By Dinos Trigonis, Nothing But Net Magazine Publisher & Editor-in-Chief
The 4th version of the Ron Massey Memorial Fall Hoops Classic brought together several of Southern California’s best HS basketball squads on Sept. 9-10, along with premier HS power Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, NV), to honor the coaching legacy of the late Ron Massey. The event also gave HS fans and hoop pundits a preview of the upcoming 2017-18 season.
Besides myself, other scouts/media in attendance included Frank Burlison (BurlisonOnBasketball.com), Ronnie Flores (BallisLife.com & GrassrootsHoops.net), Joel Francisco (PrepHoopsSoCal.com), Devin Ugland (HoopsbyUgland.com & PrepHoopsSoCal), Krysten Peek (Rivals.com) and Etop Udo-Ema (Dunk News) as well as video services like BallisLife, Beach City Hoops and BallersVisions. Also, Baller.tv live-streamed every game of this event in its entirety and those games are now also available for replay (click on link).
Behind the high-scoring punch Mike Wang, Spencer Freedman and Harrison Butler, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, CA) survived a competitive Elite 8 Bracket field to capture the championship – knocking off defending California Open State-champion Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, CA), 55-53, in the title game on a buzzer-beating mid-range pull-up jump shot by Freedman.
Mater Dei’s road to the championship game included wins over Rancho Christian (Temecula, CA), 55-48, and Culver City, 80-55. Bishop Montgomery defeated Pasadena, 66-55, and Bishop Gorman, 59-52, to reach the final. Other schools in the Elite 8 bracket included Alemany (Mission Hills, CA) and Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa margarita, CA).
This event also had a slate of “showcase” games on Saturday and Sunday that included HS squads Damien (La Verne, CA), Maranatha (Pasadena, (CA), Cathedral (Los Angeles, CA), Compton (CA), Rolling Hills Prep (Palos Verdes, CA), Dominguez (Compton, CA), Price (Los Angeles, CA), Serra (Gardena, CA), Beverly Hills (CA), Muir (Pasadena, CA), Los Altos (Hacienda Heights, CA), Corona del Mar (Newport Beach, CA), Pacifica Christian (Newport Beach, CA) and Edison (Huntington Beach, CA). Listed below are the top players for the event.
ELITE 8 BRACKET TOP 20 (alphabetical order)
Max Agbonkpolo, 6’8”, 2019, Santa Margarita (CA): Skilled SF has grown and is oozing with HM potential. Only some time, strength and experience away from being a very coveted West Coast recruit in his class.
Jamal Bey, 6’6”, 2018, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, NV): Bouncy swingman with a nice perimeter shot. Washington, USC, Utah, UNLV, Arizona State and San Diego State in the mix for his future services.
Darius Brown, 6’1”, 2018, Pasadena (CA): Very underrated PG with ability to score. Tied with David Singleton for top points per game at this event with 23.3.
Harrison Butler, 6’5”, 2017, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, CA): WF with growing confidence and impressive pogo-stick hops scored with regularity here, including several above-the-rim royal flushes. One of SoCal’s most under the radar unsigned seniors.
Spencer Freedman, 6’1”, 2018, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, CA): Cerebral PG with terrific decision-making and 3-point range made huge shots. Headed to Harvard in Fall 2018.
Bryce Hamilton, 6’5”, 2018, Pasadena (CA): Young for his class, the guard’s stock continues to rise. He showed several flashes of his high scoring skills against Bishop Montgomery and had 17 points before tweaking his ankle in 2nd half, then missed remainder of the tourney.
Gianni Hunt, 6’3”, 2019, Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, CA): Scrappy lefty playmaker is quick off the bounce and is one of the best on-ball defenders on the West Coast. Pac-12 interest is starting to boil for this Top 100 national recruit for his class.
Cyrus Johnson, 6’5”, 2018, Culver City (CA): Youngest son of former UCLA and NBA star Marques Johnson is starting to come into his own. Had a monster 32-point outburst in opening round versus Alemany (Mission Hills, CA). Strong and bouncy WF (like Pops) can finish despite contact in the paint.
Tevian Jones, 6’6”, 2018, Culver City (CA): Transfer from Chandler (AZ) is a quick and effective slashing scorer with an underrated jump shot. Among the finest WFs on the West Coast for his class.
Jake Kyman, 6’7”, 2018, Santa Margarita (CA): Skilled SF has very nice face-up ability and excellent basketball IQ. Very good student too.
Reagan Lundeen, 6’5”, 2018, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, CA): Strong and physical small forward attacks the basket with authority.
DJ McDonald, 6’0”, 2018, Alemany (Mission Hills, CA): UC-Riverside-bound PG is quick and feisty, an excellent competitor. With real scoring ability, he had 28 points vs. Culver City in first round of the tourney.
Isaiah Mobley, 6’9”, 2019, Rancho Christian (Temecula, CA): Very skilled hybrid-forward with a great feel for the game, as well as a very impressive handle for a player his size. Terrific student is attracting HM interest coast-to-coast due to his high skill level as well as terrific academics.
Evan Mobley, 6’10”, 2020, Rancho Christian (Temecula, CA): Younger brother of Isaiah Mobley is developing into a major force in his own right. Very long forward has great rim-protecting ability as well as the makings of a Robert Horry-type jump shot from the perimeter. Like his older sibling, he is a fantastic student (4.0 GPA).
Fred Odhiambo, 6’11”, 2018, Alemany (Mission Hills, CA): Long and developing Big with very nice shot-blocking abilities.
David Singleton, 6’5”, 2018, Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, CA): UCLA-bound scoring guard with deep range on his jumper and ability to finish in traffic was back to his old bag of tricks here. Excellent in title game against Mater Dei with 23 points on four three’s. Tied Darius Brown for tourney-high with 23.3 points per game.
Noah Taitz, 6’3”, 2020, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, NV): Savvy lead guard with a smooth 3-point stroke is an underrated athlete with a terrific GPA. Taitz has the potential to be one of the highest scoring guards, nationally, in his class.
Fletcher Tynen, 6’6”, 2018, Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, CA): Durable and dependable wing-forward is a solid and consistent contributor to winning teams. Tynen will visit Boston University next weekend.
Michael Wang, 6’9”, 2018, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, CA): He was on fire here – sparking the Monarchs’ run to a title with a team-high 21 points vs. Bishop Montgomery. He averaged 20 throughout the tourney. Wang scored from all three levels on the floor and connected on 10 three’s in three games. Was my, as well as Burlison’s, choice for event MVP. Maybe SoCal’s most under-recruited prospect in his class.
Brandon Whitney, 6’2”, 2020, Alemany (Mission Hills, CA): Emerging guard is one to keep an eye on for his class on the West Coast.
ELITE 8 BRACKET HONORABLE MENTION (alphabetical order)
Zim Agu, 6’5”, 2018, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, NV)
Wilhelm Breidenbach, 6’8”, 2021, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, CA)
Isaiah Cottrell, 6’9”, 2020, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, NV)
Jordan Guest, 6’7”, 2018, Santa Margarita (CA)
Oscar Lopez, 6’2”, 2019, Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, CA)
Jordan Montgomery, 6’0”, 2020, Rancho Christian (Temecula, CA)
Tavian Percy, 6’5”, 2019, Pasadena (CA)
Nick Schrader, 6’5”, 2019, Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, CA)
Josh Vazquez, 6’2”, 2019, Bishop Montgomery Torrance, CA)
SHOWCASE DIVISION HONORABLE MENTION (alphabetical order)
Chris Austin, 6’4”, 2018, Maranatha (Pasadena, CA)
Austin Cook, 6’4”, 2020, Damien (La Verne, CA)
Alex Garcia, 6’3”, 2018, Rolling Hills Prep (Palos Verdes, CA)
Tony Goodwin, 6’5”, 2018, Maranatha (Pasadena, CA)
Sedrick Hammonds, 6’2”, 2019, Cathedral (Los Angeles, CA)
Dominick Harris, 6’3”, 2020, Pacifica Christian (Newport Beach, CA)
Gary Harris, 6’5”, 2018, Price (Los Angeles, CA)
Chris Koon, 6’5”, 2019, Rolling Hills Prep (Palos Verdes, CA)
Julian Lopez, 6’4”, 2018, Los Altos (Hacienda Heights, CA)
Jarod Lucas, 6’3”, 2019, Los Altos (Hacienda Heights, CA)
Josh Phillips, 6’8”, 2018, Edison (Huntington Beach, CA), Portland commit
Cameron Shelton, 6’2”, 2018, Damien (La Verne, CA)
Malik Thomas, 6’3”, 2021, Damien (La Verne, CA)
Hunter Woods, 6’6”, 2018, Muir (Pasadena, CA)
(Photo credit: Scott Kurtz)