Southern California’s freshman (2023) class has already shown plenty of promise and is led by national #1 candidate Mikey Williams (San Ysidro/San Diego CA).  Although it’s still very early, this talented group has several potential high-major guard prospects (Williams, Bronny James, Kylan Boswell, Mike Price, Jared McCain, Jurian Dixon, Dusty Stromer Justin Daniels and Darius Carr) as well as an impact center Jazz Gardner and more than solid post-forwards Xavier Edmonds and Gus Yalden.  Add in sharpshooting Brady Dunlap, skilled Ashton Hardaway, hardworking Aaron McBride, polished playmaker Tyler Rolison and promising Zach Davidson and you have the making of a top-notch bunch worthy of being recruited coast to coast.

The Southern California area covered by this report is bordered by the Fresno area to the North and the Mexico border to the South (an area that includes 24+ million people). This list (Top 25 and an additional 40 players denoted as “next tier” and “honorable mention”) will be periodically updated and released and will include additional prospects as they emerge over the next few years.

With that foreword out of the way, here is our current Fullcourt Press Best of SoCal Class of 2023.

Top 25 Southern California High School Freshman (2023)

1.       Mikey Williams                  6’3”    WG     San Ysidro (San Diego CA)
Prime contender for the nation’s #1 spot in 2023, Mikey had a very productive and electric freshman season for coach Terry Tucker’s San Ysidro program.  Strong and very bouncy guard is not only a social media sensation but also a scoring machine.  Williams averaged 29.9 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game and broke the all-time CIF-San Diego section scoring record with 77 points in a 116-52 victory over Kearney (San Diego CA).  Early offers include Arizona, UCLA, USC, Kansas, Oregon, Arkansas, Arizona State, San Diego State, Texas Tech, New Mexico and San Diego.  Presently ranked #3 nationally by Van Coleman/Nothing But Net Magazine, this 2019 Pangos All-American Camp Top 60 Game selection (as an 8th grader) averaged 10.3 ppg at the camp.  2020 Max Preps National Freshman of Year was also a 2019 Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp Top 30 Game pick last September.  Reminds me of a young Hersey Hawkins (Bradley/NBA).

2.       LeBron James Jr.               6’2”    PG     Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth CA)
Athletic lead guard has excellent basketball instincts and plays with the poise of a veteran.  Smooth jump shot and nifty handles make him a potent perimeter threat.  Son of Laker LeBron James Sr. had a season-high 15 points including the go-ahead shot in Sierra Canyon’s 59-56 victory over his dad’s alma mater St. Vincent-St. Mary/Akron OH in a game played in Columbus OH this past season. Cal-Hi Sports All-Freshman Team pick had to wait his turn to shine behind several elite HS seniors (like Ziaire Williams and BJ Boston) this past year, but all the physical and intangible ingredients are there to be a major force in the 2023 class starting next season.  Bronny has reported offers from Kentucky, Duke and NC Central and is currently ranked #15 nationally by Van Coleman/Nothing But Net Magazine.

3.       Kylan Boswell                  6’1”    PG     Colony (Ontario CA)
Smooth and cerebral point guard plays with poise way beyond his age and has a very accurate jump shot.  Very good student was a 2020 Max Preps National Freshman 3rd Team selection and 2019 Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp Top 30 Game pick.  All-Palomares 1st team selection averaged 14.5 points and 3.6 assists per game for a 22-9 Colony squad and is presently ranked #26 nationally by Van Coleman/Nothing But Net Magazine.  Has an early offer from Easter Washington with interest from San Diego State and Cincinnati.  Cal-Hi Sports All-Freshman Team pick was born in Champaign IL and was mentored by veteran youth coach Verdell Jones (who developed Shaun Livingston/NBA and his own son Verdell Jones II/Indiana) prior to arriving in Southern California last summer.

4.       Mike Price                          6’3”    CG     Crespi (Encino CA)
Quick and elusive scoring guard had plenty of impressive moments as a freshman this past season.  “Mike Mike” as his mom affectionately calls him, averaged a take-notice 23 points per game this past year.  Honor roll student showed out at the 2019 Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp (Top 30 Game pick) and is ranked #38 nationally by Van Coleman/Nothing But Net Magazine.  Cal-Hi Sports All-Freshman Team pick is originally from the south side of Chicago IL.  While Portland may be the only school showing interest so far, it’s only a matter of time before high-major programs nationwide start calling.

5.       Jazz Gardner                      6’10”    C     Los Altos (Hacienda Heights CA)
Very long (now pushing 6-11) and promising young big had a statement freshman year averaging 11.8 points, 10.8 rebounds and 3.8 blocks per game, leading the 24-4 Conquerors to a league title and being named league MVP in the process.  2019 Pangos All-South Frosh/Soph Camp Top 30 Game pick (missed the All-West version due to injury) was also a 2020 Max Preps National Freshman Honorable Mention and San Gabriel Valley first team all-area selection.  Father Jelani Gardner was a McDonald’s All-American out of St. John Bosco in mid 90s and played at Cal and Pepperdine. The #40 nationally ranked freshman prospect by Van Coleman/Nothing But Net Magazine has early offers from Washington State and Pepperdine (father played in college for Lorenzo Romar) and interest from Oregon, Vanderbilt and Loyola Marymount.  Cal-Hi Sports All-Freshman Team pick and recent Fullcourt Press Spring League standout is an excellent student with real high-major potential.

6.       Jared McCain                   6’0”    CG     Centennial (Corona CA)
Big time shooting combo-guard stepped up in key moments for Centennial this season to nail clutch shot after clutch shot including an eye-opening 30 points vs. then Fab 50 #17 Neumann-Goretti/Philadelphia PA and was a major factor in Centennial’s Cinderella run to the 2019 Tarkanian Classic title (made all-tourney there, averaging 17.2 ppg).  Terrific student averaged 12 points per game this past season and connected for 9 threes in one game.  2019 Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp “Next 20” Game and Cal-Hi Sports All-Freshman Team pick has an early offer from Eastern Washington with interest from the likes of Stanford, UCLA and Arizona State and is ranked #46 in 2023 by Van Coleman/Nothing But Net Magazine.

7.       Jurian Dixon                    6’4”    WG    San Ysidro (San Diego CA)
Slender wing put up very good numbers during his freshman year including 32 points in the Cougars CIF San Diego Section Division III title game 71-59 victory over Coronado.  2019 Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp “Next 20” Game pick and 2020 Max Preps National Freshman 3rd Team selection averaged 24.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game.  Cal-Hi Sports All-Freshman Team pick averaged 24.5 points per game, including 50 points in a 106-58 win over Southwest in January.

8.       Dusty Stromer                 6’5″     WG     Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks CA)
Rangy wing with very nice touch from deep and good ball-handling skills.  2019 Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp Top 30 Game and Cal-Hi Sports All-Freshman Team pick is nationally ranked #43 by Van Coleman/Nothing But Net Magazine.  All-Mission League 2nd Team averaged 13 ppg this past season and has early offers from TCU, Texas A&M, Ole Miss and UTEP.  Very good student too.

9.       Justin Daniels                  6’4”    WG    Mater Dei (Santa Ana CA)
Younger brother of 6-9 DeAndre Daniels (2014 UConn national champs and Toronto Raptors draft pick) is a lethal scorer from all 3 levels.  Like Kentucky-bound Devin Askew did as a Mater Dei freshman, he saw very limited minutes in year 1 at MD as well but don’t let that fool you. Justin is ahead of where older brother DeAndre was at same stage. Talent is there be in the Top 5 of this group when its all said and done. Showed his great potential at the 2019 Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp where he was selected to the Top 30 Game.

10.       Xavier Edmonds             6’8”    PF      Bishop Montgomery (Torrance CA)
Strong and consistent front-court presence is productive on the boards and can finish with regularity around the cup.  2019 Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp “Next 20” Game selection has a very nice motor and high IQ.   Arizona is among the early schools showing interest in this 2020 Fullcourt Press Spring League top performer.

11.       Darius Carr                    6’2″    CG     St. Bernard (Playa del Rey CA)
High-scoring guard with excellent ability to attack and get to the cup get off the bounce. Carr is also a very good shooter to the 3-point arc and averaged 10 ppg this past season.  Love his upside.

12.      Gus Yalden                      6’8”    PF      Mater Dei (Santa Ana CA)
2019 Pangos All-Midwest Frosh/Soph Camp Top 30 Game pick is a burly and physical PF with surprising agility.  Terrific student had limited playing time this year due to Monarchs’ excellent upperclass DI front-court depth.  Wisconsin native who transferred into Mater Dei just before this past season started was offered earlier in the year by Utah and Cal State Northridge. Very good student has indicated that he will be transferring to The Asheville School (NC) next Fall.

13.      Brady Dunlap                   6’6”    WG    Hart (Santa Clarita CA)
Talented 2-sport athlete (also plays QB for Hart) is a long and skilled wing in the Mike Dunleavy Jr. mold.  Outstanding shooter and student averaged 14 points per game last season.  Dad Jeff Dunlap is an assistant coach at Cal State Northridge and played for UCLA in the mid-80s.

14.      Ashton Hardaway             6’6”    CF      Bishop Montgomery (Torrance CA)
Smart and versatile player is the son of former NBA star and current Memphis coach Penny Hardaway.  2019 Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp “Next 20” Game pick has ability to post-up near the cup as well as spot up with range to the 3-point line.  As he continues to fill into his rapidly growing body, he will become more and more of a force. Very good student and great kid was one of the top standouts at the recent Fullcourt Press Spring League.

15.      Aaron McBride                 6’6”    CF      Centennial (Corona CA)
Athletic forward plays extremely hard and is an excellent student.

16.      Tyler Rolison                    6’0″    PG     St. Bernard (Playa del Rey CA)
Smooth point guard has a very nice feel for the game and impressive ability to set up teammates.

17.      Zachary Davidson            6’8”    PF      Mater Dei (Santa Ana CA)
Young and promising young forward has nice perimeter touch.  Younger brother of HS teammate Nick Davidson played limited minutes this past year due to great MD depth.  Very good student too (3.5 GPA).

18.      Orlando Greenlow           6’5″    PF      Venice (Los Angeles CA)
Strong and muscular forward is a rugged rebounder and defender.

19.      Giovanni Goree                5’10”  PG     Viewpoint (Malibu CA)
Assertive playmaker had impressive freshman year.  2019 Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp “Final 20” Game and Cal-Hi Sports All-Freshman Team pick.

20.      Keyon Kensie                   6’6″    PF      Lynwood (Lynwood CA)
Athletic “run & jump athlete was a 2019 Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp “Next 20” Game pick.

21.      Mike Davis Jr.                  6’6”    PF      San Joaquin Memorial (Fresno CA)
Strong and physical post player figures to be the interior anchor for a young and talented SJM squad next season

22.      Collins Acheampong       6’8”    PF      Fairmont Prep (Anaheim CA)
Ghana import is a tremendous rebounder but is still rather raw offensively.  One to keep a close eye on this class.

23.      Maurice Wright                6’2″    CG     Paraclete (Lancaster CA)
Crafty wing scorer can slither to the hoop for buckets.  Athletic defender too.

24.      AJ Johnson                       6’2″    PG     San Joaquin Memorial (Fresno CA)
Rail thin guard is very skilled and is growing like a weed.  Smart player with ability to knock down shots and make excellent decisions.  2019 Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp “Next 20” Game pick is just strength away from rapidly ascending up this list.

25.      David Manea                    6’5”    WF     Beckman (Irvine CA)
Skilled forward with promising upside.  Potentially the best player in the young history of the Beckman program.

Next Tier (in alphabetical order):

*         Marcus Adams                  6’5”     WF     Narbonne (Harbor City CA)
*         JJ Bartelloni                      6’4”     WF     Torrey Pines (San Diego CA)
*         Isaiah Brewington             6’6”     PF      Campbell Hall (North Hollywood CA)
*         Devin Curtis                     6’6”     WF     Heritage Christian (Northridge CA)
*         Angel Corona                    6’7”     PF      Westchester (Los Angeles CA)
*         Dennis Evans                    6’9”     C        Hillcrest (Riverside CA)
*         Martin Gumwel                  6’11”   C        Calvin Christian (Escondido CA)
*         Dut Lual                           7’0”     C        Santa Margarita (CA)
*         Henry Madden III              6’3″     WG    Central (Fresno CA)
*         Kot Malou                         6’7”     WF     Renaissance Academy (Altadena CA)
*         Kenny Manzi                     6’5”     WF     Rolling Hills Prep (Palos Verdes CA)
*         Dante Ogbu                      6’4”     WF     Viewpoint (Malibu CA)
*         Devin Williams                  6’8″     C        Corona (Corona CA)

Honorable Mention (in alphabetical order):

*         Armari Carraway               5’9″     PG     Clovis West (Fresno CA)
*         Isaiah Chappel                  6’5”     WF     Crossroads (Los Angeles CA)
*         LaQwon Cole                     6’0”     PG     Serra (Gardena CA)
*         Jontue Cooper                   5’10”     PG     Mayfair (Lakewood CA)
*         ZJ Cotton                          6’0”     PG     Hoover (Fresno CA)
*         Prince Ellis                        5’9”     PG     South (Bakersfield CA)
*         Gabriel Espinoza               5’11”   PG     Crespi (Encino CA)
*         Terrence Hampton             6’6”     PF      Maranatha (Pasadena CA)
*         Kristian Holmes                 6’0”     PG     Fresno (Fresno CA)
*         Jacob Huggins                   6’5”     PF      Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood CA)
*         Amir Hughes                     6’2″     WG    Murrieta Valley (Murrieta CA)
*         Donald Jones                    6’7″     PF      Lynwood (Lynwood CA)
*         Gavin Moehring                 6’3”     WG    Valencia (Santa Clarita CA)
*         Macarhy Morris                 5’11”   PG     Fountain Valley (Fountain Valley CA)
*         Jackson Mosley                 5’9”     PG     St. Francis (La Canada CA)
*         Gavin “Q” Murphy             5’10”   PG     Calabasas (Calabasas CA)
*         Kollen Murphy                  6’0”     WG    Colony (Ontario CA)
*         Osiris Nalls                       5’11”   PG     Viewpoint (Malibu CA)
*         Elijah Nelson                    6’1”     WG    Fountain Valley (Fountain Valley CA)
*         Kelcy Phipps                     6’0”     WG    Bishop Montgomery (Torrance CA)
*         Joaquin Rios                     6’1”     PG     Stockdale (Bakersfield CA)
*         AJ Robinson                      5’9”     PG     St. Anthony (Long Beach CA)
*         Will Smith III                    6’2”     WG    Bishop Montgomery (Torrance CA)
*         Dylan Swillis                     6’3″     WG    Central (Fresno CA)
*         BJ Taylor                          5’9″     PG     Centennial (Corona CA)
*         TJ Waters                         5’9″     PG     Valley Christian (Cerritos CA)
*         Jeremiah Whitmore           6’6″     PF      Centennial (Corona CA)
*         Curtis Williams                  6’3″     WG    Etiwanda (Etiwanda CA)

** The Fullcourt Press is a NCAA-approved scouting service that has been evaluating Southern California prospects since 1995 and has college subscribers from every major NCAA D1 conference coast to coast.