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A lot of D, just enough O lead Mater Dei past Fairfax

SANTA ANA, Ca. – To beat a Mater Dei High basketball team, especially within the walls of the program’s snazzy Meruelo Athletic Center, an opponent is best advised to bring its “A game” – and then some.

The L.A. Fairfax Lions brought a 25-0 record into the building for the end of a nine-game Saturday schedule of the 20th Nike Extravaganza.

But Coach Harvey Kitani’s club was well short of “acing” its performance against the Monarchs – most especially on the offensive end of the floor.

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Phillips FTs help Oak Hill hold off Sierra Canyon

SANTA ANA, Ca. – It was touted as one of the most intriguing of matchups among the 12 boys’ hoops games set to be played over the two-day, 20th Nike Extravaganza at Mater Dei High.

And the Friday night clash between Mouth of Wilson (VA) Oak Hill Academy and Chatsworth (CA) Sierra Canyon certainly handled all of those expectations quite well, thank you very much.

Oak Hill (27-0, with one of those victories coming as a forfeit by Memphis Hamilton for use of an ineligible player) seemed on the verge of pulling away from its Southern California opponent a few times, including with just a bit more than two minutes to go while holding an eight-point advantage.

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Nike Extravaganza homecoming for Oak Hill’s Phillips

SANTA ANA, Ca. – Based upon some of the matchups on hand, the 20th version of the Nike Extravaganza, hosted by Mater Dei High, could rival some of the best of the first 19.

Four games (including a girls’ clash) will be played on Friday, with Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson) – currently top-ranked nationally – taking on one of the best teams in California in Chatsworth Sierra Canyon at 7 o’clock.

Among the Oak Hill Academy standouts are McDonald’s All-American Dwayne Bacon (who signed with Florida State in November) and point guard Terrence Phillips, who committed to the University of Missouri recently and is the brother of Detroit Pistons’ standout Brandon Jennings.

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Fairfax High rolls to impressive Saturday night win

LOS ANGELES – Nine games, spread over approximately 14 hours, provided a quasi-marathon of some of the best of high school basketball offered by Southern California this season during the seventh James Samson/State Preview Classic hosted by, and held Saturday at, Fairfax High.

And three teams demonstrated that they have legitimate CIF section and state championship aspirations.

*Coach Harvey Kitani’s host Lions pushed their record to 23-zip while handling Chatsworth Sierra Canyon (now 16-2) with surprisingly little fuss or muss, 64-47.

Barring a stunning upset by way of LACES or L.A.

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Southland hoops galore, early AM to late PM Saturday

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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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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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.