Modesto, CA – This past week, Modesto Christian High School hosted its 22nd Annual Holiday Hoops Classic starting Tuesday, December 27th, and concluding on Friday, December 30th. The tournament featured 16 teams from the Northern and Central Sections of California with some big-time match-ups and top prospects on display throughout the four-day event. The key potential match-up of the tournament would be a championship game between the host team in Modesto Christian and Clovis West of Fresno, who entered the Holiday Classic undefeated and winners of all 3 tournaments it participated in this preseason. Last year presented a similar possible championship game between these two teams but Clovis West was hit hard by the Covid bug and came to Modesto missing nearly its entire starting line-up, as the Golden Eagles failed to make it to the title game. This year’s Holiday Hoop Classic would prevail in giving the viewers the top two teams meeting for the championship, as Modesto Christian and Clovis West would take the main stage on Friday night for the trophy. Making this game even more interesting were the following two factors: standout junior Jamari Phillips announced his decision to transfer to Arizona Compass Prep the day before the tournament started and Clovis West came into the event ranked top 5 in California and undefeated.
The first quarter of the championship game would be close but one thing was evident after the first 8 minutes of play, the Crusaders had a major size advantage in the post that could be problematic for the Golden Eagles if they could not capitalize on their infamous full court pressure that tends to lead to turnovers and easy points. Senior standout lead guard, and San Diego State commit, BJ Davis had it going on offense early and often. Davis would account for 10 of the Crusaders’ 19 points in the 1st quarter, as Modesto Christian took a 5-point lead into the 2nd quarter, 19-14. The Golden Eagles would get a three from junior Jackson Young and 5 points from senior Cooper Villi but the length and athleticism of the Crusaders left Clovis West with difficult and contrasted shots.
Davis and the Crusaders continued to apply pressure on both ends of the court and were able to spread the lead to double-digits going into the break, 38-28. Villi added another four points, along with senior Issac Martinez and junior Marshel Sanders, but the perimeter shots were not falling for the Golden Eagles in the first half. Davis ended the half with a game-high 18 points and Modesto Christian looked to be in control of the style and pace of play. However, if you know anything about Clovis West, they typically do not go away and no lead is safe with its defensive pressure and three-point shooting.
It was evident from the start of the 3rd quarter that the Crusaders were on a mission to prove a lot in this game and they put their foot on the gas behind the huge scoring outburst of senior guard Jalen Brown, who put up 11 of his total of 17 points in the quarter. Standout sophomore DJ Stickman did all he could to keep Clovis West close with 7 points in the 3rd quarter but the rest of the team only scored 7 points, as Modesto Christian would stretch the lead to 16 going into the final frame, 58-42.
Freshman phenom guard Rashod Cotton heated up in the final frame, scoring 7 of his 13 points and the Crusaders put the game out of reach midway through the 4th quarter to cruise to a 79-55 victory over Clovis West and handing the Golden Eagles its first loss of the season. This would also be the first time since the start of this tournament that the home team won the championship in consecutive years, as it kept the title in-house last year as well. Davis would finish with a game-high 25 points and he and Brown would be awarded co-MVPs for the tournament, but it was the interior presence of senior forward Prince Oseya that allowed Modesto Christian to dominate the game throughout. He would finish with 12 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 blocks, as well as altering many more shots throughout the game. Clovis West was due for a letdown game, as they have been running through teams and Modesto Christian showed they are still the team to beat for the NorCal Open Title, as they still have senior Darius Smith coming back and waiting to get senior forward Kody Weary cleared.
The remainder of this article takes a look at my top 20 performers from the Holiday Hoop Classic based on my own observations in person. I was in attendance for the semifinal and championship days of the tournament and was able to watch 12 of the 16 games played over those two days. I was able to view 12 of the 16 teams live but did not see Bullard of Fresno, Turlock, Downey of Modesto, and Gregori of Modesto, as those four teams were on the losing side of the tournament bracket after the first two days of the Holiday Classic. The one player that I did not see live but after conversations with his coach, event personnel, and other media and scouts in attendance was Lloyd French of Downey. He averaged 23+ points per game throughout the event and is one of the more highly touted unsigned senior guard/wings in NorCal. Given I did not see him play live, I only have him included as Honorable Mention but I am aware that he was one of the best players at the Holiday Classic. Having said that, this list of 20 players is based on their play during the last two days of the event that I saw live and in person. The article below contains the following information: all relevant player information, a brief recap of their performance at the Holiday Hoop Classic, and an evaluation of each player’s skill for the top 15 but not for the honorable mention players. Although this is a list of my top 20 performers, the players are listed in alphabetical order and not ranked order. I begin with a look at senior CJ Agulles.
661 Hoops’ Top 15 Performers
2023 6’3 CJ Agulles (Northgate/Walnut Creek CA)
Agulles is a wing/guard that can score the ball from 3 levels with the handle to push the pace of play in the open court. Agulles carried the Broncos in the 1st half and finished with 14 points in its win over Weston Ranch of Stockton. He would follow that up with a team-high 15 points and 6 rebounds in a loss to Edison of Stockton to close out the Holiday Classic. Agulles has solid handles, is able to create off the dribble and attack the defense, and has a nice stop-and-pop mid-range jumper with good lift to shoot over defenders. Agulles does a nice job on the boards, has the handle to push the ball up the court, and moves well off the ball for catch-and-shoot opportunities. He has nice touch on his perimeter shot and is accurate from fifteen feet to the 3-point line.
2024 6’4 Richard Banks (Weston Ranch/Stockton CA)
Banks is a wing/guard that impacts the game on both ends of the court and can space the floor from beyond the arc. Banks had 11 points in the Cougars’ day 3 loss to Northgate of Walnut Creek, and had a big game to close out the Classic with 14 points, 4 steals, and 3 assists to show his two-way versatility. Banks uses his length and size to disrupt opponents on the perimeter, has active hands to create turnovers and open court points, and with his wingspan he can defend taller players on switch-offs. Banks has good handles, makes nice use of the crossover to get his defender off balance, and is a creative finisher around the basket. Banks has a nice perimeter shot and is accurate from the mid-range to the 3-point line, which forces defenders to over-pursue and opens up driving lanes for him to attack. I have been impressed with the progression of his defense over the past year and is one of the more versatile scorers for Weston Ranch.
2023 6’2 Jalen Brown (Modesto Christian/CA)
Brown is a physical and skilled combination guard that can create his own offense or make plays for others and can score in volume quickly. Brown had a solid performance in the low-scoring semifinal win over Campolindo, as he would score 8 points and pulled down 6 rebounds. Brown had a monster 3rd quarter in the championship game to help push the lead to nearly twenty going into the 4th, as he would score 13 of his 17 points against a stout Clovis West defense. Brown has a strong handle on the basketball, shifty moves to get his defender off balance, the physical build to finish through contact at the basket, and the court vision to make plays to open teammates when on the attack. Brown gets nice lift on his perimeter shot, has a deadly mid-range jumper, and opens up the defense with his efficiency from the 3-point line, which creates driving lanes for Brown to attack. Brown is also a solid perimeter defender with the agility and footspeed to stay in front of smaller guards and the size to evade being bullied by more physical guards. Was named Holiday Hoop Classic co-MVP with teammate BJ Davis.
2026 6’ Rashod Cotton (Modesto Christian/CA)
Cotton is a shifty lead guard that can make plays for teammates or create his own buckets and steps up big in key moments of games. In the semifinals against Campolindo, Cotton came through clutch for the Crusaders, as he would score all 11 of his points after intermission and connected on 3 threes to help the team get to the championship. Cotton had two timely baskets in the 2nd quarter to give the Crusaders a 10-point lead at the half of the championship. Cotton would finish the game with 13 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals and was named to the All-Tournament Team, as the freshman came up big and showed he will be a key piece for Modesto Christian this season. Cotton has elite handles, shifty moves to keep his opponent on skates, makes great use of the hesitation move to create off the perimeter, and can score it from 3 levels. Cotton’s crossover is lethal and he uses it to redirect himself and get by his defender. Defensively, Cotton has active hands, quick lateral movement, and turns defense to transition offense routinely. Cotton has a smooth stroke on his perimeter shot and makes nice use of the floater when on the attack over height in the post. The poise, pace of play, and decision-making for the freshman has him as one of the top players in the 2026 class in California and beyond.
2023 6’1 BJ Davis (Modesto Christian/CA) – San Diego State Commit – featured in photo
Davis is a shifty lead guard with dynamic handles, elite shot-making ability, and can lock up on the defensive end. Davis led the Crusaders with 12 points in its semifinal win over Campolindo, as most of these points would come in the 1st half. In the championship, Davis reminded everyone that he is the guy for Modesto Christian and when he is clicking on all cylinders on both ends the Crusaders are tough to defeat. Davis got going early and often in the championship game, scoring 18 of his game-high 25 points before the break. Davis added 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, and 2 steals en route to earning Holiday Hoop Classic co-MVP with teammate Jalen Brown in a huge statement win over undefeated Clovis West of Fresno. Davis keeps the ball on a string, is constantly surveying the floor to make the correct reads, has the shift and handle to break down his defender, the moves to create off the dribble, and is an efficient scorer from 3-levels with the court vision to make plays on the attack. Davis has great body control, next-level range with the 3-ball, and is capable of making difficult shots with regularity. Davis has been one of my favorite players to watch at the high school level the past few years and with the recent departure of nationally ranked junior Jamari Phillips, he will be the catalyst to help Modesto Christian make another run at the NorCal championship and state title.
2026 6’2 Dalen Felder (Clovis East/CA) – featured in photo
Felder is a true lead guard that makes quality decisions with the ball in his hands and can create his own offense in various ways. Felder had one of the top individual scoring performances of the Holiday Classic in a tough loss to Manteca, as he would score a game-high 28 points, while connecting on 4 threes and scoring half of his points in the 4th quarter. In a 30-point blowout win over Manteca to close out the Holiday Classic, Felder led the Timberwolves in scoring with 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists and displayed quality play as a facilitator when needed but was most impressive scoring the ball off the dribble or the catch and shoot. Felder keeps the ball on a string, heads up to survey the court, handles and moves to create off the dribble, can score it from 3 levels, and moves fluidly off the ball ready to fire with accuracy from the 3-point line. Felder plays with a good change of pace, gets to his shot spots, and has the court vision to find open teammates when on the attack. He rebounds well, which allows the team to get out in the open court. Clovis East has some nice young talent and Felder is at the top of that group with a lot of high school basketball left to play.
2024 6’3 Jacob Martin (Pleasant Valley/Chico CA)
Martin is a wing/forward that does a solid job on the glass and gets to the free-throw line with frequency. Martin got things going for the Vikings early in both the consolation semifinal and consolation games, as he would score 7 of his 10 points and 8 of his 12 points in the first halves of each game respectively. Martin does a solid job on the boards, gets points off of quick putbacks on the offensive end and limits shots for opponents on the defensive glass, and had 8 rebounds and 6 rebounds en route to the Vikings winning the consolation title. Martin has nice touch around the basket, is accurate with the mid-range pull-up shot, and has the strength to finish through contact at the basket. Martin does a nice job of drawing fouls and is efficient from the charity stripe.
2023 5’11 Issac Martinez (Clovis West/Fresno CA)
Martinez is a shooting guard that has a smooth perimeter shot, scores in volume, and steps up in big moments in games. Martinez led the Golden Eagles with 14 points in the team’s win over Vanden in the semifinals of the Holiday Classic, scoring 11 of those points in the 2nd half and giving his team the push they needed for the win. In the championship game, Martinez again led Clovis West in scoring with 11 points, but the team struggled to score many points in the loss to the home team. Martinez is a knockdown shooter from the perimeter, gets downhill into the defense, has good footwork and body control to connect on tough mid-range shots, is a creative finisher around the basket, and can light it up from the 3-point line. He is a capable scorer off the dribble or the catch-and-shoot, and has range with the long ball.
2023 6’3 Sterling McClanahan (Vanden/Fairfield CA)
McClanahan is a guard/wing that can score in volume and gets to his comfort zones with the ability to connect on difficult shots routinely. The Vikings were without standout junior Tyler Thompson, who was out sick, but McClanahan put the bulk of the scoring load on his shoulders and led Vanden to the win in the 3rd Place game over a tough Campolindo team, 60-59. McClanahan had a big scoring output in the semifinals, going for 25 points and doing all he could to get his team into the championship game but came up short, 71-64. In the 3rd Place game, after connecting on 2 threes in the early going, McClanahan was held scoreless the rest of the half before erupting for 12 of his game-high 18 points after intermission and gave Vanden the lift needed to edge out the one-point victory. McClanahan has quality handles, plays with good pace with the ball in his hands, has the physical build to bully his way to the basket, and the body control to hit tough shots off balance from the perimeter. McClanahan has a nice burst of speed off the dribble, sees the court well enough to make plays when on the attack, and is accurate from fifteen feet to the 3-point line. McClanahan is a good rebounder for his position, looks to push the tempo in the open court, and gets great lift on his pull-up jumper. Great week of hoops.
2023 6’1 Leon Mills Jr. (Edison/Stockton CA) – featured in photo
Mills is a shifty lead guard that has great court vision and is just as capable of making plays for teammates as he is of creating his own scoring opportunities. Mills had two impressive all-around performances on days 3 and 4 of the Holiday Classic. In Edison’s win over Ripon Christian, Mills would erupt for 15 of his game-high 30 points in the final frame to lift his team to victory over Ripon Christian. In a similar fashion, Mills looked to get others involved in the 1st half of the 5th Place game against Northgate before taking over after the break, as he would score 17 of his game-high 23 points in the final two quarters to lead the Vikings to the win. Mills keeps the ball on a string, has great court vision to find players in small windows, has nice shift and redirection with the ball in his hands, and leaves his defender guessing as he weaves through traffic with the length and acceleration to get by his opponent for buckets around the basket. Mills has the moves to create off the dribble, is accurate from the perimeter to space the floor, and is hard to contain when on the attack with the ability to make split decisions on the move to either score or facilitate. One of the top unsigned point guards in NorCal.
2023 6’1 Elijah Mobley (Weston Ranch/Stockton CA)
Mobley is a physical and skilled combination guard that impacts the game in a variety of ways on both ends of the court and has great leadership qualities. Mobley had a big-time showing in the 7th Place game win over Ripon Christian. Mobley had 14 of his game-high 27 points that blew the doors open in the 4th quarter, as the Cougars only had an 8-point lead going into the final frame. Mobley has a strong handle on the ball, is a hawk on defense that keeps relentless pressure on his opponent and generates turnovers, and does a solid job on the glass for his size which allows him to push the pace of play. Mobley moves well off the ball, is accurate on his perimeter shot, and has the moves to create off the dribble with the physicality to finish through contact at the basket. Mobley, along with his brother Elliot and fellow senior Khristian Holmes will provide the necessary veteran leadership for Weston Ranch to have success in league play and the postseason.
2023 6’3 Shane O’Reilly (Campolindo/Moraga CA)
O’Reilly is a true shooting guard that can light it up from the perimeter either off the dribble or the catch and shoot. O’Reilly had a game-high 16 points in Campolindo’s semifinal loss to Modesto Christian and did all he could to carry the team with the absence of Logan Robeson, who would miss the final two days of the Holiday Classic out sick. In the 3rd Place game, O’Reilly had 13 points but it was not enough to get the win over Vanden. O’Reilly has a smooth stroke from the perimeter, is able to create scoring opportunities off the dribble or the catch-and-shoot, moves fluidly off the ball, and has good court vision to make plays when on the attack. O’Reilly is a lights-out shooter from the 3-point line, scores it in volume, and has a lethal stop-and-pop mid-range jumper when defenders over-pursue on closeouts.
2023 6’9 Prince Oseya (Modesto Christian/CA)
Oseya is a lengthy and athletic forward that has nice touch around the basket, controls the boards, and is an elite shot blocker/rim protector. In Modesto Christian’s semifinal win over Campolindo, Oseya dominated the stat line despite only scoring 8 points. He would add 10 rebounds and an impressive 7 blocks, which could have been 8 with a questionable goal-tending call. In the championship game, Oseya was the difference maker with his dominance in the post, going for 12 points, 10 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 3 assists. He forced the Golden Eagle players to take tough shots around the basket with Oseya protecting the basket and limited them to single-shot opportunities controlling the defensive glass. Oseya uses his long wingspan and size to control the boards on both ends, has nice touch on finishes around the basket, and has decent touch on his shot to be enough of a threat from the 3-point line to space the floor. Oseya feasted off the short corner weak side block, with a couple of throwdowns off the pass from driving teammates and will be a key piece for the Crusaders as they make a run for the Open Division NorCal title and more.
2025 6’ DJ Stickman (Clovis West/Fresno CA)
Stickman is an athletic and rangy combination guard that impacts both ends of the court and is an emerging elite on-ball perimeter defender. Stickman, similar to Oseya for Modesto Christian, filled up the stat sheet for the Golden Eagles. Stickman only had 5 points in the team’s semifinal win over Vanden, but added 8 rebounds and 5 assists and provided the perimeter defense needed to limit the scoring of the Viking guards other than McClanahan. Stickman had 9 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals in Clovis West’s loss to Modesto Christian in the championship. Stickman has a massive wingspan, nice footwork and lateral quickness, and active hands to get into his opponent’s dribbling space to generate turnovers and open-court points. Stickman has the handles and wiggle to create off the dribble and the bounce to finish with consistency over bigs around the basket. Stickman is enough of a threat from the perimeter to force the defense to close out and as he continues to develop his shooting efficiency, he will continue to rise up the ranks as one of the best two-way guards in the Central Section regardless of class.
2023 6’3 Eli Terpsma (Ripon Christian/CA)
Terpsma is a guard/wing that can score the ball effectively from 3 levels and can create his own shots or off the catch and shoot. Terpsma led the Knights with 23 points in a tough loss to Edison of Stockton on Day 3 of the Holiday Classic. Terpsma led the Knights with 17 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 assists but Ripon Christian fell to Weston Ranch after a huge 4th quarter from Elijah Mobley. Terpsma has solid handles, good moves to create off the perimeter, the physicality to bully his way to the basket through contact, and is a creative finisher around the basket. Terpsma has great footwork and body control, gets into the teeth of the defense to create contact allowing him to get to the free throw line, and can hit tough mid-range shots on the stop and pop or the fadeaway jumper. Terpsma is accurate from the 3-point line off the dribble or moving off the ball to get open for catch-and-shoot opportunities. Tough player with the ability to score in volume.
**2023 6’4 Lloyd French (Downey/Modesto CA)**
2024 6’7 Jace Beidleman (Ripon Christian/CA)
2026 5’11 Ja’Vance Coleman (Bullard/Fresno CA)
2026 6’4 Lydell Farmer (Clovis East/CA)
2023 6’4 Luke Kremer (Pleasant Valley/Chico CA)
2023 6’3 Elijah Lewis (Vanden/Fairfield CA)