Southern California has a new bullet point to add to its uber-extensive list of bragging rights. Joining perennial sunshine and a celebrity surplus, the 2015 recruiting class of the SoCal area has skyrocketed to national prominence and envy. With the 2014 class producing ESPN top 100 talents like Arizona bound Stanley Johnson (Mater Dei) and Parker Jackson Cartwright (Loyola), UCONN commit Daniel Hamilton, USC bound Jordan Mclaughlin (Etiwanda) and Elijah Stewart (Westchester), Boise State commit Chandler Hutchison (Mission Viejo), and UCLA bound Thomas Welsh (Loyola), Southern California’s 2015 seniors have shoes to fill and the skill to succeed their predecessors. The following is a look into 9 of the top recruits for 2015 in the Southern California area.
Justin Simon– Arizona bound Justin Simon, an explosive 6-5 point guard out of Brewster Academy in Temecula, is a highlight reel waiting to happen. A view of his game draws instant comparisons to either a slightly shorter Penny Hardaway or a slightly taller Russell Westbrook. Ranked 23rd in ESPN’s top 100, Simon has youtube highlight videos amassing more than 45,000 views due to his top-ten play worthy dunks and flare filled passes. Simon should thrive in Arizona, where similarly athletic guards such as Nick Johnson and Gabe York have thrived in recent years under the guidance of Sean Miller. Senior year should only bring more attention to the talents of Simon, so watch out for the California kid coming to a SportsCenter episode near you.
Justin Simon highlights (Courtesy of Youtube):https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOy29NgPdUY
Tyler Dorsey– Dorsey first rose to prominence while playing for Bellflower powerhouse St. John Bosco alongside Daniel and Isaac Hamilton, displaying his athletic yet controlled skillset ranging from a smooth jumper to uncanny court vision. Now at Maranatha High School in Pasadena alongside fellow transfer and 2016 player to watch, Trevor Stanback, Dorsey will be expected to have a dominant senior year season. He certainly is not short on college interest, being ranked 24th on ESPN’s top 100 and acquiring offers from historically excellent basketball programs such as Kansas, Louisville, UConn, and Georgetown. An overall polished player offensively, Dorsey’s seamless handles, natural athleticism, jumper, and IQ should result in instant effectiveness at the next level.
Tyler Dorsey highlight tape (Courtesy of Youtube.com): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-7nPlHjhiQ
Stephen Thompson Jr. – Oregon State commit Stephen Thompson Jr, whose father, Stephen Sr., played at Syracuse, can shoot the basketball. His catch and shoot game is already college ready, and he pairs it with smooth, consistent driving and floater moves to let defenders know that there is more to Thompson’s game than just the jumper. Rated 55th in the ESPN top 100, Thompson Jr. is listed around 6 foot 4 and 165 pounds, giving him average next level size. While Thompson Jr. is not nearly as flashy of a player as the rest of his 2016 guard counterparts, his upcoming senior year season for Bishop Montgomery should showcase the fact that his game is the real deal.
Stephen Thompson Jr. in game footage (Courtesy of ihigh.com): http://www.ihigh.com/superiorathletes/video_918527.html
Aaron Holiday– The brother of New Orleans Pelicans star Jrue, Aaron Holiday is a six foot true point guard with the bloodline, vision, and explosiveness to be a true difference maker when he joins the UCLA team after his senior season. Although his high school scoring average of over 24 points per game might be a bit inflated due to the not so stellar competition he has played while at Campbell Hall, watch Holiday’s assist numbers rise once he gets to a college team where everyone around him is a weapon. Make no mistake, Aaron’s ranking at 60 in the ESPN top 100 is due not to his family name, but to his legitimate skill.
Aaron Holiday highlights: (Courtesy of Youtube): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BcqMQlbCVo)
Kendall Small– Oregon commit Kendall Small out of Mayfair High School is a passing savant. The number 59 player in the nation according to ESPN, Small throws the alley-oop, no look, behind the back, and any other existing form of pass with pinpoint accuracy. A true point guard, Small’s driving prowess allows for his passing to thrive, drawing defenders and having the vision and IQ to dish the rock or toss up a floater. Athleticism accompanied with the aforementioned skillset should propel Small to success at the next level. If a teammate is open, Kendall Small will find them.
Kendall Small highlights (courtesy of Youtube.com): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEHqbY_DA8g
Jeremy Hemsley– Damien’s six foot four shooting guard Jeremy Hemsley isn’t the flashiest nor the highest flyer, but he will get the job done. Committed to San Diego State , Hemsley shoots, drives, and finishes well enough to propel himself to being ranked by ESPN as the 74th best player in the 2015 recruiting class. Look for Hemsley to up his previous season’s average of 22 points per game this year and to be a consistent role player at the college level.
In game footage of Hemsley (Courtesy of Youtube.com): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRoH83uVCE0
Chance Comanche– At six-foot ten, Chance Comanche of Beverly Hills High is a true big man with talent in and around the paint. Comanche recently transferred to Beverly Hills from View Park for his senior season, and should be expected to dominate high school competition in his 2014-2015 campaign. Due to his keen eye for put-back dunks, prowess in rebounding, and post move ability, Comanche has earned the ranking of 96th in the ESPN top 100. Also of note, Comanche is smooth from the free throw line, an issue plaguing seemingly every big in basketball. Still undeclared, Comanche has offers from schools such as Arizona, California, UConn, Gonzaga, Kansas, Louisville, North Carolina State, Oklahoma State, Oregon, USC, and UCLA.
Chance Comanche Highlight Tape (Courtesy of Youtube.com): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Wt4eSEGVZ8
Bennie Boatwright– USC bound Bennie Boatwright has an all-around game tailored for the college level. After a strong start at Alemany in Mission Hills, Boatwright transferred to Village Christian High School during his junior year and nearly average a double-double in points and rebounds. Boatwright has the Kevin Durant type build, a versatile wing at six foot nine with a smooth jumper and the ability to drive. Ranked as the 82nd best player in the ESPN top 100, Boatwright should be expected to succeed at the next level of play, as he already has an uncanny all around game for a player of his size, which should only improve with time.
Highlight Tape of Boatwright (Courtesy of YouTube.com): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSjMCuRcb_g
Marcus Lovett Jr.– Marcus Lovett Jr. is the most intriguing prospect in the class of 2015, and may be playing with just a bit of his chip on his shoulder. Lovett rose to prominence through YouTube highlight videos from the time he entered high school, in which the six foot tall guard brutally broke ankles, stroked pure jumpers, and dished assists that seemed to defy logic and every one of Newton’s rules of physics. NBA players such as Kyrie Irving and Jamal Crawford have even noticed Lovett, exchanging tweets and the latter even competing alongside Lovett in a celebrity pro-am. After bouncing around high schools and receiving criticism for not going up against talented opponents, Marcus Lovett Jr. has fallen out of the ESPN top 100 and is still undeclared as to where he will be attending college. Make no mistake, the San Gabriel Academy star is a top 100 talent, and quite possibly the most talented player in the entire 2015 class. Whether or not one chooses to drink the kool-aid and agree, the pure excitement that Lovett brings to the game is undeniable.
Highlight tape of Lovett Jr. (Courtesy of YouTube.com) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMiHAZe7gpY