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My MaxPreps and Under Armour all-tourney choices

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Ca. – Chatsworth, CA, Sierra Canyon and Los Angeles Fairfax came out of the second to last day of 2014 with championships in two of the most challenge post-Christmas high school tournaments in the country.

Sierra Canyon used two free throws by junior point guard Devearl Ramsey with eight-tenths of a second remaining to edge Mableton, GA, Pebblebrook, 67-66, in the finale of the Open Division of the MaxPreps Holiday Classic at Rancho Mirage.

And Fairfax got 20 points from reserve Lorne Currie and used a 14-0 run in the second half to overcome a seven-point deficit in the third quarter and knocked off Redondo Beach Redondo, 56-51, in the National Division finale of the Under Armour Holiday Classic at Torrey Pines High.

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Fairfax, Redondo take different title game routes

SAN DIEGO – The L.A. Fairfax and Redondo Beach Redondo high teams took remarkably different routes to Tuesday night’s 8 o’clock championship game in the National Division of the 25th Under Armour Holiday Classic at Torrey Pines High.

The Fairfax Lions – heavily favored to win the L.A. City championship in March – got 25 points from senior reserve Lorne Currie and was pretty much in control from Jump Street while knocking off Corona Centennial, one of the better teams in the Southern Section, 69-62.

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Options abound Monday for prep BB action in SoCal

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Ca. – Those wishing to take up-close-and-personal looks at some of Southern California’s best prep teams and players Monday certainly have a multitude of options to choose from among.

Let’s get started with:

*Rancho Mirage High (31001 Rattler Road, Rancho Mirage): This is the site of the Open Division of the MaxPreps Holiday Classic and the championship semifinals Monday evening in that division have the makings of being nothing short of terrific.

It wouldn’t be startling if Etiwanda and Chatsworth Sierra Canyon are battling for the CIF Southern Section’s Open Division championship in March.

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Top seeds go chalk during MaxPreps openers Friday

RANCHO MIRAGE, Ca. – The first day of Open Division play in the MaxPreps Holiday Classic at Rancho Mirage featured plenty of impressive performances from both teams and individuals.

There just wasn’t anything approaching a “surprise”.

The top four seeds won their Round of 16 games Friday by an average margin of 17 points.

Santa Ana, CA, Mater Dei – which toppled American Fork of Utah, 63-46, in a game that wasn’t a wrap until Friday night at about 11:30 – played twice. The Monarchs also knocked off the host Rancho Mirage Rattlers in a tune-up of sorts, 85-56.

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Rancho Mirage, Torrey Pines host major BB tourneys

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Ca. – The “post-Christmas” portion of the high school basketball season, Southern California-style, will feature two of the very best holiday tournaments in the country.

Rancho Mirage High (31001 Rattler Road) will be the main site for the MaxPreps Holiday Classic, with Torrey Pines in San Diego (3710 Del Mar Heights) serving the same duties for the Under Armour/Torrey Pines Holiday Classic, both of which tip on Friday.

The 16-team field in the MaxPreps Open Division includes “traditional” powers Santa Ana Mater Dei and Etiwanda, as well as four other Southern California programs in Chatsworth Sierra Canyon, La Verne Damien, San Juan Capistrano Saddleback Valley Christian and Mission Hills Alemany.

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Wrapping up four days of the 3rd Tarkanian Classic

LAS VEGAS – The high school portion of the third Tarkanian Classic, highlighted by a whole lot of thrilling finishes over four days, ended in rather matter-of-fact fashion Saturday night at Bishop Gorman High.

The Redondo Beach (CA) Redondo Sea Hawks dominated the Oklahoma City Putnam City West Patriots for the bulk of the Platinum Division championship game’s 32 minutes to come away with a 66-51 victory.

For Coach Reggie Morris’ underclass-laden club, junior Leland Green (14 points, five rebounds and five steals) had multiple “Dwyane Wade-like” finishes; classmate Morgan Means (11 points, six rebounds and seven assists) may have been his team’s most consistent player over four days; and sophomore Billy Preston (17 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots) turned in his most impressive (and foul-free) extended performance of the event.

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Putnam City West, Redondo couldn’t have cut it closer

LAS VEGAS – The host Bishop Gorman Gaels and Corona (CA) Centennial Huskies hook up in Saturday’s final day of action in the Platinum Division of the third Jerry Tarkanian Classic.

That is not surprising in itself.

What is perhaps startling to many is that the game will tip off at 3:40 in the afternoon – and will be contested for third place.

That’s because the division’s top two seeds were stunned in down-to-the-wire semifinals Friday evening in the Orleans Hotel Arena.

In the first semifinal the Huskies were edged by another of the better teams in California, Redondo Beach Redondo, 55-54.

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Tark Classic Show moves to Orleans stage Friday

LAS VEGAS – Four Platinum Division teams will re-locate to a bigger stage – the court inside The Orleans Hotel Arena – for the third Tarkanian Classic semifinals Friday evening.

Three games from within the “Prep Division” begin at 11 a.m. and are highlighted by a 3 o’clock contest featuring two of the elite underclassmen in the country, junior Josh Jackson (Napa, CA, Prolific Prep) and sophomore Jarred Vanderbilt (Houston Victory Prep).

And then the “real” high school action gets underway when Southern California squads Corona Centennial and Redondo Beach Redondo hook up in the first Platinum semifinal at 5, with tournament host Bishop Gorman taking on Putnam City, OK, West at approximately 7 o’clock.

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Tark Classic with Terrific Thursday Tilts

LAS VEGAS – Wednesday’s opening round of action set the table for some high-powered quarterfinal action Thursday during the Platinum Division of the third Tarkanian Classic at Bishop Gorman High.

That competition gets underway at 12:30 in the afternoon in the school’s “main” gymnasium, with the Southern California matchup of Redondo Beach Redondo Union and Chino Hills.

Redondo (which knocked off Philadelphia Constitution Wednesday, 72-64) and Chino Hills (84-73 over San Diego-based Foothills Christian) played in the California Interscholastic Southern Section Division Open semifinals on March 4.

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Third Tarkanian Classic tips off Wednesday afternoon

LAS VEGAS – A “Platinum” division in which six of the 16 participants won state titles last season highlights the third Tarkanian Classic that gets underway at Bishop Gorman Wednesday afternoon at 12:30 PT.

The event is named in honor of Hall of Fame member Jerry Tarkanian – who coached UNLV teams to four Final Fours and led the Rebels to the 1990 NCAA title, and also guided Long Beach State and Fresno State teams to NCAA tournaments.

Mythical national champion Santa Ana (CA) Mater Dei knocked off Oakland (CA) Bishop O’Dowd in the 2013 Platinum finale with the Monarchs also winning the first title in 2012 by toppling the host Bishop Gorman Gaels.

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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.


“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.