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SoCalHoops Recruiting News

Top SoCal Players:  Best Combo Guards
In The Class Of 2003--(Sept. 1, 2002)

Given our extremely busy June, July and August this year, we decided to wait until all the dust had settled on the summer before posting our listings of top players in SoCal.   It's been a while since we've updated the lists for the class of 2003 and 2004 (coming soon) but as we say, better late than never. As in our prior lists, we've broken the players down into various categories, with the most talented and promising (in our very humble opinion) listed first, followed by the next best, and so on and so forth.   We've sort of changed the last category (which used to be called "Best of the Rest"),  and we're now calling it  "Players to Watch For This Season," and we actually think that more aptly describes why we have these guys listed in the first place.  Our lists are not intended, as some others apparently are, as expressions of who we think has reached the pinnacle of achievement, not by any stretch.  All we're doing is listing players that we think are talented, to one degree or another, some more than others.  But everyone we've listed has shown potential and if you don't know all of these guys, then you may want to make it a point to check them out during the upcoming high school season or at one of the fall tournaments taking place in the next few weeks.  Not everyone plays club or travels during the summer, so some of these names may seem a bit surprising or may not be as well known as others, but everyone listed has shown us some good things when we've seen them play.   In other words, there are enough sleepers out there that someone may just have a fantastic high school season and blow up even if they're not too well known right now.  

As some will also notice as you read through all of the lists, the names of some players one might expect to see are not listed, and we're talking about those guys who have opted to attend prep schools in the east.  For example, the name of Marcus Williams, formerly of Crenshaw, isn't listed with the point guards because he's going to be attending Oak Hill in Virginia.  There are a lot of other players like him who have taken their games back east, but we don't want to make this intro any longer than necessary, so if you really want to know why we've listed someone somewhere, or haven't, read the explanatory notes below.

Top 10 Combo Guards of 2003
(Listed Alphabetically)

Brett DeAngelis 6'-1" Santa Monica
Jake Collins 6'-3" Mission Viejo
Josh Flynn-Brown 6'-3" Loyola
Leon Jacobs 6'-2" LA Manual Arts
Ray Reed 6'-0" Inglewood
Kyle Shiloh 6'-2" Bakersfield Garces
Tron Smith 6'-3" Canyon Springs
D.J. Strawberry 6'-3" Mater Dei
Wesley Washington 6'-3"  Mater Dei
Steve Smith 6'-2" LA Taft

Next Top 20 Combo Guards of 2003
(Listed Alphabetically)

Kyle Aurelio 5'11" Esperanza
Robert Brown 5'-10" LA Westchester
Deon Cook 6'-4" Chaminade
Larry Cunningham 6'-2" Downey
Curtis Dunwoody 6'-0" Valencia (Valencia)
Avi Fogel 6'-1"  San Diego Torrey Pines
Arik Freeman-Anders 6'-2" Granada Hills
Nate Gilkes 6'-3" Troy
Travis Hardeman 6'-5" Troy
Jabir Jinna 6'-0" West Covina
Tyrese McDaniel 6'-3" Clovis West
Jarel Perry 6'-2" Eisenhower
John Pohlen 6'-3" Brea Olinda
Kevin Rogers 6'-1" Corona Centennial
Jonathan Smith 5'-10" LA Westchester
Drew Spaventa 6'-2" San Marcos
Drew Terry 6'-3" Northwood
Sterling Stegall 6'-2" Chatsworth
Bobby Weinberger 6'-1" Harvard-Westlake
Jake Wohlfeil 6'-4" La Jolla

Other Combo Guards of 2003 To Watch For This Season:
(Listed Alphabetically)

Joshua Anderson 6'-1" Lakewood
Alex Banks 6'-2" Verbum Dei
Charles Blankenship 5'-10"  Canyon Springs
Adam Bonifer 6'-3" Loyola
Jeff Clement 6'-1" Katella
Ian Collis 6'-3" Clovis West
Slobodon Cvijovich 6'-2" Montclair Prep
Matt Danison 6'-2" El Toro
Matt Davis 6'-1" Ayala
Lionel Denson 6'-0" Alta Loma
Jason Estrada 6'-1" Bishop Montgomery
Shawn Fortman 6'-1" Moorpark
Anthony Garcia 6'-2" Los Altos
Tim Hampton 6'-3" Mayfair
Sean Hogoboom 6'-1" Arroyo Grande
Danny Krikorian 6'-2" Costa Mesa
Tim Lajoie 6'-0" Santa Clara
Tony Larkins 5'-7" Arcadia
Mark Lewis 6'-3" LB Millikan
Jock Lindsey 6'-0" San Diego Morse
Deshawn Lloyd 6'-3" Los Angeles HS
Tyler McShane 6'-2" La Habra
Ryan Manahl 6'-1" Apple Valley Christian
Kyle Medeiros 6'-1" Reedley Immanuel
Charles Murphy 6'-0" Chatsworth
Kurt Oliver 6'-0" Rim of the World
Chris Ostos 6-1" San Gabriel Academy
Henri Pamphile 6'-0" Walnut
Braden Porter 6'-0" Esperanza
Reed Ritchie 6'-1" Desert Chapel
Donald Shead 6'-1" Ribet Academy
Terry Sims 6'-2" Diamond Bar
Andrew Soto 6'-1" Bishop Amat
John Liam Stapleton 6'-3" Crespi
Mike Verrillo 6'-0" Westlake
Randy Williams 6'-1" LA Westchester
Travis Wittick 5'-10' Mission Viejo
Nick Wong 6'-1" Crossroads

Now here's the long explanatory note about the list above (and the other lists of other position players that you'll see posted shortly):

Classifying guards in high school as either "points" or "combos" or "shooting guards" can be a tricky, and really, a lot of these guys could have wound up on either of the other lists.  For us it's just mostly a matter of how we've seen these guys play in the games we've watched. Some players who play the point (or who think of themselves as point guards) can instead be found on the combo guard or shooting guard lists, and one can quibble with our picks, but hey, these are our lists.   Disagree?  Do your own. But the bottom line is, if you don't see someone on this list, look at one of the other guard lists.  

We don't think it's really necessary to define the position of "combo" guard, but it's exactly what it suggests, i.e., a player who can play either the point or the off-guard (shooting guard) position.   They can often be the one bringing the ball up the floor, set up a half-court offense, but sometimes, in a three or more guard set (which is really more common than you may believe in high school, given the true scarcity of big men), these guys also sometimes play the off-guard position.

Anyway, now onto the caveats about what these lists are and are not intended to convey:

Caveat 1: We have not ranked everyone based on college potential.  Obviously, those we've ranked the highest and grouped into the top group, we believe are a pretty solid bet to continue their playing careers after high school at some level in college;  we think the most talented of the groups have the potential to be D-I guys, but at what level that happens to be isn't for us to say.  These players are clearly not finished products, and many of them will continue to grow or develop earlier or later than others.   At bottom, what we are doing is simply listing
the top players in SoCal who we believe have talent, potential and have demonstrated that they are not only excellent high school players, among the best in SoCal, but also have shown skills which we think will make them good college prospects.

Caveat 2: This will sound like a broken record, but we haven't used numerical rankings for individual players. Maybe we will someday, but not for now.   Others who rank players use numbers to distinguish who their "No. 1" guy is.  We don't necessarily think anyone sees enough of any of these players on a consistent enough basis to make such a statement.  We've heard a lot of good reasons to do numerical rankings, but we think there are just too many subtleties to any kid's game, and besides, these are still just high school guys, and we don't want to add to the "head blowing up" syndrome.   Our purpose is simply to recognize talented players.  Let others pick the nits, and tell us how this or that player is "No. 7" out of more than 10,000 high school players in Southern California.  

Caveat 3: We have not seen every player in SoCal, and we would venture that no one has.   Some of what we've done in listing these players is the result of a consensus which comes from others we speak with, high school coaches, or club coaches, and even more than a few college coaches. We can't possibly have been everywhere, and likewise, not every kid in Southern California who plays hoops for his high school played this summer.  So, please try to keep some perspective on these lists when you read them and take them for what they are. 

Caveat 4:  Lastly, and not to be too repetitive, if we've left a player off the list, it may or may not be an oversight.   It actually may be intentional.   On the other hand, if you think someone deserves to be on the list who isn't, let us know.  Send us an e-mail and we'll consider adding the name to the lists of top players.

Caveat 5:  Remember to have fun with this.   Lists like this are not the end of the world.  If your name is there, congratulations, but keep up the good work. And if it's not, well, keep working.  But remember to have fun.   


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