Bakersfield, CA – Friday, September 23rd, myself and Clutch Clips Hoop hosted our 2nd Annual Central Cali Junior/Senior Showcase at the Dignity Health Sports Complex. The event featured 44 juniors and seniors from 29 high schools from various cities throughout the Central Section, as well as one player from Kennedy of Sacramento and one from Los Altos in Southern California. Players were placed on one of the four team rosters and each team played in two showcase games, for a total of four games. We used the NBA team names of the Lakers, Warriors, Suns, and Clippers for the four teams constructed for the event. Games were live-streamed on BallerTV for viewing and the head coaches from Porterville College, College of Sequoias, and Fresno City College, as well as the assistant coach from Allan Hancock College were in attendance. Below is a recap of the event followed by a ranking of the top 30 players from the event, as determined by myself, the team coaches, and the media in attendance.
The opening game of the showcase was between the Lakers and the Clippers, which came down to the wire with the Lakers winning by a score of 87-86. The Lakers were led by senior Karsten Adeyele with 16 points, along with seniors Josh Nicholson’s 15 points and 5 rebounds, Christian Calvillo with 12 points, Daniel Rodriguez’s 10 points and 8 rebounds, and Malik Musleh with 10 points and 6 rebounds. The Clippers were led by senior Jhace Boston and junior Xion Nichols with 13 points each, as well as junior Rippen Gill’s 12 points and 9 rebounds. Senior Jaylen Bryant and junior Sean Leblanc both had 8 rebounds for the Clippers.
The second game of the showcase featured the Warriors and the Suns, in which the Warriors would squeeze out the win by a score of 87-80. The Warriors were led by juniors Godwill Fomusoh with 15 points and 13 rebounds and Connor Amundsen with 15 points and 5 assists, as well as key contributions from seniors Mykayle McCoy with 14 points and 5 rebounds and Jayden Abuyen with 11 points. The Suns were led by senior Jaden Haire with a monster 30-point and 7-rebound outburst, which was the single-game scoring high for the event. Fellow Hanford native, senior Gilbert Maravilla, added 12 points and 8 rebounds to help the Suns keep it close.
The third game was the only one-sided score of the four games, as the Clippers jumped on the Suns early and won 109-89. In their second game, the Clippers were led by Rippen Gill with a game-high 23 points and 8 rounds. The only sophomore in the event, Elijah Wade, had 20 points for the Clippers, as well as big contributions from Jaylen Bryant with 14 points and 10 rebounds and Xion Nichols with 13 points and 6 rebounds. In their second game, the Suns were led by Gilbert Maravilla with 19 points, as well as key contributions from Jaden Haire with 17 points and 9 rebounds, and 12 points from senior Joaquin Rios.
The fourth and final game featured the Warriors and the Lakers, which was a close game until the Warriors extended the lead to double-digits with less than 7 minutes to go in the game and won 107-94. Connor Amundsen led the Warriors with 22 points, 8 assists, and 6 steals, as this performance, combined with his first game showing, earned him the Most Outstanding Performer of the Junior/Senior Showcase. The Warriors got key contributions from Jayden Abuyen with 16 points, senior Kaleb Cole with 15 points and 7 rebounds, junior Va’Ron Mitchell with 12 points and 8 rebounds, and Godwill Fomusoh with 10 points and 8 rebounds. The Lakers got a huge double-double from the big man Malik Musleh with 15 points and 11 rebounds, as well as inputs from Karsten Adeleye and Daniel Rodriguez with 14 points and Christian Calvillo with 11 points in the loss.
The Warriors were the only team to win both games at the Junior/Senior Showcase and were led by standout junior Connor Amundsen. Below is the Most Outstanding Player, along with the All-Showcase Team listed in alphabetical order, a brief evaluation of these 11 players’ skill set, and a ranked list of the top overall 30 players from the event. The top 30 list is based on the players’ performance at the showcase and does not include how they have performed in previous events or other arenas of grassroots basketball I have seen them participate in.
Most Outstanding Player:
Connor Amundsen (Clovis North/Fresno CA)
Amundsen is an elite lead guard with the court vision to make plays to open teammates, as well as being able to create his own offense. Amundsen has shifty handles and moves to create off the dribble, the wiggle to shake his defender and create space, and is capable of scoring it from 3-levels with accuracy. Amundsen has great court vision, keeps the ball on a string to survey the court, and makes reads in tight windows to open teammates after breaking down the defense. He is looking to lead the Broncos to a Section Title and another shot at a state championship.
All-Junior/Senior Showcase Team:
Jayden Abuyen (Centennial/Bakersfield CA)
Abuyen is a shifty combination guard that can score off the dribble or off the catch and shoot. Abuyen has the handles and moves to shake his defender, good body control to hit tough shots from the perimeter, moves well off the ball to get open, and is a knockdown shooter from beyond the arc. Abuyen has good court vision to make plays when attacking the defense and has active hands on the ball to create turnovers. Abuyen plays with great pace and flow and does not let the defense force him into bad decisions. He will be a key piece for the Golden Hawks this season.
Karsten Adeleye (Stockdale/Bakersfield CA)
Adeyele is a crafty combination guard that has the moves and handles to create off the dribble, is capable of making tough perimeter shots, can catch fire from the 3-point line, and is a creative finisher around the basket. Adeleye makes good use of the hesitation move to keep his defender off balance and a goid burst of speed to get by his defender and attack the defense. Adeleye, although more of a scorer, has solid court vision to make plays when on the attack.
Jhace Boston (Stockdale/Bakersfield CA)
Boston is a skilled and physically built player that can play any position on the perimeter with the ability to create his own offense off the dribble or make plays for teammates when on the attack. Boston has good range and accuracy with the 3-ball, uses the pump fake well to attack over-pursuing defenders, attacks the lane with frequency, has good touch on the floater in the paint, and has the strength to finish through contact in traffic. Boston rebounds well, which allows him to push the pace of play and initiate the transition offense.
Goodwill Fomusoh (Centennial/Bakersfield CA)
Fomusoh is a forward that has enough handle to push the pace of play in the open court and looks to go coast to coast. Fomusoh is dominant on the boards, he uses his quick leaping ability and timing to be an effective rim protector, is capable of creating off the wing, and bullies his way to the basket. Fomusoh competes at a high level with relentless energy on both ends, and is able to defend in the post with the agility to switch off on perimeter players. He is enough of a threat from fifteen feet plus that it opens up driving lanes that he looks to attack regularly.
Rippen Gill (Centennial/Bakersfield CA)–featured in photo
Gill is a wing/guard with good size and skill that is rapidly improving as a playmaker with the ball in hand. Gill has good handles and moves to create off the perimeter, uses his length to get by his initial defender, is able to score it from 3-levels, and has the frame to finish through traffic at or over the rim. Gill is solid on the boards, looks to push the tempo, and has the court vision to get the ball up the court for quick points.
Jaden Haire (Hanford West/CA)–featured in photo
Haire is a physically gifted athlete that has the size to punish opponents in the post, as well as the touch to space the floor from the perimeter. Haire is an elite rebounder with quick leaping ability, good timing to alter shots around the basket, the agility to defend multiple positions effectively, and looks to throwdown monster dunks routinely. Haire has the handle to push the pace of play off the glass, has the moves to create off the perimeter, and can finish through contact at the basket. Haire has nice touch and great lift on his jump shot.
Gilbert Maravilla (Sierra Pacific/Hanford CA)
Maravilla is a true shooting guard that has the handle to create off the dribble and a smooth shot from the perimeter. Maravilla has active hands on defense to create turnovers and transition points, rebounds well for his position and likes to push the pace of play, and is accurate with the 3-ball off the catch and shoot or creating his own looks. Maravilla was a player that used this platform to boost his stock going into his senior season.
Malik Musleh (Clovis North/Fresno CA)
Musleh is an emerging forward/center that controls the rebounds and has a nice touch around the basket. Musleh showed he has enough handle to push the ball up the court, makes nice passes out of the post to cutting teammates, and is effective enough with the mid-post shot to pull rim protectors away from the basket. Musleh was the biggest stock riser of the event and, with his size and developing skill, he will be a player that can have an impact for the Broncos this season, as they can give opponents various looks on offense and defense.
Xion Nichols (Kennedy/Sacramento CA)
Nichols is a lengthy lead guard that controls the pace of play and has a nice mid-range jump shot. Nichols has good court vision with handles and moves to create off the dribble, where he is able to create his own offense or make plays for others. Nichols has the moves to attack the defense, can stop and pop with good rotation on his shot, and is efficient from the 3-point line. Nichols made the longest trip of any player and made good use of the platform.
Elijah Wade (Garces Memorial/Bakersfield CA)
Wade is a physical lead guard that puts relentless pressure on the defense by attacking downhill and finishing through contact at the rim. Wade rebounds well for his position, gets up the court with speed while under control with the handle, and can knock down the 3-ball with enough accuracy to keep the defense honest, which opens up driving lanes. Wade has solid court vision and is improving as a playmaker off the dribble penetration. The youngest player in the event as a sophomore, he held his own and then some with 20 points in his second showcase game.
|1||2024||Connor Amundsen||5'11||PG||Clovis North (Fresno CA )|
|2||2023||Jaden Haire||6'6||WF||Hanford West (CA)|
|3||2024||Rippen Gill||6'5||WG||Centennial (Bakersfield CA)|
|4||2024||Godwill Fomusoh||6'4||WF||Centennial (Bakersfield CA)|
|5||2023||Gilbert Maravilla||6'2||SG||Sierra Pacific (Hanford CA)|
|6||2023||Karsten Adeleye||5'11||CG||Stockdale (Bakersfield CA)|
|7||2024||Xion Nichols||6'3||CG||Kennedy (Sacramento CA)|
|8||2023||Jhace Boston||6'3||CG||Stockdale (Bakersfield CA)|
|9||2023||Malik Musleh||6'8||PF||Clovis North (Fresno CA )|
|10||2023||Jayden Abuyen||5'11||SG||Centennial (Bakersfield CA)|
|11||2025||Elijah Wade||6'1||PG||Garces Memorial (Bakersfield CA)|
|12||2023||Mykayle McCoy||6'5||FW||Roosevelt (Roosevelt CA)|
|13||2023||Kaleb Cole||6'6||FW||Sanger (Sanger CA)|
|14||2023||Joaquin Rios||6'2||WG||Stockdale (Bakersfield CA)|
|15||2023||Daniel Rodriguez||6'1||SG||Robert F. Kennedy (Delano CA)|
|16||2023||Christian Calvillo||6'1||SG||Clovis North (Fresno CA )|
|17||2023||Jaylen Bryant||6'4||WF||Clovis North (Fresno CA )|
|18||2023||Juvon Manzanales||6'3||WF||Mount Whitney (Visailia CA)|
|19||2024||Donquavious Bolton||6'5||WF||Centennial (Bakersfield CA)|
|20||2024||Va'Ron Mitchell||6'3||CG||Edison (Fresno CA)|
|21||2023||Josh Nicholson||6'4||WF||Roosevelt (Roosevelt CA)|
|22||2024||Cedric Hughes||6'||CG||McLane (Fresno CA)|
|23||2023||Nolan Willison||6'3||WG||Sanger (Sanger CA)|
|24||2023||Devon Riggins||6'4||WF||Central (Fresno CA)|
|25||2023||Riley Bermke||6'4||WF||Lemoore (CA)|
|26||2023||Nicholas Esparza||6'||PG||Selma (CA)|
|27||2023||Louis Monroe||6'1||CG||Fresno Christian (CA)|
|28||2023||Cooper Bloxom||6'1||WG||Liberty (Bakersfield CA)|
|29||2024||Sean Leblanc||6'||CG||Centennial (Bakersfield CA)|
|T-30||2023||Max Landon||6'||SG||Clovis North (Fresno CA )|
|T-30||2024||Jai’Yon Dixon||5'11||PG||West (Bakersfield CA)|