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SoCalHoops Recruiting News

SoCalHoops Junior Class:Top Power
Forward/Post Players In SoCal--(May 10,1999)

Last year we had two separate articles for Top Power Forwards and the Top Post Players.  But unlike last year, this year's current crop of juniors (i.e., seniors-to-be) is not very strong at the post, and from what we've witnessed, we can honestly say that there are really players who we see signing at the D-I level who will be asked to play center in college.   There are a ton of power forwards, and many who will be the top picks nationwide at the four spot, but probably not a true center in the whole bunch.  Which just makes the power forward spot about the deepest it's been in years. Hey, we could be all wet on this one, but we don't think so.

In comparison, if you want to talk about strong classes at the center position, then you'll have to look at the current crop of sophomores ("rising" juniors). . . Tyson Chandler. Chad Bell.  Jamal Sampson.   And on and on.  Now that's a class that has probably about 15 or 20 top center/post players, many of whom will be top D-I players, many of them immediate impact players in college right away.

But the current juniors (rising seniors) are not comparable. So what we've done is to combine the two position listings of top players into a single article.  Oh, and by the way, if you think that we're wrong on this, just check out the rankings put out by other recruiting gurus, including Dinos Trigonis' Full Court Press, or Dave Ben Ezra's Recruiting USA and Recruiting SoCal, or even Mike Miller and Tracy Pierson at PacWestHoops, and what you'll find is that there's pretty much a general consensus that there are a lot of power forwards who will be high D-I picks, but probably not even one or two centers or true post players who will come out of the current SoCal junior class.

So having now said all of that, here's our take on who the top power forward/post players are in the current junior class,    who's got the most potential to become the best in next year's senior class, and who the top college prospects currently are in our view. As with the other lists, we haven't ranked the players by number, because generally (as we said last year too) we think that's pretty silly and doesn't mean much. College coaches and other scout types see lists such as this and target the players they've seen or heard about anyway. Calling someone "No. 1" or some other number really means very little, except to inflate someone's head.  From our perspective, our list is only an indication that a player is a blip on the radar-screen; some players are bigger blips than others. Some deserve to be watched more closely than others, but that's not a decision we make, it's really up to the college coaches to truly decide who is D-I material, and who isn't. 

To compile the list,  we've culled through all of the rosters and articles we've written the past year, gone through all the notes of the games we watched, reviewed tapes of many players, and selected those players who, in our view, are clearly D-I material, those who have potential, and those who play the position well enough to deserve recognition and who might have what it takes to play at the next level, whether that's D-I, D-II, D-III or NAIA. The list includes players are from Fresno in the North, to San Diego in the South. Generally the region constituted by the CIF Southern Region (including Central Section, Southern Section, LA City and San Diego Sections) of the CIF.

All the players on this list (and the lists for other positions which will be posted shortly) are shown by their primary position. That is, it's the position they may have played during the season, but not necessarily (taking into account that with "centers" this is especially true, because we are looking toward the position that most of these guys will be asked to fill when they play in college.)

This is an important fact to note about our listings:  Last year we did the same thing, and you wouldn't believe how many times we got e-mails saying "how in the world could you leave [insert name here] off your list of [insert position here].    Of course we usually had [insert name here] on a list, it was just at a different position than the one the writer thought the guy should be listed.  So before you complain that someone isn't listed, be sure to check the other lists we'll be posting up soon too.  If a guy isn't listed after looking at all the lists, well, then you can start complaining.

For the list of players which follows, what we mean by " power forward" is generally what you think it means: Someone who has the body of one of the largest players on the court, strong, tough, usually an inside banger type, one who can generally play outside and sometimes shoot out on the wing (but who rarely does), a guy who looks more like an inside player; someone who blocks down low well, but who often does't generally play the low post except to defend or rebound; not really a "back to the basket" guy, but more of a slashing rebounder and sometime scorer, with a reasonable dribble and ball skills, but who generally uses power moves to the basket.  A guy who is probably not among the quickest players on the floor, but not biggest or the most lumbering either. You know, a "4" (who can and often does double-duty at the three or a five positions in high school).

In contrast, what we mean by a "center" is generally, "THE" big man on the court, and as we said above, in college, that's usually going to be somebody 6'-10", 6'-11 or taller (often much taller), a guy who can play both the high and low post, who can and usually does play with his back to the basket, and by the time he's in his junior year, a guy who has worked on developing a pretty good drop-step move to the hole, who can deny the ball on defense, and maybe even has a nice turnaround jump or even a hook shot.  A center is a guy who definitely is a shot blocker.  Think Hakeem.  Think Kareem. Now those are "centers."   Don't think Eldon Campbell; don't think Rick Fox.   Those guys are power forwards.  Carlos Boozer may have been the biggest player on his high school team, and may have even been called the "center" on that team. But in college and on most travel teams, he's a "power forward."  Get the idea? Good.

All the players listed below are currently juniors ("rising seniors").  Their recruitment is about to get into high gear this summer, and by the end of the summer, many of the top prospects will have committed (and some will sign in November) to the college of their choice. The players listed below have also been stats leaders, received varying degrees of attention from the basketball or general media, or are already established stars. Some are obviously not as well known: For those in the "Rest of the Best" category, they've shown promise or potential, and could break out during the summer circuit or during their senior year and thus have the potential to attract the attention of the colleges at the D-I through NAIA levels. In other words, we believe they are all players.

All the listings are in alphabetical order. We have not assigned numerical rankings, but we have grouped the players into "Top 20 College Prospects", "Next Top 20 College Prospects"  Unlike the rest of the lists we've done, we don't have a "Best of the Rest College Prospects" category, because there aren't that many players overall at these positions.  In fact, in order to round out the group of the Next 20, we had to dip back into the pool of some of the guys we picked for the top small forwards who also can double as power forwards.    But by and large, this is still a pretty solid group even if there are only 40 players overall on the list. We would expect most, if not all of the players in our Top D-I list will sign by the time they graduate. 

These guys are not all are the best on the west coast, which is a wider talent pool. Some are good; many are journeymen players who have the potential to be a lot better.  And a few are truly outstanding.  Sure it's arbitrary as hell, but it's better, we think, than trying to assign numbers to a player. We hate numerical rankings, because they're arbitrary, and it's most often next to impossible to to distinguish between say player 25 and player 53; how much better is one than the other? Who really knows?

If there's someone we missed (and we're sure there are more than a few) let us know and we will add them to the list.    And if you think someone doesn't belong on the list, let us know discretely by e-mail.   Please don't post derogatory stuff on the message board about how player x doesn't deserve to be listed;  these are, after all still just kids.

Top 20 SoCal Junior Power Forward/Post Player College Prospects

Keith Brooks (6'-6" Jr. PF) Dominguez
Travon Bryant (6'-8"  Jr. PF/SF) Long Beach Jordan
Ronald Coleman (6'-8" Jr. PF/C) San Diego Horizon
Justin Garcia (7'-0" Jr. C) Jurupa Valley
Jeff Grgas (6'-8" Jr. PF) Los Alamitos
Gregg Guenther (6'-8" Jr. PF/C)Crespi
Jammie Harris (6'-7" Jr. PF/SF) Canoga Park
Chris Lopez (6'-6" Jr. PF) Fresno Edison
Jeremee McGuire (6'-9" Jr. PF) San Diego Lincoln
Eugene Moore (6'-8" Jr. PF) LA Washington Prep
Chris Neff (6'-8" Jr. PF/C) La Jolla The Bishop's School
Lamar Ruffin (6'-7" Jr. SF/PF) Murrieta Valley
Aerick Sanders (6'-10" Jr. PF/C) Serra
Joe Travis (6'-8" Jr. PF) Long Beach Poly
Chris Walton (6'-8" Jr. PF) University of San Diego High
Kam Walton (6'-8" Jr. PF) University of San Diego High
DeMarcus Williams (6'-8" Jr. PF) Upland
Andrew Zahn (6'-9" Jr. PF/C) Redondo Union
Ryan Stacey (6'-7" Jr. SF/PF) Santa Margarita
Cedric Thompkins (6'-7" Jr. SF/PF) Dominguez

Next Top 20 SoCal College Prospects

Zach Balver (6'-7" Jr. PF) Indio
Jim Bosma (6'-3" Jr. PF) Capo Valley
Ken Carter (6'-7" Jr. PF/C) Los Alamitos
Peter Dalrymple (6'-8" Jr. PF/C) Moorpark
Chris Davis (6'-6" Jr. PF) Crenshaw
Adam Drell (6'-6" Jr. PF/SF) Chatsworth
Dewayne Harris (6'-7" Jr. PF) Gardena
Alex Holmes (6'-4" Jr. PF) Harvard-Westlake
James Johnson, 6-7 Bakersfield (CA) Stockdale
Jason Johnson, 6-8 Upland (CA) High
Jim Kresl (6'-8" Jr. PF/C) Long Beach Poly
Daniel Melton (6'-8" Jr. C) Loara
Vili Morton (6'-6" Jr. PF/SF) Twentynine Palms
Adam Olson (6'-7" Jr. PF/C) University of San Diego HS
Jason Peterson (6'-5" Jr. PF)Santa Barbara
Garreth Reed (6'-8" Jr. PF) Montclair HS
Duncan Reid (6'-6" Jr. PF) Glendora
Eric Roller (6'-3" Jr. PF) North Hollywood
Andrew Simon (6'-8" Jr. PF/C) Damien
Justin Tidwell (6'-8" Jr. PF) Quartz Hill

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