ma. – A day after many of the very best seniors in the country showed off their wares, it was the Class of 2017’s turn to do the same thing Sunday during the continuation of the 15th Spalding HoopHall Classic in Blake Arena at Springfield College.

Jump shooter-deluxe Markus Howard and skilled power forward P.J. Washington (Henderson, NV, Findlay Prep); 7-footer Mohammed Bamba (Westtown, PA, School); swingman Tugs Bowen (La Porte, IN, La Lumiere); another 7-footer, Nick Richards (Elizabeth, NJ, The Patrick School); and explosive wing Hamidou Diallo (Putnam, CT, Science Academy) each no doubt not only impressed the mostly capacity crowd but also the assortment of college head coaches in attendance.

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The stars shined quite brightly at HoopHall Saturday

SPRINGFIELD, MA – Saturday’s action during the 15th Spalding HoopHall Classic turned out to be a nifty preview of sorts to Sunday’s announcement of the 2016 McDonald’s All-American team.

Five players with strong likelihoods of being part of that honor squad were on display on Saturday.

And guards Frank Jackson (Highland, UT, Lone Peak) and Kobi Simmons (Alpharetta, GA, St. Francis), forward V.J. King (Fairfax, VA, Pius VI) and post T.J. Leaf (El Cajon, CA, Foothills Christian) and swingman Mustapha Heron (Waterbury, CT, Sacred Heart) more than looked the part of McDonald’s AAs on Saturday.

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SoCal powers head East this weekend for HoopHall

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Ca. – Four of the top five teams in the latest BurlisonOnBasketball Southern California High School Top 25 ratings will be headed for Springfield (MA) later this week.

Top-ranked Chino Hills and No.’s 3 (Sierra Canyon), 4 (Mater Dei) and 5 (Foothills Christian) are among the participants in the 15th Spalding HoopHall Classic.

The games will be played at Springfield College, located near the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame facility.

The “national” portion of the event will include 21 games over Saturday, Sunday and Monday (Martin Luther King Day).

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Lots of SoCal prep hoops options Saturday

At least four (that I’m aware of) high school hoops “one-day events” will be held on Saturday, stretching north to the San Fernando Valley and south to San Diego County.

The Sierra Canyon Super Showcase features the most intriguing if the Saturday matchups, Chino Hills (No. 1 in the most recent BurlisonOnBasketball SoCal rankings) playing El Cajon Foothills Christian (No. 8) at 6:45 p.m.

The teams met on Dec. 5 for the championship of the Battle Zone Tournament at Corona Centennial, with the unbeaten Huskies prevailing, 106-86.

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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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“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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