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Second Annual Reebok Compton
Tip-Off Classic: Day One--(Dec. 1, 1998)

We got to the 2nd Annual Reebok Compton Tip-Off Classic in the middle of the Ayala v. Serra game, and were pretty much astonished to find the score to be something like 40-26, with Ayala clearly ahead, and clearly playing way better than Serra.  Ryan Odums (6'-1" Sr. PG) and D.J. Wyatt (5'-9" Jr. PG) were turning the ball over, and over and over, and Earl Lewis (6'-5" Sr. PF), Doyle Cole (6'-6" Jr. SG/PF) and Aerick Sanders (6'-8" Jr. C) all seemed powerless to stop the onslaught.  We knew that Ayala would be tough, but had no idea that they could be this good, especially playing without  Daniel Sherman (6'-7" Sr. C/F) who had "a little discipline problem" and was not invited to travel with the team for the trip.  He will reportedly play some (but he won't be starting) when Ayala appears at the Glendora Triple Crown Challenge.  But that's a different story.

The big story for Ayala tonight was Chris Pacana (Mike Miller swears it's "Pacano", but when we checked the scorer's table, the book had "Pacana", but that's probably because they were working off the roster contained in the program materials, and since we wrote them, it's either the right spelling or it's wrong. . . oh well).   However you spell his last name, that kid (5'-11" Jr. SG) can really shoot the ball, and Serra was leaving him open way too much.  We saw him hit at least 4 threes all from the right hand side of the key, very sweet shots, and this guy's going to be a big-time player, and he was giving Serra all kinds of trouble. Jack May (6'-7" Sr. F) finished with 6 points by our count, and he played pretty well. We talked with his father after the game, and Jack is getting attention from schools like Eastern Washington, Gonzaga, Portland, and   Portland State.  Jean Rene Stephens (5'-11" Sr. SG)  and Marcel Berk (6'-4" Jr. SG/SF) also looked pretty impressive, as did Marc McCoy (5'-10" Jr. SG).

Aerick blocked a bunch of shots late in the second half, and Doyle and D.J. managed to stop the turnover problem and with about two minutes to go, Serra managed to pull within as few as four points on great shooting by D.J. and Ryan Odums, and also Doyle who hit a couple of threes as well, but then Ayala just turned on the press and resorted again to their box and one defense, and they pulled away, again behind the great outside shooting of Pacana/o, and Ayala won going away by 10 points 73 to 63 (at least that's the score as we remember it, and the reason we have to rely on memory is that Etop Udo-Ema, the event organizer still has our notes from tonight, and we don't have Mike Miller's notes of assists, points, rebounds and steals, and as Mike said tonight "There's no substitute for talent" and tonight the only talent we had tonight was for losing our notes and leaving them with Etop.  Oh well, we'll get them tomorrow.  The important thing was the "big picture" and that was young Master P, a great shooter who will only get better this season.

The next game saw J.W. North v. Long Beach Jordan, and like the game before it, Long Beach really hammered North for most of the game, and JW's big time players, Kamron Leonard (6'-8" Sr. C), Jacqay Carlyle (6'-7" Sr. SF/PF) Derek Mgbeke (6'-3" Sr. Sg/SF) and the twin 5'-9" guard combo of Raji Burnett (5'-9" Jr. PG) and Billy Jones (5'-9" Jr. PG/SG) were just not playing well enough to beat Jordan.   Trayvon Bryant (6'-7" Jr. F/C) who actually got the ball passed to him several times by  Darren Peterson (6'-4" Sr. PG/SG) who just may be the most self-contained player in all of SoCal, came away with 24 points and the "Slam Magazine MVP Award" at the end of the game.   Trayvon looks bigger than the 6'-7" we had him rated at earlier this summer (the same height we had him at in the program materials), and he looks about an inch taller than Kamron Leonard. 

Jim Saia and Michael Holton, the UCLA coaches were out in full force tonight, looking at a lot of players, and presumably Trayvon, who actually reminds us a little of a better version of Travis Reed, but reminds Mike Miller (geez, two quotes in one article) of J.R. Henderson, and we're not sure which comparison is the bigger compliment at this point.  Trayvon is just getting to be a huge, strong guy, and I just wish that he were a bit more active on the floor and was working more on developing his footwork (maybe he can make it over to a Manual Arts game sometime just to watch Ron Cass' footwork, which is just great).   Trayvon had about four thunderous dunks, and one huge block of a Jaqay Carlyle shot that had the crowd roaring.

Darren Peterson played well, and moved the ball and pushed the break better than usual, and, as noted above, he even passed the ball a little bit.  Craig Calloway (6'-0" Sr. PG/SG) didn't get a lot of shots off tonight, but hit about half of them for 8 points.  We also really liked Wilfred Lucas (6'-4" Jr. PF/C) who is really tough and strong inside, and rebounds very well. We were also very impressed with Nick Tamara (5'-11" Jr. PG), a natural lefty who has great court vision and involved Tryavon in the game a lot more than his counterparts usually do; he fired one of the sharpest passes, threading the needle on the run and hitting Peterson who dished to Bryant to complete the play.  Tamara is very talented and will have no difficulty running this team next year with he, Lucas and Bryant running the show.

Carlyle does some very nice things, and he had about 12 points (again if memory serves, we'll correct it tomorrow if we're wrong), and it's just amazing to us that he isn't being recruited by anyone.   This guy is a major player, certainly at least low to mid-D-I and we think he should go higher, but apparently it's difficult to interest people in getting out to the Inland Empire.  Derrick MgBeke had an off night, and the assessment that he's a streaky shooter made by some may be a bit hasty, but tonight he didn't have a good night only hitting for four points.   And Kamron Leonard did a lot of sitting tonight, particularly in the second half which surprised us, but then he wasn't making that big a contribution tonight.  It was sort of interesting watching him tonight, and either he wasn't feeling well, or the style of his high school team is entirely different than the style he's used to playing with on his IEBP team, because we saw none of the physical battling between him and Trayvon that we had come to expect from him during the summer, especially when he and Tyson Chandler almost came to blows against each other during the LB Fall Hoops Classic.  We don't know what was up, but clearly he wasn't himself tonight.  Still, he managed about 10 points, which is not bad for someone not playing particularly good on offense.

Finally, for the last game of the evening, Long Beach Poly v. Bishop Montgomery, we did at least make some notes in the program, which was the one thing we managed to leave Compton with tonight, leaving our notebook on the scorer's table for Etop to collect for us.   And while there were a lot of very talented players in this game, like the games before it, there was one name that stood out from the rest, and he also got the Slam Magazine MVP Award:  Wesley Stokes (5'-10" Jr. PG) who managed to score 26 points in just about every way that points can be scored in a basketball game:  From behind the three point line (with two threes), from the line a couple of times, and from inside and outside, including some beautiful floaters off the dribble which incredibly went in.  Wesley has this very pretty floating, high arcing, sort of slow-motion shot, and the ball leaves his hand with great rotation, almost effortlessly, so much so that at times it looks as if the shot will be short by about two or three feet, but then amazingly the ball keeps going and into the net.  While some think Wesley is really more of a two guard, we're inclined to agree with Dinos Trigonis who believes he could be one of the top two or three "pure" point guards on  the West Coast.  He will just find a way to get the ball to the open man, and his vision is so complete that often he reacts more quickly than others at the high school level can adjust to his passes and cuts.  He was especially effective though in getting the ball to Shea Anderson (6'-7" Sr. SF) who struggled tonight offensively, but did have some assists, and more so to Joe Travis (6'-8" Jr. PF) who scored 14 points. 

There were not a lot of other scoreres on the Poly team tonight, and if they're going to continue to be successful, they'll have to get more guys involved more often.  Tonight Keyon Cooley (6'-8" Sr. SF) only scored 3, while Rahman Shotwell (5'-10" Sr. PG) came in and backed up Wesley hitting for two.  We were very impressed with the lateral quickness and defensive ability of Adrian Martin (5'-9" So. SG), who also has a very good handle and great ball control who also managed some very effective passes; he had 2 points.  Lionel Penman (6'-3" Jr. SG/SF) had 5 points as did Kenny Wright (6'-2" Sr. SG).

Bishop Montgomery looked like they were going to control things from the start, and they scored the first 6 points of the game and with about 4 minutes gone in the first quarter the score was 8-2, but Poly quickly tied it up as Joe Travis and Wesley finally woke up.  The big scorer for Bishop Montgomery was Errick Craven (6'-2" So. SG/PG), and his brother Derrick hit for 4 and a bunh of assists.  It is almost impossible to tell the two of them apart, except that Derrick has the better handle and drives more, while Errick tends to shoot more from outside, or post up more on the block.  Gabriel Hughes (6'-10" Sr. C) looks good, but didn't have a great game, scoring only 4 points and it's clear he'll need to get a lot more aggressive in controling the ball once he rebounds it. Garrett Lee (6'-4" Sr. SG/SF) had flashes of brilliance but he also had instances where he suffered from dropsy, yet he still managed 8 points in an overall fine effort both offensively and especially on defense as he helped limit Joe Harper (6'-4" So. SG/SF) to only 4 points.    Marvin Perez (6'-4" Sr. Sg/SF) managed 7, while DeVaughn Peace (6'-1" So. PG) hit for 6.  DeVaughn is a smart, smooth point, who passes well, and has good size.  Kenny D'Oyen (5'-7" So. PG) didn't score at all, but he played about 2/3 of the game, dishing and distributing the ball, and he has that same distinctive slow, almost mechanical dribble up the floor, which is very effective, but just not very pretty to watch. He moves the ball against even the most intense pressure without even hinting at turning it over but his big limitation is that he presents no real scoring threat, so it's almost like playing 4 on 5. . . But that's what they said about his brother too, and now he's starting at point for Santa Clara, so we're probably wrong about this too, and we're willing to bet that in two years, Kenny will also be a major college prospect.  Finally, Leland Dodd (6'-2" So. SG) and David Colbert (5'-10" So. PG) scored 2 and 3 points respectively.

This was an enjoyable evening, even if we did leave our notes behind.  And we even managed to get some pictures which we'll put up later, time permitting.   For now, you should all plan on coming out tonight, December 1 for the really big games, featuring Pomona and The Bishop's School, Crossroads and Dominguez, and Compton and Lynwood. 

Get there early.  The place will fill up fast.  And tell them SoCalHoops sent you.

The Swish Award
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