Guards Lucas, Shackelford among Sunday standouts

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Ca. – The first-ever PrepHoops So-Cal Top 250 Expo was held Sunday afternoon at Fountain Valley High.

There were approximately 80 players on hand.

But what the event might have lacked in quanity was more than made up for by way of the quality of players and instructors on hand.

Players got in nearly two hours of exceptional teaching from Clint Parks, Kris Johnson, Aaron Wright, Dominique Dunning, A.J. Gaspora and D’Cean Bryant (the coach at the host school).

Collectively, there isn’t a better group of “skills instructors” to be found anywhere.

And a healthy collection of the very best high school players – across all four grade levels – eagerly soaked up all of the right-to-the-point, hands-on instruction that was doled out, not only in the “drills” portion of the camp but also during the games (of which each athlete played in three) as each of the aforementioned instructors also served as coaches.

There were at least two intriguing individual matchups in the games – with all four participants coming out of the confrontations with plenty of reason to be pleased with their efforts.

One those pitted two of the best “combo” guards anywhere – regionally or nationally – from the Class of 2019 in Jarod Lucas (Hacienda Heights Los Altos) and Jaden Shackelford (Hesperia Oak Hills).

Lucas, at about 6-foot-3, is part of the Compton Magic program while Shackelford (perhaps a half-inch or so short of Lucas) was strong in the spring and summer for the Nike-fronted “The Truth” program.

Both are sensational scorers, via deep- or mid-range jump shots and finishes well above the rim, but are also capable and willing to get the ball to open teammates.

Also hooking up, head to head, were two of the three best point guards from the CIF Southern Section in the Class of 2018 in left-handers Cameron Shelton (6-3/La Verne Damien) and Darryl Polk (5-10/Long Beach).

Two other standouts from the Class of 2019 impressed in both drills work and games alike: 6-3 Joseph Octave (San Pedro Mary Star) and 6-6 Julien Franklin (Villa Park).

Octave might have hit at least five 3s in one of the games I watched (he was on the same squad as Lucas) while Franklin is, at his size, one of the more versatile players in the class.

One of SoCal’s best from the Class of 2020, D.J. Davis (Corona Centennial) showed off his considerable offensive skills until he suffered a turned ankle.

And two San Diego Cathedral Catholic high-tier players in the Class of 2021, post Obinna Anyawu and guard Alex Wade held up quite well against a lot of gifted upperclassmen Sunday.

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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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