VENICE, CALIF. – West coast, black top basketball was on full display Saturday with the Pacific Ocean as its backdrop. Playing on the famed outdoor courts of Venice Beach, a top destination for the best streetball legends in Los Angeles long before the movie “White Men Can’t Jump” gave the location international notoriety, 24 of the country’s best high school juniors and seniors went toe-to-toe in an electric environment of elite hoops, live music and dancing, and the thunderous drum beats of the Crenshaw high school band.
247Sports' second-best prospect in the Class of 2012 wowed the crowd in Venice Beach with his usual array of circus-act dunks.
Every player to a man said the event was a once in a lifetime experience, but enjoying the festivities and actually thriving on the court are two entirely different things. Here’s a stock report on this weekend’s winners and losers at the Boost Mobile Elite 24.
6-5, 205 SG/SF (2012)
Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.)
247Sports 5-star recruit
247Sports Player Ranking: No. 2
The in-game MC dubbed Muhammad “The Real Deal” and that’s exactly what he is. Muhammad electrified the crowd early with a dunk in traffic that sounded like a sledgehammer. From there, he continued to play above the rim en route to postgame honors for being a top performer. Muhammad did struggle to find his outside shot in Saturday’s run, but proved throughout the summer that his outside jumper has drastically improved in the past 12 months. According to his dad, Ron Holmes, “Shabazz is 50,000 jumpers away from being a shooting guard.” My guess is he’s more like 30,000 away. According to his dad, Muhammad does plan on attending Kentucky’s Midnight Madness event in the fall as he decides between schools like Kentucky, UCLA, Texas A&M and several others.
6-7, 2010 PG (2012)
St. Anthony’s (Jersey City, N.J.)
247Sports Player Ranking: No. 4
There wasn’t a better streetball nickname handed down this weekend than Anderson’s “Slo Mo.” It’s not that Anderson isn’t quick, it’s the fact that he never, and I mean never rushes when the ball is in his hands. At 6-foot-7, comparisons to Magic Johnson and Jalen Rose are premature, but that doesn’t mean Anderson isn’t an elite point guard because he is. Anderson can easily see over the top of any defense and whether he’s operating one-on-one at the top of the key or is being triple teamed near the elbow he maintains his composure at a level aptly described as “slow motion.” What’s truly incredible though is as Anderson lulls one, two and sometimes all five defenders to sleep, he quickly wakes them up, and the crowd, by slipping through the defense for a strong finish at the rim. Anderson dominated his foes in Venice Beach and like Muhammad, was a clear standout performer. Interestingly, Anderson, Muhammad and 247Sports’s seventh-ranked player in the Class of 2012, Brandon Ashley, were very chummy throughout the event. It’s been reported that Anderson and Muhammad would only play together if both decide to attend UCLA. Further, the Bruins have really been pressing Ashley of late for his services. Is there a chance the defensive-minded Ben Howland might be positioning himself to steal next year’s top recruiting class in the country by pulling off this trifecta? Answer, yes.
5-6, 140 PG (2013)
Patterson (Baltimore, Md.)
247 Sports Ranking: None
Carr actually arrived in Venice Beach with his streetball nickname already intact. Known around Baltimore as “The Crime Stopper,” Carr had an unbelievable showing at the Boost Mobile Elite. His nickname comes from the legend that crime stops in the city when he’s on the court because even the criminals want to see him play. Trust me, Carr’s worth the price of admission. Despite his height, Carr defies his frame by doing the majority of his scoring at the rim thanks to a show-stopping handle and ability to absorb contact while still rising above bigger players. He’s very strong for his size and charges in to the painted area like a bull. On Saturday, Carr stole the show in the first half with some You Have to See It to Believe It finishes. The amazing thing is Carr’s play wasn’t a fluke, or a good player simply playing great for a day. Carr was solid throughout the spring and summer AAU circuit and proved menacing on both ends of the court. It’s kind of crazy to think of a player his size being a scorer but the reality is Carr is not just a scorer, he’s a flat out scoring machine. Carr said following the game that scholarship offers have been pouring in the past two months. He’ll be a junior this season and is in no rush to make any big decisions right now. “It’s been overwhelming,” said Carr. “The offers haven’t stopped coming in. I’m just trying to take it all in.”
6-7, 180 SF (2012)
Friends’ Central (Wynnewood, Pa.)
247Sports Player Ranking: No. 23
Jefferson did what he always does when he takes the court, fill up the stat sheet. Over the weekend, Jefferson earned two nicknames, “Silent Assasin” and “Quiet Storm.” Both are accurate in my book. Jefferson has an incredible basketball IQ and is always in the right spot at the right time, which translates to a number of offensive boards and put backs, easy dunks off an assist, wide open mid-range jumpers, and clear lanes to the basket after shaking his defender and catching the help defense in a blind spot. Jefferson lit up the scoreboard early Saturday but what impressed is his scoring was a byproduct of being savvy without the basketball in his hands. He’s a silent assassin because after every game you’re surprised to learn that he had 20-plus points and a mix of boards, steals and assists.
6-4, 205 PG (2013)
Travis (Fort Bend, Texas)
247Sports Ranking: No. 7
Harrison has improved tremendously in the past 12 months, and he was already a solid player. Known as one of the hardest workers on and off the court, he reminds me of how Dwayne Wade played in high school. Harrison uses his size to his advantage by shielding off smaller defenders on the perimeter and banging into and often through frontline defenders at the rim. There’s nothing Harrison can’t do on the court as he’s one of those rare players who thrives on scoring inside the paint, in the mid-range and beyond the three-point arc. Harrison was given the nickname “Magic Man” this weekend and it definitely fits. He has a lighting crossover dribble and a go-to move on the perimeter that enables him to get off his jump shot anytime he wants. Saturday, Harrison dished out some of the fanciest assists of the game while getting plenty of points on his own from just about everywhere on the court. Following the event, Harrison said he has one simple goal in mind when he practices: “Work as hard as possible in practice so I can be the best player on the floor during games.”
2013 point guard was a dynamo on the court on Saturday at the Boost Mobile Elite 24.
6-9, 215 PF (2012)
Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)
247 Sports Ranking: No. 7
Don’t read too deeply into this, Ashley is still a top 10 national prospect. However, he did not have a strong showing Saturday. Ashley was rarely in a position to score and for a big man playing off the ball, movement without the ball is critically important. Ashley wasn’t exactly lost on the court, but was surprisingly a non-factor. Unfortunately for the fans, they didn’t get an opportunity to see the fiery side of Ashley because when he’s amped up and playing well he literally can’t be defended.
6-8, 230 PF (2012)
Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)
247Sports Ranking: No. 6
Bennett had arguably the best summer rise of any 2012 prospect. He missed most of his junior season at Findlay Prep with an ankle injury and saw his stock, nationally, drop as a result. However, Bennett exploded onto the scene by dominating the Pangos All-American Camp in June and then followed that up with fantastic basketball through mid-August. Bennett plays with a high-level motor and creates his own offense with hustle. He can bang inside with the best of them but his true assets are his athleticism in transition and on the defensive end, as well as his ability to step out to the arc and knock down treys. Unfortunately for Bennett, his usual game wasn’t on display Saturday.
Robert Carter, Jr.
6-8, 250 PF (2012)
Shiloh (Snelville, Ga.)
247Sports Ranking: No. 30
Like the others, Carter has high-major Division I talent. He’s on the list because Saturday wasn’t his best showing, nothing more and nothing less. Carter did have some nice dunks late in the game, but spent most of his time on the floor moving from free throw line to free throw line as the speedier players were racing up and down the court in transition. One thing I really like about Carter is his attitude. All-Star settings rarely favor big men, yet Carter accepted the fact that he wasn’t going to be in a position to score much and still battled hard on the boards and on the defensive end of the floor when his team was able to negate a fast break run out.
6-9, 225 PF (2013)
Prestonwood Christian Academy (Plano, Texas)
247Sports Ranking: No. 1
Randle is an incredible talent. In fact, much like Bennett, his stock soared this spring and summer as he strung together several dominating tournament efforts. In Venice Beach, Randle floated to the perimeter way too often and once there, struggled to get by his defender. Randle is at his best when he can face up his man at the elbow and then attack right or left using his repertoire of spin moves, head fakes and up and under moves. Saturday, he seemed out of position throughout the game and hence had little effect on its outcome.
Nate Britt II
6-1, 165 PG (2013)
Gonzaga Prep (Washington, D.C.)
247Sports Ranking: No. 4
Britt exploded onto the national scene this spring and stayed there thanks to outstanding play in key summer evaluation events like the Adidas Super 64 in Las Vegas, Nev. Britt attributed his success to all the hard work he put into his game over the winter, which included skills training and shooting. Saturday, evidence came forth that Britt’s next evolution needs to occur in the weight room as stronger perimeter players were able to push him around this weekend. Britt still managed to show off his high-level ball handling and defensive skills as he was the only defender to actually stop Andrew Harrison in a one-on-one clear out situation. He also had a handful of nifty dimes on Saturday. Britt is going to be an excellent point guard. Heck, he already is, but getting stronger between now and next spring should be a priority. The good news is Britt knows what he has to do. “I put in a lot of work on my game and it proved itself during the (AAU) circuit this year,” said Britt. “I know I have to get stronger. It’s something I need to do and something I will do.” According to Britt, scholarship offers are plentiful. He plans to schedule unofficial visits this fall to Arizona, North Carolina and Pitt.
News & Notes from the Hard Court
• Brewster Academy stud power forward Mitch McGary (6-10, 225, 2012) missed the Saturday showcase game. McGary was suited up and ready to play, but during warm ups shattered the backboard while attempting a dunk. McGary escaped, but not unscathed as he was covered in and cut by several shards of glass. McGary, who suffered a deep cut to his right shoulder, received medical attention on site and was able to sit with his teammates on the bench.
• Arizona commit Gabe York (6-1, 170, 2012) was fighting the flu all weekend. The standout shooting guard from Orange Lutheran (Orange, Calif.) played Saturday, but missed the slam dunk contest, a contest he was favored to win thanks to his gravity-defying leaping ability and creative style that wowed crowds at several tournaments throughout the summer. York was hospitalized early Saturday morning and received two bags of intravenous fluids to aid in his recovery. He was clearly disappointed following Saturday’s game, but in York’s “always smiling and positive attitude” kind of way. Like McGary, beachgoers in Venice missed seeing one of the best players in his class perform at his usually high level as this summer York made 40-point scoring games the norm.
• Savon Goodman from Academy of the New Church (Bryn Athyn, Pa.) decomitted from Villanova this weekend. The 6-foot-6, 190-pound power forward (2012) had a solid showing this weekend. He’s big and strong and plays his position well by being a standout defender on one end of the floor and an acrobat leaper and scorer on the other end. Goodman said before the game that his recruitment is literally starting from scratch. “I’m willing to talk to any school that wants to recruit me,” said Goodman.
• Texas commit Cameron Ridley (6-10, 230, 2012) didn’t get the opportunity to mix it up inside the paint as much as he would have liked on Saturday, but this guy is a fantastic looking prospect that will make Longhorn fans extremely happy next season.
• DaJuan Coleman (2012) has one of the prettiest mid-range shots for a big man I’ve seen in a long time. It’s rare to use a term like “feathery” to describe a power forward’s shot release in this day and age but no other adjective more accurately describes the ball once it’s released from Coleman’s hand. Add in the fact that Coleman is a lefty and it’s no wonder the 6-foot-10, 280-pound center from Jamesville-Dewitt High School in Dewitt, N.Y. has his choice of traditional powerhouse schools like Syracuse, Connecticut, Georgetown, Kentucky, North Carolina and Ohio State, to name a few.
Gary Randazzo is publisher of www.WildcatSportsReport.com and covers west coast basketball recruiting for www.247sports.com.