Charles Bassey the best at adidas Gauntlet, Weekend 1

FORT WORTH – The first three-day session of the adidas Uprising Gauntlet – 17s Gold Division – wrapped up Sunday afternoon in the six-court “Game On” facility.

Eight of the 51 regionally-based squad spread across six divisions went 4-0: Compton Magic (Southern California), Dream Vision (Southern California), Exum Elite (Utah), Louisville Magic, Massachusetts Rivals, New England Playaz, Team Loaded (Virginia) and YIIS Future (San Antonio).

The majority of the teams on showcase in front of hundreds of coaches from the NCAA’s 32 Division I-designated conferences over the weekend had at least a couple of Division I prospects on their rosters.

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Stars on display in Fort Worth at adidas Friday

FORT WORTH – The 2017 adidas Uprising Gauntlet spring and summer series tipped off with 18 games in the 17s Gold Division over six courts Friday night Game On facility.

OK, a few sentences on one of the games I didn’t watch Friday night:

Twenty-Two Vision (based in Louisville) edged South Carolina Supreme, 66-62.

Those names may not ring any kind of hoops bell for you but these will:

For TTV (for short), 6-foot-5 guard Romeo Langford (New Albany High in Indiana) scored 28 points while hitting nine of 15 shots from the floor (but missing four of five from behind the arc) to go with four assists, four rebounds and six turnovers.

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Deja Vu relative to SoCal tops in 2019 class

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Ca. – Southern California’s high school basketball Class of 2019 proved every bit impressive this past season as it did a year ago.

The likes of the Chino Hills High duo of Melo Ball and Onyeka Okongwu as well as guards Ethan Anderson (Fairfax), Cassius Stanley (Harvard-Westlake), Gianni Hunt (Bishop Montgomery and Jarod Lucas (Los Altos), along with forwards Jaime Jaquez (Camarillo) and Jake Kyman (Santa Margarita), each made strong impacts on their programs in 2015-16.

And, as the case a year ago when my choice for BurlisonOnBasketball’s top Southern California Freshman of the Year came from among Ball, Okongwu and Stanley, the same three lads were the top candidates this time around for Sophomore of the Year.

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BurlisonOnBasketball All-SoCal freshmen selections

LAGUNA NIGUEL – The Class of 2020 (current freshmen) was among the better ones in recent hoops memory, across and from top to bottom of California.

Among the most notable – some would suggest the best – of those are Kyree Walker (Hayward Moreau Catholic) and Jalen Green (Fresno San Joaquin Memorial).

But only players from the Southern, L.A. City and San Diego sections of the CIF are eligible for the BurlisonOnBasketball all-Southern California Top Freshmen/Class of 2020 selections.

So, sorry Green (Central Section) and Walker (North Coast Section) .

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Highlights from O.C.-based weekend club tourneys

GARDEN GROVE, Ca. – Many of the better “club” boys’ basketball programs from California were on display this past weekend during the SoCal Spring Tip-Off and Pangos Spring Spectaculars held in a few Orange County communities.

Several of them had head-up showdowns on Sunday.

Among them, at the SoCal Tip-Off at the Next Level:

*Two of the better programs on the Nike/EYBL (Cal Supreme) and Under Armour (Earl Watson Elite) met in the “17s” (top) division Sunday evening.

And Cal Supreme, with its balance of skilled big frontcourt players and two of the best Southern California guards from the Class of 2018, knocked of Earl Watson Elite, 76-54.

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Cool hoop events in the O.C. this weekend

GARDEN GROVE – The “spring season” for Southern California high school basketball begins in earnest this weekend via a couple of travel ball events.

The Dinos Trigonis-fronted ‘Pangos Premier Spring Spectacular” tips off Friday night at 7 o’clock at the MAP Sports Complex (12552 Avenue, Garden Grove) with three sets of games spread over eight courts at 7, 8:10 and 9:20.

The most notable of the scheduled first-night clashes are (8:10, Court 3) Compton Magic Elite vs. Orange County Pride Blue and (9:20, Court 3) Belmont Shore vs.

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No surprise in final BurlisonOnBasketball Top 25

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Ca. – The six state championship games will be played on Friday and Saturday in Sacramento.

But the results of those games aren’t going to impact the Southern California BurlisonOnBasketball Top 25 ranking for the 2016-17 season, which is why you’re about to take a look on the final Top BurlisonOnBasketball Top 25 that is made up of teams from the CIF Southern, Los Angeles and San Diego sections.

And, based on what happened in both sectional and regional play, the choice for the top spot couldn’t be any easier.

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Bishop Montgomery among six boys Southern winners

LONG BEACH, Ca. – Southern California, as collection of geographic entities, will be well represented in the boys’ basketball championship games in Sacramento next weekend.

Los Angeles County (Torrance Bishop Montgomery, in the Open, and San Pedro Rolling Hills Estates, in Division V) will send two teams; Riverside County (Eastvale Roosevelt, in Division I) is sending one; Orange County (Anaheim Esperanza, in Division II, and Villa Park, Division III) is home to two; and San Diego County (La Mesa Helix, Division IV) will ship one north next weekend.

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Familiarity on tap Saturday for Southern finals

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Ca. – Saturday in the Long Beach State Pyramid will be a case of basketball déjà vu or, for you Bill Murray fans out there, Basketball Groundhog Day.

Top-ranked (via the BurlisonOnBasketball Top 25) Torrance Bishop Montgomery and No. 2 Santa Ana Mater Dei earned a Saturday rematch Tuesday night with their respective wins in the State Southern Open Regional semifinal games.

Bishop Montgomery spurted in the final five minutes to knock off the Monarchs (70-55), in the March 4 CIF Southern Section Open Division championship game in the Anaheim Honda Center.

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Tuesday rematches-galore in Southern semifinals

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Ca. – It will be “Rematch Tuesday Night” during semifinal action of the State Southern Regional boys basketball playoffs.

*In an Open Division semifinal, host Mater Dei (No. 2 in the updated BurlisonOnBasketball Top 25) takes on No. 8 St. Augustine for the third time – courtesy the Saints’ upset of Sierra Canyon Friday night in Chatsworth.

The Monarchs beat St. Augustine in the Dec. 3 championship game of the Mission Viejo Diablo Inferno Tournament and then knocked off the Saints again during the February Nike Extravaganza at Mater Dei.

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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 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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