Sierra Canyon-Fairfax top Saturday Southland clashes

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Ca. – There are three solid options on Saturday for those seeking to spend the better part of a day in a gymnasium watching some of the best hoops that Southern California has to offer us.

First and foremost among those events is the James Samson/State Preview, hosted by L.A. Fairfax High.

Nine games are scheduled, beginning at 8 a.m. – that’s correct; 8 in the A.M.; you may want to bring an intravenous line, hooked to a large thermos of coffee, to mainline the caffeine – with L.A.

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Monday HoopHall games were a nice MDAA preview

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – If you were inside Blake Arena on the campus of Springfield College Monday for the better part of 10 hours, you got a nifty on-court primer for future McDonald’s All-American teams – 2015 and beyond.

The final day of the High School Invitational of the Spalding HoopHall Invitational featured five games – and at least twice that many players likely to be chosen McDonald’s AAs before they graduate.

And several of those, no doubt, will see their names and faces on their television monitors when the 2015 squad is unveiled on ESPN on Jan.

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Sunday HoopHall action an endurance test of sorts

SPRINGFIELD, Ma. – The Sunday action – eight games’ worth – took about 13 ½ hours to complete during the “prep school” competition of the Spalding HoopHall Classic in Blake Arena at Springfield College.

Not that I was counting the minutes down the stretch at all, or anything like it (wink) . . .

And things weren’t a wrap until sophomore Malik Pouncy’s jump shot was just off the rim at the buzzer enabling the MacDuffie School to hold off Commonwealth Academy, 66-65.

Pouncy and his teammates had trailed most of the way until before going ahead by a point on a steal and layup by another sophomore, Derrick Ellis, with 34 seconds to go.

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Local squad nearly pulls HoopHall stunner Saturday

SPRINGFIELD, Ma. – The best – at least in terms of a noisy crowd and down-to-the-wire result – was saved for last Saturday during the Spalding HoopHall Classic in Blake Arena on the Springfield College campus.

In the finale of a seven-game schedule (that tipped at 11 a.m.), local program Putnam Vocational Technical Academy came oh-so-close to stunning nationally ranked Tempe (AZ) Corona del Sol.

But sophomore guard Alex Barcello patiently probed and then penetrated the Beavers’ zone defense, fired a pass to teammate Tyrell Henderson and the junior rose and snapped in a 3-pointer that drew nothing but net and air.

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HoopHall with terrific 20-game field this weekend

SPRINGFIELD, Ma. – A 20-game schedule over three days is on tap for the Spalding HoopHall Classic this weekend at Springfield College.

There is impressive representation from every region of the country, including the west (Bishop Gorman and Findlay Prep from Las Vegas; O’Dowd from Oakland CA; and Corona del Sol from Tempe, AZ), mid-west (Simeon and Stevenson from Illinois and Chaminade from St. Louis); south (Oak Hill in Virginia; Kinston in North Carolina; Montverde in Florida and Wheeler in Georgia) and, of course, the east.

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Lots of hoops action in SoCal this holiday weekend

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Ca. – Some terrific “one-day events” are on tap in Southern California during Martin Luther King birthday holiday weekend.

Saturday six games are on tap at Cerritos College for the Ron Massey Memorial/Public vs. Private Showcase, beginning at 1 o’clock with its one “public vs. public” contest, L.A. Dorsey vs. Norco.

A couple of interesting matchups are Tyler Dorsey-led Maranatha vs. Sedrick Barefield-led Corona Centennial at 5:30 p.m., and Redondo against El Cajon Foothills Christian at 7.

Foothills Christian is led by 6-foot-9 junior T.J.

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Lots of cool SoCal hoops action on Saturday

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Ca. – Three outstanding “one-day events” will provide plenty of quality high school hoops action for those craving it on Saturday.

*The Cavalier Classic is being hosted by Serra High in Gardena, with action tipping off at 11 Saturday morning.

Things wrap with the 8 o’clock matchup between Renaissance Academy and the “Ball Brother (Lonzo and LiAngelo)”-led Chino Hills Huskies.

*San Diego Lincoln High is the site for the San Diego-Los Angeles Challenge, whose five-game slate tips at noon.

Defending San Diego Division I champion La Costa Canyon plays L.A.

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Two guards take charge at Take Flight Challenge

LOS ANGELES – The second annual Take Flight Challenge, presented by Redondo Union High, proved a veritable smorgasbord for the high school basketball connoisseurs who made their way into the Jordan Hangar for 12 hours or so Saturday.

There were seven games and among the highlights were:

*A remarkable comeback in Game 1, during which the Compton High Tarbabes overcome double-digit deficits in the second half to edge Lawndale, 54-52, behind the drive, finish “And 1” by senior Robert Lewis with 11.9 seconds remaining;

*A strong performance by USC-bound forward Bennie Boatwright, who scored 20 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and blocked a couple of shots to lead Sun Valley Village Christian to a 54-42 victory over Santa Monica;

*The terrific outside shooting of junior Jacob Davison (18 points, including three of four shots from behind the arc) to go along with the strong post punch of Gligorije Rakocevic and Balsa Dragovic as Montebello Cantwell Sacred-Heart held off short-handed L.A.

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Take Flight Challenge Day II underway Saturday a.m.

LOS ANGELES – Day II of the second annual Take Flight Challenge, presented by Redondo Union High School, tips off at 11:30 Saturday morning in The Jordan Hangar.

Six high school games are set to be played, with things schedule to be concluded with a 9 o’clock clash between prep school teams from Canada (Orangeville Prep) and San Diego (Balboa Prep).

The respective prep school squads are led by 7-foot junior Thon Maker and 6-10 sophomore DeAndre Ayton, respectively.

Maker didn’t play in his team’s game with Carson’s Future Prep Friday night.

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Ron Massey hoops event debuts Saturday

LONG BEACH, CA – The first-ever Ron Massey Tip-Off Classic will offer a package of six high school hoops games, beginning at 11 a.m. at Jordan High on Saturday.

The first game pits Long Beach Cabrillo against the city’s parochial high school, St. Anthony.

Action continues with Lakewood vs. Goleta Dos Pueblos (12:30 p.m.); Long Beach Wilson vs. Whittier (2); Long Beach Rancho Dominguez vs. Rancho Cucamonga (3:30); Long Beach Jordan vs. Palos Verdes Peninsula (5); and Temecula Valley vs. Orange Lutheran (6:30).

General admission seating goes for $8.

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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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