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A rundown on the best from the USA BB minicamp

COLORADO SPRINGS – The USA Basketball National Junior Men’s team minicamp was an ideal showcase for some of the very best in the high school classes of 2018-20, roughly six weeks before the start of the “real” season.

Saturday and Sunday’s drills and scrimmages produced multiple standouts, relative to consistency of effort and production, and improvement (since the last time I watched them play, mostly in the spring or summer).

My choice as the best player from the Class of 2018 at the event was – no surprise – Zion Williamson, who was measured at 6-foot-5 (without shoes) and weighed in at 272 pounds.

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Zion Williamson is at overwhelming best at USA BB

COLORADO SPRINGS – Eighteen members of the Class of 2018 are among the 54 players on hand for the two-day, USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team “mini-camp”.

For those seniors, it’s another opportunity to pad their resume in order to get a spot on the USA squad that will play in the Nike Hoop Summit Game in Portland in April.

And, with multiple Selection Committee voters (myself included) on hand, it’s also another way to build their cases for inclusion on the McDonald’s All-American team that will be unveiled in mid-January.

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Ryse Williams honored this weekend at Culver City

CULVER CITY, Ca. – The First-ever “Ryse Up Fall Classic”, in honor of the late basketball star Ryse Williams, is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at Culver City High.

Williams, a four-year varsity letterman at Redondo High, died from the effects of an extremely rare form of cancer on June 22 – a day before he and the rest of the Redondo senior class were scheduled to go through graduation ceremonies.

The 6-foot-3 Williams was a two-time all-CIF Southern Section selection and had signed a national letter of intent last November to attend Loyola Marymount University as a member of its basketball program.

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Some of SoCal’s best in “Hoops for Houston” benefit

Many of the very best high school programs from Southern California will be taking part in the “Hoops for Houston” event to be held Saturday and Sunday at Culver City and Pasadena Maranatha high schools.

Thirty-four different teams will play a collective 21 games, eight each at Culver City and Maranatha on Saturday and five at Maranatha on Sunday.

All the proceeds from the paid admissions ($10 daily) will go to Miller Intermediate School in Houston, whose students and their families were among those devastated by the impact of Hurricane Harvey.

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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.

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Freedman buzzer-beater drops Bishop Montgomery

LAKEWOOD, Ca. – It was a “quasi rematch” of the 2017 CIF Southern Section and State Regional Open Division championship games.

And the Santa Ana Mater Dei Monarchs made the “third time the charm” Sunday afternoon at Artesia High during the title game of the fourth Ron Massey Memorial Fall Hoops Classic.

Harvard-bound point guard Spencer Freedman’s eight-foot runner in the lane with two seconds to play gave the Monarchs a 55-53 victory over the Torrance Bishop Montgomery Knights in the last of the 12 games played in the “Elite 8” bracket over the two-day event

There were also eight “Showcase” games played, with 15 teams participating (L.A.

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Singleton leads Bishop Montgomery at Massey event

LAKEWOOD, Ca. – Defending champion Mater Dei High, along with Bishop Montgomery, Culver City and Las Vegas Bishop Gorman, won first-round games Saturday night in the Elite 8 bracket of the fourth Ron Massey Memorial Fall Hoops Classic at Artesia High

Those victories set the stage for championship semifinal games Sunday pitting Mater Dei vs. Culver City (Court 1 at 10:10 a.m.) and Bishop Gorman vs. Bishop Montgomery (Court 1 at 11:20 a.m.).

The championship game is scheduled for 2:50 (also on Court 1).

There were also four “showcase” games played Saturday night among teams that are not part of the Elite 8 portion of the event.

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Ron Massey Memorial on tap for Saturday, Sunday

LAKEWOOD, Ca. – The fourth Ron Massey Memorial Fall Hoops Classic is set for Saturday and Sunday at Artesia High.

The event is named for the much-loved basketball coach who died of an apparent heart attack on April 8 in 2014, just four years after he had retired as Long Beach Jordan’s basketball coach and athletic director, and just three months after the Panthers’ basketball court had been named in his honor.

Twenty-three high school teams are scheduled to participate, eight of those in an “Elite 8” bracket that includes Bishop Montgomery and Mater Dei, which played in both the CIF Southern Section Open and State Southern Open championship games last March.

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PrepHoops So-Cal Top 250 Expo set for Sept. 17

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Ca. – The first-ever PrepHoops So-Cal Top 250 Expo is on tap for Sept. 17 at Fountain Valley High.

It’s a marvelous opportunity for high school players – be they freshmen, sophomores, juniors or seniors – to showcase their skills in front a multitude of those whose opinions are valued by coaching staffs across the spectrum (NCAA Division’s I, II and III, as well as NAIA and California and national community college competition) of college basketball programs.

Among those evaluators who will be on hand to watch the drills and games will be myself (Twitter @FrankieBur), Aaron Burgin (@FullTimeHoops1), Joel Francisco (@JoelFranHoops) and Devin Ugland (Dev_Ugland).

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Many standouts at Sunday’s West Coast Elite Camp

TORRANCE, Ca. – The West Coast Elite End of Summer Camp – held Sunday at El Camino Community College – gave a couple of hundred players a nice opportunity to wrap up their summer hoops fare in grand style.

A hefty portion of the very best players, over all classes, from Southern California – and beyond – turned in nice efforts over the course of two “camp” games and during one of the four all-star games held late Sunday afternoon.

Among the players from the Class of 2018 on display were 6-foot-3 Payton Moore (who committed to Rice last week); 6-4 Alpha Okoli (Bellflower St.

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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.

To learn more about Frank's scouting services, click here.

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 Clippers' organization that I trust more than Frank when it comes to player evaluations."
Neil Olshey, Los Angeles Clippers' Vice President of Basketball Operations

“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

To see what other people in basketball are saying about Frank, click here.

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