Friday, September 10th, Clutch Clips Hoops and myself hosted our Inaugural Junior/Senior Prospects Showcase at the beautiful Dignity Sports Complex in Bakersfield, CA. The event featured 42 prospects from various cities in the Central Section of California from the Classes of 2022 and 2023. This article takes a look at 10 of the top performers at the event as determined by myself, Clutch Clips Hoops, media in attendance, and the team coaches. This is Part 1 of a 2 Part event player evaluation and there is no rank order to the 10 players in this article. Part 2 will be released next week.
2023 6’6 Jaden Haire (Hanford West HS):
I had heard about Jaden over a year ago, but with the compacted Covid season of Spring 2021, I was unable to make it to one of the Huskies’ games. I finally saw Haire for the first time this past July, during the 2nd viewing period at the Pangos 32 Showcase in Garden Grove, CA, with the EBO 17U Squad and was very impressed with his overall style of play. Haire had another solid showing in mid-August at the Simply Basketball Battle of NorCal event with Team Central, which made it a no-brainer to get him to attend the Central Cali’s Junior/Senior Prospects Showcase. There were some impressive performances at the Showcase, but Haire had coaches and staff buzzing throughout the event and emerged as one of the top sleeper prospects in the Central Section regardless of graduation class. Haire is a strong and physical guard/wing that has the athleticism and skill to play multiple positions on the court effectively. He is a high level rebounder, has the handles to push the ball off the glass in the open court, the moves to create scoring opportunities from the perimeter, great body control to finish through contact around the rim, and can score it from various spots on the floor. Haire is effective from beyond the arc, which opens up driving lanes for him to attack, using his mid-range jumper or go at the rim with force. He had a few of the top plays of the event, including his thunderous dunk off the lob in his second game, and had 22 and 16 points in his two showcase games. Coaches need to look into this talented prospect.
2022 6’6 Cameron Brown (Independence HS/Bakersfield):
Brown, different from Haire, is a player that I have been fortunate to see play a lot since middle school and his development and progression was on full display at the Junior/Senior Prospects Showcase. After making some noise towards the end of his freshman season, Brown’s name really broke out of the Central Section early in his sophomore year, with a great performance at the Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp, where he earned Top 60 honors at an event that featured the top 2022 and 2023 prospects on the West Coast. Later that year, Brown continued his high level of play earning Most Outstanding Player for the Falcons as they won the Boys Central Section Division 2 Championship. Brown had a productive AAU season playing for West Coast Elite’s UAA-LA 16u squad and based on his showing at the Junior/Senior Showcase, he is poised to make a run at the South Yosemite League MVP in his senior season. Brown is a lengthy and athletic combo guard that can create his own offense or make plays to get others involved. He has the height and tight handle to play the lead guard position, capable of surveying the court and the IQ to break down the opposing defense. Brown is a solid rebounder, loves to push the tempo in the open court, the moves to create his own offense, capable of making tough shots off the dribble, limitless range from deep, and a very creative finisher around the rim. He is an underrated shot blocker with great timing and large wingspan to block shots around the rim, and is capable of guarding the 1-4 positions. Brown had 14 and 15 points in his two showcase games, along with numerous blocks, assists and rebounds. Excited to see how his senior shapes up and is likely going to do a postgraduate year to reclassify to the 2023 class if necessary.
2022 6’2 Matthew Ruegge (Kingsburg HS):
Ruegge is coming off a very productive junior season that resulted in the Vikings winning the Boys Southern California Division 5 Regional Championship. I was fortunate to attend that game and Ruegge led all players in scoring with 18 points and a huge 3 down the stretch to get the game into overtime. We were pleased to hear that Ruegge would be attending the Junior/Senior Prospects Showcase and he had his smooth shooting on full display in both his showcase games. Ruegge has solid handles and moves to create the separation needed to get his shots off, has a quick release on his shot to shoot over outstretched arms, very effective one dribble pull-up jump shot, and is highly efficient from the 3 point line. He keeps constant pressure on the defense, and his ability to score at a high clip from 15 feet and beyond creates openings in the defense to penetrate and get to the basket. Ruegge is a crafty finisher at the rim and had 16 and 15 points in his two showcase games. He will be the driving force for the Vikings this season, as they had 4 starters graduate from last year’s team. Looking forward to the Hanford West and Kingsburg match-up to see Ruegge and Haire face off in the CSL.
2022 6’ Tyler Silva (Frontier HS/Bakersfield):
Over this past year, and after a productive AAU Spring and Summer with the West Coast Elite Central Program, Silva has emerged as one of the top players in the South Valley and a Top 15 player for the Class of 2022 in the Central Section. Silva had his high-level lead guard skills on display at the Junior/Senior Prospects Showcase, and had 11 and 17 points in his two showcase games, along with some sweet dimes and steals on the defensive end. Silva has a strong handle on the ball, poised when under pressure from defenders, great use of the hesitation to get his man on his hip and get the defense off-balance, and crafty finisher at the rim. He keeps pressure on the defense by attacking the paint, with good body control to finish through contact or make the right reads to find open teammates. Silva is efficient from the 3 point line, an increasingly proficient 3 level scorer, and a nice touch on his floater. Tough perimeter defender that plays on both ends with a controlled edge. He looks to be a top 5 preseason candidate for player of the year in the SYL.
2022 6’3 Malachi Hogg-Madden (Centennial HS/Bakersfield):
Arguably one of the most improved players at the Junior/Senior Prospects Showcase was the forward/wing prospect Hogg-Madden. I had not really seen Madden play in over a year and he made sure to display the development of his game at the Showcase and emerged as one of the top performers of the event and looking to have an impact senior season. Madden showed improvement with control of his handles, does not waste dribbles and gets downhill into the defense, creative finisher around the rim to evade shot blockers, and good hands and touch at the basket. He is solid on the glass, creates second chance opportunities for his team, shows enough range to stretch the defense, and has a great motor. Madden scored 22 and 17 points in his two showcase games and left a great impression on the staff, media and few coaches in attendance. He will be a nice piece for the Golden Hawks that will look to take a run at the Division 2 Sectional Title.
2022 6’4 Jakcson Tucker (Bakersfield Christian HS):
Tucker is coming off a very productive junior season, where he was a core piece for the Eagles in their run to the Boys Central Section Division 3 Championship. He continued his high level of play throughout the month of July with the West Coast Elite Central 17U National Team, where he attracted a lot of attention from some great D3 programs, as well as D2 interest. Tucker had a great showing at the Junior/Senior Prospects Showcase, where he displayed his high level of play on both ends, finishing with 10 and 15 points and countless blocks and steals in his 2 showcase games. Tucker has good perimeter moves and nice handles to create off the wing and loves to get into the painted area, putting pressure on the defense. He is a legit 3 level scorer, is most effective when he is getting to his mid-range jumpshot, has good body control and creativity to finish at the rim through and over defenders, and is an improving playmaker off the dribble penetration. Defensively, Tucker has active hands to disrupt passing lanes, creates transition offense off his steals, has a lengthy wingspan to alter shots with nice timing on weak side blocks, and does not back down from any challenge on either end of the court. He had some of his best games last season against the top players in the Section. Tucker will have a lot on his shoulders, along with fellow senior Erick Chaney, as the Eagles will be entering a new era as former 4 year varsity starter Seth Marantos starts his career with Fresno Pacific.
2022 6’1 Ryan Chavez (Immanuel HS/Reedley):
Chavez was another player that left a great impression on the event staff and media and left the event as one of the Top 10 players at the Junior/Senior Prospects Showcase. Similar to Jaden Haire, due to the compacted schedule and the inability of Immanuel HS to host their annual winter event, I was not able to see the Eagles play and did not have Chavez on my radar of top incoming seniors. Luckily for me, he attended the Showcase and he made the most of it, and I will definitely be attending a few games this season. Chavez has all the traditional point guard skills to run the lead guard position at a high level, with the ability to create his own offense when the defense provides the opportunity. Chavez has shifty handles and he remains poised at all times with the ball in hand, great court vision to find open teammates when he is applying pressure on the defense and is able to throw some fancy passes while under control. He has a nice shooting form and is knockdown from the 3 point line, has crafty moves to create separation for scoring opportunities, and is creative with his finishes around the basket. Impressive lead guard that had 11 points in both games and numerous assists and steals.
2023 6’5 Henry Madden III (Central HS/Fresno):
Madden is a player that I have been able to see multiple times over the past few years since he started high school and he displayed the overall versatility of his game at the Junior/Senior Prospects Showcase. I first saw Madden at the Pangos Central Cali Showcase back in August of 2019, where he made a good impression on scouts like Dinos Trigonis (Pangos/Full Court Press/Nothing But Net Magazine) and Ronnie Flores (Cal-Hi Sports and Ball is Life). I watched the Grizzlies a few times last season and Madden had taken some steps in the right direction but had not yet gained the confidence he played with at the showcase. Madden is a solid 2-way player that impacts the game in a variety of ways on offense and defense. He is a lengthy and athletic wing slasher, great timing and positioning to be an elite rebounder, long wingspan to alter shots in the paint and on the perimeter, can guard multiple positions effectively, and creates turnovers with his aggressive but timely play in jumping passing lanes. Offensively, Madden cuts really well off screens to get open, slashes through the middle of the defense, has good hands and is tough to finish around the rim, and gets downhill to attack his man and get the defense off balance. Madden is improving his accuracy from the 3 point line and had 13 and 18 points in his two showcase games and littered the stat sheet with his all around play.
2022 6’5 Louis DiModica (Nipomo HS):
DiModica is a strong and physical forward/wing prospect that displayed his ability to punish opponents in the post on both ends at the Junior/Senior Prospects Showcase. I first saw DiModica play over a year ago when he attended a few of our open runs and also showcase games before the high school season got underway in the Spring. The athleticism, strength, and skill are what a lot of players can bring to the court. DiModica brings all that, along with the vocal leadership, high basketball IQ, relentless work ethic on both ends, and a guy you want on your team as a player or a coach. DiModica is an elite rebounder with a quick bounce to get off the ground and snatch boards from taller players, strength to finish through contact around the basket, nice footwork and post moves to create separation to get his shot off in the paint, and good control of his body when absorbing contact. He has good touch on his mid-range shot and continues to improve his efficiency from the 3 point line. DiModocia has a 4.5+ GPA and scored 20 and 12 in his two showcase games, along with a lot of rebounds. Future is bright regardless of where he plays college basketball.
2022 6’ Erick Chaney (Bakersfield Christian HS):
Chaney is coming off a stellar showing at the Simply Basketball Battle of NorCal Showcase, where he won the 3-point contest with some elite competition on hand. Chaney has his scoring package on display at the Junior/Senior Prospects Showcase and was connecting from beyond the arc frequently. Chaney, also part of the Eagles Boys D3 Central Section Championship team, had some monster games from deep last season and opened up the court for his teammates to attack the basket. Chaney is lights out from the 3 point line, has range from beyond the arc, smooth release on his shot, and is nearly automatic from the wing 3. He has solid handles, shifty movement with the ball in hand, improving court vision to find teammates when on the attack, and has nice touch on his floater at the rim. Chaney puts in the hours and his shooting ability is a true testament to the time he spends in the gym. He will be a huge piece for the Eagles this season and scored 15 and 14 points in his two showcase games. Programs looking for a catch-and-shoot sniper need to look into him more throughout his senior season.