The 11th annual Jerry Tarkanian Classic is being held December 16-21, 2023 @ Bishop Gorman High School (Las Vegas NV) and surrounding area gyms. 125+ high school boys squads (spread over 8 divisions) and 70+ prep programs (National Division) are participating this year. I was at the event for Day 2 and 3 of the HS portion of the Tark Classic and below is a breakdown of my top 15 players that stood out on Semifinal Wednesday. 

Kaden House 6’3 2026 Desert Mountain (Scottsdale AZ)
House has been putting on a scoring clinic at the Tark Classic, as was highlighted with his 43-point game outing in a semifinal win over Branson of California, 78-65. House dropped 37 points the night before in a win against the host team Bishop Gorman, and was the most impressive player I saw over the two days I was in attendance. House has an elite burst of speed off the dribble, keeps the ball on string to survey the floor, has the vision to make tough passes in tight windows, and gets great bounce to rebound at a high-level. His ability to crash the boards allows him to get out in the open court where he is lethal as a scorer or facilitator. I was most impressed with his shot making ability off the dribble from the mid-range to the point line. House has great body control, gets good hang time on his jumper, and has a smooth stroke from the perimeter. Controls the pace of play and makes great use of the hesitation move. 

Eric Freeny 6’4 2024 Centennial (Corona CA)
Freeny has been contributing in multiple facets of the game over the two days I have been in attendance at the Tark Classic, as was highlighted by his 20 point, 10 rebound, and 7 assist game in a win over Sagemont of Florida, 83-60. That came on the heels of his 29 point and 12 rebound game against St. Bernard of Playa del Rey. Freeny was knocking down perimeter shots off the dribble and the catch and shoot, as well as showing off the court vision to find open teammates when on the attack. He connected on 3 threes and showed the quick bounce, as Freeny led the Huskies in rebounds and allowed the team to get out and run. The UCLA commit displayed a lot of versatility to his offensive game as a combo guard. 

Semetri Carr 6’1 2025 The Branson School (Ross CA)
Carr was arguably the second best player I saw over the two days I was in attendance, as he would go for 24 points and 6 rebounds in the semifinal loss to Desert Mountain, which followed up a 31 point, 9 rebound, 6 assists performance the night before in a win over Calvary Christian of Florida. Carr has tight handles, elite first step to get by his initial defender, the physical build and athleticism to finish through contact in creative ways while hanging in the air. Carr is accurate with the three ball off the bounce or the catch and shoot, and is an elite rebounder for his size with quick leaping ability, which allows him to push the pace of play in the open court. Carr is a lock-up on-ball defender that turns defense to offense routinely, and has great timing on weak side blocks. Tough, gritty, skilled, and ready to make big plays in key moments.  

Bryson Tucker 6’7 2024 Bishop O’Connell (Arlington VA)
Tucker had his mid-range jumper and fade away on go in O’Connell’s consolation semifinal win over Clovis West of Fresno. Tucker has the handles to create off the dribble, gets to his shot spots in the mid-range area, has nice lift on his jumper, and great body control to score through traffic down the lane. Tucker finished with a game high 24 points, but what I was most impressed with is his court vision that led to him accumulating 6 assists in the win over the Golden Eagles. Tucker has a long wingspan, controls the glass, and a serviceable shot blocker in the paint and on the perimeter, as a versatile defender that can guard the 2-5 spots effectively. I like that he gets to his spots and demands the ball, with confidence on the turn around jumper that is tough to defend.  

Jaxon Johnson 6’8 2024 Alta (Sandy UT)
Johnson has been one of the top players at the Tark Classic over the first two days and day three was no different, as he put up an impressive stat line of 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 blocks to help lead the Hawks to the win over Arbor View of Las Vegas. Johnson controls the boards, has the handles to push the ball up the court, the vision to find teammates in tight windows, and can light it up from deep. Johnson had 4 threes in the win and forces the opponents big to close out, which opens up driving and passing lanes. Impressive player that should make an immediate impact at Utah. 

Jase Butler 6’4 2024 The Branson School (Ross CA)
Butler got hot in the 4th quarter quarterfinal win over Calvary Christian of Florida in the quarterfinals, as he knocked down 4 threes to take the one-point lead to almost twenty in a matter of minutes to end the game with 17 points. Butler carried that momentum into the semifinals, as he would score 23 points and pull down 7 rebounds in the Bulls semifinal loss to Desert Mountain of Arizona. Butler earned numerous trips to the line and was on the attack all game long, but it wasn’t enough to get by the Wolves. The Illinois commit has great court vision, can score in volume from the perimeter with range on the 3-ball, has the moves to create off the basket, and is tough to defend when hunting the mid-range jumper. He has great footwork, always surveys the floor looking for open teammates, and does a great job on the boards to push the rock up the court. 

Douglas Langford 6’8 2025 St. Pius/St. Matthias (Downey CA)
Langford dominated the post against St. Augustine of San Diego in St. Pius’ semifinal win, as he would go for 20 points and 7 rebounds to advance to the championship game in the Platinum Division. Langford has nice footwork, good back to the basket post moves, touch on finishes around the basket, and can space the floor from the mid-post. Langford controls the glass, protects the basket, and can space the floor with the 3-ball on occasion. He has good court vision to make reads from the top of the key and runs the floor well in the open court. 

Carter Bryant 6’8 2024 Centennial (Corona CA)
Bryant scored the ball with relative ease for the Huskies’ win over Sagemont of Florida to advance to the Consolation title game tomorrow morning at 10:30 a.m. Bryant was a force around the basket, using his agility and creativity for some entertaining finishes. Bryant was efficient from the perimeter and hit on a 3-ball in the 2nd quarter en route to a 19-point performance. The size and skill set of Bryant make him one of the more intriguing prospects in the senior class nationally, and he displayed that as a scorer, passer, and rim protector. 

Ace Reiser 5’11 2024 Alta (Sandy UT)
Reiser had his lead guard skills on full display in Alta’s win over Arbor View of Las Vegas, as he was slicing through the defense and knocking down perimeter shots to lead his team with 19 points to advance to the 5th place game, after falling to St. Pius in the quarterfinals. Reiser keeps the ball on a string, makes great use of the hesitation and redirection with the ball in hand, and keeps his head on a swivel to break down opposing defenses. He has good court vision to find open teammates and uses his physicality to finish through contact at the basket. Reiser hit numerous free throws down the stretch to secure the lead and win over Arbor View.  

AJ Swinton 6’6 2024 Bishop O’Connell (Arlington VA)
Swinton started off hot in the first quarter against Clovis West in the Consolation semifinals, as he would score 7 of his 15 points in the first frame. Swinton turned it up in the fourth quarter with 6 more points and was key in helping the Knights separate from the Golden Eagles in the final frame. Swinton uses his physical frame and elite athleticism to control the boards, throw down monster dunks when attacking the rim, and has the frame to finish through traffic at the basket. Swinton has enough handle to create off the perimeter and moves well off the ball to get open, with accuracy on the 3-ball. The Virginia Tech commit provided the physically imposing post presence that proved to be too much for Clovis West. 

Chris Baudreau 6’9 Clovis West (Fresno CA)
Baudreau has been the rim protector and post presence that the Golden Eagles have been needing since Tyus Parrish-Tillman graduated in 2022, and he is that and then some. Baudreau had 12 points and 3 blocks in the Consolation semifinal loss to Bishop O’Connell, and had some monster throw downs from the dunk spot. Baudreau runs the floor well in the open court, has nice touch around the basket, does a solid job on the glass, and has excellent timing on blocks in the paint. 

Javon Bardwell 6’3 2027 Desert Mountain (Scottsdale AZ)
Bardwell had a huge game for the Wolves in its semifinal win over Branson of Ross, CA. Kaden House did the heavy lifting with 43 points, but Bardwell chipped in 14 points, 2 blocks, and some solid defense all game against the Bulls. Bardwell has a long wingspan, can space the floor with the 3-ball, has enough handle to create off the dribble, and is a creative finisher around the basket. Bardwell does a solid job on the glass and will be key in the Platinum Division championship game. 

CJ Richardson 5’10 2026 Centennial (Corona CA)
Richardson was the X-factor for the Huskies in the Consolation semifinals, as he connected on 4 threes and finished with 16 points and 5 assists. Richardson has solid court vision to find open shooters when on the attack, moves well off the ball to get open for catch and shoot opportunities, and is accurate with the jumper. Outside of the big three for the Huskies, Richardson showed he has the confidence and efficiency to be a reliable scoring contributor to take some attention off the big guns. 

Maximus Romero 6’ 2024 Arbor View (Las Vegas NV)
Romero had a big time showing against Alta of Utah, as he would score a game-high 22 points and connected on 5 threes in the process. Solid handles, the moves to create space on the perimeter, and effective with the 3-ball off the bounce or the catch and shoot. Plays with a great motor and has range on the 3-ball. 

Devontae Jean 6’3 2024 Sagemont Prep (Weston FL)
Jean did all he could to keep Sagemont close against Centennial of Corona, as he would score 16 points and connected on 4 threes in the process. Jean moves well off the ball, gets to his shot spots, and has good length to shoot over perimeter defenders.