Orange County, CA – This past weekend, the Southern California Basketball Coaches Association hosted the inaugural California Live Boys Basketball Tournament held during the June Scholastic Live Period. The event featured over 160 teams from all regions/sections of California that were placed in one of the 10 divisions and were held at 8 different schools, with Irvine High School being the headquarter and the main campus for Championship Sunday. Each division was a 16-team bracket play format, with each team playing in 4 games over the 3-day event. There were nearly 200 college coaches in attendance from schools all over the nation to watch the depth of talent in California. All games were live-streamed on BallerTV and can be accessed for replay using the following link:
I was in attendance on Saturday and Sunday and focused on watching games from the top 3 divisions: SoCal Chevy, Chevy Silverado, and Advocates 4 Athletes. These divisions played at Irvine High School, Tustin High School, and Beckman High School, of which I was in person at Irvine and Tustin. This article takes a look at 25 players that had standout performances in one or more games. The list of players is not in ranked order but in alphabetical order. There were other players that performed well that either I did not see live or just missed making this list. The following information is provided for the players below: a brief evaluation of each player’s skill set and strengths of their games, how they performed in the event, their relevant statistics and averages for the weekend, as well as all relevant player information. We begin this article with rising senior and one of the top players overall Connor Amundsen.
2024 5’11 Connor Amundsen (Clovis North/Fresno CA)
Amundsen is a lead guard that can make plays for others, as well as create his own scoring opportunities with a high basketball IQ. Amundsen has looked impressive since his return to the court at the beginning of May, with solid showings at the Central Cali Prospect Preview Showcase and the Modesto Christian Summer Classic. He kept up that high level of play this weekend against top-tier competition, having games of 23 points against reigning state champs Harvard-Westlake and 33 points against Windward. Amundsen averaged nearly 25 points per game in the SoCal Chevy Division, which was one of the top 3 divisions at the Cali Live tournament. Amundsen keeps the ball on a string, has elite handles, shifty moves to create separation off the dribble, and is capable of scoring from 3 levels with accuracy. He has great court vision to find teammates in tight windows, plays with poise and nice pace to keep his defender off balance, and has a good burst of speed off the bounce to get into the defense. The toughness, grit, and leadership on and off the court make him a special player and he impressed a lot of eyes at the event.
2024 6’5 Brian Amuneke (Rancho Christian/Temecula CA)
Amuneke is a lengthy and athletic wing/slasher that is a creative scorer around the basket and is a versatile defender. Amuneke led Rancho Christian with 16 points in a tough loss to Campbell Hall on Day 2 of the event. Amuneke has a large wingspan that he uses to make tough baskets around the cup, alter shots on the wing and in the paint, and deflect passes that lead to steals and open-court buckets. Amuneke is efficient with the mid-range jumper, enough handle to create off the dribble, and showed nice touch on the floater. Great long-term prospect with the expansion of a perimeter game and accuracy on the 3-ball.
2026 6’9 Abdoul Bare (St. Joseph/Santa Maria CA)
Bare is a lengthy and wiry forward/center that controls the glass and alters shots around the basket. Bare had an impressive showing against Heritage Christian, as he woulmd finish with 9 points and 11 rebounds and averaged 10 points and nearly 7 rebounds over the course of the event. Bare uses his height and length to dominate the boards, protects the cup and can extend out to the perimeter, has nice touch and feel on finishes around the basket, and his hands are getting better to receive passes from teammates attacking the basket. Bare played minimal minutes for the State Champ runner-ups but given the program’s history of developing bigs, you can already see the progress he is making and will be a huge piece for the Knights this upcoming season.
2024 6’8 Carter Bryant (Centennial/Corona CA)
Bryant is a wing/forward that scores with accuracy from 3-levels and is an underrated rim protector, as was on display all weekend long at the Cali Live event. Bryant, already committed to Arizona, turned it up in the 2nd half of the Advocates 4 Athletes semifinals against JSerra, as he would score 14 of his team-high 22 points. This was followed by a dominant performance in the championship game, where he led all scorers with 27 points to go along with 9 rebounds and 3 blocks. Bryant is effective from beyond the arc, has the handles and moves to create off the dribble, has the size to finish through contact around the basket, and gets off the ground quickly for some big-time dunks in tight spaces. Bryant is at his best when he gets to his mid-range jumper, where he is nearly automatic and tough to defend with his size and shot release coming off at the apex point. Bryant controls the boards, blocks shots around the basket and on the perimeter, and has the handle and court vision to push the ball off the glass and find the open man in transition. His versatility as a scorer either facing up or with his back to the basket makes him an elite offensive weapon, but Bryant’s presence in the interior will be key for the Huskies this upcoming season. One of the top players of the event averaging 20 points, nearly 10 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game.
2025 6’5 Brayden Burries (Roosevelt/Eastvale CA)
Burries is a smooth but shifty combo guard that makes plays for others, as well as creating his own scoring opportunities, and impacts both ends of the court. Burries had a great stat line in a blowout win over St. Bernard’s in the second round of play in the SoCal Chevy division, as he would put up 16 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals. Burries was one of the top players at the event, with averages of 20.5 points, 7.75 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 2.25 steals per game. Burries has a tight handle on the ball, keeps it on a string to survey the floor and weave through the defense, has great court vision to find open teammates in tight windows, and moves the ball around with flash but controlled. Burries has elite handles and moves to create space off the dribble, the ability to make tough shots from the perimeter with accuracy, has range with the 3-ball off the bounce or the catch and shoot, and has bounce to raise up around the basket or finish creatively. Burries does a solid job on the glass, gets out in the open court to push the pace of play, has active hands on defense to generate turnovers, and plays with great pace and feel for the game.
2024 6’3 Aaron Claytor (Salesian Prep/Richmond CA)
Claytor is a lead guard that controls the pace of play, keeps the ball on a string, and can create his own offense when looking to score. Claytor had an impressive weekend that culminated in Salesian winning the SoCal Chevy division over defending state champ Harvard-Westlake, as he would finish with 9 points, 4 assists, and 4 rebounds. Claytor was one of the top players at the event this weekend, as he displayed great pure point guard skills play running the show and setting his teammates up for scoring opportunities. Claytor has solid handles, keeps his head on a swivel to constantly survey the floor, has good size to see over the defense, and makes pin-point passes to open teammates for quality looks. As a scorer, Claytor has the moves to create separation off the dribble, can score if effectively from 3-levels, makes nice use of the hesitation, and despite looking to facilitate, can flip the switch and go into score mode when the opportunity presents itself.
2024 6’3 Xavier Clinton (Damien/La Verne CA)
Clinton is a shooting guard with accuracy from beyond the arc and scores in volume. Clinton was big for Damien in the Advocacy 4 Athletes championship game against Corona Centennial, as he would score 14 points connecting on 4 threes, and the only other player to score in double-digits for the Spartans to keep the game competitive. Clinton averaged 20 points per game for the event and displayed his accuracy from beyond the arc to space the floor, which allows the big man Nate Garcia to operate one on one in the post. Clinton moves well off the ball to get open for catch-and-shoot opportunities, as well as connecting off the dribble.
2024 6’4 Louis Duarte (Bakersfield Christian/CA)
Duarte is a physical wing/forward that controls the glass and can knock down the 3-ball off the catch and shoot. Duarte led the Eagles with 20 points in a Day 2 loss to Birmingham and averaged 16 points and 7 rebounds per game for the event. Duarte does a solid job on the glass, uses his physical build to bully through contact around the basket, has enough handle and moves to get downhill off the dribble, and is accurate from beyond the arc. Defensively, Duarte has good footspeed and lateral movement to defend ball handlers, as well as the toughness and strength to hold up against bigger players. Gritty player that will dive on the ground for the ball and not be intimidated by any opponent.
2024 6’4 Eric Freeny (Centennial/Corona CA)
Freeny is a skilled and poised combo guard that has the court vision and court awareness to make plays for others or create shots for himself. Freeny played well all weekend, and put up impressive numbers in the semifinals and championship game going for 20 points and 18 points respectively, and connecting on 6 threes in those two games. He averaged 17 points and 5.5 rebounds per game throughout the event and displayed his overall impact on both ends of the court. Freeny can create and make his own shot from the perimeter, is accurate beyond the arc, has a smooth stop-and-pop middy, and makes the right decisions to either score or facilitate. Looked really good playing alongside Carter Bryant and will be a deadly dou with the young guns to round out the roster, and possibly some more additions. Freeny makes winning plays and is one of the more underrated guards nationally.
2024 5’11 Aidan Fowler (JSerra/San Juan Capistrano CA)
Fowler is a tough and physical lead guard that can score the rock and put on one of the most entertaining performances at the event in a semifinal loss to Corona Centennial. Fowler scored a game-high 29 points and did it from all 3 levels in a variety of ways. Fowler has a solid handle on the ball, has shifty moves and a nice burst of speed downhill to get by his defender, and is a crafty finisher oversize in the post. Fowler has nice footwork, makes great use of the pivot to get separation from his defender, and makes tough shots at a high clip. Plays with great pace and does not get rattled when the pressure picks up.
2025 6’11 Nathaniel Garcia (Damien/La Verne CA)
Garcia is a center that has the frame to punish opponents in the post with nice touch on the perimeter shot. Garcia was the reason that Damien was able to keep the championship game competitive for 3 quarters of the game, as he would score 22 points to lead the Spartans and at least 10 rebounds. For the event, he averaged 12.25 rebounds per game (2nd in one of the top divisions), and 20.25 points per game (6th in the division). Garcia has a solid frame, nice footwork, and good touch around the basket to present mismatch opportunities. He can overpower weaker bigs, play with his back to the basket, or face up and make shots. One of the more dominant bigs at the event and the numbers show that.
2024 6’5 Robert Hinton (Harvard-Westlake/Studio City CA)
Hinton is an athletic wing/guard that can make shots from the perimeter and has the quick bounce to throw down some entertaining dunks. Hinton had 19 points to lead Harvard-Westlake in a win over Clovis North and, 9 points and 5 rebounds in the championship game loss to Salesian. Hinton would average 14.5 points and 5 rebounds per game. He has a solid handle, a great burst of speed off the dribble, gets into the lane routinely, and is a creative finisher around or over the cup. Hinton can space the floor with the 3-ball effectively, does a solid job on the glass, gets great lift on his jumper, and has good court vision to make plays when on the attack. Always in the mix for dunk of the event.
2025 6’3 Loukas Jones (Clovis North/Fresno CA)
Jones is a shooting guard that can light it up from the perimeter and a versatile wing defender. Jones is emerging as the second scoring option for the Broncos, as was evident at the Cali Live event with games of 23 points, 29 points, and an average of 15.5 points per game for the weekend to compliment the scoring prowess of teammate and rising senior Connor Amundsen. Jones has a smooth stroke from the perimeter, range on the 3-ball, the moves and handles to create separation off the dribble, and has great touch on the mid-range jumper and the floater in the paint. Jones is a tenacious perimeter defender, capable of guarding the 1 through 3 positions effectively, has active hands to disrupt his opponents’ dribbling space, and does a solid job on the glass, with the handle to push the pace of play in the open court. Jones has good court vision and with his shooting efficiency, he is a threat as a playmaker when defenders over pursue on his outside shot.
2024 6’3 Tanner Jones (Campbell Hall/North Hollywood CA)
Jones is a strong and athletic combo guard with a lethal stop-and-pop jumper and a solid on ball defender. Jones had a big-time showing against Rancho Christian on Day 2 of the event, where he helped spur a come-from-behind win by Campbell Hall with 26 points to lead all scorers. Jones has a strong handle on the ball, makes nice use of the hesitation to keep his defender on his heels, uses his physical build to finish through contact around the basket, and is accurate with the 3-ball off the dribble. Jones was most effective at drawing contact and getting to the foul line, or creating off the perimeter and getting to his shot spots around the 15 to 20-foot range, where he gets great lift to shoot over the defender. Jones has good footwork, moves well laterally to stay in front of his man, and generates turnovers that lead to open court buckets. Jones averaged 15 points and 6 rebounds per game for the weekend.
2025 6’8 Nikolas Khamenia (Harvard-Westlake/Studio City CA)
Khamenia is a skilled stretch four that can operate off the perimeter or in the post and makes good decisions with the ball in his hands. Khamenia had 11 points in the Wolverines 2nd round win over a tough Clovis North squad, led Harvard-Westlake with 12 points in the SoCal Chevy championship game loss to Salesian, and averaged 13 points per game over the weekend to lead his team. Khamenia has solid handles and moves to create off the dribble, does a nice job on the glass which allows him to push the ball up the court, has good touch on finishes around the basket, and is accurate with the 3-ball, which pulls bigger defenders away from the basket. Khamenia has good court vision, makes quality passes to open teammates from the high-post, and with his ability to stretch the floor, he is tough to defend when he puts the ball on the deck and gets downhill. Good footwork and post moves to complement his perimeter game.
2026 6’4 Brandon McCoy (St. John Bosco/Bellflower CA)
McCoy is a lengthy and wiry wing/slasher that can score in a variety of ways and leaves his mark on both ends of the court. McCoy was a one-man show for the Braves in a tough loss to Montgomery of San Diego in the 2nd round match-up, as the team was without standout rising sophomore Elzie Harrington and rising junior Kade Bonam was ejected after receiving two technical fouls. McCoy scored a team-high 22 points with 15 coming after intermission, and averaged 14.5 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals per game for the weekend. McCoy is a long and versatile defender that has the food speed and lateral quickness to stay in front of smaller ball handlers and the length to switch off on taller opponents, and quick hands to create turnovers. Offensively, McCoy has the handles and moves to create space off the bounce, can space the floor from beyond the arc with consistency, has nice touch on the floater when attacking the teeth of the defense, and gets good lift on the mid-range jumper. A lot to like about the rising sophomore’s game with 3 years left and already a top 20 player nationally.
2026 6’4 Caleb Newton Jr. (Birmingham/Lake Balboa CA)
Newton is a physical guard/wing that has nice touch when looking to score around the basket and a player that made the most of his opportunities at this event. Newton had a big first half against Bakersfield Christian, as he would score 10 of his team-high 16 points and helped his team build a lead that the Eagles could not erase. Newton averaged 13 points per game and showed the size and skill needed to be a focal point for Birmingham this upcoming season. Newton has a solid handle on the ball, uses his size and strength to finish through contact when attacking the basket off the dribble, and has nice touch on finishes around the cup. Newton showed he can space the floor with the 3-ball, does a solid job on the glass, and can push the ball off the boards and get into the open court.
2026 6’2 Elias Obenyah (Salesian Prep/Richmond CA)
Obenyah is a lengthy wing/guard that gets downhill and is a creative finisher around the basket. Obenyah was one of the breakout rising sophomores from the event and led Salesian in the championship game with 15 points and 4 rebounds, as it knocked off the defending state champs Harvard-Westlake. Obenyah put on a great performance with multiple big time buckets down the stretch in front of a lot of coaches. Obenyah has solid handles, moves to get by his initial defender, nice footwork around the basket to create space for finishes amongst the bigs, and is a creative shot-maker within 20 feet. Obenyah has good length, active hands on defense to disrupt opposing ball handlers, and does a solid job on the glass to get second-chance opportunities on offense. The rising sophomore compliments a relatively veteran roster of rising seniors nicely and has great upside.
2024 6’4 Trent Perry (Harvard-Westlake/Studio City CA)
Perry is a crafty and skilled point guard that leaves his imprint on multiple facets of the game and fills up the stat sheet, with the confidence to take and make clutch shots in games. Perry scored 14 points in Harvard-Westlakes’ 2nd round win over Clovis North, and ended the event with a strong all-around game of 6 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists. His overall impact on the game was evident in his averages for the weekend, going for 15 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game. Perry keeps the ball on a string while surveying the floor, makes quality decisions with the ball in his hands, has the court vision to find teammates in small windows, and can create his own scoring opportunities when left in isolation. Perry makes good use of the crossover dribble, the hesitation move, and changing direction with the ball to keep his opponent off balance and create space for open looks, where he is accurate from the mid-range to the 3-point line. Tough on ball defender that generates steals and gets the ball out in the open court off the glass for easy transition buckets. With the departure of Dunlap to graduation, Perry will be relied upon to be more of a scorer, but he is just as deadly when facilitating and running the offense.
2024 6’2 Aaron Powell (Campbell Hall/North Hollywood CA)
Powell is a shifty and skilled combo guard that scores in volumes in a variety of ways, which was on full display in Campbell Hall’s 3rd round match-up with Rancho Christian. Hall connected on a single 3-ball in the first half before exploding for 20 points after the break for a total of 23 points to help lead his team to the win. Powell has the handles and moves to create space off the dribble, has a quick burst of speed off the dribble to get by his defender, gets nice lift on his jumper to rise up over his opponents, and connects from the perimeter in volume to put points on the board quickly. Powell moves well off the ball, is accurate from beyond the arc off the catch and shoot or off the bounce, is a creative finisher over size in the post, and his change of speed and pace keep defenders guessing. Powell was the second-leading scorer in one of the top 3 divisions at 20 points per game.
2024 6’7 Gavin Ripp (Archbishop Mitty/San Jose CA)
Ripp is a versatile forward that can score the ball, as well as make plays from the post to cutting teammates. Ripp had a solid 15-point showing in Mitty’s win over Jesuit, and had a huge impact in the Chevy Silverado championship game when he was put back in the game to storm back for the win over Montgomery. Ripp showed his all-around impact on the game averaging 12.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 2.25 assists per game for the event. Ripp can space the floor from the perimeter, does a solid job on the boards, has enough handle to push the ball off the glass, and has great touch on shots around the basket. Ripp has nice footwork, good post moves, and has the frame to defend taller players in the post effectively. Ripp will be responsible for holding down the paint this upcoming season but his versatile skill set will allow Mitty to play small ball with him on the court.
2026 6’1 Isaiah “Slim” Rogers (Centennial/Corona CA)
Rogers is a smooth but shifty lead guard that has the moves to create his own offense and the feel for the game to make plays for others when the defense overpursues. Rogers had some impressive showings at the Cali Live event, with games of 19 points and 25 points. However, his 15-point performance against JSerra, all coming in the 2nd half, may have been his most impactful scoring output to help lead the Huskies’ comeback charge and advance to the Advocates 4 Athletes championship game. Rogers has a smooth handle on the ball, the moves to shake his defender, he creates the separation needed to get to his shot spots, and is accurate from the perimeter off the dribble or the catch-and-shoot. Rogers keeps the ball on a string, has the court vision to find teammates in tight windows, and his change of pace and direction with the ball keep defenders off balance and opens up passing windows. Rogers averaged nearly 16 points per game and has emerged as one of the top scoring options for the new-look Huskies that return only one starter from the previous season.
2025 6’5 JJ Sanchez (Montgomery/San Diego CA)
Sanchez is a skilled and crafty point-forward that can score in the post, as well as from the perimeter and makes plays for others when operating at the top of the key. Sanchez had a game-high 24 points in the team’s semifinal win over St. John Bosco and averaged nearly 20 points a game for the weekend, at 19. 75. Sanchez added 4 rebounds and 2 assists per game to illustrate his all-around impact on the game. Sanchez has the moves and footwork to operate with his back to the basket in the paint, the court vision to facilitate out of the post, the accuracy to face up and knockdown shots from the mid-range to the 3-point line, and has nice touch around the basket. Sanchez does a solid job on the glass, which allows him to push the ball up the court and initiate the offense. High IQ player that makes tough shots off the dribble at a high clip.
2025 6’7 Dillan Shaw (Heritage Christian/Northridge CA)
Shaw is a lengthy wing/forward that has a smooth perimeter shot he knocks down with frequency. Shaw had a strong showing in Heritage Christian’s match-up against State Champ runner-ups St. Joseph, as he would score 18 points and connected on 4 threes. Shaw averaged 17.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2 assists per game and was one of the biggest stock risers of the event and put his name on the national radar. Shaw has a solid handle, moves to create off the perimeter, gets to his shot spots, can score in the post using his length and touch to finish around the basket, and is accurate with the 3-ball off the dribble or the catch-and-shoot. At his height, Shaw can get his shot off against smaller defenders, and has the moves to get by slower, bigger defenders with his ability to space the floor. Shaw does a solid job on the boards, the handles to push off the glass, and the court vision to find open teammates when the defense opens up.
2024 6’3 Darnez Slater (Roosevelt/Eastvale CA)
Slater is a shifty combo guard that can create his own shots off the perimeter or make plays for others when on the attack. Slater led all scorers with 19 points in Roosevelt’s blowout win over St. Bernard and averaged 15 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists per game for the Mustangs. Slater has smooth handles, shifty moves to create separation from his defender, is capable of making tough shots off the dribble with accuracy, and has the court vision to find open teammates when putting pressure on the defense. Slater is at his best when he attacks off the perimeter and gets to the elbows where he uses his lift and high release, combined with his accuracy to connect on the jumper with frequency. Slater is a knockdown 3-point shooter and is just as effective off the catch-and-shoot as he is off the dribble. A lot to like about his overall game and the offers have started to roll in and will likely increase after Section 7 this upcoming weekend.
2024 6’4 Bentley Waller (Bakersfield Christian/CA)
Waller is a lengthy and skilled lead guard that can knock down the 3-ball with range or make plays for others when attacking the basket. Waller had 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists in a 3rd round loss to Birmingham and had a solid showing throughout the weekend, as he averaged 17 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists per game. Waller has tight handles, moves to get by his initial defender, effective shot-maker from the perimeter off the bounce or the catch-and-shoot, the court vision to find open teammates in tight windows when on the attack, and does a solid job on the glass to push the pace of play. Waller has limitless range beyond the arc, great acceleration off the dribble, and has touch on the floater and shots around the basket with good body control. Waller impressed the eyes in the building and he will be relied upon to carry the load at the lead guard spot this upcoming season with the departure of Gabe Gutierrez and a young roster.
2025 6’6 Tounde Yessoufou (St. Joseph/Santa Maria CA)
Yessoufou is an athletic and physically gifted wing/guard that can impose his will on the opponent and is a versatile defender that leaves his mark on multiple facets of the game. The top 15 nationally ranked rising junior was the most dominant player at the Cali Live event, and this was on full display in the Knights win over Heritage Christain with 26 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 steals. Yessoufou was the second overall leading scorer at the event averaging 29 points per game, to go along with 8 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block per game. Yessoufou has great body control, has quick bounce off the floor to be an elite rebounder and rim protector in the post and on the perimeter, can back down smaller defenders with nice touch on shots around the basket, and has the handles and moves to blow by bigger defenders when over pursuing on the perimeter. Yessoufou is effective with the 3-ball and his ability to connect from the perimeter opens up driving lanes for him to attack with ferocity. He has recently received offers from the likes of Kansas and that will only increase after this upcoming weekend at Section 7. Despite having seen him play a lot since his freshman year, he always impresses with his on-court presence and play. Tounde will be heavily relied upon next season, as the Knights have a young roster after graduating 3 of the starters from this past season’s squad, but he and rising sophomore Julius Price will be one of the best duos in the state.