The inaugural Veritas Global Combine was held last month (June 10-23) at the Veritas Prep training facility in Santa Fe Springs CA with the finale (Red/Black Game) conducted at Santa Fe HS (Santa Fe Springs CA) on Thursday night June 20th.  The Red/Black Game was live-streamed (and is available for replay) on  24 high school players from North and South America as well as Africa participated.  Nations represented include the United States, Dominican Republic, Argentina, Columbia, Bahamas, Ecuador and Nigeria.

The Red Team overcame a 15 point first quarter deficit and rallied to defeat the Black Team 77-66. Co-Players of the game 6-0 2020 Malvin Payero (Village Christian/Cerritos CA/Dominican Republic) and 6-6+ 2020 Carlos Rosario (Veritas Prep/Santa Fe Springs CA/Dominican Republic) led the Red Team with 14 and 13 points respectively. Payero also added 3 assists in the win. 6-1 2021 Daniel Esparza (Sonora/La Habra CA/United states) chipped in with 12 points for the Red squad while 6-4 2020 Isaac Padilla (Liberty Ranch/Galt CA/United States) tossed in 10 points to go with 3 blocked shots. 6-8 2021 Deiman Reyes (Veritas Prep/Santa Fe Springs CA/Colombia) added 9 points and 4 boards for the winners.  Player of the game for the Black Team was 6-5 2020 Luis Riascos (San Gabriel Academy/San Gabriel CA/Ecuador) who shared team high scoring honors (13 points) with 6-8 2020 Bayron Matos (Hamilton Heights/ Chattanooga TN/Dominican Republic) and 6-7+ 2020 Andersson Garcia (Hamilton Heights/ Chattanooga TN/Dominican Republic). 6-10+ 2022 Felix Okpara (Hamilton Heights/ Chattanooga TN/Nigeria) made his presence felt in the paint with 8 points and 5 blocked shots and 6-8 2022 Jaret Teheran Valencia (Veritas Prep/Santa Fe Springs CA/Colombia) chipped in 6 points for the Black Team.

Below are several of the VGC participants that left an impression on me.

Bayron Matos 6-8 2020 Hamilton Heights (Chattanooga TN)
Mississippi State-bound PF is a strong and physical PF that also played well at this year’s Pangos All-American Camp (where he was selected to the Top 60 Game). Matos is a load to deal with in the key and can score despite contact on the block.  Prior to committing to Ben Howland, Matos also received offers from the likes of Auburn, Illinois and Florida. Ranked #143 in national 2020 class by 247Sports and #145 by Rivals.

Luis Riascos 6-5 2020 San Gabriel Academy (San Gabriel CA)
Crafty and clever guard has excellent scoring skills and is an underrated passer and distributor.  Scored 13 points in Red/Black Game and was named co-player of the game. Look for Riascos to get MM to MM+ interest this summer as he has current reported offers from Cal State Fullerton, San Diego and Montana State. Ecuador native is scheduled to play in Pangos Premier 80 (July 11) and Pangos Sweet 16 (July 12-14).

Felix Okpara 6-10+ 2022 Hamilton Heights (Chattanooga TN)
Long and athletic post-man has great agility, is a tremendous shot-blocker and can finish in transition. 7-foot wing span. Nigerian import has a very high ceiling and the talent to be a national HM recruit.  Mississippi State is the 1st (but won’t be the last) HM school to offer.

Randi Ovalle 6-6+ 2022 San Gabriel Academy (San Gabriel CA)

Very promising young swingman with very nice skills, athleticism and upside.  Has a 6’10” wing span.Dominican Republican native has legit high-major potential and already has offers from Illinois, Mississippi State, Washington State, Fresno State, Grand Canyon, Cal State Fullerton, UC-Riverside, Montana State and Pacific. Scheduled to play in Pangos Premier 80 (July 11) and Pangos Sweet 16 (July 12-14).

Carlos Rosario 6-6+ 2020 Veritas Prep (Santa Fe Springs CA)
Creative scorer with 7-foot wing span is equally effective slashing to the cup to score as well as spotting up from the perimeter.  Rosario has reported offers from Cal State Fullerton, San Diego, Pacific and Montana State. Dominican is scheduled to play in Pangos Premier 80 (July 11) and Pangos Sweet 16 (July 12-14).

Deiman Reyes Cassiani 6-8 2021 Veritas Prep (Santa Fe Springs CA)
Very physical Big with 7’1” wing span is an aggressive rebounder and rim-protector.  Columbian has reported offers from Illinois, Fresno State, Pacific, Montana State and Southern Utah.  Is scheduled to play in Pangos Premier 80 (July 11) and Pangos Sweet 16 (July 12-14).

Andersson Garcia 6-7+ 2020 Hamilton Heights (Chattanooga TN)
This Dominican Republic native is a smooth WF with nice scoring skills.  Has offers from Dayton, South Alabama, Pacific, Arkansas State, Tennessee State and East Tennessee State. 

Malvin Payero 6-0 2020 Village Christian (Cerritos CA)
Tough lead guard competes on every play and is a very good ballhandler that can penetrate defenses to set up teammates.  Dominican is a harassing defender and his production in Red/Black Game (14 points/3 assists) earned him Co-Player of Game honors.  Holds an offer from Cal State Fullerton. 

Daniel Esparza 6-1 2021 Sonora (La Habra CA)
Sharp-shooting combo-guard with terrific basketball IQ has an early offer from Cal Poly.  Scheduled to play in Pangos Premier 80 (July 11) and Pangos Sweet 16 (July 12-14).

Isaac Padilla 6-4 2020 Liberty Ranch (Galt CA)
Skilled wing guard hit for double figures (10 points) in the Red/Black Game and showed his defensive prowess by recording 3 blocked shots.

Amar Brown 6-7 2020 Veritas Prep (Santa Fe Springs CA)Burley PF with 7-foot wing span is active on the glass and can finish through contact.  Brown has offers from Cal Poly, Pacific and Northern Arizona.

Jalen Pitre 6-6+ 2020 Gahr (Cerritos CA)
California rising senior sleeper swingman has nice scoring skills and runs floor well.

Other VGC players of note include 6-8 2022 Jaret Teheran Valencia (Veritas Prep/Santa Fe Springs CA), 6-6 2023 Romad Dean (Sierra Canyon/Chatsworth CA), 6-6 2021 Andres Millan (Victory Christian/FL), 6-10 2020 Juan Antonio Batis (Veritas/ Santa Fe Springs CA), 6-9 2019 Maximo Milovich (Colegio Carmen Arriola de Marin/Argentina) and 6-7 2022 Melian Martinez (Springfield Academy/MA).