Brentwood, CA – This past weekend, Saturday the 1st and Sunday the 2nd, I attended the Oakland Soldiers Spring Extravaganza, which was held in various cities in the East Bay area of Northern California. The tournament headlined some match-ups between EYBL and 3SSB teams that made for some intriguing games early in the club season. The host team, Oakland Soldiers, had its 16u and 15u EYBL teams play up a division and its 17u EYBL team played in 2 showcase games Saturday evening. Also in the event was Vegas Elite and its 16u and 15u EYBL teams also playing up, and Team Lillards 16u and 17u 3SSB Teams were in the event. The event also featured some quality independent programs in NorCal Ducks, Clutch Elite, CTBxGU, Fresno Wildcats, Team California, and many others.
I was in attendance both days, as I arrived midway through Day 1 and did not see the morning round of the Day 1 games. Day 1 I was at the main gym at Heritage High School and Sunday I went to Enda Hills Middle School to watch a pair of 16u Platinum Division games before finishing out the event back at Heritage for the semifinals and finals of the top divisions. Team Lillard 16u 3SSB won the 17u Platinum Division, as it defeated the NorCal Ducks, who filled in for Vegas Elite 16u EYBL team who had to depart early due to travel plans. The two played in pool play and Lillard won by double-digits if that is any consolation. Team Lillard 16u has a lot of talent, size, and good chemistry that should have success on the Adidas circuit.
Although there was a lot of talent for all age groups and grades, the majority of the talent I watched that performed best were freshmen and sophomores, which speaks to the depth of talent in those classes on the West. Therefore, this article takes a look at my top 20 underclass performers from the weekend based on players that I saw play live and in person. There is no specific rank order to this list of players, as they are listed in alphabetical order. The article provides the player’s name and information, a brief recap of how they played at the event, and a short evaluation of their skill sets. I begin this article with a look at one of Central Cali’s top sophomores Abram Potts.
2025 6’3 Abram Potts (San Joaquin Memorial/Fresno CA)
Potts is a shooting guard that has a smooth perimeter shot that he can hit off the dribble or the catch and shoot with accuracy. Potts, coming off winning a state championship with San Joaquin Memorial of Fresno, has continued to stay hot from the field. Potts had games of 23 points and 19 points on Day 1 of the Spring Extravaganza and showed he could hold his own against top talent in a loss to the Oakland Soldiers 16u EYBL squad. Potts has good handles, a variety of moves to create space off the dribble, can stop and pop from the mid-range to the 3-point line extended, is accurate with the stepback 3-ball, and moves well off the ball to create space for catch and shoot opportunities. Potts will be a key scoring piece for the Fresno Wildcats 16u Elite club team, as it plays a rigorous schedule in the Spring and Summer.
2025 6’4 Alvin Loving IV (Salesian College Prep/Richmond CA)
Loving is a big guard that has the court vision and decision-making required to operate at the lead guard position with the size and touch to create scoring opportunities around the basket. Loving, playing on a very talented Team Lillard 16u 3SSB squad, displayed his versatility by playing on the ball and running the offense, as well as playing off the ball on the perimeter and at times in the painted area where he was able to score effectively. Loving had 10 points in the 2nd half and proved to be the boost that Lillard 16’s needed to take down the Oakland Soldiers 16s. Loving has quality handles, the moves to create off the dribble, good change of pace to get by his initial defender, and the strength to finish through contact at the basket. Loving does a great job on the boards, does not waste time getting the ball up the court, and makes quality decisions in transition. Loving showed his ability to be an effective 3-level scorer that is accurate from beyond the arc.
2026 6’5 Andre Gomez (Grant/Sacramento CA)
Gomez is a guard/wing that can create his own offense and has the versatility to play multiple positions on both ends of the court. Gomez is one of the top freshmen in Northern California and showed his range of skills on the offensive end against a tough Vegas Elite 15u team, as he would score 11 points. Gomez has the handles and moves to create off the perimeter, the touch and footwork to score around the basket, and the shot-making ability to score from the mid-range to the 3-point line with accuracy. Gomez does a solid job on the glass, alters shots on the perimeter and in the post, and handles to push the tempo in the open court. As a scoring threat from the perimeter, Gomez is a tough assignment when setting screens, as he makes good reads on whether to pop or to roll to the basket. Gomez will be playing with Compton Magic on the Adidas 3SSB circuit this club season, where he will have the chance to put his name and game on a national stage.
2026 6’8 Cameron Williams (Centennial/Peoria AZ)
Williams is a lengthy forward/wing that runs the floor well, controls the boards, and has great touch around the basket. Williams held down the post for Vegas Elite 15s in the quarterfinals of the Spring Extravaganza, as he would score 11 points and pull down 6 rebounds. Williams does a nice job on the boards, keeps the ball high off the glass to prevent turnovers, and uses his length to block shots at the basket and the footspeed to close out and alter perimeter shots. Williams outlets quickly and gets up the court to be ready for transition passes for easy buckets at the rim. With Williams only being a freshman, if he develops a better handle and perimeter moves to operate off the wing, he could be one of the more highly touted players in the 2026 class in Arizona and the Western region.
2025 6’7 Caspian Jones (St. Mary’s/Phoenix AZ)
Jones is a wing/guard that has the skill to create off the perimeter and the size and moves to be an impact player around the basket. I last saw Jones at the Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp back in September of 2022, where he would be one of the top overall scorers at the event and a Top 30 Game selectee. Jones led Vegas Elite 16s with 11 points in a loss to Team Lillard 16s in pool play, as he would do most of his damage around the basket showing off his soft touch and footwork to create scoring opportunities in the paint. In Vegas Elite’s win over Oakland Soldiers 16s, Jones hit on a 3-ball and a few mid-range jumpers that highlighted his ability to score effectively from 3-levels, as well as his versatility as an offensive weapon. Jones has the handles and the moves to create off the bounce, the size to finish through contact around the basket, and the height to shoot over most perimeter defenders. Jones does a nice job rebounding the ball, has the capacity to push the pace of play in transition, and gets the ball up the court quickly. Given his ability to score on the wing and in the post that makes Jones a tough assignment, as he has the size to shoot over smaller players and the moves and shotmaking ability to force bigger players to over-commit.
2025 6’5 D’Andre Harrison (Perry/Gilbert AZ)
Harrison is a forward with nice touch at the basket, does a solid job on the boards, and has the potential to emerge as a threat off the perimeter that would make him a true forward/wing. Harrison led all scorers with 20 points in Vegas Elite 16s comeback win over Oakland Soldiers 16s, in a game that featured a lot of talented sophomores. Harrison connected on a 3-ball, showing he could space the floor, but made his real impact on the glass and finishes around the basket. Harrison has the strength to finish through contact, uses his frame and timing to control the boards amongst taller players, has soft touch when scoring in the paint, and makes the outlet pass to his ball handlers to get into transition. Great motor and good versatility on the defensive end.
2025 5’9 Derron White (Monterey Trail/Elk Grove CA)
White is a lightning-quick point guard that has the moves to break down his defender and the court vision to find open teammates when on the attack. White has shifty moves to create off the dribble, electric handles to weave through traffic, the court vision to find cutting or open teammates, and is a creative finisher over height around the basket. White has range and accuracy with the 3-ball combined with a great burst of speed on the attack, which opens up driving lanes for him to put pressure on the defense. Solid on-ball defender with footspeed and active hands to get in his opponent’s dribbling space and generate turnovers.
2026 6’7 Elijah Summers-Livingston (Basha/Chandler AZ)
Summers is a lengthy and rangy wing/forward that may have been one of the best long-term prospects I saw all weekend. Summers uses his length to alter/block shots in the post, is able to close out and alter perimeter shots, and does a solid job on the glass. Summers showed the handle needed to push the ball up the court, as well as create for himself off the perimeter and get downhill. Summers has good touch and feel on finishes at the rim and, although still in the early phases of his development, has the tools needed to become a high-level wing/forward or stretch four. Summers is a player to keep an eye on over the next four years in the Western region and even nationally, as he averaged 10 points and 6 rebounds a game as a freshman for Basha.
2025 6’4 Gavin Sykes (Capital Christian/Sacramento CA)
Sykes is a combo guard that can light it up from the perimeter and scores in volume. Sykes, coming off an impressive sophomore campaign for Capital Christian, continued his high level of play for the Oakland Soldiers 16u squad as one of its leading scorers at the Spring Extravaganza. Sykes had games of 12 points and 10 points in pool play, as he scored from all 3-levels effectively, both off the dribble and the catch-and-shoot. Sykes has shifty handles, the moves to create separation from his defender, the body control to finish through contact when attacking the basket, and is deadly when he gets hot from beyond the arc with range on the 3-ball. Sykes makes good use of the hesitation move to get his defender off balance and redirects with purpose as he keeps relentless pressure on his opponent. Sykes is an underrated playmaker, as he has quality court vision to find open teammates when attacking the basket. Sykes has a great motor and makes tough shots. Defensively, he gets into his opponent’s dribbling space and gets deflections or steals that lead to easy transition points.
2025 6’6 Jasir Rencher (Archbishop Riordan/San Francisco CA)
Rencher is an athletic wing/slasher that has the skill and versatility to impact both ends of the court at various positions. Rencher was in his bag in Lillard 16s win over Vegas Elite 16s, as he connected on a 3-ball, scored off the dribble from the mid-range and at the basket, and was a force on the glass leading all scorers with 14 points. Rencher has elite bounce, protects the rim in the post and on the perimeter, and the size and length to defend in the paint and the agility and footspeed to swarm perimeter players. Offensively, Rencher has the handle to bring the ball up the court, enough court vision to facilitate from the top of the key, and the moves to create off the bounce and make tough baskets around the rim. Rencher is enough of a threat from the perimeter, as he connected on a few threes and mid-range shots, to force his opponent to over-pursue and open up driving lanes for him to attack. Rencher is lethal in the open court with his superior athleticism which lead to some entertaining dunks. The physical attributes are undeniable and as his level of development continues to progress, Rencher is a name that should burst on the national scene this Spring and Summer on the Adidas circuit,
2025 6’2 Jaylen Valdez (Capital Christian/Sacramento CA)
Valdez is a shooting guard that continues to evolve into a dynamic scorer and shot-maker. In the semifinals of the 17u Platinum Division of the Spring Extravaganza against the eventual champs in Lillard 16s, Valdez put on a scoring clinic, as he would drop 24 points and show his ability to score from 3-levels in a variety of ways. Valdez keeps the ball on a string, makes good use of the hesitation to keep his defender guessing, gets to his comfort zones for quality shots, and was lights out from the mid-range. Valdez is accurate from the mid-range to the 3-point line, does a great job of absorbing and finishing through contact at the rim, and has made major strides in his ability to create shots off the dribble. Valdez plays with great pace, does not get sped up by his defender, takes quality shots, and has the court vision to make plays when on the attack. Impressive showing and the work on his game is evident, as I saw him multiple times during the high school season and his confidence and skill have made progress. Great motor and tough mindset, as he was not phased by the size and talent of the Lillard roster.
2025 6’5 Jephte Tambala (Capital Christian/Sacramento CA)
Tambala is an athletic and physically imposing forward that has elite bounce that allows him to dominate the boards, block shots, and dunk with ferocity. Tambala made his presence felt early and often in the quarterfinals of the 16u Platinum Division at the Spring Extravaganza, as he would score 18 points, pull down 13 rebounds, and added 3 momentum-changing blocks. Tambala connected on a 3-ball, showing he can space the floor enough to keep the defense honest and enough handle to put the ball on the deck and attack the basket. Tambala gets off the ground quick allowing him numerous put-back opportunities on the offensive glass and limiting the opponent to single-shot possessions. Tambala had four or five baskets that displayed his superior strength, as he muscled through contact for and one finishes at the basket. He was one of those players that you love to find at an event and I look forward to seeing the progression of his game.
2025 6’1 Johnny Collins (Coronado/Henderson NV)
Collins is a combo guard that can get going in a hurry from the perimeter, which opens up his game and allows him to get to the cup. Collins had a quiet 1st half of Vegas Elite 15s quarterfinal game before catching fire in the 2nd half, as he would lead all scorers with 19 points and showed his accuracy from deep by connecting on 4 threes. Collins has solid handles, good moves to create off the dribble, moves well off the ball to create space, and is efficient with the 3-ball off the dribble or the catch-and-shoot. Defensively, Collins has active hands, looks to jump passing lanes, and can push the pace of play or run the floor on the wing. Liked the confidence as a scorer and will continue to develop his overall skill set to become more of a lead guard that can score and make plays.
2025 6’5 Julius Olanrewaju (San Joaquin Memorial/Fresno CA)
Olanrewaju is a guard/wing with good size and shot-making from the perimeter with the build to operate around the basket when necessary. Another player coming off of a state championship from the high school portion of the basketball season and one of the state’s top sophomores did not miss a beat this weekend for the Oakland Soldiers 16u team. Olanrewaju had 8 points against Lillard 16s and 12 points against Vegas Elite 16s, as he would knock down the 3-ball, draw fouls attacking the basket, and show off his smooth mid-range jumper. Olanrewaju has the size to shoot over perimeter defenders, the moves and handles to blow by bigger opponents, the physicality to finish through contact at the basket, and is accurate from the 3-point line off the dribble or the catch and shoot. Olanrewaju does a solid job on the glass, has the handle to push the rock, and is an underrated playmaker and facilitator when the defense collapses on him. Looking to break out on the national scene as he runs with the Soldiers on the Nike circuit.
2025 6’7 Kellen Hampton (Moreau Catholic/CA)
Hampton is a big guard with ideal size and skill to post up smaller players and the moves and handles to blow by bigger players in pursuit away from the basket. Hampton was one of the top scorers at the Spring Extravaganza and his offensive skill set continues to evolve, as he is one of the top pure scorers in the sophomore class in the Western region. Hampton, part of the loaded Team Lillard 16u team, had games of 10 points, 12 points, and 16 points over the weekend and displayed elite shot making all tournament from various spots on the floor. Hampton has the moves to create off the dribble, plays with great pace when on the attack, can play face-up or back to the basket to get to the mid-range jumper, and is efficient from the 3-point line. With Hampton’s ability to connect from the perimeter, lanes open up routinely and he has the build and size to finish through traffic at the basket. Hampton controls the boards, can push the ball up the court, is an underrated shot blocker, and his back-down fadeaway middy is tough to defend at his height. I last saw Hampton at the Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp, where he had games of 40 points and 35 points and he keeps adding to his scoring arsenal. This is a big Spring and Summer for the big guard, as he looks to establish his name on the national radar of coaches and scouts.
2025 6’3 Malachi Ficher (Tulare Western/CA)
Ficher is a lengthy guard/wing that can score in volume either off the dribble or the catch-and-shoot. Ficher had a big 2nd half in the quarterfinals of the 16u Platinum Division, as he would connect on a pair of threes and score all 10 of his points after halftime. Ficher has solid handles, makes good use of his wingspan with the crossover to create separation from his defender, can create his own scoring opportunities off the bounce, looks to attack the lane when his defender overpursues, has nice touch on the floater over size in the paint, and is a creative finisher around the basket. Ficher has quality court vision, keeps his head up when on the attack to find open teammates, and is just scratching the surface of his potential. Defensively, Ficher has active hands, quick lateral movement, and the agility to lock up on perimeter players. Ficher is coming off being named player of the game for the Central Section Division 4 title game and this club season will be big for getting his name on the radar of scouts and coaches outside of Central Cali.
2025 6’2 Marcus McDonald (Oak Hill Academy/Mouth of Wilson VA)
McDonald is a lead guard that impacts the game on both ends and displayed some of the best perimeter defense at the Spring Extravaganza, as he had multiple games with consecutive plays where he ripped his opponent for easy transition buckets. McDonald did a solid job at the point, finding a good balance between creating his own scoring opportunities and making plays for his teammates. He had games of 10 points and 12 points, as he was able to get to the basket, as well as connecting on the 3-ball. McDonald has a great burst of speed off the dribble, handles and shifty moves to change pace and direction, creative finisher around the basket, and can create his own shots off the dribble from the perimeter. McDonald has quick hands to poke the ball out or swipe it from his opponent, good reach to jump passing lanes, and turns defense to offense in timely moments of the game. McDonald will be a great fit at the lead guard spot being surrounded by the talented roster of Team Lillard 16u 3SSB.
2025 6’1 Nick Jefferson (Bishop Gorman/Las Vegas NV)
Jefferson is another solid two-way lead guard that makes his presence felt in multiple facets of the game. Jefferson played solid all weekend but showcased the game I had seen at the Pangos All-West Frosh/Camp in the match-up with Oakland Soldiers 16s. Jefferson had 11 points in the win over fellow Nike circuit member and scored in numerous ways: off generated turnovers, getting to the free throw line, and getting to the basket off the bounce. Jefferson has a solid handle, keeps the ball on a string to survey the floor, nice moves to create separation from his defender, and attacks downhill with good body control to finish through contact at the basket. Jefferson is effective from the perimeter and has the court vision to find teammates when attacking the basket. Defensively, Jefferson has active hands, has the lateral quickness to stay in front of his man, and has a good wingspan to contain opposing guards.
2025 6’ Semetri Carr (Branson/Ross CA)
Carr is a shifty and crafty lead guard with elite handles that keep constant pressure on the defense and can score in volume. Carr did not have big scoring games but played the lead guard position as well as any player at the Spring Extravaganza. Carr was able to break down defenders with relative ease, got into the teeth of the defense often, and made some impressive passes to open teammates off the dribble drive. Carr had moments in every game I saw where he made sure anyone watching knew he could create his own scoring opportunities getting to the basket for creative finishes and knocking down the 3-ball multiple times. Carr keeps the ball on a string, constantly surveys the court, finds cutting players in tight windows frequently, and his burst of speed off the dribble gets him by any opponent and opens up countless options for the talented Oakland Soldiers 16u roster.
2025 6’3 Shawn Underwood (Christian Brothers/Sacramento CA)
Underwood is a combo guard that runs the point effectively with the size to see over defenses and the vision to make plays from the top of the key. Underwood led his team with 14 points against Vegas Elite 15u in the 16u Platinum Division, as he was attacking the basket time and again and showed his ability to finish in creative ways around the basket. Underwood has nice handles, a quick first step off the dribble, gets downhill and does not waste dribbles, and has the durability to finish through traffic. Underwood has good court awareness and has the vision to find open teammates when on the attack. Defensively, Underwood is able to defend multiple positions with the height and length to defend wing/forwards and the lateral movement needed to stay in front of smaller guards. Intriguing NorCal hidden gem.
2025 6’6 Tyriq McNeal (Vallejo/CA)
McNeal is a forward/wing that runs the floor well, impacts the game in various ways, and still has room for improvement on his offensive skill set. McNeal had 11 points in Lillard 16s win over Vegas Elite 16s, as he created turnovers off steals and blocks that led to easy transition points and an impressive team win. McNeal controls the boards, has the length and agility to defend on the perimeter, the height and wingspan to defend interior players, has nice touch on shots around the basket, and showed he can space the floor from 3 to open up driving lanes. McNeal has enough handle to put the ball on the floor and attack the basket and with work on his overall skill set he was one of the more intriguing long-term prospects for me. Does a lot to impact the components needed to win games.